I started reading Alaina’s blog, Live Creating Yourself about a year ago and was instantly charmed by Alaina’s sweet, easygoing personality. She is the type of girl that you could chat with for hours. Alaina works as a graphic designer in Chicago and muses daily on her love of interior design, fashion, and travel. It’s no wonder I enjoy her blog!
The history, the architecture, the cities, the clothes, the music, the food, the wine, the Riviera, the chic women, the sexy men, the language. I love anything French, and I find myself dreaming of my next trip to Paris every. single. day. I cannot imagine life without French culture inspiring me day in and day out.
Sure I'd love a certain $5000 couch, but since that isn't happening any time soon, I can keep on doing what I do best, and that's decorating on a budget. My apartment was almost entirely furnished with items I bought on Craigslist, thrift stores, or Ikea. Fortunately, flea markets, resale shops, and garage sales are some of my favorite places to be on a Saturday afternoon; and finding the perfect whimsical accent or a piece of furniture in need of some DIY TLC gets me excited likes it's nobody's business.
I believe traveling is the best thing a person can do for themselves. You will learn so much more about a culture by experiencing it than you'll ever learn from reading about it. More importantly, you grow as a person by taking yourself out of your comfort zone and trying new things. Last year I trekked around central China - the part of China no one ever visits - and I ended up hiking a mountain, sleeping in a Buddhist monastery, and eating duck blood. True story. I can now say with certainty that I hate hiking, have a new appreciation for budget hotels, and prefer French cuisine. But I would have never known for sure had I not tried the alternatives.
Jane Austen, J.K. Rowling, Nora Ephron, Helen Fielding, Charlotte Bronte, Stephanie Meyer, Elizabeth Gilbert, Philippa Gregory, Jane Green - just a few of my favorite female authors and screenwriters whose work inspires my creativity, whose success motivates me, whose characters I feel like I've known my whole life, and whose stories prove that a good love triangle can bring a nation together. Or tear them apart depending on how you look at it... (Team Jacob!)
I love showtunes. I blame my mother for this addiction. I saw Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat for my 5th birthday. I saw Les Miserables and the Phantom of the Opera twice by the time I was ten. Fifteen years later, my iTunes library is chalk-full with songs from the Broadway classics and golden age of movie musicals - Singing in the Rain, anyone? Not to mention there was a period in high school when my friends wouldn't ride in my car in fear that the Newsies soundtrack would be in the CD player. It's a blessing and a curse, I tell ya.
I lived in London for 5 months and didn't hear thunder the entire time I was there. I love London. But that was the most depressing realization ever. Hey - I'm a Midwestern girl. I'm used to tornado drills in school and thunder so loud it hurts your ears. And every time I see a huge green orb on the radar, I get giddy, bunker down in my cuddlies, pop some popcorn, and wait.
Summer doesn't hold a candle to this time of year. First, not only do I get to wear my leather boots, sweaters, and scarves, but I don't have to worry about the 95 degree humidity causing sweat stains to show through my shirt (or bridesmaid dress, which actually did happen this summer). Second, this time of year revolves around the golden trifecta of holidays: Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. I mean, what's not to love? The costumes, the feasts; the changing leaves, the first snowfall; trick-or-treating, Christmas shopping; scary movies on repeat, Nat King Cole on the radio; Thanksgiving break, Christmas vacation; carving pumpkins, decorating the tree; the list goes on...
Chocolate chip cookies take me to my happy place. Again, I blame my mother for this addiction. Coming home from school to the smell of fresh baked cookies was a regular occurrence at my home. Sometimes I wish I had a time machine...
As much as I love to travel, nothing compares to coming home. It's the place I'm most comfortable, most happy, most myself. It's the place I can wear sweatpants all day, watch Meg Ryan movie marathons, sing Bette Davis Eyes at the top of my lungs, have fully detailed conversations with my dogs, dance around in my underwear to whatever song I love that day, take naps, try yoga for the first time without anyone watching, and sit at my computer for hours on end doing god knows what. It's home. And that's me. I'll be giving a lecture on how to be cool at Northwestern next month.
Thank you so much for including me, Paloma! This is one of my favorite blog series and it's an honor to be a part of it.