E+M Featured – Adventures Around Asia

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Not only is Richelle gorgeous, she is the perfect example of  a woman who lives the East+Mia lifestyle and what the brand represents. She is strong, creative and oh so sweet! Read along as I pick her adventurous brain. Find out what she has learned from her experiences abroad in Asia! Richelle has been to 28 countries and is open for questions! Her blog Adventures Around Asia has absolutely everything you need to know about studying abroad, about the ups and downs of life away from friends and family and about you guessed it life in Asia. She also provides consultations for travelers and students. All the info can be found in her blog’s Travel Services section! Ready to get to know Richelle? This is a long post but stick to the end I promise it’s worth it!

Name: Richelle Gamlan
Age: 23
From Seattle | Currently in Ningbo, Zhejiang, China
Education: George Washington University Undergrad (International Affairs); University of Nottingham Masters in International Communication

I met Richelle through a bloggies network. I have coined the term blogg-ies, blogger-ladies. I digress, I posted a “tell me about your life” PSA and I’m so glad Richelle responded to my message. She has so much to offer to readers looking for travel information and just plain old life wisdom. Imagine picking up your life and moving to China for 7 months only to fall in love with your new-found culture. A new language (and not just ANY language), new everything. How do you hang on to who you are when everything around you is different? Richelle’s answer is your life changes. Many people have experienced studying abroad, many have been blessed with knowing cultures outside of their own. You are lucky. We are lucky. 

On studying abroad…

I was so excited to experience a country and culture so vastly different from my own! I wanted to experience culture shock, push my boundaries, try new foods and have incredible experiences. I was also really nervous. I didn’t know anyone in my program and I had no idea if I would like China or not. I love traveling through Europe with my family, but I had never been to Asia before!

As a part of my degree, I had to study three years of a language. At the start of my junior year, I decided to study abroad with the Alliance for Global Education in both Beijing (Spring) and Xi’an (Summer). Thankfully, I loved China. It was everything I wanted and more so after graduation, I decided to move back to China and teach English for a year. To be honest, it was pretty rough. The kids were great, but my school was in the middle of nowhere, with no other foreigners for miles. I stuck it out for the year though, and decided to stay for another year to get my master’s at the University of Nottingham’s China campus. All of my classes are in English, but the school is 90% Chinese. At the end of the year I’ll have my master’s degree!

There are definitely a lot of other expats in China, especially in cities like Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. Ningbo, where I live now, has a smaller expat community, but since I’m attending grad school here at a British university, the university is 10% international so it’s easy to make friends. My roommates are Russian, and I have friends from all over the world: UK, Ireland, Malaysia, Taiwan, Germany, Nigeria, Bangladesh… pretty much everywhere. I also have a lot of Chinese friends from my classes and my dance group on campus. Last year was a bit of a challenge because I lived in the Chinese countryside. That made it much harder to meet people and socialize. I was teaching English on the outskirts of the city and the bus stopped running into town at 7pm and it cost $10 USD to take a cab into the city. While that’s not expensive in America, it is in China when you’re making a Chinese salary.

On Blogging…

I love writing about my experiences and sharing my tips and stories with others who are interested in visiting China. Expat stands for “expatriate”, and basically means someone living (and usually working) in another country. This can be really long-term or just for a year or two. I’ve been living in China for over two years, so I would consider myself an expat here. I started Adventures Around Asia right before I moved to China to study abroad. It was a way to keep my friends and family up to date. Over time, Adventures Around Asia grew from a small study abroad blog to a website I’m extremely passionate about. I love inspiring other to travel the world.

What’s next for you Richelle?

I’ve started giving Skype consultations for those who want to study abroad, teach abroad or work in China, and I make travel itineraries for China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Eventually I’d love to start doing city tours and larger tours all over China for families and adventurous backpackers. I’m not sure exactly where I see myself in five years. I’d like to stay in Asia for a few more years at least, but I definitely don’t want to stay in China forever. There are tons of opportunities and jobs here, but the internet censorship and pollution have really been starting to get to me. I’ve been applying to a few jobs in China next year, so I may move to Shanghai. After that I could see myself moving to another country like Taiwan, Singapore or South Korea!

My favorite things about this month’s East+Mia woman:

She will try anything once. See the Weirdest Things she has ever eaten!
She loves learning about new and different cultures, ancient history and contemporary cultural differences. 
She is unknowingly inspiring young women to pursue their dreams, travel desires, and their education. 
She is a great example of a woman in society.

I can’t wait to hear updates from Richelle! Right now she is traveling in Thailand and probably enjoying every minute of it.

Email: adventuresaroundasia@gmail.com

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Closet Talk – Italy Street Style

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Don’t mind the dude in the background! This beautiful, Italian woman knows how to strut her stuff. All Italians (I’ve noticed) are similar to Floridians, and I can say this because I’m from Florida, and I love Italians! They wear heavy coats in 55 degree weather. Enough said!

Today I went to the Jewish Quarters and explored every corner of Trastevere with two fellow Gators. In all honesty they are the chillest bunch I’ve ever met. We are all different in several ways but us girls get along fabulously. (surprise!) Well, I can’t go cafe-hopping without getting a cornetto so you’ll find my crazy happy face below my awkward outfit photos. Chapstick anyone? We also snagged rings from a street vendor while we were out!! I was so excited to find a ring that had been patiently waiting on my Pinterest board. Yeah it might be a cheap-o version of it but cute nonetheless.

My outfit is primarily BCBG because I was lucky enough to work in one of their retail shops right out of high school. To think that was almost 3 years ago makes me feel SO OLD!! I am turning 21 in March!

White button down (Men’s Calvin Klein-Slim Fit) Vest, scarf, & leggings (BCBG MaxAzria) Black leather shoes (Lucky Brand) Black Crossbody (Michael Kors)

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I am so incredibly happy when there is a cornetto in front of me!

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BODY – Sunday Meditation with Emily

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Hi ladies, hope you’ve recovered from your Valentine’s hangover and are ready for another day of yoga and meditation. Let’s start! The heart chakra is located, well you guessed it, at your heart! It’s sanskrit name is Anahata and typically the color is green but can also be pink. A lot of Heart Opening poses are backbends such as Camel, Wheel and Cobra. Those are just a few of the many heart opening poses. Always remember to counter pose! If you expand wide across your chest, opening your heart wide, remember to round forwards to allow expansion and opening of your back.

The stones featured here are Rose Quartz, Green Chrysoprase, and Blood stone.

Rose Quartz is useful for any type of love (Self-love, Family, Platonic, Romantic). It is a very happy stone and can help our self-esteem which in turn helps our self-love.

Green Chrysoprase is useful when attracting new love, promotes joy and happiness, and heals the heart of anxiety and depression.

Bloodstone is primarily a root chakra stone but can also be useful with the hearth chakra. It brings love into any situation and helps ground negative energy surrounding that situation.

Heart Chakra Meditation:

Find a quiet place where you can be undisturbed for at least 20 minutes. Siting in a comfortable upright position on some pillows or in a chair, begin to close your eyes and focus your attention on your heart. As you silence your body, soon your mind will follow too.

Repeat to yourself, inside your mind:

I listen to my heart and honor its connection to the hearts of others.

I allow love to fill me up and guide my actions.

I allow myself to love every piece of me.

I let love in and give love out.

If you find this helpful, leave me comment!! I’d love to chat with you about improving your yoga and meditation!

emily buffington

 

What to do in Gainesville for Valentine’s Day

If you are your love are anything like me and my love, you wait until the days before to really figure out what you can and want to do for this wretched (so commercialized!), lovely day called Valentine’s Day. Every day should be a Valentine’s Day in your relationship. But you ask and you shall receive! This is a list of things we have personally done, or places we have been that are perfect for a Valentine’s Day.

Romantic Garden Picnic
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Best Sushi in Swamp City

Leonardo’s 706 is my favorite night-out restaurant in Gainesville. I recommend getting the mussels, a pizza and the chocolate cake!

Partner Yoga (by Emily!)

Lavender Bubble Bath after a workout/hike/anything physical – or just a bath without the workout!
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Horseback Riding in Ocala – Makin Tracks Trail Rides

A Cooking Class – I just posted the cooking class I did in Rome last week but I’ve never done a cooking class in Gainesville. I can’t imagine how anyone who enjoys cooking could NOT enjoy a cooking class with their love. What’s sexier than cooking your own fancy meal together? I’ve heard great things about the Fat Tuscan Cafe for a relaxed Italian dining experience.

Hope these tips help in your planning for the weekend! Before planning, remember the purpose of Valentine’s Day and remember to LOVE YOURSELF first!

With love,
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LIFE – Cooking Class in Rome (Recipes included!) pt.1

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Appetizer: Bruschetta al Pomodoro e Basilico + Bruschetta Rughetta e Stracchino (Bruschetta with tomato and basil topping, with arugula and smooth cheese topping)

Ever since I signed up to study abroad I was anxious to get in a kitchen with Italians!! Italian cooking is traditional, it’s simple. It’s not Olive Garden, and man it’s delicious! If you EVER have the opportunity to do a cooking class in Rome PLEASE do it. You won’t regret it! Chef Andrea’s information can be found at the end of the post. I highly recommend him, he was a very animated chef and was a pleasure to cook with. The recipes below are directly from the chef.

Appetizer – Bruschetta  
Ingredients (serving 4 people):

- 8 slices italian bread
- 4 tomatoes (the best kind you can get to make bruschetta this time of the year are called Pomodori Colonna or back home I’d suggest you to use the Roma Tomatoes type)
- 10 leaves fresh organic basil
- 1 clove garlic (remember to remove the heart of it, as it’s heavy to digest when raw)
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt
- pepper
 
Instructions:
Grill the bread until crisp and golden brown for about 3 minutes. Rub each slice of bread with half a clove of garlic, then drizzle with one table spoon of Extra Virgin olive oil and season with salt. You can toast the bread in the toaster, but using the oven dries it out more, adding an authentic touch! Be sure to use only a good cold-pressed E.V. olive oil as the dish depends on the quality of the oil.
For your tomato and basil topping you have to chop the tomatoes in small cubes, sprinkle with salt and black pepper and garnish with fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with few table spoons of E.V. olive oil and serve.Arugola topping:
If you want to change the topping and use the arugola, then all you have to do is to clean, wash and chop finely arugola salad. Then season with salt, extra virgin olive oil and few drops of lemon juice. Spread it on top of your bruschetta and add a little drop of stracchino (it’s a smooth cheese that you can find at any supermarket or open market – if you can’t find this cheese then you can add fresh goat cheese).
I came with a large group of students, I can only imagine how nice it would be to come with just a small group of people. I was able to knead and roll out pasta, make the meatballs in the 3rd course, and help serve the bruschetta!
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First Course – Cavatelli all’Arrabbiata (Cavatelli Pasta with spicy arrabbiata sauce)
Ingredients for the dough (serving 4 people):- 500 gr / 4 cup of semolina flour (hard durum wheat)- 250 ml / 1 cup lukewarm water- 4 pinch salt
Ingredients for the sauce (serving 4 people):
– 1 carrot
– 1 stalk celery (if you can please try to use the central one because its leaves contains magnesium which is very good for your diet!)
– 1 onion small
– 1 glass of dry white wine (Frascati or Chardonnay is preferred)
– 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
– 2 clove garlic
– 500 gr / 1 Lb can tomatoes, peeled and chopped (the best type is called San Marzano)
– 2 red chili pepper, seeded and chopped (I used chili flakes instead of the fresh one, as it’s not so invasive)
– freshly chopped parsley
– 100 gr / 1 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
– salt
Instructions for the fresh pasta:

Cavatelli shaped pasta are made with a hard durum wheat (semolina) flour and water (no eggs) which gives them a distinctive golden yellow color (if you want to increase the yellow color just add a few pinches of saffron to it). It’s not a difficult recipe, but you may want to have some helpers if you have large numbers of cavatelli to make!

To get ready with the dough, make a ring with the flour on a flat surface, marble or board and pour some of the water into the middle. Add salt and draw the flour towards the middle using your finger tips. Keep doing this until you have incorporated most of the water and flour into a sticky dough. Knead it lightly, adjusting water and flour until the dough is relatively smooth and elastic. Wrap in clingfilm and chill for at least 15/20 mins.

Once chilled, divide the dough into quarters or more for ease of rolling. Roll these out using your fingers into long ropes of dough about 1cm/0,4 inch thick. Cut each rope into thin “pillows” and then press each pasta piece against the wood paddle or tines of a fork with your thumb, pulling down as you press and leaving a small dent inside. This should add the characteristic grooves to the pasta. Patience, practice and helpers will win out here!

Either cook straight away, or dust with semolina flour to prevent them sticking while you prepare the sauce. Once in a pan of salted boiling water, they will float to the surface when nearly done, needing no more than 4-5 mins to be “al dente”.

Instructions for the sauce:
In a large frying pan over low heat, stir in the “soffritto” made from finely chopped carrots, celery and onion with E.V. olive oil and cook until it starts to brown. Turn the heat over medium-high and stir in the dry white wine and let the soffritto cook it until it’ll evaporate (please never use any sweet wine). Then you can add your can-diced tomatoes and cook it for 15/30 minutes (depending on how much sauce you’re cooking). Add salt.
In the meantime, in a frying pan over low heat, heat up extra virgin olive oil and saute garlic until lightly brown (remember to keep the skin of garlic as it contains all the anti oxidant nutrients). Add some chili flakes once the oil is warm and the heat is turned off, so you will avoid burning the seeds. Then pour in the sauce previously cooked and fresh chopped parsley, turn on the heat over medium and let it cook for another 5 minutes until all the ingredients will get mixed well.
To cook the pasta, put a large pot of boiling water over high heat. When the water is boiling, toss in a tablespoon of salt with the Penne pasta. Stir to keep the pasta from sticking. Cook until a piece tastes cooked or “al dente” (usually the brand De Cecco takes about 13 minutes to cook). Add to your sauce, sautee for a few minutes. If you would like, sprinkle with grated Pecorino Romano cheese (in the original roman recipe we don not add any cheese over Arrabbiata sauce). Serve hot. It’s gonna be delicious!!!

[CONTINUED IN pt. 2!! ]

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COOKING CLASSES IN ROME
—> Chef Andrea

BODY – Partner Yoga

Sanskrit name: Adho Mukha & Urdhva Mukha Sukhasana
This partner yoga works great with someone who is about the same height as yourself, but of course you can do it with anyone! Friend, lover, stranger (AKA new friend after you do partner yoga with him/her). Let’s start!
Screen Shot 2015-02-13 at 3.52.23 PM Sitting back to back, cross-legged, start with your hands at prayer at your heart.
Both of you begin to take full inhales through the nostrils, filling up the belly first then the chest, and full exhales out the nostrils.
As you are breathing, close your eyes and feel the expansion of your partner’s back against yours. Make a connection with your two bodies.
Inhale and stretch your arms out so that the backs of your arms are touching your partners and connect your palms.
Exhale and one person folds forwards as the other gently folds backwards. Inhale as you come back to center.
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Repeat for each partner a few times. Not only is this a heart opener and backbend, but it is also a great pose for calming the mind and restoring balance as we fold forward. So find that balance and relaxation with your loved one this Valentine’s Day. If things turn sour this Valentine’s Day, it might be the perfect way to unwind and avoid undesired and unneeded stress!
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BEAUTY – A Lavender Bath this Valentine’s Day

bath time, bubble bath, lavender bat, relaxing for valentines day There is nothing better than soaking in a warm bubble bath at the end of a long day, or week, or month. Lavender is used for calming and reducing anxiety, aids in improving sleep, and is helpful on cuts, bruises, and bug bites. Sometimes after exercising or a lot of yoga my muscles are sore, this is very common and can leave your body fatigued. A great and relaxing solution is soaking for 20 minutes in a warm bath filled with Epsom salts and a few drops of lavender essential oil.

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My favorite partner in crime is Dr. Teal’s Lavender foaming bath. It is very affordable, find it at Walmart for around $6. The bubbles are decent, but the aromatherapy is what you really receive. Of course you could buy any brand of Epsom salts, they are what help draw out toxins from your muscles, letting you feel rejuvenated. Pro tip: Dr. Teal’s does sell an already mixed bag of Lavender Epsom salts if you do not have your own essential oil.
I like to use a variation of Lavender essential oil called ‘Lavender Spike’ because it contains more awakening properties similar to Eucalyptus. I find that Whole Foods has a great selection of essential oils but I like to support local vendors or independent sellers online and encourage you to do the same! Enjoy the alone time, or sexy time.
Need help getting started with essential oils? Young Living Essential Oils is your starting point and I am ready to answer any questions you may have!
Live in Tampa Bay area? Contact a Young Living independent sales rep through Facebook > ‘About’ section. Ready to become a customer or wholesale member (receive 25% off)? Enroll here.
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*Note: This post is not sponsored!*

MIND – Love Thyself

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This Valentines Day will be the day you set your self into high gear for self-love all year round.

Like the old saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” it’s unwise to put all of your love and happiness into one person and to be dependant on that person to “make you happy”. Only you can make you happy, it is no one else’s responsibility. That person may leave, or sadly die, and you are left with what feels like nothing. That is why establishing love for yourself is so important.

Start by doing things for you and only you – because you want to – no other reason.
-Take a second look in the mirror and give yourself the best compliments. Or even better, blast some tunes before getting in the shower and rock out naked, because there is nothing better than loving your self in its purist form. (Gracia’s personal recommendation is Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off!)
-Go out of your way to do things for yourself like taking a relaxing bubble bath, lighting a few candles, and pouring a glass of wine. Not because it’s romantic with a partner but because it is alone time with yourself, enjoying your own time doing what you want.
-Cook your favorite dish one night just because it is what you wanted. Indulge because you can’t always wait around for others. Are you a crafter like myself? I can easily get caught up making gifts for everyone else but me. I have to take a second and realize that “hey, I would love to have one of these too!” (…of whatever I am making.)

When we shake off the expectations from others we give ourselves room to see what we really want to see. Whatever we believe about ourselves on the inside is what we manifest on the outside. So make sure you are telling yourself how beautiful you are, how awesome you are, and how smart you are on a daily basis. At the end of the day you should have as much, if not more, love for yourself than you do for anyone else. I am not saying don’t enjoy the company of another, but make sure you are respecting your own time because it’s your life. In fact, the more you love yourself, the more you will love others and attrac love from others. How do you show yourself some love?

Enjoying preparing a romantic Valentine’s Day for YOU!

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emily buffington

LIFE – The Vatican & Papal Audience

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The Vatican Museum

I absolutely loved going to the Vatican, and not only for the exquisite cafè right across from where you make the line! It’s called Ristorante Paolo and to date it’s the best cornetto (pastry) & cappuccino I’ve had in Rome.

Going to the Vatican Museum (includes St. Peter’s Basilica) is free the last Sunday of every month, but plan on being there by 7:30 a.m. even though doors don’t open until 9 a.m. Cue the cafè that saved our grumbling stomachs. Remember when making lines in Italy- THERE ARE NO LINES.

Below are a few of my favorite (stunning) moments. These photos don’t even do the Vatican justice, as anyone who has been there can attest to. It was a cold, gloomy day in Rome but nonetheless a great day to visit the beautiful structure-filled with history and character. It is truly humbling to think about a young 33 year old Michelangelo painting frescos in the basilica. Although I would certainly fail at art and architecture trivia, and I’ll add history to that list too, I can still appreciate hard work. This was his legacy and I respect that. Along with the impressive St. Peter’s Basilica (YES I got a SistineSelfie! that I’m not going to post) there were so many moments where I got lost in the audio tour. I was really trying to follow along as “Sofia” (made up name) instructed me to look up and into the corner of a fresco scene. I was trying to appreciate the work of an artist that I didn’t have a clue about. I felt very educated. I’ll be reading up on the artists and history before going back for a final visit.
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I discovered no matter where I go, I will always find some sort of  home decor inspiration. In this case I was crushing on the pink granite featured in several places and a large black granite tub. I’d like to think one day I could have one too and I’ll think back to this moment in the Vatican. ALSO a reception room!! That needs to make a come-back. WHY IS THAT NOT A BIG THING ANYMORE! Foyers today are for quickly dropping everything and proceeding to put the milk in the fridge, but your guests should be welcomed with special attention. A special room especially made for them to be greeted and given their first drink of the night, while your S/O finishes getting ready. Let’s be real one of you is always finishing up while the other gets the door. Again, I digress, I’m just saying if it does make a reappearance in home trends, YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST!
The picture below is one of my favorite pieces. It is on a ceiling and just shines in all its beauty, painted by Raphael. Don’t forget to look up everywhere you go.

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The Papal Audience (click for official info website)

I went to a Papal Audience! For those unaware it is when you gather to see and listen to the Pope address those gathered. He also says “I bless all the artifacts you have brought with you” AKA as religious souvenirs that Catholic family members ask for as their gifts and extends his blessing to your friends and family. I’m not religious or Catholic, but it was a neat experience to be greeted by such an influential figure in the world. Either way, I’m pretty sure only cool people get to live in the Vatican and ride the Pope-mobile!

Papal audiences occur every Wednesday in Rome, for your information/planning. We were hosted in, thankfully, the warm and covered Paul VI audience hall right next to St. Peter’s Square. First impressions: As we waited in line from 7:15 a.m., we started noticing women in wedding dresses along with groups from every country. Good thing the Vatican is within walking distance of the school, which is located in Prati (neighborhood). We should have gotten up earlier and stopped for a cappuccino, future Gracia would have thanked me. The security doors to begin entering do not open until 9 a.m. and the whole shabang lasts until 11/11:30 a.m. You must request a ticket beforehand or they won’t let you in. Tickets are always free. Be mindful of what you wear, although the following paragraph will explain why this is highly confusing. Do bring a snack bar if you can’t find a cafè open at 5 or 6 a.m. It has been challenging getting used to establishments having actual hours of operation, versus our 24/7 mentality. Photographs ARE allowed. *Winter Months* To get the best picture of the Pope walking towards his chair on the chancel you will want to enter the church and go straight down the row of seats until you see any open spot near the wooden barriers (see pic below). We got pretty lucky with our seats that were close to the front but they were not near the center aisle in which the Pope walks through with his security guards.

I was highly confused by the circus performers that greeted us while waiting for the Pope’s arrival and also graced us with a second, scandalous performance as the Papal Audience was coming to a close. They wore shoulder-less leotards and performed a “change outfits in 2 seconds” skit which seemed highly inappropriate based on what I knew of the Catholic church.

The Pope delivered, in Italian, a 20 minute message about fatherhood and urged guidance from the men in the room towards their children. The message was then translated, in summary, by a cardinal in each of the major languages. Who also took the opportunity to thank the Pope in the respective language, in representation of the language-speaking patrons. We were told by St. John’s University (my host university) that they would call out the school as guests seeking to be blessed by the Pope and thankful for his time and grace. So we waited patiently as the English speaking cardinal called out “St. John’s University” and inevitably clapped as if for one second we were from SJU rather than Gators. It was a very distinct experience… to presence how much love “Papa Francesco” receives from patrons of the Catholic church.

You may still be wondering about the wedding dresses. Catholic, newly-wed couples can seek the Pope’s blessing for their marriage if they were married within 2 months of the audience. They must have their Marriage Certificate signed by their priest; and to sit at the very front of the audience hall, they must be wearing their formal wedding attire (both husband and wife).

The overwhelmingly beautiful structure on the chancel that you see behind the Pope is an 8 metric ton bronze/copper sculpture by Pericle Fazzini entitled La Resurrezione, Italian for “The Resurrection”.

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by the way I was at least 50 feet away from where the Pope sat, thank Nikon P600

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Saint Peter’s Square leaving the Papal Audience

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Closet Talk – Perpetually Neutral

Most people imagine Rome when the sun is out as if they see gladiators radiating and fashionistas forever shrugging off the Roman heat in sandals and flowy dresses, but what of the winter months? As a study abroad student with less than 35 Lbs of clothes, I’ve embraced the challenge to look as close to European as an American girl can without losing her own style. This coat is from H&M, sweater and scarf from BCBGeneration, lace gloves BCBG MaxAzria, & Nikes were $4 at Ross (no shame in saying they’re boys shoes).

On this day, my bellas and I went on what I am going to call “cafè hopping”. We wanted to go to 4 cafès but only made it to 2 and were stuffed. A cappuccino and slice of ciambellone (sweet loaf bread) at stop 1-Tazza D’Oro. A latte macchiato and a delicious nutella pastry at stop 2- Sant’Eustachio il caffè. Both are located near the Pantheon, in arms reach of other attractions (in case you’re short on time) such as the Trevi Fountain, Piazza Navona and Piazza di Spagna.

I’m looking forward to making a coffee guide with pics of all the best cafès in Rome & featuring the drinks and sweets savored in each one. Look out for it!

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STUDIO – Writing troubles

When George Plimpton asked Ernest Hemingway what the best training for an aspiring writer would be in a 1954 interview, Hem replied, “Let’s say that he should go out and hang himself because he finds that writing well is impossibly difficult. Then he should be cut down without mercy and forced by his own self to write as well as he can for the rest of his life. At least he will have the story of the hanging to commence with.”

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I am constantly trying to “become a better writer” but it’s not easy. I think experiencing moments in your life that exude emotion can help inspire better content (for bloggers and beyond). What do you think?

“The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly.” -Joshua WolfShenk

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STUDIO – Modani Furniture collaboration

 

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click image to go to Modani.com| product listed at the bottom of post

Now, you all know my fascination for interiors. So when Modani furniture approached me to create a mood board using their product (+ a few extras) but my style, I wanted to jump at the opportunity! They have GREAT modern pieces and are located in all major cities, including Miami! The design speaks for itself! I would totally buy every item I used to style this virtual room. I am especially in love with the wooden, floor lamp and sleek sofa. You can check out the whole collection of sofas here.

  • Budget for what you want, DIY what you can’t afford.
    Example: the dining table I wanted was over $1000, so I took a stance and called in reinforcements to DIY the beauty. Art can be easy if you’re up for it, and not critical. Grab a glass of wine, some company, and the basic art supplies and go to town girlfriend! I love the way Homepolish designers master the balance between chic and simple. Find all my DIYs here – from chair upholstery to painting kitchen cabinets!
  • Nature in when you’re styling your space
    If you have the sunlight and airflow (Say NO to gnats) bring in a Fig Leaf, or an herb garden in your kitchen window. These are not only low maintenance, but they are high impact! I like to keep greenery or fresh flowers on my dining table too; but I have a HUGE wooden table that demands attention. Haven’t seen it? I built it with my dad and you could too thanks to my detailed DIY post! If plants inside is not an option decorate your windows from the outside with planters and potted plants so you can see the plants without dealing with water stains, dirt spill over, bugs, etc.
  • Art/Walls
    The bronchitis of homes are bland walls with no personality. If you have ANY free space on your walls ponder what a little collection of photos or abstract art might look there; or perhaps one or two large statement pieces. That is not to say that any free space should be filled! Think of the potential though!! If you signed a lease for longer than 2 months it is worthwhile putting inspiration up, life comes in through your eyes, ears, and mouth. What are you feeding your eyes? Find East + Mia gallery wall inspiration in the shop, and photography can now be purchased in the Society6 shop (while I’m studying abroad).

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Some of my favorite IG accounts! Make your home as chic as your outfit.
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(1) Art: Society6 shop, E+M shop, Westelm DIY inspiration
(2) Black Phantom Sofa by Modani
(3) lamp from Homegoods
(4) Bodo mirror by Modani – on sale!
(5) Mongolian Lamb pillow from One Kings Lane – on sale!
(6) Moha pillow by Modani
(7) Mateo Cream Rug by Modani
(8) Boden lamp by Modani
(9) Savina Lounge Chair by Modani – on sale!

LIFE – studying abroad is more than just traveling

Go gators, study abroad, rome italy, uf study abroad, uf in rome, university of florida

The UF group! From “survival” meetings to Campo di Fiore we have somehow managed to really click and enjoy each other’s company. It’s the people that REALLY MAKE the adventure. Aren’t we cute? Go gators!!

When I said “I’m gonna study abroad” there were a few things that slipped my mind and I’m about to let you in on what advisors DON’T tell you.

  • Depending on your program (I’m a temp student at St. John’s University, a Catholic University) any sponsored trips have rules that may or may not influence whether or not you really wanna take the trip. Exhibit A: There are some students who signed up and paid for a trip to Tuscany and surrounding, but little did they know that the no-alcohol-on-campus rule also applies to anywhere they go with the school. No wine tastings for them..
  • It’s not the same…. Traveling with a big ass group of American students is not the same as quietly discovering corners and culture. Not to mention you will likely have a big sea of Americanos in every picture you try to get.
  • Studying while abroad is not only hard, it is close to impossible. Molto dificile. Why would anyone willingly agree to have to take exams and do petty homework while in the beautiful, historic Europe for any amount of time, but I digress. Be prepared to mentally bring your desk with you. Even if you won’t have your stapler, ruler, collection of pens, pencils and highlighters all neatly aligned and waiting for you to use them, you will still need to find motivation to get through boring work. I like to get it done when everyone in America is still sleeping! I have really early classes (8 am and 8:30 am) so I try to resist going straight back to sleep and instead blog/work/study! Rome: Prime time is 8am to 4pm. At least my boyfriend sleeps or is in class until 10 am which is our 4p.m. which works out great for me! This is not my usual prime time (2pm>3am) but I’m getting used to it because of the reward, which is talking to mom dad and bf uninterrupted by having to do study/work. Find your prime time.
  • Rome specific: Don’t expect to take  yourself, computer and homework and prop up in a cafè. No. 1 they may not have WiFi No. 2 Italians don’t typically sit and sip, they buy… sip… go…STORY TIME!! I went to a cafè across the street from the St. John’s campus here in Rome, wanting to just relax and read a little outside of my room. Such a bad idea. I ended up spilling my Americano (basically black coffee-they don’t understand our fascination with flavored creamers) ALL OVER MY JOURNAL as I tried to shimmy onto the tiny barstool. It was so embarrassing because they are so polite and don’t let you clean it up even if you try. I was wearing my favorite WHITE coat to all this. Luck was on my side, as I didn’t get anything on my coat. Definitely did a happy dance in my head.

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STUDIO – Photography

I’ve debated this one for a while, but I’ve finally decided to start selling some of my photos on Society6 while I’m studying abroad! There are a couple reasons…

1.) I really want to get my photos off my hard drive and out into the universe, even if only one person enjoys them I just want to try it out! Maybe this is one of those things that just needs to happen, it just needs to unfold underneath me. (see My Letter to 2015 for the reference)

2.) I really need some back up to fund my travels! Traveling is expensive. I decided very abruptly that it was time to stop making excuses and just “study abroad already!” So now I’m in a pickle when it comes to getting to see the places I want to see, but I didn’t want to just ask friends and family for money without doing/giving anything in return. Society6 happens to be a very convenient way of continuing my print products while I am abroad. The con: I don’t get to put pretty green tissue paper and my signature black ribbon on your orders, but know it is still being produced and shipped with tender love and care!

Are you debating whether or not to put yourself out there too? Know this…
You are good enough, your work is good enough. You will never know unless you try it. 

honduras people photography

I will close with this photo. I took it while running errands on a visit in Honduras when I was 16. It was one of those moments that you realize in the moment “this moment is important” and it has been. When I feel insecure for some reason this is the moment that comes back to me and tells me “you can do it” because even if you are just winging it, the result can still be beautiful. I’m going to sell my photography. Calling my photos photography still sounds strange to me. I don’t know if it will sell, but if it does I will feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Happy Monday darlings.
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Closet Talk – Italy Street Style

I wandered in Piazza Popolo because I knew that would be a great place to start my collection of Italy Street Style photos and along came this gorgeous couple! This pair let me get a quick snap as they dashed off to who knows where, but they looked damn good while doing so. Need I say more? I think not. They perfectly embody classic winter fashion.

Italy street style, fashion , winter fashion, study abroad, rome fashion

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LIFE – In Rome

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On to new horizons

Traveling is so invigorating. I prefer traveling with good company, with family but on this occasion I am traveling solo. I’m not a fan of goodbyes. I’d like to think I’m getting better at them but to be honest I can be a bit of a wreck sometimes! I’m emotional and romantic and the world needs emotion and romanticism so I have no shame in admitting it.

So… what am I looking forward to?

People watching. Those who know me know I’m not the clubby kind, I can be a bit of an introvert sometimes. I would rather hosts a 3 course dinner party that ends with karaoke and coffee. Small talk bores me (sometimes). I’d rather know your story than know your major. That particular characteristic has a huge impact on my social life. I’m looking forward to being forced to get through the small talk and hopefully come out the other end with a true friend or friends.

Doing a photo series. I want to capture the culture, the people more so than the concrete and cobblestone. Geography has always been one of my favorite subjects ever since grade school, and I’m in the eternal city! Having the opportunity to experience and capture an entirely new culture is definitely something I want to take advantage of.  I’ve been wanting to come to Italy for as long as I remember and as I type this it is finally settling in that by the time I am state side again I will know how to speak Italian, and know a thing or two about wine and more importantly how to drink it on a daily basis.

Well ciao for now bellas,

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LIFE – No Homesickness

WEEK 1

Bring your friends and family along the journey! They will love it, and it will help you feel like they are enjoying a little bit of your experience too. Here is my handsome fella chillin with me at Piazza del Popolo. I haven’t even dipped my toes in Rome!! Can’t wait to share more!!

piazza popolo homesickness

Your parents want the details too! Be patient with the technology. Be thankful it exists in the first place!! Remember when it took a month to get across the ocean? Yup, they didn’t have video chat. We will survive.

piazza popolo rome italy study abroad

Force yourself to GET OUT! Please for the love of pizza don’t stay in your room when you’re down. Future you will be thankful. Stay healthy so you’re not forced to stay in.

I’m trying to find an object to bring with me on my travels (to put in my pictures) as a little memory… Any ideas??

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My letter to 2015

I am quite smitten with the Jetpack Annual (Statistics) Report! Anyone else get theirs? They made it all cute and stuff. Here is my letter to 2015 because in the words of Michael Scott “I’m not superstitious just a little stitious”.

My letter to 2015

I want this to be a year similar to 2014, but better, always better! Focused on work and school but this year I would also like to prioritize my body and mind more than I did in 2014. More salads, less pizza. More runs and yoga, less staring at the mirror. Read the NEW section of the blog if you are feeling the same way.

I have come to the conclusion that this year was a blur; a positive, laugh-filled blur. It was a GREAT year. I feel radiante! I put myself out there ready for embarrassing moments and awkward, challenging situations. It has made me feel so good about myself! I didn’t feel like this all year long, every day though. I struggled just as much as I flourished this year. I really felt the growing pains and highs. The self-doubt and rewarding pride that come with starting a business. This year I was accepted into the University of Florida! It seems like this whole year took place last year!! It’s weird. Tirso and I moved into our second apartment together this year too. That was one of the best feelings, hands down. Going through the whole process of searching for, finding, signing, moving, then loving every dent in a shared space is really lovely. I would do it all again if I didn’t love this apartment so much. I don’t want to move again until after undergrad is finished.

At the end of 2013 I asked to find direction for my blog, and man, this has all happened very fast. I didn’t think that 6 months later I would be designing logos and creating a business plan. But life is already unfolding beneath your feet even before you remember to look where you’re walking. With that said, I’d like to thank God for already laying out new prospects for 2015 in perfect harmony with the universe. Thank you for new product for the shop, and more readers and for surprising me (Italy) in the most challenging way. I already know this is going to be another amazing year.

Every month brought a new adventure and I truly enjoyed learning from life this year. I don’t have that common complaining or over-appreciative feeling that I sometimes felt other years. I feel like this year was juuuuust right! And I can’t wait for a new year to bring new surprises.

Hope you all feel great about your year… About your resolutions: Remember you are beautiful and although being healthy is good, setting too high of an expectation won’t make you feel any better. (thanks for telling me that, Emily)
signature-gracia xx Cheers to another new year

Cooking con Gracia – Fish Tacos

This may not be a holiday dish but for those who eat foods that don’t involve marshmallow, sprinkles, or severe amounts of butter.. enjoy these delicious & healthy tacos!

fish-tacos-guacamole Here are my favorite fish taco recipes!! Give them a try.
This particular one (pictured) is a pan seared salmon paired with a mayonnaise tomato mixture. Served with lime and avocado. This is a very quick meal!

Beginner Level
12 recipes

Intermediate Level
White fish

LIFE/LOCAL – Holidays & the Dali

Holiday with Dad

I spent Christmas with my fa-shaa this year! Mom is in Honduras and I didn’t want him to be home alone he might have turned the house into a talking house to scare off the neighbors’ hooligans (mildly) as he calls them. LOL Really they’re just kids riding bikes and knocking stuff over as they yell at each other. If you still don’t get it click the house. I love my parents and spending Christmas with my dad, brother and puppy were exactly what I needed to start closing the year off on the right foot. We didn’t take many pictures (not the picture type), if not they’d be here! Instead enjoy the talking house! I love the long conversations I have with my dad over rum and coke. And he understands my obsession with my websites being tip top to the best of my abilities.
talking-griffin-house peter griffin

Holiday in Miami 

Tirso’s sister lives in Miami. So I got to spend New Years with her, her fiancé, friends and some more family. Most of our activities have revolved around wedding planning! It’s my first time being a bridesmaid! We did a little trial engagement shoot at Vizcaya, which was a lot of fun to photograph! We’re doing the real thing this weekend! Can’t wait to show you. Here is a picture from the trial shoot!
engaged-ring-vizcaya
vizcaya-miami-florida At Vizcaya

 

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I’ve obviously been missing my man since he has been in Honduras for the holidays, but it’s been a productive little break! I still have to get ready for ROME! It stresses me out to see it in writing.

On the same day I went to Oxford Exchange, I also went to the Dalí/Picasso exhibit at the Dalí Museum, but really I enjoyed the maze and wish tree more than the art. I am not cut out for the classy girl loves art scheme…yet. Maybe. I was making fun of boobs and fruit bowls most of the time. Am I normal? I still don’t have an appreciation for it according to my brother. But more importantly if it were not for my trusty & hilarious companion (Vincent friend from high school) I would not have gotten my $17 worth. That’s him sitting on the mustache.

“I mustache you a question?” dali-museum-art

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dat ass doe

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If you still want a nice night out consider a walk in between the museum and the theater without paying for museum entry. And if you’re wondering how I got through an entire day in heels… I didn’t. Let’s keep it at that. Where are you planning on going in this new year?
dali-museum-art- fashion

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Mind – A Fresh Year

meditation-emily-buffington As you think about what you promised yourself on New Years as your “resolution”, think about what is causing you stress in your life and if losing 10 pounds is as important as working through the problems with (insert troubled relationship).

Do you need that stress? You’d be surprised how stress affects every corner of your life and how much happier you could be without said stress.

Start the year off right, darling.

The holidays have passed and what are we left with? Some are filled with joy and happy family photos, perhaps a few extra pounds, a messy house, or heavy hearts from family feuds. Family fights are destined to happen around the holidays. When you bring together lots of people with different lives, disagreements occur. But what are you going to do to make this year -2015- different? Forgiving the people in your life will let you shed the stress that comes from the hostility that surrounds those relationships. Work towards forgiving, don’t expect yourself to flip the page and start fresh you will likely fall back into resentment if you don’t dig deeper into the root of the issue to prevent ‘it’ from happening again. Learn that you don’t deserve to feel stressed or tense about a certain relationship. You deserve to enjoy the person’s positive features and not let stress run your life. Getting rid of the stress and pressure will allow you to enjoy that relationship in the present moment with all that it offers. Can you think of someone you are not on good terms with right now? Why? Ask yourself to shake it off for your own sake, not theirs.

Forgiving them

Keep an open mind. You always have to think about what the other person is feeling. Everyone expresses their emotions differently, meet them half-way! You might try writing out a list of things you know you did wrong, but also write out the things you feel. Always use the expression “I”  because when you say ” You did this, you did that” it is like pointing a finger at the other person and doesn’t positively help any situation. For example, “I feel sad that you did not want to watch a movie with me” ” I am upset about how things were handled during our fight” is better than “You are ignoring me” “You shouldn’t have yelled or walked away, you don’t know how to communicate with me”. This lets the other person know how you are feeling without shoving blame on them. TALK to them. Loose the technology for a second and have a real face to face conversation.
Forgiving others is hard, thats for sure. It takes a lot of self acceptance to be able to bring someone back into your life after they have hurt you or done you wrong. Be positive about the situation and be firm. Tell yourself what happened was the past. Every second that ticks by is the new present. Don’t put so much stress on the past, it can’t be changed, it can only be forgiven and moved on. If we never forgive the past, we would not let anyone new into our lives because we have yet to forgive others. Learn from those who have done you wrong. You will know that whatever experience you had was teaching you something. Everything happens for a reason and you experience things in life when your life truly needs it, whether you know it or not. Now go look at puppies before calling (insert person you’re upset at).
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Disclaimer: While I am a certified yoga instructor, I am not your yoga instructor. Please exercise caution and honor your own body. These views are mine alone, based on my own experiences. Always consult a certified yoga instructor for additional guidance and assistance.
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Local – Oxford Exchange

oxford-exchange-editorial-meeting-fashion-shitzu-puppy

It was a humid, wet day but still enjoyable!

Oxford Exchange in Tampa FL
Emily and I had our first editorial meeting here. It just has such a classic, comfortable and charming vibe. You’ve gotssss to go there if you’re in Tampa. It is a block away from the University of Tampa. That’s the biggest landmark. Oh it’s not too far from IKEA either! The floor plan and decor are dreamy! Much like what I want for East+Mia in the future. I just had coffee and a delicious ginger bread scone. ($6 for both) but I have heard the food is really good too!

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Beauty – Scrub Away the Year, Darling (with Coffee!)

The well-known coffee scrub for cellulite and exfoliating has sat in my mind for the last few weeks. I found it on Elle.com so went back to look for it to post it on my ‘for this weekend’ Pinterest board. Fast forward to today after my workout and I’m scrubbing myself with coffee, salt and coconut oil dancing to Alicia Keys!! So I made my coffee scrubbing a ‘This Girl Is on Fire’ moment and had so much fun that my coffee scrubbing just became a part of my beauty routine. Emphasis on me not saying daily routine- cuz ain’t nobody got time for that.. Here is the scoop in case you want to have your own sexy, exfoliating moment. Scrub girl.. scrub!

DIY- coffee-scrub

What you’ll need:

-an empty jar (you can find one at Michael’s craft store for a few $)
-1 cp of COARSELY ground coffee
-6 tbsp of raw, unrefined, extra virgin organic coconut oil (is the absolute best for almost anything-find it here-sometimes Costco has big jars of it)
-3 tbsp of sea salt
-spoon to mix

Quick tips:
-If the coconut oil is in solid form microwave what you need in a separate microwave safe container for 30 seconds.
-Always use a clean spoon for your coconut oil, so if you ever want to cook with it you know it is not contaminated with anything.

Have fun beautiful!
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E+M featured woman – Meet Emily

emily-buffington-yoga [Hi Emily! So we’ve been around each other for about ( a year now! ) I’m so glad we’ve decided to work together. I know the readers of East + Mia will totally relate to you and enjoy your yoga and meditation wisdom! It’s an honor to have you on the East + Mia “team”.]
see: MyBody section

Let’s start with basics, shall we?

I am originally from Tampa, Florida. I’m a Junior at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida. I’m studying Public Health & Health Education. It’s something I naturally do, it fit my lifestyle and it felt right. I started in Nursing and I realized it wasn’t for me. I just recently graduated from a Hatha Yoga teacher training program.

Why do you feel like an East + Mia woman?

I feel strong in my passions and about life. I love myself and I enjoy expressing myself creatively through clothing, languages, and how I treat others. + she’s a total doll! (read: sweetheart+babe) I enjoy the vision you have for East + Mia and I’m excited to be a part of it and see it grow!! I am enjoying writing for the blog!

When did you know you wanted to be a Yoga teacher?

That’s one of those life-long questions! The learning never stops. I started my Junior Year and found a welcoming studio that helped me grow my passion for it. The physical aspect of going to the gym wasn’t cutting it for me. I wanted a bigger challenge. After I went to my first class, one email from the yoga loft owner changed it all for me and I just went for it and started training. I truly believe people should be put in uncomfortable awkward situations. It really helps you learn about yourself and grow. I didn’t want to be the person who would say “I wish I would have done it when I was younger” or “I regret not doing X,Y, and Z.” It will take me a lifetime to learn all I have to learn about yoga and I wanted to start now.

Most rewarding part of being a yoga instructor?

Learning about myself along the way. And her smoking body, duh!

How has yoga made an impact on your relationships?

When I first started, the instructor told us “this is something that will significantly change you and some people in your life will like it and others won’t,” but that’s not your problem that’s their problem. Yoga helped me become more patient which helped my relationships.

Where do you see yourself in 5  years?

I want to finish school. Before deciding whether or not to do more schooling, I want to take a break. I won’t be at 9-5 after undergrad. I’ll keep my yoga with private studio time. Travel some. I’d love to head to Turkey (Victor-her man-went and he loved it!) It has been a big part of our relationship, I would like to experience it too. Asia, I really like the food- actual Asian food! Thailand! I’d travel all over the States first, but, I want to see the unknown, I want to be uncomfortable. Germany would be nice too!

Weird facts about you!

Crafting!! (my favorites)
I crochet anything, whenever I have the time. I like challenging my brain in that way.
Sewing- I’ve done it ever since I was a kid. My grandma thought it was important for her grandkids to learn how to sow.
Jewelry- sometimes with recycled things from garage sales. I’m recently into making dream catchers!
I dumpster dove a wicker trunk and brand new Ikea side table and coffee table once!
My boyfriend, Victor, and I are thrifters it has made our relationship strong in the weirdest way we see the value in something that is used.
I really like pizza with passion.

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I am such a fan of Emily’s work. She is genuine and caring. See for yourself, email her at emilybuffingtonyoga (at) gmail .com or catch her on social media!
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What is Love? Baby don’t hurt me!

This title might hint to a post about a huge, melodramatic break-up, but no. I want to give you a no non-sense talk about finding balance in your relationship and it’s not a short post. Cheers to engagement season. There might be a little sarcasm in the last statement… Just a little though because I’m a sucker for a good proposal. (+ ring!)

I’m no expert but I’ve gotten lots of juicy advice in my short years, some wanted some unwanted. But none that begin with “X number of things” that will make your relationship last forever, that will make him love you, that will drive him crazy, that he would never tell you, you should talk about before getting hitched…blah blah blah. If you don’t know his (known) food and medical allergies, please stop begging for that ring. Yep, 16% * of engagements happen in December, and I’m here to tell you to chill the f*&# out. It seriously worries me (I’m worried for society and natural selection) when people get married after, you know, 3 months of dating and a 3 month engagement…  Screen Shot 2014-12-31 at 12.51.02 PM
Tirso and I have been dating for 2.5 happy years (+ a little more in high school), known each other since we were 5 & 6… (We will have known each other for 20 years in 2019! Party!) but we can throw numbers around like ping pong balls and would never get to the good stuff. I know couples who have been together for many unhappy years and you probably do too. So I asked around… “What makes your relationship a successful one?” Here is what I got!

What have I learned from my own relationship?
-Find what works for you and trust your instincts..
 Lots of people love giving advice (this post is an example haha)… and sometimes the best advice is the voice in your head. Learn when to listen to yourself, rather than your BFF or the internet. Though they may have good intentions, but they may not see the whole picture with a selfless eye. i.e. If you hate going to bed angry, don’t give each other the silent treatment until you’re brushing your teeth before bed. Whatever floats your boat, just keep the boat moving forward not anchored in bad weather.

-Beware: don’t stop going out separately! You don’t want to find out the hard way that all your friends are actually his friends. If something changes in your relationship (knock on wood girl) those friends might make it loud and clear whose ‘side’ they’re on and you don’t want the added stress of dealing with hypocrites.

-Relationships require flexibility and stability. I personally love the idea of becoming one when you find that special someone (note: whether or not you’re married), because I’m a total romantic. But, I’ve learned it’s not only unhealthy (read: b-s), it is also unsustainable for long-term happiness to expect your certain someone to fill a hole in your heart, or make you complete. Becoming one is nice when you do the dishes, laundry, and cook for 2 instead of 1 person. It’s nice when you share drinks and order different foods so you can try both. It’s best when it’s cold and you need that body warmth. It is NOT so great when you need to decide whether or not to study abroad. It is NOT so great when you need to choose where to live after undergrad (Personally not there yet). It is NOT so great when holidays must be spent apart.

-Cherish your independence, he finds it damn sexy. You make you happy, let him make you happier. We ask each other “Are you happy?” regularly. By regularly I mean once a month not once an hour. It makes me feel like we’re actively pursuing happiness both on a personal level and together as a team. It keeps things fresh. Try it! At first, I’m sure he thought it was annoying, but then he realized how important it was.


W
isdom from the wise
-Relationships can be filled with sacrifice but at the end of the day you want to be happy, not bitter, that you made the sacrifice for each other.
-You would be surprised of what you are really capable of doing when you are 50% selfish 50% selfless.
-Learn each others’ love language (receiving gifts, quality time, words of affirmation, acts of service, and physical touch).
-Let each other breathe. You guys don’t have to do everything together. Eventually you will likely want to do things on your own again/have your own social plans.
-More pressure does not produce more results, so quit nagging and do it yourself.
-No man/woman should ever come between you and your education, absolutely no one can take that from you.
-Embrace and appreciate each others’ differences, even the deep-seeded ones.
-Always have your own bank account even if at some point you have a joint account.
-Sharing is caring & don’t keep score.
-Keep a little mystery in the relationship!

I am not perfect. I fall short on some of this at times because I’m human, and so is my love, but I do strive towards actively using the advice of my parents and friends. It has given me a rewarding, loving and happy relationship thus far, so I had to share with you! I hope you enjoyed this long, but love-filled post. If something clicked with you leave me a comment!

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*16% of engagements take place in December is based on 2013 XO Group, Inc. market findings (TheKnot.com)

Body – New Year, New Practice

Have you been interested in yoga or been to a few classes before? Make 2015 the year you pledge to invest in yourself. I encourage everyone to start a home practice as well as going to a local studio once or twice a week. Each month there will be new tips and ideas to help you with your practice.

Let’s detox from the holidays! Twists are great for squeezing out all those toxins that have accumulated inside our organs and muscles. Toxins that prevent you from performing your best. yoga-twist-1-

Starting in a high lunge, twist over your body. Opposite elbow to knee. Push your elbow into knee and your palms together, aligning your hands at your sternum. Lowering the back knee is always an option if your balance is not strong. yoga twist-2-

Starting in a simple seated position, opposite hand to knee while your back fingers are tented.
Keep your spine nice and long and engage your core.
To get more of a twist, extend one leg out and flex that foot. Cross the other leg on top and sit up tall.
Hug the crossed leg and tent your fingers behind you for stability. Need more?
Place your elbow on the outside of your knee and press them together.
Remember! Keep your spine nice and long. No slumping!

yoga twist-3-

With feet hip distance apart, weight evenly distributed in your feet, sit down into your chair pose.
As you twist, opposite elbow to knee, push your elbow in to your knee.
Push your palms together and try to align your hands at your sternum.
IMPORTANT: Look down at your knees. Has one knee shifted forward?
Draw your knees in line to make them equal again.

What is Chakra?

Our physical bodies contain energy centers that affect our life emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. There are 7 main Chakras that run up our spine just like our main nervous system. Our Root Chakra is generally recognized as the center for grounding and stability. Becoming present in the moment allows yourself to become grounded and feel stable. The Root Chakra’s color is red and located in our tailbone. Garnet, Hematite, and Agate are a few stones that can be used to stimulate root chakra and bring about a feeling of grounding.

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Have more questions about Chakras? Check out DailyOm’s Chakras Made Easy

-Meditation- charka2

Set aside 20 minutes of your day and find a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. Find a seated position and make yourself comfortable with your back against the wall. As you close your eyes begin to notice your breath. Focus on your cool inhales and your warm exhales. Soon your body will become relaxed. Thoughts may come, don’t worry, acknowledge them but do not fixate on them. When you are relaxed, begin to tell yourself (inside your mind) “I am present now”.

As you inhale, repeat, “I am”. As you exhale, repeat, “present now”.

Your mind is a powerful tool, you believe what you tell yourself. As you tell yourself you are present, you will soon believe it with your entire mind, body and soul.

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Disclaimer: While I am a certified yoga instructor, I am not your yoga instructor. Please exercise caution and honor your own body. These views are mine alone, based on my own experiences. Always consult a certified yoga instructor for additional guidance and assistance.
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DEC 2014 – Studio – December with EMLOVE!

Processed with VSCOcam Thanksgiving has come and gone, you probably shop’d til you drop’d but remember the Black Friday offer will not expire until December 15th! The EMLOVE sale applies to all product: stationery, prints, and the newly added design services!

December 15th is also the last day you can order any printed product until I get back from Italy (spring semester) in May. As I mentioned last monday, more online-based products (web design and blog development) will be offered in the shop while I am in Rome. I’m looking forward to new products that will come from my trip to Italy and how the shop will grow with me in time. Giving your blog a little love is now only a click away-business cards, blog headers & signatures, promotional & sidebar ads- I hope you take advantage! I’m happy I’ll be able to focus more on design and connect with more bloggers around the world, literally.

Hope you are enjoying the newest issue of The Lifestyle!
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DEC 2014 – Home – Raspberries please!

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Sometimes I start making something and change my mind half way through, but then the new idea turns out to be so much better. My ideal example: these raspberries! I wanted chocolate covered strawberries but the ones at the store didn’t look that fresh. Always buy what’s fresh/in season & if you can go to farmer’s markets for the freshest produce. Cue in the raspberries, but dipping them in chocolate didn’t work out (so messy and not pretty!) I googled ‘chocolate filled raspberries’ after I thought of putting the chocolate inside instead of outside to see if I’ve been under a rock or if I had proven to myself that I’m a genius. Turns out this was not my big genius moment…

I can think of so many ways and occasions to use this super easy raspberry “recipe”. On top of cakes, in ice cream, Valentine’s Day, I brought a batch for my parents for Thanksgiving, by themselves as a late night snack, baby showers, etc. You get the point, now the only thing you should practice ahead of time is melting the chocolate.

Getting chocolate chips to the right consistency is something you might not get on the first try. Start with a small batch of chocolate chips in case you overheat them. I like using the double-boiler method, but the microwave method is easier!

Microwave: Inside a mug, use parchment paper and roll it up like a funnel (leave a tiny hole at the bottom) and warm the chocolate chips inside it, 20 seconds at a time. Stir chocolate inside the funnel and then twist the end like a pastry bag.
Double-boiler: The key is to stir constantly and don’t put the stove on high. Start low if you need to speed it up move up to medium heat. Also, the boiling water should not be touching the bottom of the top pan.

If you overheat your chocolate or it gets too dry: add a little tiny bit of vegetable oil, dime sized, fun sized, 1/4 tsp at a time (depends on how much chocolate you’re using)…. cannot emphasize the a little bit at a time part enough. Follow that rule of thumb and you should be A-OK.

After dipping in chocolate lay each raspberry flat on a sheet of parchment paper preferably on top of a cookie sheet so you can easily move them to the freezer when you finish dipping a batch. You could also use an ice tray if you have one available- 2 raspberries per cube slot. Storing overnight: peel the raspberries off the parchment paper and place in a container without stacking and place in freezer, not fridge.

Have fun making cute raspberries! Practice makes (near) perfect.
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DEC 2014 – Cooking con Gracia – Bread Pudding

This bread pudding recipe is definitely my go-to dessert for guests, for holidays, for any day! I’ve posted it before and it has even made it onto other blogs :) but I’ve improved it and made easier to make! Drum roll please… the NEW and improved chocolate caramel bread pudding is perfect for the holidays. Impress your mom (or your mom-in-law!) with this recipe. Disfruten!

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DEC 2014 – Life – Ready for Rome. (first studying abroad post)

rome italy, going to rome, studying abroad, in italy, when in rome, studying abroad uf, university of florida, studying abroad in rome I couldn’t say ‘Ready for Rome?’ nor ‘Ready for Rome!’ because I couldn’t decide if I am actually ready, mentally. Some days I feel ready to be on my way and some days I feel like I’d rather go later. Yes, that ridiculous thought still pops up, I don’t need to pretend here! Everything happened very fast from deciding to go to actually paying deposits, sending out my passport to get a visa and buying my flight.
I’ve been out of the country, I’m not afraid of traveling, airports by myself (bring it on) but I admit I do get home-sick, just like everyone who has ever been honest with themselves. I like my life here in Gainesville. I’ll miss seeing my parents even if I only see them about once a month. I love my apartment and who I share it with, my love. I’m happy here so I’m already struggling with not missing this lovely life I have, in order to enjoy Italy. (Any advice is welcome!) Right now my strategy is to think ‘I’m going on vacation for 4 months’ so far it’s working, thankfully. Speaking of love, I’m so thankful for the support I’ve gotten from my boyfriend, family and friends to go into studying abroad 110% emotionally, fully emerge myself into the experience. I’m taking these 4 months to work on me (‘Eat Pray Love’ style!) and really grow as Gracia. If it helps anyone else considering studying abroad, I feel so good about giving myself the gift of going to Italy. I’ve wanted to go for so long. When will you get the opportunity to just tap out for 4 months- without any major interruptions? Go for it girl. I’ll be taking 2 classes online and a beginner’s Italian course along with a Metaphysics class. (excited about!)
I’ve been prepping luggage which I always love to do- like in this post (that post became so popular on here, it made me so happy lol)- but I’ve been, mostly, preparing East + Mia for the changes. You may have noticed that I have set December 15th as the last day to order printed product. I don’t leave until January but with the holidays and all I’ve decided to focus on web-based services instead. Hope you all enjoy the changes!
I got this cute restaurant journal. I made a list (by region) of restaurants to try based on suggestions from Trip Advisor, and other blogs. I’ll see how that goes and let you know! I have a page labeled “When in Rome – breakfast” another labeled for dinner and others like “When in Florence”. If anyone has a favorite place from your travels in Italy, PLEASE let me know I’d love to add it to the list. My other favorite ‘for Rome’ purchase, so far, is a new white (coat) from H&M- it’s to DIE for! I posted an inspiration pic on Instagram recently, and it went on sale (50% off) so naturally I snagged it as fast as I could. That, and my new Moleskine Cahier notebooks (pictured above).

This is the first of many sensible posts on my time studying abroad. I will likely be an emotional roller coaster, one day giving advice to defeat homesickness and another day asking for the best remedy against the blues; either way I hope it helps someone out there get a first hand account on the experience.

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DEC 2014 – Local – Mother’s Pub & Grill Gainesville

Gainesville has its charm! That’s what makes it a great place to live in and study. The University of Florida in all its greatness gives us an amazing education and on top of that has led to growth in the city that keeps us, students, happy in and out of school. I’ve spent countless hours at Mother’s. I watched almost all of World Cup here. My friends and I have a favorite waiter (check for Jack). It’s that place we’ll come back to after college when we are passing through town. Some critics claim the bar isn’t Irish enough; but who gives a hoot? If the food’s good and you have fun… I’ve shown you parks and restaurant in Gainesville before, but never a bar or pub. So cheers, to a new ‘local’ addition!

mothers pub & grill , pubs in gainesville, gainesville restaurants, gator favorites

mothers pub & grill , pubs in gainesville, gainesville restaurants, gator favorites

The menu
The facebook page
It’s located on University Ave. on the second block East after crossing 13th Street. (walking distance from the NE corner of campus-aka “the business corner”)

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Connected with you

IMG_20141128_212329 Take note that the site is looking a little different! Find all the current categories under each tab (STUDIO, HOME, LIFE) go ahead procrastinate and get lost on the site! Also, to stay connected even better with you, I have a couple of Social Media updates.

I will be merging the Lifestyle Newsletter and East + Mia Facebook pages soon, keeping only the E+M page. If you follow on the Lifestyle page don’t worry you will move right over without having to move a finger. You can still find me on Twitter & Instagram @EASTandMIA no big changes there.

In the next few months you will see a SM strategy unveil! Facebook will be for engaging with you and providing details and information on sales, campaigns, and the newsletter (blog). You can expect to see all big announcements on the East + Mia FB page. Explore the inspiration and culture behind the brand on Instagram and communicate with me on Twitter, in addition to every other way you can get ahold of me. I’ve always said Instagram is one of my favorite SM networks, because of how much I enjoy taking awkward pictures of food and coffee in public. My goal is to post more consistently what is visually moving and inspiring me behind scenes, instead of promotional ads. I see that as a win-win. There is a casual feel to Twitter that I really enjoy as well, it’s a great place to meet and greet with other bloggers and readers, like you of course. So I’m looking forward to reaching out to you more and more by tweet tweets.

Changes are good :)
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Eat Up!

happy thanksgiving, black friday deals

Wishing you the best, drama-free holiday! If you are on vacation, enjoy, and be thankful! You all have a special place in my heart & I am beyond thankful that you have followed the blog through all its changes, upgrades and what have you. One day I hope I can return all the kindness in some way! For receiving my blog and East + Mia with love, and to many more changes and upgrades, CHEERS darlings!

I mentioned the Black Friday deal at the beginning of the week along with what’s new in the shop! Hope you find a minute to check it all out and take advantage of the free shipping.

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STUDIO – What’s new with East + Mia!

East + Mia has seen good days and I’m so thankful for that! Thank you to those of you who spread the word and support for the newsletter.

I hope you enjoyed the November issue, it is a change I am very happy with. I’ve gotten some really great feedback from it. If you haven’t signed up yet, (shame on you lol) you can do so right there —–> in the sidebar and you will receive the December issue on December 1st, along with the Introductory issue- November’s.

In other news: I have added web/blog design services to the shop! If you like what you see here on the blog, and in the shop, giving your blog a little love is now only a click away. I will design blog signatures, headers, business cards, promotional buttons, and sidebar ads! I am also working on a package for brand development and strategy for new bloggers! I’m happy to chat with you if the above options don’t quite fit what you need, but you’re still interested in what I could offer. All things to get excited about on this end!

Grab a drink, you made it through Monday ladies ;)

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LIFE – the mistake that holds you back

“The biggest issue that keeps women from reaching their goals is not pushing hard enough. At some point you have to shift your perspective and realize that the number one thing you owe the world is to be your best self. Not only is it your greatest contribution, but it’s all you can truly affect. And it’s what’s going to motivate and inspire others. Unlock your confidence by taking on challenges that you aren’t quite sure you can overcome. When I do something I didn’t think I could do, like compete in a classic triathlon or perform a difficult arm balance in yoga, it really helps me redefine my self-image. And I think when you feel strong and accomplished physically, it transcends into other facets of your life.” Jillian Michaels

Nov 2014 – Fashion – Sweater Weather

When I moved to Gainesville, May 2013, someone told me that by Halloween every year the temperature drops. Two Halloweens later and they are still on point! I found this sweater on a whim at Forever 21 and it turned out to be super comfy and didn’t shrink when I washed it! The necklace and cropped tank are also from Forever 21. The hat which is one of my FAVES is from BCBG! This will be my go to outfit this winter for running errands and blogger meet-ups in downtown! I guarantee you’ll see this one on my Insta at some point. Having lived in Syracuse NY for my freshman year of college, I learned that cold weather doesn’t mean you don’t need sunglasses!! It’s weird I know, but generally when it’s cold in Florida it’s also cloudy so I never thought of freezing temps and sunglasses at the same time. These are my favorite Raybans, they look kind of boyish from this angle but they are so feminine and chic.

Tell me what you think! WINTER IS COMING! #gameofthrones

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Nov 2014 – Hosted by… East + Mia

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BASIC GUIDE TO ENTERTAINING LIKE A PRO

Last week I hosted a coffee date as a focus group meeting for the shop! I had so much fun doing what I love. Entertaining is an attitude. There are Dos and Don’ts that make entertaining easier so I’m spilling my beans just in time for Thanksgiving. There is no science to entertaining. Whether your thanksgiving is for 2 or for 20, little pumpkins in the form of potpourri are always a good idea! Let’s start with the planning beforehand:

-FOOD-

  • Breakfast/Brunch is generally easier to pull off $ wise. (s/o college girls on a budget!) I wanted to homebake something for the group of girls that graciously gave me 2 hours of their time and feedback. So I baked HUGE muffins which were a crowd-pleaser! You can find my recipe in this month’s issue as well. Along with coffee, juice, water (always have water) I served cinnamon rolls!
    If I had dinner parties more often I would go straight through my cookbooks and experiment with a different meal every time! Don’t be anxious, what’s the worse thing that could happen? Any hot sauce stories, anyone? If you enjoy cooking but are afraid to try something new on a special night. Try cooking it for dinner on another night beforehand and write down any adjustments you make to the recipe for you to refer to later.
  • Food allergies and Veg preferences: Don’t forget your guests’ food allergies and preferences. You want your guests to come hungry and leave happy! Eggplant parmesan is a favorite for my vegetarian amigos.
  • Appetizers & Dessert: If your main course is heavy, keep the appetizer light. My favorite, easy appetizers are hummus and pita chips, spinach and artichoke dip, or spinach rolls up using croissant dough. Yes, the little tubes in the frozen aisle! Cracker, fancy cheeses and nuts are a good option too. If you are unsure about your cheese preferences and pairings, see that as an opportunity for a cheese tasting party! Chances are others are equally as lost in the fancy schmancy department.
    I’m a big dessert girl. It’s rare not to find something sweet at our place. Whether you serve ice cream, gelato, or bake a cake or buy a pie… the key is to buy something most people will like or to offer more than one option. If you know someone detests chocolate ice cream, get chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream so that person isn’t left with a sweets craving. Cheesecakes are usually a hit-they seem to hit the middle spot between too sugary and to plain. If you are serving wine with dinner, consider getting a dessert wine or serving a dessert that pair well with your choice of wine.

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-THE GUESTS AND ATMOSPHERE-

  • My favorite time in the night is that point when everyone’s bellies are full and everyone has full cups and conversations are ablaze. Conversation will carry your guests in and keeping them there too, so think of people who have something in common but with plenty of interesting things to say. Your guest list should be dynamic and fun, after all you will want to have fun too! Place conversation starters around the house, or on the table. “Look, I got these at IKEA for 69 cents, can you believe it?” always seems to trail into my conversations.
  • Remember your guests will feed off of the energy you bring into the setting, if you are picking up every plate, cleaning every wet spot on your table, or rushing to do dishes your guests will likely try to help you with the dishes or it will interrupt conversation. Just let them be! Like Italians at restaurants, when you sit down to eat the table is yours until you so please. Focus on the table not the kitchen, darling. Plus, your s/o will help with the dishes after everyone says “goodnight!”
  • What about music, you ask? Everyone has their own tastes in music and you should consider the likings of your guests as they can certainly spark conversations. Music should never be so loud you cannot hear the person on the other side of the table. Want more fun? Music will do, some related games will add laughter (adults still play twister!), but a paid DJ for a dinner party of friends might be overkill don’t you think? Common gaming necessities include board games (think pictionary or taboo, not monopoly), decks of cards, solo cups (relive your college years!) and ping pong balls.

So you’ve got your menu down, groceries bought, and the house is clean. Now to set it all up:

-DON’T BUY UNTIL THE MORNING OF-

  • Anything that will taste best if fresh should be bought the day of i.e. breads, cheese, desserts, fresh vegetables and herbs.
  • Flowers: Cut an inch off the bottom of the stems in a diagonal motion and place in fresh, cool water. If you must buy the day before, keep them in a very cool area and away from sunlight as they will wilt faster with more exposure to direct, strong light.

-THE TABLE-

  • A clean and de-cluttered table is an absolute must. Your guests will want space to move their drinks, silverware, and plates freely.
  • Focusing on the center of the table: The traditional flower arrangement is large and singular in the center of the table but sometimes that’s not the best option. I prefer short multiple arrangements. I like looking across the table and seeing the person sitting opposite of myself. Layering meaningful, unique textures and accessories on your table will add depth to ensure your center table isn’t seen as filled with things that do not have a purpose. Their purpose may be ambience, provide light, smell good or look pretty.
  • Linens: Linens are great way to add texture and warmth to your table. I personally, enjoy looking at and the feel of our table (wish I had better pictures) so I limit my linens to table runners and napkins.
  • Lighting: Adding candles at different heights can elevate the table’s formality. An easy approach is just to add simple unscented tealights beside your flower arrangements and in between accessories (cue: little pumpkins and acorns)

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-MORE RESOURCES FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT & PLANNING-

 Martha Stewart – A Plant Based Thanksgiving Table

Domaine Home – A Magazine Worthy Dinner Party

William-Sonoma – Dinner with Outerlands

Camille Styles – Entertaining with The Fresh Exchange 

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Nov 2014 – Local – A Romantic Afternoon in Gainesville

-GAINESVILLE’S LOVELIEST-

We hadn’t gone on a date in some time and were looking for a fun, relaxing place to go to. While most people have barbeques with family on 4th of July, Tirso and I decided to give that time to each other. We would have loved to have a nice summer bbq with family but we couldn’t take off for an entire weekend so instead we gathered up drinks, food, and sweets and had a picnic at Kanapaha Botanical Gardens (click for directions) here in Gainesville. If you are on campus you take Archer Rd. past Target and under the highway. The park is a few streets after the underpass.
Tucked away in a corner of the Gator Nation, this park was awesome and although it was pretty humid that day we still had so much fun just laying in the grass. The park is set up as a walking “tour” (unguided) of the park grounds. So if you are interested in seeing all the greenery they boast be ready for a long walk. We were tired after we did the first half that I forgot about the rose garden completely. I was so mad that it had slipped my mind considering how much I love the darn things. So yeah, don’t skip the rose garden! Here are the pics, hope they tempt you enough to gather a basket and head out on a date with your love!

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I had never seen so many succulents in one place!

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How cute is the bunny? I would come back here any day!

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From their website: “Kanapaha Botanical Gardens is comprised of 24 major collections visually accessible from a 1 ½ mile paved walkway. These include the state’s largest public display of bamboos and the largest herb garden in the Southeast.”

Hope you’ll give Kanapaha a visit and let me know how you like it!

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Nov 2014 – Happy Home – Why we painted all the cabinets in our rental…

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 YOU WANT COMFORT AND STYLE TO SURROUND YOU
FROM WHEN YOU WAKE UP TO WHEN YOU FALL ASLEEP

This is the FIRST ‘official’ LOOK at our new apartment! When we moved into our newest apartment this August I already had a detailed plan of all the DIYs on the to-do list. The cabinets were my number one priority! We moved into the best apartment in Gainesville! I realize that this statement is biased, but I take a lot of pride in where I live. I think your home is an extension of your personality. Your home should feel like that really good hair day, every day. That’s what I work towards in every DIY project and every rearranging of furniture and accessories. By the way, anything you see with #HappyHome407 on any of my SM accounts is this girl right here showing you through our moving process and our apartment updates.

The cabinets in Happy Home 407 are GREAT don’t get me wrong, I love the cabinets. They’re old, and well-made. They weren’t made the way cabinets are today which is a good thing relative to IKEA and compressed-wood quality. But they needed an update, desperately. You could see the different pieces of wood that were glued together for the doors. The amount of wood was overwhelming and made the kitchen feel small and dingy. The yellow-patterned countertops don’t help much either!

BUT NOW!

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The cabinets are young and fresh-faced, modern and perfectly fit our apartment decor concept. They are a subtle focal point in the open concept that is our kitchen, dining and living room. Think microsized apartment, people, after all we only have 460 sqft. half of that being the bedroom/bathroom side of the apartment. We have made it work though!

Painting the cabinets required three coats of paint and lots of patience. We should have sanded all of the cabinets and started from scratch but it’s a rental and that would have been too much effort for cabinets we may only enjoy for a year or two. So we cleaned every inch of them and then on went 2 coats of this lovely gray shade. I then applied a coat of polyurethane to “protect the wood from water spilling.” It turned out to be a big mistake because it made the cabinets look like an overused, white T-shirt… as in yellowish. So on went a third coat of paint to finish it all off.

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I wanted a neat look so I followed all the rules:

-Be sure to take off all hardware. At first it may seem like it’s more work, but trust me painting around hardware will be messy; and cleaning up after you inevitably hit it with a roller… so annoying.
-Protect your floors with a painting cloth or old sheets. Always have a moist rag around for cleaning up spots.
-Tape the edges of the cabinets for a clean line.

Some of you may be saying I’m crazy for putting this much effort into a rental. This is a very valid observation indeed, but I think it’s totally worth it. You knock it out as soon as you move in, when nothing is unpacked and everything is already semi-dirty from the constant movement, and drilling for shelves and what not. Now that we’ve settled in, I’m trying to at least get 1 major project done a month, but you know how things get put on an imaginary list to get done “someday”.

I had to include this photo! How stunning do these white roses look?
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I’d love to see your cabinet projects and kitchen inspiration! Comment below!

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Get ready!

Start brewing up your cup of coffee because you’ll want to cozy up with this month’s debuting issue of the Lifestyle Newsletter, I am so excited to share it with you all!

Remember to sign up for a chance at free East+Mia goodies and just to… you know… be the FIRST to read every article!!

Goodnight ladies and gents. Or shall I say Good morning.

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The feature in Global Young Executive is LIVE!

I am so honored to be a part of this feature by UK-based magazine for entrepreneurs, Global Young Executive! I got butterflies when I saw it posted live (it is under the section Bright Young Things)! It’s the first time I’ve been featured online, and so of course I have to share with you all. After all it’s because of you that I’ve found my way in this online world.

I can’t thank you all enough for reading day in and day out, please check out the feature I think you’ll really enjoying reading the interview as it will give you some inside info on how East + Mia was born, and how it’s growing. The link to the feature is in the image caption!

<3 Gracia

#entrepreneurfeature #entrepreneur #businessgators #eastandmiafeatured #papergoods #gye #ukmag #onlinebusiness #b2c #business #socialmedia #magazinefeature

Link: http://bit.ly/1ruX2U2

My “Goodbye September” outfit

If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter in the subscription box in the sidebar, yesterday was a perfect time to do so! Every month starting soon an email will go out with links to all of the month’s posts. A password to access all the posts will also be included in the newsletter. One week after that month’s email is sent out all posts will be published at once for everyone to view them, but if you want to be one of the early bird readers you have to sign up for the newsletter. I will never use your email for anything, absolutely anything, other than sending out the monthly newsletter in it, you have my word. If you have already subscribed look out for an email from graciamaria.studio@gmail.com with the subject ‘the Lifestyle Newsletter from Graciamaria’. This new setup won’t restrict me from random posts, if I’m dying to tell you all something that just cannot wait until the next month’s issue, you will see it posted like a normal post, but this won’t happen often. I’m really excited to be in better contact with my readers, like my about me page says, I consider you all my family of readers, and this is just one more step that I’m taking to create a more personal connection with you. My other goal is that this will keep you from missing a beat on the blog!

Alrighty back to today’s post:

Here in Florida it’s not chilly yet but the Fall vibes are DEF kicking in!! New sweaters and hot chocolate are already on the ‘get-list’. This is an outfit I have repeat in my wardrobe. The hat not really, but it’s one of my favorites for when it starts to get chilly! These shorts are cotton and uber-comfortable!

BCBG outfit, fall outfit of the day ootd fall fashion florida fall outfits university of florida bloggers, fashion bloggers, graciamaria studio, the lifestyle newsletter, east +mia blog

Chambray Shirt – Old Navy |Striped Shorts – BCBG |Orange Bralette – Tobi | Hat – Dillard’s | Jewelry – all BCBG | Sandals – Dolce Vita

Today, I want to know what you accomplished this September? I’m all ears! I want to celebrate with you your great month, let’s just say it was a big month for me too and the blog with the launching of my online shop, and that has me in a party mood!!  I want to know what you all have been up to as well! Please leave me a comment or shoot me an email at graciamaria.studio (at) gmail.com

For more posts like this Search: OUTFIT in the search bar!

For more of what my life looks like you can follow on Insta, Twitter, and Pinterest!

<3 Happy Tuesday beautifuls

#eastandmia #littlenotescollection #graciamariastudio east and mia little notes collection graciamaria studio

 

Featured in Global Young Executive!

I’m being featured in a UK-based online business magazine, Global Young Executive!! It’s not out yet, but when they post it I’ll let you know! I’ll be featured under their new series Bright Young Things. I’m feeling thankful for opportunity and happy to be spreading my online wings more and more! I encourage any entrepreneurs and students considering taking the jump into starting your own business to take a look at the magazine. They give some great insight and it’s always nice to know there are others pursuing similar passions all around the world.

Happy Friday cuties!

the Lifestyle Newsletter Graciamaria Irish East + Mia online shop owner entrepreneur feature Gainesville FL Gators business gators

the Lifestyle Newsletter

Some of you may have noticed by now that I’ve changed the header for the blog. Indeed, I have decided that a Monthly Newsletter is for me and probably best for you! Now you will be able to get an email with a clean and beautiful newsletter straight to your inbox!! How much easier could it be to get the content you love in a consistent and easy fashion? Yup, I know what you’re thinking.. It’s about time!

As I gather up my thoughts on execution of the Lifestyle Newsletter, please feel free to START SIGNING UP in the subscription form right over there —> in the sidebar. Obviously the closer I get to releasing the first newsletter the more you will hear about it everywhere!! Most importantly if you have yet to follow on Instagram and Twitter, I encourage you to do so now, to make sure you are the first to hear the updates.

It means the world to me to have you guys, my blog family. When ‘Business Law’ and ‘Principles of Marketing’ have me in the library until the wee hours, I love thinking that I’m working towards a bigger, more significant goal than simply getting As in classes. I think about you all, the ones who are following along while I build my career through lots of dedication. Opportunities somehow show up on our doorstep when we least expect them to and as entrepreneurs we need to know how to create value from those opportunities. 

That is all for tonight, my friends, I do hope you’re having a fabulous week!

Happy Hump Day, get humping! haha

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It’s so easy to feel overwhelmed, what comes after is truly the challenge

Hi beautifuls!

As you may or may not know, I’ve started my business, finally!! It’s so exciting to me what I’m able to create and do with my days.. BUT it’s so easy for me to get overwhelmed. I compare my beginning to everyone else’s middle and it gets to me!

There is so much I wanna do, and do it quickly but there are only 24 hours in a day.. people, you can’t do everything as much as those Beyonce mugs try to convince you! She has a WHOLE TEAM to help her achieve who she is. I want to add so many more products, I want to host events and do collaborations with other talented creatives, and then I remember I have an exam next week that I haven’t even started preparing for… heck I haven’t even picked up the textbook.. It’s college I get it, I’m supposed to struggle and I am loving the whole experience from start to finish I have loved my trials and errors, but nonetheless, I want to do more. I expect more from ME. Anyone else feel the same way? Bouncing back from those feelings and getting back to work is the hardest part.

So I’ve been thinking about changing up the blog.. drastically actually.. I am considering sending out a monthly newsletter versus daily posting (at least that’s what I strive for!). It will be better in the long run, I think, I want to be able to give you all great content on a consistent basis because I can see you all are still checking back and looking for me to post new content. Content which I sadly can’t keep up with right now. Please tell me what you think! I’m all ears!

P.S If you haven’t seen the shop you can find it at www.EastandMia.com and follow for more on Twitter and Instagram!!

#eastandmia #littlenotescollection #graciamariastudio east and mia little notes collection graciamaria studio

Around here lately..

Lately I haven’t had time to take a breather and write for you all, which makes me sad. So here are a few pics and updates of the fun I’ve been having.
Love you guys, thanks for sticking around and reading!

—Coming soon—

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I am throwing a mini LAUNCH PARTY BBQ on a budget.. calling it BEER WINGS GUAC… be sure to look for that post in the upcoming weeks I know you will love it. Not sure what’s launching? Don’t worry girlfriend, here is the scoop! And here are the links you NEED to know about and follow !! |Online Shop, Twitter, Instagram|

bloggers with style, launching online shop, east and mia shop, graciamaria studio

Also, I’ll start giving you even more sneak peeks of our new place. YES, before and afters of RADICAL RENTERS!! <– I’m looking to get on Apartment Therapy, fingers crossed!

lowes, home improvement, working on the yard, gardening, flowers, bloggers with style, launching online shop, east and mia shop, graciamaria studio

We need a pressure washer! Desperately.

muffins, baking, homemade, bloggers with style, launching online shop, east and mia shop, graciamaria studio

I weirdly woke up at 5 am this morning and instead of just laying in bed decided to for a run on campus, and bake blueberry and chocolate chip muffins!

custom notecards, bloggers with style, launching online shop, east and mia shop, graciamaria studio black and white photography, bloggers with style, launching online shop, east and mia shop, graciamaria studio roses, bloggers with style, launching online shop, east and mia shop, graciamaria studio

#eastandmia #littlenotescollection #graciamariastudio east and mia little notes collection graciamaria studio
**Please remember to respect the ownership of blog images. If you would like to repost, please link back to Original content. Thank you lovelies!

Organizing Inspiring Content on the Web

There is so much inspiring content on the web nowadays. My dropbox has become folders full of insta and web screenshots that inspire my work + influence my style so much. I generally go back to those folders and skim through allllll of those images every so often. I’m getting tired of them being stuck in the cloud… I want to print them all out and plaster them all over my walls and bulletin boards… but thats alot of images to print out. Does anyone organize their online inspiration in another way?! If any of those screenshots is wedding related I always upload a pin to my secret board. But what about all the interiors I have screenshots of all of those quotes it’s kinda overwhelming if you ask me.

I love sifting through all these beautiful images that beautiful and talented people thankfully upload for the world to see but I’m really brainstorming for a way to “favorite” all the inspiration I find on Instagram. Someone build an app… and include me in the process., pretty please. Someone make it easier to integrate Instagram and Pinterest.

I am really wanting to start a discussion here so if you have an ideas on how to organize those pesky beautiful screenshots….. don’t be shy!

#eastandmia #littlenotescollection #graciamariastudio east and mia little notes collection graciamaria studio

Tired Tuesday

Monday knocked me out.. anyone else feel that way?? I finally got around to painting the kitchen cabinets which makes me giddy already- I’m sure you will all love the before and after pics!
Project Planning, home design, style by East and Mia, home decor projects Today I’m just trying to get shit done basically.. Yesterday I made 5 to do lists to stay organized and today it’s time to tackle them!! All while trying to revive my poor cactus. Good thing we’ll be heading to Miami this weekend!! Fingers crossed I’ll make it to the beach!

Bye darlings! Have a good day!

#eastandmia #littlenotescollection #graciamariastudio east and mia little notes collection graciamaria studio

Introducing my online shop EAST + MIA- launching Sept 1st!!!

In the last 2 years I’ve tried to let my heart do the talking and by making these changes I’ve found passions, happiness and overall just a better lifestyle! A happy and productive life!
I’d like to introduce the result of said productivity and happiness: my new online shop launching SEPTEMBER 1st !! East + Mia, EAST+MIA logo, east and mia

I’ve been working on East + Mia for some time now and I’m SO happy to finally share my little secret! In my online shop you find:
1. social stationery that is perfect for hostess and birthday gifts, and for those cute handwritten notes that we love to give to our favorite people! #LittleNotesCollection
2. home decor (canvas art, art prints, mugs, throw pillows, and more products coming soon!) designed by yours truly. #printsbyEastandMia #decorbyEastandMia
3. custom-made, monogrammed stationery and prints there is no better way to add some glam to your day or your blog + brand than to have your own monogrammed notecards! Also, see my custom family name card! 

Starting SEPTEMBER 1st you can shop all of my designs at www.eastandmia.com!! Share the news with your besties and follow on Instagram Twitter Facebook to get sneak peeks of product all month long! #stylebyEastandMia

#eastandmia #littlenotescollection #graciamariastudio east and mia little notes collection graciamaria studio

Updates + Moving Day is finally here!

moving into a new apartment
& I’m kinda freakin’ out of excitement!! Not only that but Friday I’ve got a big announcement for all my friends and loved ones, all my readers, and for the internet world. So, I’ve got my plate full and lovin’ it.

Also, I’ve learned a few things in the last few months…

1. ADAPT ADAPT ADAPT
Lots of things are happening in my life right now. New school, New business, New home.. in chronological order.. and I’m learning slowly that I can’t do everything in one sitting. I have to give myself breaks. When I was in high school I was a firecracker always doing something for some event or for some organization. Well now that stakes are higher I’ve learned to slow down and do everything 100% the first time so I don’t have to go back and fix mistakes.

2. ASK QUESTIONS
Better to ask and get it right than not ask and get it wrong.

3. NOT EVERYONE WILL UNDERSTAND YOUR VISION
and that’s okay. Some things you’ll have to do yourself. Some things you’ll want to do yourself. Your new adventure (for me it’s my business) is all a part of your journey. Enjoy it. Believe in it. Thrive on it.

On the note of changes and adapting. I’ve made a couple minor, seamless changes to the way you reach the content you love ;)
All things EAST + MIA and design work can be found under MySTUDIO.
All things home, DIY projects and garden can be found under MyHOME.
All things personal (recipes,events and entertaining, travels, closet talk and beauty) can be found under MyLIFE
+ Now you can easily see DIY post and Cooking con Gracia posts in the tabs below MyHOME and MyLIFE, respectively.

Hope you like the new changes :)

#eastandmia #littlenotescollection #graciamariastudio east and mia little notes collection graciamaria studio

 

 

Saturday Workout

 

running pic, nike running shoes, fitness, fitness inspiration, nikes, running shoes

For the last month or so I have gotten pretty serious about getting rid of my pooch.. yeahh I have fat on my body. There I said it.
I’ve never been a big fan of running, I’m usually short on breath without being agitated and the thought of running makes my nasal septum  swell up even more. (Yes, I looked it up for accuracy) To my surprise, though, I am starting to really like it so I made a profile on Smashrun and if you’re starting out with your running or looking for something new I strongly recommend you check it out. It’s completely online and totally FREE! I feel guilty when I get lazy because I know my Smashrun profile will show I didn’t run on X day. I’m having a lot of fun with my running and my workouts and rewarding myself with new shoes!
I’m learning to make time for exercise and determined to get rid of my pooch by the end of the year.

I shared my goal.. :) Tell me yours!

#eastandmia #littlenotescollection #graciamariastudio east and mia little notes collection graciamaria studio

(EAST + MIA) First product check was printed today!

Today I received the first product check for East + Mia !!!! I could not be more thrilled. Everything is really  happening. My business, my brand is growing and being nurtured with love and care everyday. I’m gonna keep working and I can’t wait to show you guys the FIRST LOOK at product!! Keep in mind that I’m still looking for collaborators and fun projects even though things are kinda crazy! #eastandmia #littlenotescollection

Take care everyone! Hope you had a great Monday!!

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Shopaholic Post!

So I’ve been working my ass off lately, hence, the lack of blog posts. With my new business and getting it ready for launch day & T and I are t-minus 2 weeks from move in day & I’m sick!! More announcements will come about East + Mia, don’t worry, you will be in the know. ;) So in my free time or my can’t-sleep-time (time you waste while you’re trying to fall asleep) I’ve ended up on Pinterest; something that after my blog kicked up I kind of left out of my day. Well maybe I was getting a bit bored of it and became an Insta addict. Anyways, I’ve found some really great outfit inspiration on Pinterest lately that I wanted to share!
AND… OMG SHAKIRA IS PREGO, I’ll look forward to a couple posts on Shakira in the future!

In lieu of an outfit post, I’d like to say if any of you ever win the lottery please share with me so I can buy a bunch of pretty clothes and blog all about them haha!
Well my ladies, have a great weekend I probably won’t get another post in this week.. Love all you gals who keep coming back to read!! Thank you so much!

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click the image to be taken directly to the origin

 

striped dress casual

happilygrey.com

 

cara delevigne red carpet model in black and white

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blue beach hat floral pants casual outfit

stylelovely.com

GUCCI jumpsuit black jumpsuit classy night out outfit

GUCCI netaporter.com

I am becoming a business owner!

thoughts for a new business owner

Excitement is rushing through me and I’m struggling to keep it together I just wanna share every detail with you. Btw.. I’m so sorry I’ve neglected you all… but I had to do what I had to do… soon my blog will jump back up into priorities, promise. You know with launching my first business and all I have had to use my time wisely! Every ounce of this excitement is thanks to you.. I thank you all for reading for your feedback and support! If it were not for this blog I’m not sure I’d have the guts to go through with putting myself and my ideas and designs out there for the world to see and hopefully BUY!

Soon you will start to hear a lot about this new baby of mine! I hope I’m not building up too much anticipation… the U.S team already tried to give us a heart attack. I think that’s good for today.

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It’s Father’s Day!!

Time to give your dad a big ‘ol hug and tell him you love him-for putting up with you as a teenager and for supporting you through your career troubles when you can’t pay your phone bill…yup. Well, here is a little gift guide in case you haven’t gotten him a gift! Hope you all have a great day if you get to spend it with your dads. & happy father’s day to all the dads in the world.

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Wednesday Wisdom

WW-give-it-time- Every day I’m practicing to give my goals, my life, and any obstacles… time. Your thoughts are powerful and controllable- remember that!
I also wanted to thank all of you for your endless support, for reading and keeping me writing, for following on Instagram, for ALL the things I never thought possible!! Blogging has become such a special part of my life and has inspired me to pursue many things and I am so happy that you are a part of it as a reader. (even if I don’t know most of you personally!) I appreciate every single one of you.

Happy humpday everyone!

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Living in a college town

Hey ladies & gents!

So when we were out last night, Tirso and I + our friends decided a nature adventure sounded like a good idea for our Saturday! It’s been a great, active Saturday!
We went to La Chua Trails. The place to go if you want to run into 10ft+ gators and get awesome pictures of birds, flowers, and well big ass gators. We were hoping to see more gators but we didn’t go at the prime time for gator watching. We ended up seeing 4 gators, a beheaded coiled up snake, and the cutest groups of wild horses. (think Flicka) All in all it’s been a sweaty, my-legs-are-sore, but I loved getting out to breathe some fresh, clean air kind of day. Here is a little sneak peek! I’ll make a separate post for the others-look for it next week.

La Chua Trails June 2014-27 | Graciamaria Studio La Chua Trails June 2014-3 | Graciamaria Studio La Chua Trails June 2014-83 | Graciamaria Studio La Chua Trails June 2014-50 | Graciamaria Studio

(Btw this trail can def be a romantic day if you’re not allergic to getting sweaty!)

And being the family-like group of friends that we are… we added family dinner to our to-do list for today.
Showers, grocery stop, and dinner on the stove… iced tea, drinks and beer… we’ve got FIFA going right now (USA/Nigeria game is on halftime)… and I am enjoying every bit of this beautiful life I have.

All of this home-lovin’ has me thinking about us moving closer to campus!! Ah I’m so thrilled for our move in July. It’s been a long wait but the wait is coming to an end!
I think the best way  to really get 100% from your years in college is to make your campus, your apartment, YOUR LIFE in college truly your home. I’ve been on both ends of this spectrum. I hated a lot of things about living in a dorm at Syracuse University. It was cold 80% of the fall and spring semesters, I couldn’t cook in dorms, and the dining hall was less than pleasant most days. I did love my friends, though, that and my extracurricular activity (only dancing for Raices was worth the walks in the freezing weather). So I transferred to UF, and now I have made Gainesville my home and life. And even if I leave after I finish my undergraduate, I will always remember my years here as some of the best years of my life.

So, how have you made your college town your home? Do you agree with my make-it-home theory? Do you guys want to know more about my transferring?

 

Hello darlings… #workout

Although it feels great to be back home from Miami and Tampa, I’ve literally been tackling To Do Lists non-stop! It’s been kinda exhausting but I shouldn’t complain because I’ve enjoyed all my to-dos. I’ve been job hunting, devising plans for my career (working on something exciting!), got really sick for about a week, and then got better just to get sick again. And most exciting of all, I’ve finally really committed to getting back into shape!

It feels great to put that in writing. Now I’m held accountable by all of you. See the truth is over the last 2 years I’ve gained almost 15 lbs. (#freshman15) but I gained most of it in the last year. So if you have been teeter tattering about your commitment to the sweat message me and I’ll be your workout buddy if you need one! I made the commitment to work out 30 minutes to an hour, no-slacking, great, sweaty workouts, Monday through Friday. I like rewarding myself on the weekend and it gives my body the rest it needs after staying strong all week. I stopped eating junk food for the most part. Ice cream and pizza are now exclusive rewards and motivators not my casual snacks. “Make every workout count” is my motto. 

Best of all I feel proud that I have stayed disciplined! I added a supplement from GNC last Friday that I’m pretty excited about. Its called a very intimidating Women’s Ripped Vitapak (trademark by GNC)* but I really feel much more energized and though all the fish oil and vitamins has taken my body by surprise I feel great! It’s kinda pricey but I trust the GNC associate and testimonials about the effectiveness of this supplement. It has a water-balancing pill to reduce water weight, a CLA pill that targets stored fat, a pill that enhances energy and helps with metabolism, and a biotin pill for hair, skin and nails.

Although results are yet to come and the extra pounds are still there, this is the start of a healthier, more athletic lifestyle for me and I wanted to share with you in hopes that maybe you will take the leap and commit to your fitness goal. Remember: being healthy is your responsibility nobody can do it for you. KEYWORD is HEALTHY!
Let’s COMMIT to our workouts together! Can you relate to my struggle with actually getting to the point where you are motivated on your own to truly take responsibility for your fitness?

Well I’ve enjoyed this little chat! Happy Wednesday beautifuls!!

 

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* This post is not sponsored and I am getting no compensation for mentioning merchandise. I am genuinely and simply giving my opinion and that is all.

 

LIPS AND LASHES

I’m not one to wear lots of makeup, so I’m def no beauty blogger, but a girl can and should love a little beauty product every now and then. I’ve been dying to show you all my latest splurges in beauty products!!

LIPS AND LASHES | Graciamaria Studio

Diorshow Extase Mascara | Dior Glow Maximizer Light Boosting Primer | Lipstick Chanel Rouge Allure 99 Pirate | Mascara: Le Volume de Chanel 10

My reviews

Both mascaras are great, but I LOVED the way Chanel’s pumped up my lashes in every direction without that much clumping. It’s really all in the brush and intensity of the black.

This red lipstick is my favorite. No other red has hit the spot for me like this one. Goes on well, but doesn’t stay the best. I don’t mind I like having to reapply it reminds me to stay glamorous throughout the night!

& the primer. I’m trying out this one and I asked for a little sample of the Pore Minimizing primer. The pore minimizing primer is amazing. I struggle with the pores on my nose and directly under my eyes and this primer definitely does its part. I find myself applying less foundation using either one of these primers. The Glow Maximizer primer is great for that summer glow! I apply the primer, concealer for my under eye circles and blush and I’m out the door!!

Have you tried any of them? Yay or Nay for you? Leave me a comment darling!

xo gracia

[Cooking con Gracia] GUILT-FREE chicken & pasta

guiltfree chicken|GraciamariaStudio

You guys know how much I love to cook! Here’s what I made for lunch the other day. Yep I know my boyfriend is a lucky dude ;) I consider this healthy. Grilled chicken, didn’t overdo the sauce, added diced tomatoes & only added a tid bit of cheese for moisture.. sounds good right?

INGREDIENTS

thinly sliced chicken cutlets
+ (3 Tbps) Mojo Criollo marinade, paprika, and grilled chicken seasoning

angel hair pasta (white or wheat)
your favorite Tomato-based sauce
1/2 a can of diced tomatoes
basil (fresh or from your pantry)
shredded cheese – preferably an italian blend, mozzarella or parmesan!

MARINATING the defrosted chicken cutlets

In a Ziploc bag: Place chicken cutlets inside and pour about 3 Tbps of Mojo Criollo marinade. Sprinkle paprika and grilled chicken seasonings on top. Now rub it all together with the ZipLoc bag closed tightly making sure both sides of the chicken get spices on it. Put in fridge until ready to cook.

HOW TO

1. Bring water to a boil in a large pan for pasta.
2. In a grilling pan layout chicken cutlets to grill. Start grilling chicken over med-high heat when water is close to a boil.
3. Add pasta to pan. Stir occasionally to prevent pasta from sticking to each other.
4. Drain pasta.
5. Keep an eye on the chicken make sure it is cooking thoroughly. When chicken is ready, remove from heat and add shredded cheese on top of chicken allowing it to melt.
6. Place pasta back into large pan add about 20 ounces of sauce into large pan and stir into pasta.
7. Sprinkle basil over pasta. You can also add garlic powder and onion powder taking care not to add too much.
8. Heat 1/2 can of diced tomatoes in a microwave safe dish. Use for garnishing over chicken and pasta.
9. EAT UP!

Hope you enjoy your guilt-free pasta! If you have any questions or any variations that you like to make be sure to leave me a comment!

xo gracia

Sand, Old Navy & getting along with family

We had a beautiful beach day in Key Biscayne! It was about time I was starting to look like a piece of paper!! Here is JT’s beautiful sister and I.
I love being close with my boyfriend’s family so much! We have been together for just short of 2 years now and even though we have known each other and grown up around each other since we were 6 years old, the change in our relationship as a couple brings out the best in both of us in every aspect of our lives.

I always say and it is always heard around our hispanic cultured tables: ‘When you marry, you are marrying the family as well.‘ This could not be more true, and in my case it has been the biggest blessing. I love my family so much that I am so happy that I have gained a second family along with the man of my dreams! So how do I get along so well with his family you ask? It’s part luck and blessing and it’s part effort and love. I’ll explain. It takes a willingness to participate in family gatherings and conversations (even the tough ones). I’ve been on the opposite side of family unity before so when you say “it isn’t always that easy” I say to you “trust me, I know what you mean.” To get to know each other you have to spend time together.

It takes wanting to celebrate each other just as you would celebrate your own or your partner’s successes. Sincerity is key. Fake love is spotted easily in case you haven’t realized that.
You grow to love those who celebrate you and your relationship. That love grows like a vine and next thing you know you have the bonds you have always wished for with your partner’s family.

I am no counselor, no expert on the subject, but I can share my experience hoping it helps someone somewhere.
keybiscayne | Graciamaria Studio

I got this new hat from Old Navy for less than $20, I love it!
oldnavy hat | Graciamaria Studio

For more fun follow me on Instagram!

xo gracia

DIY of the week: a little raspberry for the patio chairs

I posted these patio chairs about a month ago and I saw lots of people liked the way they turned out so I thought I’d repost for this week’s DIY of the week! Enjoy and have an awesome saucesome weekend!
Follow:  Bloglovin | Pinterest | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter

xo gracia

These patio chairs have come a long way!! I spray painted them in this bright and happy yellow a while back, you can see them here, and I finally got the chance to finish making them pretty! I loved this raspberry burgundy colored fabric and bought 1.5 yards on a whim, not knowing what I would use it for (it was on sale at walmart) and when I got home I knew they would pair perfectly.

patio chairs | Graciamaria Studio

patiochairs | Graciamaria Studio diy_patiochairs1 |Gstudio diy_patio_chairs |Gstudio diy_patiochairs|Gstudio

What you’ll need: 

-Furniture tacks
-Little Hammer
-Staple gun
-The fabric of your choice 1.5 yards
-Memory foam for cushions
-Plywood if you are not going to use the current bottoms (mine needed replacing)
…oh & scissors of course!

1. Making the seat bottoms | I measured the seats’ bottom and just cut them out of a spare piece of plywood. They ended up a bit bigger and didn’t fit into the metal bottom of the chair so I had to sand them down in the spots that were getting stuck. Advantage: they fit perfectly but still need screws to hold them down. We already had an accident where the chair fell through. Needless to say it was pretty funny.. to me at least.. because I’m not the one who fell through. Disadvantage: It took me forever to get both of them to fit, at least an hour and half of sanding.

2. Cutting the fabric and layering | Make sure you leave plenty of fabric over the edges of your piece of plywood so that you can liberally staple and nail your fabric to the bottom of your seat. I doubled up on the memory foam because one was not enough and had the lumpy parts face each other so they wouldn’t be visible from the top.

-Align your fabric then the memory foam then the plywood on top and get started!

-Start with the middle of each side going from one side to opposite side and nail in carefully so that you don’t tear your fabric (instead of in a clockwise manner). You will end up with loose fabric on each of the 4 corners.

-Pull your corners in tightly. One side over the other, staple first then nail. If you end up with any loose fabric on the edges add some staples to pull them in.

Note: when using a staple gun. Be sure to push the front in you have to put some arm muscle into it so that they staple goes in and then give it a little tap so that it doesn’t stick out. I believe you can rent staple guns at home improvement stores, but I’m not 100% sure.

And that is it my friends!! It was so easy and completely changed the look of the chairs.
Remember DIYers: it’s all about having fun!! Have a GREAT weekend!

 

 

Avocados and Cake

A must-mention: our party for JT’s 21st birthday! We are such barbeque, let’s sit on the patio bunch so it was only natural for us Tirso (JT) to grill for his birthday! We made churrasco, chorizo and buffalo chicken wings (recommend: Frank’s Red hot buffalo sauce). The party was complete with fresh guacamole and chocolate dipped strawberries! Plus, it’s not a party unless there is CAKE! So as the family cake and dessert provider I made a red velvet and chocolate layered cake!
Guac: I used a simple salt, lemon, tomatoes and onion recipe.
I was kinda in a hurry so I would love to hear some guacamole recipes you’ve tried and loved.

aguacates | Graciamaria Studio

My love and I! Can you tell I tanned? haha
I am wearing a jumpsuit from BCBGeneration! like this one except I had the legs hemmed and added elastic to them so it would fit tighter. I like it better now.
birthday | Graciamaria Studio

Not the best writing on it but it’s the taste that counts right?
birthday chocolate cake | Graciamaria Studio

For more fun follow me on Instagram!

xo gracia

All about my mama

Meet my mama everyone! She is 100% diva and she knows it.. There are lots of ways to describe my very Hispanic madre but I’ll stick to fashionista, fully in love with her children, and sensible. I think these describe her best. She has always done her best to be the rock of our family and for that I could not be more thankful. Love you mama.

Hope you all had a great Mother’s Day and enjoyed spending time with your queens as I did!
P.S. the amount of stripes in this photo is totally unintentional.

xo gracia

mothers day | Graciamaria Studio

top | BCBGMaxAzria
lips | Christian Dior Rouge Dior 774 Allégresse

I made my mama her favorite for Mother’s Day. Many of you aren’t aware but I worked at a gourmet chocolate shop while in high school (local not Godiva) and learned how to dip just about anything in chocolate. I loved that job. I gained about 7 Lbs at one point while working there too.. but oh was it delicious.

mothersday strawberries | Graciamaria Studio

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thanks for reading mama :)

Miami daze

I’ve been so busy making memories and enjoying vacation I didn’t blog about Miami while it was happening so I’ll do it now! (I’d rather be untimely than not share this part of my life with you) Nothing short of amazing. In the time we haven’t spent with each other lots of things have happened!! Exciting and fun things and I’m gonna share all of them including birthdays, school stuff, TV obsessions and more all week!

These are some of my favorite people, my Miami family and those I refer to when I say we. Sometimes when I’m writing a blogpost I think ‘why would anyone care?’ but the truth is, as a blog reader myself, I always love seeing and reading about the person behind the computer. So this week’s posts are all personal and probably won’t bring any useful information or styled photos for you but they are necessary pleasures of my documenting my life. Which was the primary reason I started blogging in the first place. So I’m hoping you enjoy getting a glimpse of my time in Miami and leave a comment here and there this week! Maybe you’d love a trip to Miami? I’ll be glad to give you some recommendations and tips!

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So we started out in Miami as always… Our first weekend we went to an unexpectedly overpriced restaurant in Midtown Miami called Oak Tavern for a close friend’s birthday. Have you ever been there? What do you think? We don’t recommend it, but if you have $$ go for it enjoy the wine and drinks but we didn’t enjoy it. Although that night I laughed so hard I started crying so the experience was funny on the bright side. On the way home we ended up stopping by Domino’s for pizza and watching Game of Thrones until 4 am. Here is a pic :) [shirt: BCBGMaxAzria]

oak tavern pic

 

Up next is our Cinco de Mayo!

Nothing too crazy and no pics that were styled all pretty especially for a blog post but we had a great night full of laughter, tequila and taco bell. Viva Mexico! 

Tirso and I joined the Game of Thrones craze and caught up while sleeping in and staying up late! We watched all of the  seasons in a row thanks to Xfinity On Demand & are now just as obsessed as everyone else! Can’t believe we waited so long to jump on the bandwagon! So 35 episodes later we are caught up and ready to watch every Sunday. We missed last night’s episode because we were on the road so no spoilers please! So much TV and late nights called for some breakfast in bed!! (Bread is from Honduras–they are called semitas)

breakfast in bed | Graciamaria Studio

Do you have any embarrassing stories about restaurants?? Anyone else get treated to breakfast in bed this Mother’s Day!! Happy belated Mother’s Day to all my lovely mommy readers! I will be posting on my mama this week as well!

For more fun follow me on Instagram!

xo gracia

I’m working smart during finals week!

PRINT OUT

 

So I haven’t posted anything in almost a week and I’m feeling lost in life because of my finals and not being able to blog!!!! Ah it’s driving me crazy, but don’t fret I’ll be on vacation in t minus 1 day and then I’m all yours for o-m-g…..3 months. Going to Miami of course… and then Tampa of course because you know we must to visit our favorite people in the world. #family but I’ll be back home in a couple weeks sitting in my little corner working on my big beautiful wooden table! Still obsessing over it, yes. If you haven’t checked it out… mmm girl.. go click away now go! Have you all been up to lately??  Are you ready for May!! I sure as hell am SO ready for the summer.

Sending love! xo, G

DIY of the Week: the debut of a new family heirloom

For a while now, I have been anxiously waiting for us to move into our new apartment that I mention ALL the time because clearly I can’t contain my excitement to have a back patio and bigger living/dining room. My plan was to wait until the month before moving out/in to build my aforementioned table that I wanted to build myself to make it to my very specific specifications. So I did just that. NOT of course I got impatient! It’s part of who I am, my mom says I’m always going 100 mph. And so after two days of intense woodworking with my gracious father and supporter of my crazy, let’s make the impossible possible, weekend ideas we have a new table that I hope will be around for many many years. We built a table that will bring together my family for the holidays, a table that will support many hours of work and a table that will be help us create many lasting memories. It was an awesome experience to share my designing of furniture with my dad and his craftsmanship. We are very proud of our table and hope you enjoy seeing what we learned from building it. Can you tell how emotionally attached I am to it already?
Oh P.S. it cost me $200 without having to buy tools and such (actually I blew out the motor in the sander! but that cost isn’t included in that $).

Just a heads up this won’t be a pretentious DIY I can’t pretend to know exactly what I was doing here! Should  we start?

So here I am at 6 am super excited to get started.
diytable | Graciamaria Studio-1

This is called an oscillator tool. You will want one, BUT I warn, proceed with caution.

You will want to familiarize yourself with the sander we used 60 grit sheets to shave down areas that needed leveling and the oscillator when those spaces where just too much. For example, we needed to level out the legs because the table was wiggling and this was the PERFECT tool in our humble woodworking capabilities. I’m sure professionals have some awesome tool that they use, but we are just regular people with regular tools you know. Also one the table was all set we used 150 grit sheets to smooth out the surfaces and round off edges of the table and shelf.

diytable | Graciamaria Studio-3 diytable | Graciamaria Studio-5
We accidentally dipped too far into the wood with the oscillator but thankfully it was on the bottom of the table!These are the sides of plank that make up the tabletop and us trying to get them as level as possible to reduce the gaps we had in between the planks. 
diytable | Graciamaria Studio-6

In the end it all worked out and we’re satisfied with the results. We did wish we had a table saw, could have made this easier, but you know not the kinda thing we have in Pop’s garage…

Here is the underside of the table with frame that will keep it from buckling. More support was added don’t worry!

diytable | Graciamaria Studio-7

& the top completely done. As you can see we added middle support and guides for where the legs go and then get bolted in to keep it from moving.
diytable | Graciamaria Studio-9

The holes for the bolts that will hold in place the legs with the tabletop.
diytable | Graciamaria Studio-8

Use the same size drill bit as the size of your bolt and wiggle the bit in circles to make your hole slightly larger than your bolt. Make sure you keep the drill level as you push in because if not you’ll end up with a slanted hole. You won’t to have you bolt sticking out of the bottom of your support boards. You want to be able to easily put the bolt in every time you move the table. This part of the table was thanks to my dad’s ingenuity! Make sure they are perfectly lined up.

Glue and Clamp Glue and Clamp Glue and Clamp can’t say it enough! You will want to recruit some help for this project in case you have noticed I couldn’t have done this without his help and so I recommend you have help and sketch out your design.

And here is my dad being goofy and taking selfies with me. You might have seen this one on my Insta!
diytable | Graciamaria Studio-2

diy_table | Graciamaria Studio-3
diytable | Graciamaria Studio-1-2

Well that’s my story about this table. Have you shared a similar experience with your dad? I would LOVE to hear! Hope you enjoyed.
xo, Graciamaria

Managing my time as a blogger & student

lillyagenda |Gstudio Being a student is like having a job… I say this with caution because that doesn’t apply to everyone. It is to me anyway, my academic career and the challenges of being a transfer student all bundled up seem like having a job, or maybe it’s school+blog=job I don’t know and I don’t mean to undermine any hardworking fellas and ladies who work their tail off day and night 365 days of the week, because I do realize my job gives me a 2-3 month vacation some years and my job gives me a month off for xmas.  But back to time management…

I’d like to think I have a life in fact I can certainly say I have a life. I go out on weekends and we eat well throughout the week; read: we aren’t eating ramen and fast food because we don’t have time to cook. I work out. Not nearly as often as I should and could but that is… not a time management issue, that’s me being complacent.

So how do I manage my time and what can I do to improve my time management.

  • I cannot stress the importance of not just any agenda/calendar but a GREAT agenda/calendar made for ‘creatives’. |  Here is a little book you look at alllllll day long as it drags on and as it quickly passes by between meetings and class… and birthdays… and holidays… and everything you have in your beautiful and full life. So why would you NOT  have an amazing calendar to go with your daily grind.

-You need a calendar that engages with you as much as you engage with it. (My Lilly Pulitzer* calendar has stickers and doodles–how much cuter can you get? I get it. So third grade! But I can put a margarita on a Friday and look at that tasty looking sticker to remind me that the weekends are for parties not Monday nights) But really an agenda that allows you to really grab your day by the horns is an essential to staying organized and de-stressed about your infinite to-do list.
-Sometimes you need a blank pages in your calendar. Mine doesn’t have them and that is exactly why I am working on producing my own agendas because I want an agenda that fuels my creativity not one that confines it. I am wanting to try the Day Designer* but $60?? mmm.. not in my budget. I’m pretty positive the most creative people in our historical figures of creativity (just made that up) did not buy a $60 + shipping agenda but maybe it’s totally worth it and because I can’t spare $60 I’m being ignorant to effects of the famous Day Designer. On to my next point..
-You need plenty of room for all your daily appointment and inspiration…. & sometimes that means getting a bigger sized agenda. I am all for travel size and fits-in-my-purse but girl if you a ton of shit to write down wouldn’t you rather have all nice and decluttered?
-I have a monthly blog calendar on a legal pad where I sort my posts in weeks of the month and then add the date I want to post them and then I have my Lilly agenda where I write everything else. I wish I could have just one but my Lilly isn’t big enough and there isn’t enough ‘creative space’ for me to jot down everything I need to jot down. Find what works best for you is the best advice I could give you. Explore different agendas you are likely to find one that fits your planning style.

  • Celebrate the little wins too it will keep you motivated. | This is the part where you forget about agenda ^ there and say fuck it (pardon my french) I need to relax and take a bath listening to Pink Floyd and then possibly spend the entire rest of the day watching How I Met Your Mother and then….. proceed to planning a… (you guessed it) LEGEN-DARY weekend to refresh your mind and body. The best combination would be yoga mixed in somewhere in there.
  • Schedule your blog posts. | It took me a while to get this one only because I didn’t want the blog to lose its spontaneous-feel but I realized the busier I got the more frustrated I got with coming up with content and feeling inspired. I realized that I can’t just sit down at ‘blogging time’ and just write a post every night for the following day. Nope, I get these things I like to call ‘blogging craze’ where I feel great and productive. These are the times when I can come up with content for the next weeks and input all that into my handy-dandy agenda so that I can schedule them accordingly. I’ve just recently started doing this and this is what I have learned: I end up writing more content because I have my scheduled posts + any spontaneous posts that are so much more enjoyable, fun and light hearted. Another word on motivation: If it feels forced reevaluate the direction of your blog and your content. Question everything. Everyday I learn something new about how to create content and what I like and don’t like. 

So this is me talking about time management like I got everything under control, but I don’t, and my life gets messy at times but these are the guidelines I use in my everyday life to stay sane amid my surroundings and I thought it would be of some use to someone out there on the internet. So whether you are a student or a blogger or neither hopefully this helps you somehow and hopefully you enjoyed reading and come back!

*My references to any products in this post are NOT compensated or sponsored– I just want to share my opinion on the product with you. 

Let’s chat and connect!
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xo, Gracia

for the Monday blues…

2014-04-20 12.22.32 napkin is handmade and embroidered in Honduras

I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy all the simple pleasures I have in my life. Things like knowing I share a special place we call home with my best friend and love, having our coffee in the morning so we start our day right, & simply waking up to a new day. Even if every morning doesn’t feel like a carnival–I still love it all. How about you? What are those little things that make life worth living? I think we all share a few things on the list!

Blogging… blogging is one of those things that fuel my days. It’s the only place where I can completely embody my career. I am a student here (learning something new everyday and being a student literally) and I feel like some fancy designer when I spend time with my blog (when I get to play with the style sheet in my theme and do w/e I want with it, and designing my brand and everything that comes with that). But wait, what brand? Well see that’s the the everlasting work-in-progress part of my blog/career. Is the opportunity for it to involve into anything that I want it to become. Blogging has motivated me to 1. think of the big picture and 2. to Dream Big about the next chapters of my blog and the direction of the blog which is simultaneously influenced by everything in my surroundings and also solely controlled by muahhh. We all need a little pick-me-up every once in a while. If you feel bogged down–like on a Monday morning–know one thing: It is OKAY girl! Think about the bigger picture in your life and career and is it any good for you to stress out? The world is not ending and you will keep going because that’s what strong women do. We keep going and we keep pressing and pushing until we have what we want. So that’s my pick-me-up for you today!

Debuting on the blog this week we have my precious table in our DIY of the Week (yay!) and a Wednesday post on how I manage my time as a blogger and student.

Oh, and if you haven’t noticed! Her Campus has accepted the blog into their HCBloggerNetwork! You can click on the button in my sidebar for more info and a list of other blogs in their network.

 

Self Promotion Saturday!!

In case you are new to the blog, on Saturdays I always post about a business, blog, or product that I am lovin on and encourage my readers to do the same in the comment section. So! Can we talk about how fabulous the Fig House in LA is?? PLEASE! I mean have you seen it? I can’t wait to see more pictures of events but for now their opening party is enough to please my curious eye. Can I pretend to be friends with these people already and cheer with them for their success? cue the champagne. Bravo Emily Henderson.

It’s very (insert something that reads: scared and excited) to think about my career at this point in my life. I’m halfway through college, about to get the ball rolling on an internship with an interior design firm here in Gainesville, I’m waiting to hear from UF to see if they’ve accepted me to study on campus rather than online, & I’m surrounded by half finished DIY projects that I am working on slowly but surely. I’m staying persistent when it comes to the blog. I know that everything takes it time, so I shall continue to nurture and care for the studio and its content, because don’t we know how important that is. I’m still in that middle period I’ve talked about before… where I’m stuck studying yet anxiously wanting to start a business, but I am learning to embrace the learning part of my career and instead start planning like crazy.

More About Blogging
I do wish more of my readers engaged with me and would give me more feedback! Any tips on getting more engaged readers? The blog, to me, is always a work in progress. Is that a good or bad thing? One thing I started doing that has really changed the way I blog (tip for new bloggers!) is having a monthly blog calendar! Before I didn’t have a place to jot down my random ideas and inspiration for blog post, I would always forget or never organize them well into the blog, now I can say this aspect of the blog has improved greatly. Definitely a behind the scenes tip that I highly recommend.

Next week on the blog I will debut the biggest DIY I have taken on: my oh-so-mentioned 7 ft table that I made with my dad. Yeah.. we might get a little mushy gushy!

Thanks for reading! To learn more about me and the blog click here.

DIY of the Week: new upholstery on our old patio chairs

These patio chairs have come a long way!! I spray painted them in this bright and happy yellow way back, you can see that here, and now I finally got the chance to finish making them pretty! I loved this raspberry burgundy colored fabric and bought 1.5 yards on a whim not knowing what I would use it for (it was on sale!) and when I got home I knew they would pair perfectly. Hope you enjoy!! xo, G

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diy_patiocharis |Gstudio_1

diy_patiochairs1 |Gstudio diy_patio_chairs |Gstudio diy_patiochairs|Gstudio

What you’ll need: 

-Furniture tacks
-Little Hammer
-Staple gun
-The fabric of your choice 1.5 yards
-Memory foam for cushions
-Plywood if you are not going to use the current bottoms (mine needed replacing)
…oh & scissors of course!

1. Making the seat bottoms | I measured the seats’ bottom and just cut them out of a spare piece of plywood. They ended up a bit bigger and didn’t fit into the metal bottom of the chair so I had to sand them down in the spots that were getting stuck. Advantage: they fit perfectly but still need screws to hold them down. We already had an accident where the chair fell through. Needless to say it was pretty funny.. to me at least.. because I’m not the one who fell through. Disadvantage: It took me forever to get both of them to fit, at least an hour and half of sanding.

2. Cutting the fabric and layering | Make sure you leave plenty of fabric over the edges of your piece of plywood so that you can liberally staple and nail your fabric to the bottom of your seat. I doubled up on the memory foam because one was not enough and had the lumpy parts face each other so they wouldn’t be visible from the top.

-Align your fabric then the memory foam then the plywood on top and get started!

-Start with the middle of each side going from one side to opposite side and nail in carefully so that you don’t tear your fabric (instead of in a clockwise manner). You will end up with loose fabric on each of the 4 corners.

-Pull your corners in tightly. One side over the other, staple first then nail. If you end up with any loose fabric on the edges add some staples to pull them in.

Note: when using a staple gun. Be sure to push the front in you have to put some arm muscle into it so that they staple goes in and then give it a little tap so that it doesn’t stick out. I believe you can rent staple guns at home improvement stores, but I’m not 100% sure.

And that is it my friends!! It was so easy and completely changed the look of the chairs.
Remember DIYers: it’s all about having fun!! Have a GREAT weekend!

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A new platform for designers? Well this is exciting!

I’m pretty excited to explore this new site! I thought I’d share because there is a giveaway and obviously who doesn’t love giveaways?

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Livable Spaces that are inspiring

The reason I say “livable spaces” is because with all the beautiful images we see on Pinterest and Instagram and scouring the internet for inspiration for our next projects.. sometimes we lose sight reality. We forget people live in these beautiful spaces pictured and that most of the time they don’t actually look like this. You know that feeling when you just complain that your apartment isn’t meeting your standards of design and organization and what not? (see below) Well yeah that’s where I’m at… I want to move out and start with a fresh canvas and plenty of projects to do already, I’m getting impatient, I’ve been known to do that. The semester is almost over(I’m halfway done with college..exciting) and I’m about to have way too much free time in my hands so guess what that means? This girl is not only going to be frustrated but also DIYing like crazy! That’s good for the blog right? Sounds like plenty justification to me.. too bad my wallet doesn’t agree. So here is the latest! Happy Humpday! Enjoy the inspiration! xo, G

Drumroll pleeeease….. this image perfectly, oh so perfectly! captures what is totally inspiring my kitchen/dining space for our new apartment. Today was the day I said “you know what let’s stain this bad boy!” and I went with my original choice of stain for the 7ft wooden table I built with my dad this weekend.To see that DIY you will have to stay tuned my loves!! and I hope you love it as much as I do. Right now it is oversized for our current apartment but it fits and is providing a perfect place for studying and shall we call them styling photoshoots.. all great things in the works.. I’m trying to remind myself that things take time and that is my tip for today–to practice patience.

kitchen inspiration |Gstudio via

 

 

 

decorbase.com |Gstudio
via
unknownsource |Gstudio theeverygirl.com|Gstudio rue_magazine | Gstudio

How sweet and comfy looking is this space– why can’t my apartment look like this? (tap for creds)

ifonawintersmorning | Gstudio
via

& I’m totally craving THIS color this Spring/Summer– and it has certainly slipped into my home this season!
See it on Fridays DIY of the week post.
raspberry | Gstudio

 

I can’t wait for summer/fall nights on the back patio :)

linenandlavender.net |Gstudio

 

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Let’s connect!

 

Indispensables of my space

So as I have been getting together inspiration for our new apartment over the last months I realized I needed to put 2 things together to keep myself sane: the musts and the wants aka the game plan. So here goes the indispensables + the ‘To Do list’ of each room… Hopefully this is of some use to you if you are looking to revamp your home for the spring or just planning a home overhaul! Also, remember you don’t need to leave home to freshen up your place (even though it is nice to buy new shiny things– I know!) but it’s also great to save money am I right?

Anyways, let’s start, shall we?

OH, last thing! I spent this weekend making a 7 ft wooden, everything table with my dad, I can’t WAIT to show you the DIY!!

Entry | place for keys and chapstick

To Do List:
Put up Hello Sign (DIY) and add a tinie tiny shelf right next to it

Wish my entry looked like this!

unknownsource |Gstudio

Living room | place for feet, drinks, flowers, and books

To Do List:

Add shelving on of the walls top to bottom for storage purposes
Build lighting fixture to replace the ceiling fan
Make curtains and take blinds down– the apt currently has those awful vertical blinds!
Walls are going to get painted in that bright white that I love.

Dorset Square Hotel | GStudio

the style files | Gstudio

 

dailydreamdecor.com | Gstudio

Kitchen/Dining | big table/workspace, multipurpose basket (bread basket), stove side vignette

This weekend I took on one of the big projects with my lovely father. Who thankfully gives me the pleasure of at least going along with and supporting my craziness. Post coming soon, I need to decide on a stain still!

To Do List:

The biggest project in the kitchen is going to be the cabinets. Need to sand and paint them all, leaving the middle set as open shelving.
Lighting: Single pendant
More counter space problem: purchase the smaller square stainless steel work table
Vent: spray paint? or just clean? but something.. can’t replace it
Replace faucet with somethin’ sexy.

stylemepretty.com|Gstudio

 

lonny.com |Gstudio

 

table from target | Gstudio

Bedroom | (oh la la haha) a place for our phones, the coziness factor, place for candles & a chair for shit that’s going to stay there for 3 weeks

To Do List:

Build vanity table
Go back to antique shop with commercial sized mirror. Yeah a fitting room sized mirror for $30 talk about a score!
Expensive fix: reupholster the armchairs in white
Make curtains: I’m thinking a super pale mint color
Biggest project: Building the headboard and upholstering/tufting it with blue velvet fabric
Do I need to add any shelves in the closet?
Walls: white and charcoal

stylemepretty.com | Gstudio

 

emilyhenderson | Gstudio

headboard | Gstudio

homeontherunway.com | Gstudio

I LOVE this mix of colors/wood/texture so much– this mint color is the color I’m aiming towards for the curtains.

The Little Black Door | Gstudio

Bathroom | Tub plank that doubles as a shelf when it’s off duty, a place for our face towels, and obviously a pretty vanity.

To Do List:

You will see this DIY on the blog by this month because I tried doing this tub plank business with a makeshift plank… and.. I dipped my economics textbook in the water. yeah! so stay tuned for that one ;)
Will be painting the bathroom cabinets as well
Spray paint cabinet hardware in gold
Putting up a shelf over the tile backsplash over the cabinets
Also, need to figure out how to replace the medicine cabinet mirror without it falling apart on me.

unknownsource |Gstudio

goodhousekeeping |Gstudio

Outside | a place to eat, plant and grill

To Do List:

Setup concrete block shelves
Spray paint table white
Table Cloth
Reupholster patio chairs
Burlap rug
Big bulb lights

designsponge.com  | Gstudio

outside café

stylemepretty.com | Gstudio

bloodandchampagne.com |Gstudio

 

Thanks for reading!!
xx, Gracia

 

 

 

Self-Promotion Saturday: materialize your visions

So that you may feel inspired to go out and take control of your dreams and how you choose to invest your time.. because time is precious people. Feel free to tell me about your latest venture or newest muse (love finding new Etsy shops)! I have been looking into watercoloring for thank you cards and little notecards. I’ve always loved handmaking any cards for my loved ones, and I’ve seen so many great bloggers divulging their handiwork so I was inspired to give it a try. You might have seen it on instagram this week with a #truebeginner. I have always been accused of being too dreamy.. I was starting to get scared they were right but my dreaminess is starting to pay off. Anyone else feel that way?

sps quote

Remember Self-Promotion Saturday is for you to promote your blog, business, or venture in the comment section!!

 

 

DIY of the week! Decor mistakes and fixing them.

Most people really wouldn’t have the guts to do this but I grew out of this red and gold Pier 1 painting and I HAD to something about it. I didn’t want it on any of my walls and I felt bag just putting it in a corner on the floor. I was itching to do a DIY and crazy me thought it was a good idea to just paint over it. I don’t regret it, not yet at least, and I’m really happy with results. I know it will fit nicely with my plans for our new place.

Here is the inspo

ruemagazine | Gstudio

and here are the before and after, supplies and in progress photos :)

red damask pier1imports | Gstudio

Processed with VSCOcam with m5 preset

before after red gold

red gold diy supplies

PaperBag Diaries: Baker D. Chirico, Australia

My fascination for this bakery’s interiors is unbelievable. Branding is by Fabio Ongarato Design. (Same company that does Samantha Wills) So consistent, can’t get enough of it.. How about them paper bags!! I don’t know… might have to hop my way to the other side of the world to get a taste! What I DO know is that you could most certainly take some notes on their designs and innovative approach to ‘small’ bakery shop.. the floor tiles are stunning, aren’t they? Not to mention the fabulous ceiling and shelving.  

I have been practicing my baking skills! I’ve got to get the yeast right… but I need the right environment.. ah it’s a work in progress! I might try Chocolate Chip Scones soon.. as soon as I have a weekend to breathe :)

For more PaperBag Diaries stay tuned this week and follow! #paperbagdiaries

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Baker D. Chirico | Gstudio

Baker D. Chirico_2 | Gstudio

Baker D. Chirico_3 | Gstudio

Baker D. Chirico_4 | Gstudio

“The project was a unique collaboration between FOD, architects March Studio, artist and fashion designers PAM and Daniel Chirico – Australia’s most recognised artisan bread maker. ” -Fabio Ongarato Design

PaperBag Diaries

I have long known that my love for paper bags was a significant one. I enjoy their crinkle-ness, and their ability to protect my produce simply because they stand out next to plastic bags in my trunk after a trip to the grocery store. So here I am sharing my love for paper bags… in a new series I’ll call PaperBag Diaries. (Still with me?) I will feature companies who use the raw yet simple qualities of said bags to their advantage in their branding, and also my favorite uses and places for… you guessed it… paper bags. I will start with once a day this week!! Hope you enjoy! Join us on instagram #paperbagdiaries showcase your favorite styled paper bags or stores’ branding and logos. And of course, let’s get social!! 

To start your Monday on the right foot: Don’t underestimate the power of a silly or loving note on that special someone’s lunch! Or your own!.. Only you control your reactions to the days’ ups and downs!

With love, G

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paperbag diaries | Gstudio

SPS: Gainesville, FL

This Saturday I thought I would do a little twist and give a shout out to my favorite Gainesville shops, and encourage you to do the same from your hometown! Remember that for Self-Promotion Saturday we take the time to get psyched and share about our blogs and our faves in the comment section.

Cymplify | local flower market/coffee shop/kinda everything shop

Although I wish I could go there and be knee deep in flowers and what not (like a wholesale flower market) this place is Cymply not just that. A local go-to place for everything from yoga to ice cream to beautiful orchids Cymplify has managed to become a cute environment for that tranquil afternoon date or a family ice cream run. Pretty legit if you ask me.. Their branding is great, it’s not surprising to see their stickers randomly around campus and on people’s cars.

Leonardo’s | my absolute favorite restaurant in Gville (besides popeyes of course)

I have previously dished my thoughts on this fabulous place before but I can’t help but mention that this place is a MUST if you are in town! If you live in Gainesville and have not been to Leonardo’s… boy you are missing out. Date night costs? mm $35-$40 for 2 if you don’t mind sharing. T-O-T-A-L-L-Y worth it.

A place I have yet to try in Gainesville: Volta Coffee! I have heard great things! I’ll have to go see for myself :)

Gainesville, as new as it is to me (almost a year-crazy!), has found a little spot in my heart and I am glad to share with you all my fave spots around town. Anyone else in the Gainesville area? Wanna share your favorite places? Have at it, that comment section is begging for your attention… ;)

OH and how could I forget… best of luck to the Gators tonight right??? WOO!

TGIF!! Are you with me?

friday morning with Gstudio

My Today-Goal: Content Planning

This Weekend Goal: Content Picture Planning (plus a Cuba Libre probably hopefully tonight!)

much love, have a fantastic weekend!

 

mood

Hope you’ve all had a GREAT start to your week. Here is a little something to get you through hump day! Also I discovered on youtube a fabulous soundtrack that may help you relieve some stress and get some creativity flaming! (blogger’s rut anyone?) It has helped me relax a bit.. Andrea Bocelli wasn’t cutting it. They call it music for the mind!

P.S. I’m building myself a glorious, wooden table so that you don’t have to see that awful, light reflection anymore. Call me a handywoman! Stay tuned for that one!

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xoxo G

How cute is nature!!

So a couple weeks ago JT and I discovered a little birdie on the railing of our balcony… never thought MY simple, old palette of wood could be the home of such little cuties… but look what I found today! Perfect way to start the week, right? Time to put some bird food out here and hope they keep coming back to brighten my mornings with their presence. Stay warm little one!

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xo Graciamaria

SPS | stumbling through blogs

For Self Promotion Saturday today I’m saying: “Let’s start the weekend on the right foot and talk about some GREAT blogs!” Here are 3 blogs I have discovered lately, love or just want to share–take a look!

Ale Besso | She is based out of Mexico. (exotico, no?) Despite Mexico being stereotyped with colorful homes and vibrant hues, her home is spectacularly white, gray and perfectly balanced. I love it.

a piece of toast | Two lovely lookin’ sisters, one fabulous blog, plenty to look through while drinking my coffee!

the effortless chic | spotted this dining room and was instantly intrigued! guarantee that more than one of your home design pins are Jenn Pinkston’s doing!

theeffortlesschic.com

 

Let’s work together & make all our blogs pop! Quick side note: if anyone lives in or near Gainesville and you’d like to get together for a blog sesh, please let me know. I would love to! Email me: graciamaria.studio@gmail.com

Ciao peeps!! thx for reading sweet lovelies

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springspiration

springspiration | Gstudio

I am gearing up for spring (read: summer) people– hope you are too! I’m more excited about summer than spring.. sorry spring! I started growing my roses and ivy as soon as we got back from our vacation in Honduras. All my plants, actually, have been in the ICU after this winter. (Don’t worry they’re doing just fine!) Along with my plant plans, I’ve got end-of-the-semester party plans in the back of my mind and these images perfectly describe what’s going on in my head right now! My boyfriend and I (if you are new to the blog, I typically refer to my love as JT!) are getting a new apartment this summer to live closer to campus and closer to our friends. July 31st to be precise, so I’m obviously design-happy knowing I’ll have a blank slate with no furniture as my playground for the months leading up to the move (happening right now!) and for the months after and beyond. I have a concept board done and I will share a condensed version with you all soon. But for now, I am LOVING these picnic boxes by 100layercakelet.com for say a… house warming bbq? One thing you will inevitably learn about me is that I LIVE for the days and nights when JT and I can entertain our friends and lovely family. That’s the shit that keeps me sane and I love it. This table’s decor has me saying Oh! with that color combo– it basically set up the color scheme of our new decor plans– that’s how much I crave it. And the living space that is Morten Bo Jensen Interiors totally gets the nature-fused-with-black-and-white designer in me.

Thanks for reading!

xo Graciamaria

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mixed and mingled

So I am currently working on releasing a couple new sites. (go big or go home right?) I am very excited but I just started so you won’t be hearing about this again until I am all done revising all of them and editing my heart out. Sad news: señorita gracia may no longer coexist with my blogs… but I do hope that all of you follow along for the ride and finish this journey with me. love you guys, thanks for keeping me blogging! You all have inspired me to take control! For now, here are my latest fashion and design finds all mixed and mingled for your viewing pleasure. ;) I need to do a better job at keeping sources with the photos I find, any tips and tricks??

xo GM

Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 8.52.50 PM makeitadoubleplease.com
Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 8.03.16 PM shelterness.com
Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.15.38 PM Swedish blog: my.metromode.se | I’m all over that effortless chic shit, love it
homepolish homepolish.com
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Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 12.03.08 PM stylebyemilyhenderson.com
Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 9.20.09 PM allforfashiondesign.com | reminds me of panama city beach…
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Screen Shot 2014-03-20 at 8.05.01 PM solnaaguafria.blogspot.com
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~catch you later!

you deserve to sleep with coziness

These are a few bedrooms that I love dearly and that have inspired the design of our new bedroom in July.

Hope you enjoy xo Gracia

My all-time favorite inspiration– Emily Henderson’s brilliant color combination

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Can never have too many flowers

I have been so busy with my interview and sample work that I feel so bad I have been putting my own blogs on the back burner. But I’ll be back soon– maybe after my birthday tmrw– feeling weird as I approach the big 2-0. Is it that big of a deal? I’m no longer a “teenager”… did I ever feel like one? All I know is it’s the start of my 20s and for that I couldn’t be more excited. It has been a good year. Going to Leonardo’s tonight with my parents. (how different birthdays are once you leave home, I like it better now, making an effort to spend time with family) Follow on IG @graciairish  Screen Shot 2014-03-17 at 11.50.45 AM xoxo G

Oozing over from West Elm

Went on a little “let’s go look” trip to West Elm while I was in Miami this past week. All I have to say is I went a little crazy thinking about how great our apartment would look with so many new, expensive (unfortunately) things and additions. So here goes, and I’m back to studying, hope you are all having an awesome week!.. peace

xoxo G

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Feminist, but you don’t know it

This blog post got me thinking. The recurrence of feminism posts in my feed and while I was browsing my normal sites made me realize I’m not the only who still thinks about feminism. I think a lot of the misconceptions of being a feminist are fueled by a misunderstanding of what feminism is today– or should embody. I believe women should be stronger (read: more confident) in their role as women; that we should embrace what it is to be female and stop being anti-male, that shouldn’t be the point. It is detrimental for the women movement to get on their high horse and start hating on men. Being a woman is great! We are emotional, we are more nurturing, we can be more cautious and these characteristics obviously play out in the workplace– and there is nothing wrong with that! Having males to bring balance in our lives is great, I sure appreciate the males in my life. Bringing balance to a man’s life is great for them too! Can we agree on that? There is balance in all things in life– including gender roles. I realize not everyone has lived in my shoes and that we may have different perspectives on being supportive of men and women, women and men– but the men in my life have never made me feel any less than a male person– even though there is a lot of stereotyping in my family. In regards to stereotypes in my family, that is probably why I feel so strongly about gender roles in society. I know that my thoughts and actions are a grain of salt, but they are one more grain of salt defining modern and future society.

Now, there are certain semantics still present in society, there are certain expectations of women that fall short in suggesting equality in their connotations, but these fallbacks do not exclusively apply to females. They apply to those who do not identify with one sex, those who do not identify with one race and anyone else who doesn’t seem to fit the norm of society. Think about the controversy that surrounded super bowl commercials– the fact that they got that much attention proves that this nation as a whole has not accepted the idea that the United States is no longer only a white person’s turf and that ‘America’ is not synonymous with ‘white person’ nor the English language. If we continue to do what we have been doing, which is working hard and believing in ourselves, progress will continue. Believing that the opportunities in the world are there for males, females, and everyone in between. I believe women are just as capable of Doing as men are, and vice versa.

I know a lot of people have their own opinion on how they see gender roles. I personally love putting my apron on and baking a cake, and I know that my man loves making a cheesecake, with or without an apron. I can also tell you I hate turning the light off at night, if I hear weird noises he knows I’m not getting up to check what it is. I also know I love seeing myself behind a beautiful desk typing away on my computer, being creative and working on my career every day, getting an education, and living life as a feminist and equal human being in this world–not above or below any male. So, how I define feminism? (You are welcomed to disagree with me as much as I am willing and able to disagree with you.) Feminism is women empowering other women. Proving to each other that we can do more than cook, clean and raise children; and, that men are equally able to (and should) learn to do these things. Proving to ourselves that both women and men can cook, clean, raise children, AND have successful careers if we learn to share responsibilities evenly with our partner. Feminism, to me, is valuing our contribution to society as women not women-trying-to-be-men. (I think remaining sexy and womanly is a big part of our identity as women.) The best way to improve our position is if we start improving and developing our own mindset. At one point or another, change is inevitable and I think we are at the point where how we define the word ‘feminism’ is changing for the better. Women of today are not as furious as women were when feminism surged, when Miss America protests occurred, and voting rights were being reestablished. This is allowing women to explore their thoughts on feminism, to redefine the boundaries of feminism. If you feel upset enough to protest you should kindly go a read-up on how women were viewed and treated prior to today. I have no factual basis for the following, but from observing the modern woman of today, there are not that many women who kick and scream over not being able (it not being socially acceptable) to wear trousers even if they hate skirts and high heels. So are women steering away from the word ‘feminist’ because we no longer identify with the past meaning of it? Are we content with our current position in society? Or, are we waiting for the definition of the word ‘feminist’ to make a more progressive move towards encouraging ‘women empowering women– and encouraging men to do the same’?

Just so that you don’t kill me with words and disagreement, I would like to say that at this moment I truly believe in my words and thoughts. As time passes and I really dip my feet in the workforce, my expectation is that my opinion on female-male gender roles will not be corrupted. Although I am not going into a corporate hellhole after college and I don’t anticipate having to climb any ladders to make more money. JK! I like decorating homes, in case you didn’t know, so it is probable that I will be climbing lots of ladders in my lifetime. To do things like drill holes for curtain rods and painting walls. I don’t mind getting my nails dirty. It is unfortunate that inequality in the workplace is still very much present, but so is inequality in terms of races and sexual orientations; but we all have to be aware that good progress is being made and stop complaining over men not opening the door for you. I am very happy knowing I am a feminine being that not only feels no limitations as to what I can achieve with my career but I also do not feel 100% obligated to be responsible for future child rearing and household maintenance. 

Sincerely, feminist college student

P. S. (Ellen Page’s words in “The F-word: Then and Now”: very true!) | Men and women opening doors for each other is simply…. Polite. Women you are not entitled to getting doors opened for you simply for being a woman.

{PAUSE} goodmorning

graciamaria.com

{Goodmorning}

It has been a true pleasure sharing my daily muses with you all, really. Blogging keeps me motivated, has helped me become more disciplined-except when it comes to getting to that 8am class, I’m still struggling with that one! I have explored being more creative and in the process I have gained a group of people who behind their own computers have given me something to be proud of- proud of being a blogger. Even if some days it feels like talking to myself- which I happen to do all the time anyways! Blogging has made me say ‘Pause’, take your time in writing to the world wide web. I wanna know how blogging has changed you? How you feel when you are writing to the world? What has blogging inspired you to do? By the way, Graciamaria.com is married to SenoritaGracia, and we would really love it if you checked out our page- for all things home!

Blogging inspired me to start a home decor inspiration page, and now has inspired me to take a good look at my career. Let blogging continue to inspire everyone to simply DO.

xoxo G

{Guide to Micanopy, FL} Antiquing

Friday was the day I looked forward to all week. My agenda read “Micanopy Antiquing Today!!” Then I checked the weather Wednesday, and rain came down on my parade, but being the determined person that I am, I defied mother nature and grabbed my umbrella. Weather turned out to have some 5 minute long no-rain periods, which was great for going from shop to shop down the self proclaimed “Antiques Capital of Florida”.

Exit 374 off of I-75 and the excitement begins. Only 8 miles South of Gainesville, FL.

{finds}

  • Right down the road before reaching the strip- Micanopy Thrift Shop M-Sat 10am-6pm Sunday 1pm-6pm

I really enjoyed the owner’s personality! It is much smaller than the Antique Mall but sometimes that ends up being much better. I found the fiercest letter opener and the most delicate croquette (photo at the end of post). Had very unique, random things!

Not sure I consider this one an antique shop -I don’t- but it is one adorable shop, and smells like the best soaps you have EVER smelled. They had the cutest (of all the stores) ‘Wish List’ card for you to write notes while you shop! (see photo) What got my attention the most in this quaint shop was the amount of white laced linens available, and I found my vintage knobs the cheapest here!! They are new that look old.. but they’re new.. for less money than the old scratched ones.. I don’t know, it made sense for me to buy a brand new pair for $8.75 ea, yes $8.75, rather than an old mismatched pair for $20ea at Smiley’s. I was glad I didn’t impulse purchase these because I had been looking for the right ones for a while now. *Patting myself on the back 2014-02-21 13.46.36

I wish I would have walked out with: more knobs, light switch plates & lace hankies! I also loved the way they package the small bunches of fresh lavender they sell, but they were $16 each- ain’t nobody got money for that! Overall, loved the shop-recommend it to anyone.

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  • Delectable Collectibles- lots of dishes, lots of jewelry.
  • Lost Ark Antiques- check every nook you might find something you absolutely adore. Lots and lots of dishes! And she had a really big linens collection, although I could not find a floral fabric that would suit my vision for a small window in our future apartment.
  • Robert’s Antique’s- features small trinkets like arrowheads and coins. You won’t find bone china or silver plated vases in this one!
  • The Shop -Huge variety of old fashioned knick knacks and ornaments up the ying yang. Very seasonal- there is a wall for 4th of july, Halloween, Christmas, a room for Easter, a room for beach themed accessories and outdoor stuff everywhere. These small mirrors caught my eye, though, as they hung simply in the hallway. 2014-02-21 14.33.56
  • Yellow building that faintly says Garage on it- I found the cutest little nutcracker here and the owner is fueling my obsession for paper bags! Definitely check them out. Apparently this shelf was full of nutcrackers during the holidays! They also had a nice variety of dishes, tools, furniture and books. 2014-02-21 14.22.25 2014-02-21 14.19.58
  • Micanopy Canopy- booths set up all with their own flare but none with a lot of spark.
  • The Outpost- another booth set up. Large place with few things- they did have some cool Native American leather and this trunk! I loved the fresh smell of wood when I walked in! 2014-02-21 14.02.43
  • Leonardo’s Antiques- I found a few shelves of dishes and huge racks of guitars and instruments! If you are a music junkie- this is the place for you.
  • House of Hirsh Too Antiques- not visited
  • Savino Antiques- is not directly on the strip, it’s further down Cholokka Blvd. I didn’t get a chance to visit this one either.

Final Notes: “Final Sale/No returns” buyer’s remorse not tolerated! & Not all shops are cool with photography- this I will never understand.. if anything I’m bringing awareness to your shop by liking that super adorable bronze truck that I wanted to put on Instagram.. won’t be going back to that one. (…and look I’m nice enough not to mention the shop’s name)

{What I actually bought}

Smiley’s: my new syrup pourer | Rose dessert plates from Bavaria Germany | gold, wooden horse bookends (need a fresh coat of loving paint-but I still think they’re fabulous!)

Micanopy Thrift Shop: “Letter Opener”/Knife & croquet circles

Garage: Nutcracker for $2.50..yes! I feel a new collection coming..

Dakota Mercantile: Knobs that will become curtain holders see vision here

DSC_0400 DSC_0409 Well guys, that’s about it! If you’re planning a trip to Micanopy I hope this helps out, as I did not find anything on the webski when I was looking for a guide in the blogosphere.

I’d like to take a quick moment of your time to encourage you to follow my home decor blog Graciamaria.com and my Facebook page- if you haven’t already!! Also be sure to follow me on Instagram @GraciaIrish!! Hope you all have a great Monday, thanks for reading!!

Minimalist, Black & Gray Dining

I’m in the process of creating this light fixture! This FRIDAY I will be going to Micanopy (if you don’t remember what my Micanopy list is). I’m super excited- I’m hoping for a treasure-hunt-all-day sort of day! I will be sure to let you in on the fun! (Follow me on instagram @GraciaIrish). While in Micanopy I’m hoping to find metal lamp shades like these! Soon I’ll be doing a post on “Non-existent dining rooms  in tiny spaces”. xoxo Gracia

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{Cooking con Gracia} Chocolate Pancakes & This Week with Gracia…

Hello lovely lovely readers! This week with Gracia: amid my stressing out over an internship interview I wanted to share how I made these delicious chocolate pancakes for Valentines Day!(which I forgot to put away before leaving to Miami- sad face) Also, remember the milk frother I bought on Amazon last week? (Bonjour milk frother) turns out it was a huge flop and defective… another sad face. Also, this FRIDAY I will be going to Micanopy (if you don’t remember what my Micanopy list is). I’m super excited- I’m hoping for a treasure-hunt-all-day sort of day! I will be sure to let you in on the fun! (Follow me on instagram @GraciaIrish) Well I guess I should get back to a) planning a or a few home projects to b) have more ‘design work’ for this interview. Happy thoughts Happy thoughts everybody xoxo Gracia

{Cooking con Gracia}

Makes: 10-12, 5-6 in round pancakes

What you’ll need:

griddle | baking sheet | electric mixer | spatula | silicone spatula |

  • 1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • dash of salt
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 2 cups buttermilk or milk
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp of pure vanilla
  • cinnamon to sprinkle
  • PAM spray
  • maple syrup

1. Preheat oven at 200˚F

2. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and dash of salt in large bowl. In another small bowl, mix the egg YOLKS, buttermilk, vanilla, cinnamon and 4 tbsp of butter until blended. Now add egg yolk mixture to the flour mixture and with electric mixer mix until evenly blended.

3. Preheat griddle at medium heat.

4. In another large bowl, with cleaned electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form when the beaters are lifted. Gently fold the whites into the batter with silicone spatula until no white streaks remain.

5. Pam your griddle surface to prevent any sticking. Then, with a 1/2 cp measuring cup spoon out batter onto griddle. Watch until bubbles begin to form evenly throughout the surface flip your pancake over.

6. Place on baking sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat!

Halfway through your batter, pancake production thing you’ll have going on, start warming up your maple syrup in any pourer/dispenser. I put my maple syrup in the oven with my pancakes in a glass container.

That’s it! You should end up with light and feathery pancakes while still being able to taste the egg. bon appetit.

Greenery: something every home should have!

I’m such a sucker for greens and lush ivy!

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{Miami-bound} traveling comfy & with a good read

Happy Valentine’s Day folks!! This year Vday proved to be eventful and thrilling. My sister in law and her new fiancè have endured 8 years of love and respect, and I could not be HAPPIER for them! I can’t wait for the celebration and madness to begin. <3 So although our trip to Miami was planned, this weekend just got that much better! Right now I’ve got the highway beneath me and good read in my lap, and I’m anxious to get to Miami already. Stay tuned through Instagram @GraciaIrish!! I made my love some chocolate pancakes this morning so Valentine’s Day could take off with a good start! Catch you later loves xo G

I’ll put the pancake recipe up next week, come back soon!

What I’m wearing:

  • Cardiwrap from BCBGMax here 
  • Leggings from BCBGen similar here
  • Wire cuff pyramid bracelet BCBG see this post
  • Flats from Forever 21 here

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Is it baby season yet?

Everytime someone I know announces ‘Baby [insert last name] due [insert due date]’ my heart gets way too excited and starts to pump blood faster than ever! Why? Because anything baby makes me baby crazy, even though baby years are far from today, just to be clear. So in honor of my beautiful hair stylist, Meghan, finally announcing her bundle of love to world. Here are the cutest nurseries and nursery inspiration found in 3 hours of obsessing about babies!

Things to remember about your new nursery:

  • Get rid of noisy hinges i.e. closet doors, entry door
  • You will be spending a lot of time here. Be sure it makes YOU feel just as comfy as baby.
  • Find a place for everything, no piles on the floor
  • Think relaxing and cozy not neon and out-burts of colors on each wall- that’s gonna stress you out!
  • Consider putting a twin bed or chaise in your nursery, in addition to a rocking chair, if space allows

And I’ll close this is ABSOLUTELY perfect and adorable baby photo.

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Gift card well spent | BCBG and Breckelle’s

Hello peeps, HAPPY HUMP DAY, hope your week has been GREAT! These are my recent buys and muses. I sure am excited for our weekend in Miami.

If you haven’t liked my Facebook page yet, yesterday was a good time to start :) You will receive notifications of all Señorita Gracia and Graciamaria.com blog posts. Also, this weekend will be a big Instagram weekend in Miami. I’m hoping to catch the beach or a bike ride with my love. Join me @GraciaIrish for fun!  

LOVE these pave pyramid bracelets from BCBG Max Azria.  They work perfectly with my Pandora bracelet. [Also, painted my nails last night woo woo!]

 

 

Also check out these cute flats from Breckelle Shoes, found them on Amazon for $24, steal.  You will see these around ;)

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Random item: Milk frother by Bonjour for an amazing $10. Will be experimenting with my lattes now!

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Alrighty, that’s it for my wallet today :/ Well actually it was a gift card.. so guilt-free shopping. AND getting it all by Friday, gotta love Amazon Prime.

Share your recent steals and bargains with me! Can always have a good conversation about shopping.

Stay classy mi gente xoxo Gracia

{Cooking con Gracia} Chicken Toasty Deliciousness

This is not a quick recipe my friends, but it sure is a delicious and new one. (to me at least!) What the heck is a chicken tostada? I totally made up that name, in Honduras they are called Enchiladas but I just did an enchilada post and they look nothing like this… but hey, that’s how Latin@s roll! What you’ll need: [Things in my pantry]

  • Natura’s Ranchera Sauce (basically a seasoned tomato paste)
  • Maggi Consome (chicken bouillon cube- need 2 packets/cubes)
  • Garlic Powder- just to sprinkle

[Other]

  • (3) boneless, skinless chicken breast marinated in…
  • Badia Mojo Marinade
  • Corn Tostadas
  • (15 oz.) Classico Sun-dried Tomato Alfredo Sauce
  • (10 oz.) Vigo  Yellow Rice
  • (1) (15 oz.) can of Goya Black Beans (or your fave beans, or no beans… whatever floats your boat! They are hearty on iron though.)
  • (optional) Chicken Broth- see step 1
  • (optional) Sour cream to garnish- see last step

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1. Big Pot: Fill with water (or chicken broth) until chicken breast are submerged. Add 2 packets of Chicken Bouillon. Bring to boil. *You may want to butterfly your breast to make them thinner thus faster to cook.

2. Medium Rice Pot: Add 2 cups of water. Add 1/2 packet of Chicken Bouillon. Bring to boil. *Don’t add the packet of rice until water is boiling. *Another rice tip: don’t ever add cold/not boiling water to your rice if you see it hasn’t cooked thoroughly, always boil it before adding to your pot. 

3. Small Bowl: Make sauce to set aside. Mix 1 part Sun-dried tomato alfredo pasta sauce with 2 parts Natura’s Tomato Paste Sauce. 

4. Place in toaster oven covered with a piece of tin foil until you are ready to use it- 350* should do. Like this…

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Let’s keep going!

5. Your waters (both) should be boiling by now, if not, once they are… Empty packet of rice in water, stir for 1 minute to allow the seasoning to blend well. Add chicken breast to the other (large) boiling water pot.  Now we wait!

6. Skip to chicken being nice and soft, thoroughly cooked. Shredding method I use. I take each piece and criss cross through it with 2 forks. As you shred, place chicken in medium mixing bowl.

7. Check on the rice make sure the top center rice is soft, if not, add boiling water.

8. Prep pan for beans, add the can of beans sprinkle with garlic powder. Don’t turn the burner on yet

9. Keep shredding. Once you are done with that, add the delicious sauce you’ve been cooking up this whole time.

10. Blend well with chicken make sure it all gets that yummy taste.  Top with more Natura’s sauce and sour cream  if you want!

Guess what guys, besides doing the dishes.. we are done!

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bon appetit xo Gracia

Don’t Fret: that was my V*day test to you..

To see if you knew V*day is in fact NOT in 2 days… but FRIDAY! If you noticed.. you passed.

So, I’m gonna pull together a few tips on how to make this Valentines day a bit more memorable. Instead of making a big purchase.. a watch.. jewelry.. handbag why not spend that cash on actually DOING something while avoiding blowing up your wallet.

Kick boxing? Who doesn’t love a good workout?  A lot of people don’t… but if you guys are into it that’s great! Check Groupon for great deals #savemoney

Dinner for two? So easy and fun to just stay home in next to nothing with 2 aprons on and get cookin’!! How about chicken parmesan, or Red Lobster’s shrimp scampi? OR eat dinner out and save the night for dessert making. It is way too easy to find delicious recipes online to suit both of your taste buds. For all recipes I have posted on this blog, look for the category ‘Cooking con Gracia’. You would be surprised where cooking can lead you to.. Just don’t forget the flowers and wine!

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Get creative with your gift! No need for same old same old.. unless you have a cute tradition which is perfectly cute. Try browsing Etsy and Shoppe by Scoutmob, although by now you’ll be paying for that express shipping cost you.. you.. procrastinator!! Here are a couple that I have stumbled upon:

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If you are not into the whole Valentine’s craziness.. these are good options to avoid being that boyfriend/husband who completely ignores Valentine’s day! Deep down she probably want to do something!!  You have to eat dinner.. you should workout (every one should).. so why not make it romantic and meaningful on that day that everyone has denoted the ‘day of love’?

Give it a try!! Come on!! Think of the things you both do normally and just spice those things up this friday! Would love to hear any valentines day tragedies and love stories!

Happy Monday, G

Oh, and if you are going for brownie points.. I would ditch the gift card..

{Cooking con Gracia} Enchilada this quick recipe

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This is where you start mi gente. 

These are the magical spices…I know its a lot but a balance of them all create a perfect blend. We are cooking 2 Lbs. of meat here; do not use more than 1/4 tbsp of each spice in your mixture. You will have left overs. That is a 19 oz can of enchilada sauce and a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes. In the back: Adobo all seasoning with the red top and garlic powder. 

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Let 1 whole onion (diced) and all spices simmer in medium heat until approximately half way cooked. DSC_0355

Add: Ground beef or turkey. Add: Enchilada sauce and diced tomatoes. (looks like fat, it’s not, its deliciousness) Add and Top with: four cheese blend shredded inside and out because we like food beautiful inside and out!! & some more saucey saucey!! DSC_0360

 

And that’s it!! Hope you enjoyed another quick recipe with me! If you have any questions… comment in that section below that’s calling YOUR name.

xo, Graciamaria

Gainesville meets my Go-to Outfit

Gainesville has some real charm to it, at certain times you just need to know how to find it! So, the other day I wanted to feel that downtown charm of Gainesville and took a walk. The story behind and the transformation of the Lunchbox Cafe is a cute one with a little effort of research. Found here. It sure has come far!

This also inspired me to name my signature outfit. You know that outfit that never lets you down? We all have one and I found similar ones while perusing Pinterest! (see below) All together these things make me feel so me. What makes you feel like you? An outfit, a place, a combo?

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From the blog Atlantic-Pacific Isn’t she adorable? I’d trade the denim for chambray though- too hot up in here. BCBGen has a great chambray!

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Makes me wanna get a coffee and write in my journal for 3 hours.

xoxo, G

kitchens that make you want to put an apron on

These lights are surprising very easy to put together! I love the white tile, nothing more lovely than simplicity. f187f2dff88dd841099e57f10f52ac9f via

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This is the top contender right now for the cabinets in the new apartment!
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How cute is that tin trash bin? Makes me think of Sesame Street.  Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 2.35.08 PM

Loved what this kitchen inspired so much it got its separate post here
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Let’s talk about our work station!

I have been working hard to give us a decent place here at home for us to do our work.. so far, nothing worth writing about, as I eat and write on the same table.. Space is so limited right now! I absolutely LOVE this chair! I believe, not sure, this is an Emily Henderson design photo. P.S. that mug sparked my obsession with gold! xo, Gracia

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this kitchen is doing something special with me right now

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ource: Lonny.com > Red Cover

I am moving into a new apartment this summer and I could not be happier. This is the first apartment that JT and I will have chosen together, after looking through dozens of apartments, this one will be even more special than our first and current apt. So I have obviously been drooling over every picture of anything home. That flower pot would have roses though. I have been experimenting with my tastes in different textures and the big picture lately.. just learning something new every day. To follow along with my apartment journey go here!

I’m getting super interested in opening a cafe in Downtown Gainesville, so this stainless steel meets homey kitchen is hitting the right note for me.

Any tips from cafè owners? I would love to hear from you.

Here are some more lovely homes I have stumbled upon lately. (You can also see all of my home inspiration on my Pinterest account)

Have a good weekend guys!! xo, Gracia

Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 2.34.03 PM via Lonny.com
Screen Shot 2014-01-31 at 2.34.38 PM via DesignSponge

 

Hey humpday!! Tiny Bathroom Under $50, say what?

This weekend I was knee-deep in paint, polyurethane, and jamming to Pandora in yoga pants!! The client? my parents! This is the bathroom that saw me through bad hair days, 3 hour long homecoming hair, and beyond; so it was only natural for me to want to re-do this poor bathroom. And yes, I painted this in highschool! gah, it’s hard to admit that haha

{Before}

Note: the bleached painted near the sink and the handwritten words above the shower.

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{After}

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{Wall: Olympic Winter Wheat A17-2 in eggshell (I have done semigloss in this room and I don’t like it) | Cabinets: Olympic Elegant Evening D52-6 in Satin (but with the polyurethane, it really doesn’t make too much of a difference)} DSC_0311_Fotor DSC_0301_Fotor DSC_0351_Fotor DSC_0349_Fotor

| Wood for shelving $ 7 | Shelf brackets $2 | Paint $34 |

Granted, common supplies did not need purchasing like paint rollers, sticks, brushes, trays, polyurethane, drop cloths, etc. but our Lowe’s receipt was for $43!

This project included repainting the cabinets which make a HUGE difference, the much needed shelving (which my dad and I crafted together) and obviously the salmon meets peach walls had to go! It took a good 2 coats plus touch-ups to get the cabinets just right, followed by poly.

Tip: The first thing I did (and will start doing before any paint job!) was paint the whole ceiling edge in white to get a nice, clean canvas.

Tip: Placing a trash bag over your toilet will let you paint the back wall without stressing. But don’t try flushing your toilet- it wont work-trust me. It was a great weekend! I really enjoy this stuff and I hope you do too, after all this is your home! If you find yourself struggling on where to start with a project, make a list, do your research, and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

I will be putting up my new design board, yes it is January and we don’t move into our new apartment until.. July 31st haha! That’s just how I am.. If you are wanting some inspiration for your next home project check out Graciamaria.com or my recent post on projects for your home here.

I’m making Enchiladas tonight by the way! Stay tuned if you wanna know how Gracia makes hers!

Gracias (thank you) mis readers!! xo, Gracia

I haven’t forgotten you! (sneak peek ;)

Hope you are all having a great weekend! Enjoying the days off if you’ve got them!!

Here is barely a sneak peek of what’s taking up my blogging time right now! Stay tuned, I am excited to see the before and after with you!! xo, GM

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{Cooking con Gracia} Chocolate much?

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{Cooking con Gracia} Chocolate much?
This blog post is not so much about the recipe.. I used Duncan Hines ‘Devil’s Food’ added natural, sugar cane, unprocessed, delicious sugar and about a teaspoon of vanilla. That’s it, mi gente. I prepped the strawberries first: wash, dry, & using Baker’s chocolate melted in the microwave for 1 minute (if you burn the chocolate, scrap it start over, unfortunately). Then the cakes. Mixmixmix, cut them in layers, let it cool. I put peanut butter in one (MY FAVORITE!), TOWERED the next with 3 layers of chocolate on top of chocolate (MY FAVORITE!), and the last doesn’t have a layer but I poured on a pound of gooey deliciousness (uhh MY FAVORITE!!!). Add: confectioner’s sugar, walnuts, chocolate dipped strawberries. I just had so much fun garnishing these little cuties! there is no way I could keep myself from sharing.

Hopefully this has inspired you to create some deliciousness yourself!! Let me know how it goes! If you have any questions, please ask ;)

Deliciously, xo Gracia

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New Year!

Ahhh January 1st 2014, welcome.

I’m gonna start focusing with my next post “To make you love your home in 2014…”

xoxo, Graciamaria a warm hug to all my readers, thank you for being you hope your holidays were MORE THAN PERFECT!

{Las 12 Campanadas- Cathedral de Comayagua, Honduras }

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{Honduras} Saying Goodbye to 2013!!!

Dearest 2013,

You were very good to me. Thank you for that.

Every year I write a letter to myself reviewing the ups and downs of the year and every year I fill a calendar with the things I want to achieve and the places I want to go to in the brand new year up ahead. At exactly midnight my family will light up a big handmade doll full of fireworks and pieces of paper with all the things each of us want to burn away from 2013. We will eat grapes, give hugs and love. I want to know what you want in your new year! Let it be a new business, where you want to travel, what you want to improve! Let’s talk about it. Verbalize what you want, make your wants a priority in your life. I never make resolutions because I never keep them; instead I detail the things I want, I make plans of HOW I will get what I want and then I do what I want. Let’s make some changes starting now.

Here’s to the new year, wishing you all the best from Comayagua Honduras. Talk to you next year! xoxo, Gracia

Upcoming posts: {Honduras} Cooking con Gracia :) Arroz con Leche

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finishing off another year! stay classy mi gente

1530301_10201231429530015_1799789537_n We have had a GREAT time in Honduras! Plans keeping me busy and limited internet has kept me from you, my lovely readers, but soon I will return. Hope you all have had fabulous holidays! I wish you all the best and that you enjoy your time off and spend it with family.

xo, Gracia

{Honduras} Living life

Introducing {Honduras} the start of a new series on the blog to document what I expect to be one of the best winter vacations! Filled with love, family, and for you, blog posts. I will be missing part of my family this holiday season but next holiday season will come fast! xo, GM Happy Saturday!

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{This is my love with his little brother} DSC_0008

Cooking con Gracia :) Chocolate Bread Pudding

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Gracia’s Chocolate Bread Pudding
Makes 12 servings

Prep: 30 minutes
Bake: 25-35 minutes

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 3 cups broken up challah bread or other sweetbread [I used 1 whole Panettone loaf (Publix) during the holidays but usually use a braided loaf]
  • 1 (5.3 ounce) package Ghirardelli Milk & Caramel Squares Chocolate, broken or the bar version (not individually wrapped) of the same chocolate
  • 1 (8 oz) bag of semi sweet chocolate chips or chunks
  • 2 king size bar of Special Dark Hershey’s chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups (3/4 of a pint) half-and-half, light cream, whole milk, or evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of coffee extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons coffee-flavor liqueur (optional A MUST!) Disaronno does a great job!

For chocolate sauce

  • 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup half-and-half, light cream, or whole milk

The simpler version ingredients:

  • Non-stick cooking spray
  • 3 cups broken up challah bread or other sweetbread [I used 1 whole Panettone loaf (Publix) during the holidays but usually use a braided loaf]
  • (1 bottle each) Caramel sauce & chocolate fudge sauce–the same ones you use on ice cream
  • 2 king size bar of Special Dark Hershey’s chocolate
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups (3/4 of a pint) half-and-half, light cream, whole milk, or evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon of coffee extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons coffee-flavor liqueur (optional A MUST!) Disaronno does a great job!

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly coat your choice of ramekins, 9 x 13 pyrex or espresso cups for a nice individual look with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Place bread cubes/small pieces and  Hershey’s chocolate into prepared cups. Tuck pieces of Ghirardelli Squares, and more Hershey’s Chocolate into each cup (simple version: pour caramel sauce and chocolate syrup all throughout the dessert. I f you are using mugs make sure you get caramel/chocolate in the bottom layers).

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the 3 eggs, the 1-1/2 cups half-and-half, the 1/4 cup sugar, the vanilla, coffee liquor and cinnamon. Slowly pour milk mixture over bread and chocolate squares, allowing the bread to soak up the egg mixture, the longer the better, if you have the time let it soak overnight.

3. Place filled cups in a shallow baking pan, if needed. (Ramekins/Pyrex can be placed directly in the oven.) Bake, covered, about 25 minutes or until tops are puffed and a knife inserted near centers comes out clean then bake for 5 more minutes uncovered to get a crusty top. (But, don’t mind the ooey gooey chocolate that might slip by on your knife!) Cool in cups for 5 minutes. Keep in mind every oven is different and the type of pan you are using will affect the baking times. Example:  if you are using a Pyrex you might need more baking time than a mug would, the best thing to do is keep an eye on it. When its puffed up but not oozing with the egg mixture than it’s ready.

4. Meanwhile, for the chocolate sauce, in a small heavy saucepan, heat and stir the other 1/2 cup  Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips and the butter over low heat. Add the 1/3 cup sugar; gradually stir in the 1/4 cup half-and-half; stir to dissolve the sugar. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Boil gently over low heat for 6 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Cool slightly. Serve sauce over puddings.

 

I have used many different types of breads with this recipe (Pillsbury biscuits, Pillsbury cinnamon roll dough, braided egg bread.. a mix of these and Pannetone.. I don’t have a favorite!) and I encourage you to experiment with the flavors and see which one you like best!

xo, Gracia Happy Hump Day! 

By the end of the week I will be done with exams and in Honduras and look forward to sharing with you my vacation filled with new places and delicious Latin holiday foods!! Stay tuned!

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Cooking con Gracia :) Carrot Cake

DSC_9888 Gifted to my very best friend! xo, Graciamaria

Gracia’s Carrot Cake 

Makes 1 – 9×13 inch cake

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 3 cups grated carrots
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

{For Frosting }

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts to garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch pan.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, white sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla. Mix in flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in carrots. Fold in walnuts. Pour into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely
  4. To Make Frosting: In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Stir in chopped walnuts. Frost the cooled cake and package with love. 

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Continuing our December on the right foot!

This is my baby, Gia Milan.. She is a lovey dovey spoiled little princess. She says nice to meet you too!

Photo on 12-1-13 at 11.10 AM #3 - Version 2 Have a nice day! xo, Gracia and Gia