Sleepy Sundays | The one with a cold

I took this photo in Ontario on the shore of Lake Superior. This is where I wish I was right now.
I took this photo in Ontario on the shore of Lake Superior. This is where I wish I was right now.

Once again, I’m laying in bed, this time with a cup of hot chocolate nearly overflowing with whipped cream, and a nice sprinkling of cinnamon on top. It’s happiness in a cup, and happiness is what I need right now. Yesterday I intended to write and post a blog post, wash all the bed sheets, go to lunch with some friends, maybe see a movie, then have a relaxing evening at home, but sadly, the universe intervened. I ended up at home all day in bed with a pounding headache and a cold. Netflix was my only comfort as I stayed snuggled up in bed with blankets and pillows all around me. There weren’t enough tissues or cough drops in the world to help me. But I thought maybe I’d wake up this morning and be good as new, “maybe it’s a 24-hour thing” I told myself, but no, wrong again. If it’s possible, I feel even worse today. Achy all over, sneezy, sleepy, and all the other seven dwarfs too. Sick days are never fun, but they are especially crap when its the weekend, the only two days when there’s no work and you’re meant to be having a nice time before the dreaded Monday rolls back around. But instead of enjoying these past couple of days, I’ve been here, in this spot, on my bed, in these pajamas, making my way through the titles available to me on Netflix, going through two boxes of tissues, a half gallon of orange juice, and an endless amount of cough drops. Lemon Mint Ricola cough drops to be exact, my favorites. The only saving grace is when it’s time to take more NyQuil to have a little rest.

This is one of those times when a boyfriend would be nice. The time when I’d love to have someone to keep me company, play with my hair to make me feel better, have a Netflix binge with; someone that can just all around make me feel better and make me laugh through all the sickly feelings. But alas, all I have is a cat. An adorable cat, but a cat nevertheless. So I’ve just spent the morning with her, snuggled up, currently watching some chick-flick/romantic comedy films. Right now, I’m watching Midnight in Paris. For a book and travel loving daydreamer like me, this movie is absolutely perfect. I highly recommend you check it out!

My snuggle buddy and I. :)
My snuggle buddy and I. 🙂

I’ve noticed through this whole mess though, that I don’t have as many real friends as I thought I did. I mean, I know a lot of people, and call a lot of people friends, but as I’ve been bored and scrolling through my phone to find someone to text to keep me company, I realized that there aren’t very many people that I really want to talk to. I think it’s just strange how that happens. You can feel like you’ve got so many people that you feel close to, when really, there aren’t very many. And there was only one friend that I was really even interested in talking to yesterday; my best friend, but that’s a given. Seeing all of this has prompted me to think about who exactly I’m calling “my friends”. I’m not a kid anymore, I think it’s time to invest myself into building real friendships with people, meaningful ones. Maybe that’s why I’ve not found the right guy to date, because I’m not investing myself into finding the right people to be around? Who knows. All I know is that I want to focus more on the quality of the friends that I have, and less on the quantity. There’s not much use in having a whole bunch of “friends” when you can’t count on them to be there for you, and when you don’t even feel as though you want them there when you need them.

Well, I suppose I’ll bring this little post to an end, after all of that nonsensical rambling. I hope you are all having a much better weekend than I am at the moment, and here’s to hoping that this cold clears up soon. 🙂

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

P.s.- If you have any movie recommendations of things I could download, or anything that I should watch on Netflix while I’m cooped up in bed, please PLEASE let me know in the comments! 🙂 I’m running out of decent entertainment.

Growing Up

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I started yesterday off with a panic attack. I was so overwhelmed and worried and it came out of nowhere and hit me like a freight train. You know that feeling when you’re walking down some stairs and you miss the one at the bottom and think you’re falling for a moment, that feeling you get in your stomach and through the rest of your body, that deep fear? You know how it goes away instantly when you realize you’re not falling anymore? Imagine that feeling being intensified, and not going away; that’s what my panic attacks feel like. I feel like I’m drowning on land. It takes a little while to calm me down. I don’t have them often thankfully, typically my anxiety isn’t as intense as it is for some people, and I am usually able to keep it under control. But today I just couldn’t.

I don’t want to grow up anymore. When I was little, I wanted nothing more than to be older, and have that freedom that comes with age. But now I’ve hit the point where I fully understand that it’s a trap, and a big lie. There’s no freedom. There’s the vague idea of freedom, and you can almost reach out and grab it, but then reality knocks you back just an inch too far and it is completely out of grasp. I wish I could fly off to Neverland, and just spend my days with the lost boys and Peter Pan, dreaming and living life with no thoughts of fear of the future or longing for something that isn’t really a possibility.

All of this comes after submitting applications at offices for work. Real work. Not the nanny jobs that I’ve had for the past three years, not the silly little jobs I had before that; real, substantial, career building jobs, and that scares me like nothing else in this world ever has. I’m lucky to have the opportunities that I do, I’m lucky to be able to attend college, and to have a realistic possibility of getting a decent job, I know that. But the idea of growing up and doing all the things that adults have to do scares me because it makes me think that my dreams are going to die. It makes me think that my head will be pushed back under the clouds. It makes me think that the life I’ve always wanted to live will never happen, and that’s my biggest fear. I don’t want to end up like my parents, fighting to scrape by, just wishing for the day they can retire to come a little sooner. I don’t want my dreams to die. I want to be the one that makes it, the one that follows their heart all across the world, documenting each time a dream comes true with a pen, notebook, and a smile.

Being told about interview tips, business attire, presenting myself in the best possible light, selling my self to a company, making myself into the most “hireable” version of me that I can be; It all seems so… real. And I’m not ready for it to be real. Will I allow myself to be sucked in to the career-driven world of business? Will I lose who I am along the way? Will I no longer be known as the dreamer, the one who’s going places, the one that will never give up? No. I refuse to do that. I refuse to let this change in my life ruin anything. I am writing this post to make a promise to myself and to motivate myself: Never give up on your dreams. Work, and work hard. But make sure that you are working hard for a reason. Pin up photos of places you want to go. Save every spare dime. Remind yourself everyday why you are doing this. Never lose sight of the dream. You will explore the world. You will move to another country and start a life if that’s what you want to do. You will not settle for a life that you were never meant for. You will succeed. You will come out of this journey into adulthood as the same person you were before, maybe even a little better. You will always be a dreamer. You are going to go far in life.

With all of that said, I am determined not to lose myself in this new chapter in life. I will hold on to that innocence, that completely reckless optimism that I have inside me. I will keep dreaming, and keep believing that I will achieve those dreams, because in the end, I know that I am the only thing that can stand in my way. Here’s to hoping that we can all hold on to that piece of ourselves, and that the existential/quarter-life crisis that is inevitably heading my way in a couple years won’t break me, and won’t be too overly-dramatic. And here’s to hoping that said crisis will at least be a little entertaining to read about when I most assuredly post it on the internet for all of you to read.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Take Me Away | Kyoto

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Kyoto, Japan is somewhere that I’ve always wanted to explore. Through photographs and travel videos, it seems like such a beautiful place. I’d love the chance to walk through the streets with my own two feet, staring at all the colors around me and the shapes of the buildings through the lens of my camera, taking in all the sounds and the scents as I go. The hues of reds, greens, and golds look so vibrant and happy through the photographs I’ve seen. I’ve never been anywhere in Asia, and I feel as though Kyoto may be the first place that I go to begin all my plans of travel through the beautiful continent.

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The first place on my list that I think most everyone visiting Kyoto hopes to explore is the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Fushimi Inari is said to be the most important shrine honoring Inari, the Shinto god of rice, and is located in southern Kyoto. With the thousands of brilliant red colored arch ways, known as torii gates, it is instantly recognizable in photos and in person as you approach. The torii gates are perched over a maze of trails behind the main buildings, and all the trails lead into an absolutely amazing wooded area, known as the forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at nearly 765 feet tall (233 meters) and is an important part of the shrine grounds. The grounds are scattered with many small fox statues, which I recently learned is because foxes are considered to be Inari’s messengers. If you’re in it for the long haul with this visit, prepare for a trek lasting roughly 2-3 hours to make it to the summit of the mountain and back, but there are a lot of smaller sites and shrines to see along the way, and you are completely free to go up to whatever point you choose and head back down at any time. It is a truly beautiful and important place in Kyoto, and I will be more than grateful for the opportunity when I get the chance to see it myself. It is such an old and spiritual place, and we all know how much I love walking around and thinking about the history of a place, thinking of how many people set foot exactly where I’m standing, and how long ago they did so, its all just so incredible and mind boggling to me.

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This next place is actually a large touristy district in in the western part of Kyoto called Arashiyama, and though tourist traps aren’t always worth it, I would personally say that this one is. There is so much beauty to be seen here that I had to stop myself from adding dozens of photos above in an attempt to show it to you. Arashiyama is most visited in the cherry blossom and fall color seasons respectively, and there’s no wonder why. Just looking at photos of the trees and the colors online gives me such wanderlust. Along with the sheer beauty of the area, there are a variety of different places to see and experience in Arashiyama, and one of those places is one that appeals to me quite a bit; Iwatayama or Monkey Park. Once you arrive at the gorgeous overlook you’ll be greeted by a large number of monkeys hoping for a little snack from you, just waiting to have their photos taken, and once you’ve gotten over the shock and excitement of all the monkeys, you may want to take a minute to look at the incredible panoramic views you have before you of Kyoto down below. It is truly an incredible place that I hope to see, and it also seems like a nice bit of fun to have in between viewing the temples and shrines that you’ll see along the way. Another thing in Arashiyama that I’d love to experience is the Saga Scenic Railway that runs alongside the beautiful Hozu River. Although it only runs for a few miles, it only travels at a maximum speed of about 15 mph, so you have a lovely and relaxing 25 minute trip from Arashiyama to Kameoka to see the serene landscapes around you passing by slowly along the river. There are an abundance of temples throughout the area of Arashiyama, and Kyoto as a whole really, for you to visit and enjoy, some of the ones in this area include Tenryuji, Daikakuji, Jojakkoji, Nisonin, Goji, Adashino Nenbutsuji, and the Otagi Nanbutsuji Temple, just to name a few. The Otagi Nanbutsuji Temple is one that strikes my interests quite a bit in particular. After viewing the Adashino Nenbutsuji temple, you can walk another 10 minutes or so north to view this one, famous for the 1,200 stone statues of Rakan, the devoted followers of Buddhism, that each have a unique and different facial expression carved into them. My desire to see this particular temple is a bit out of character for me, as I usually go for the oldest things in the areas I visit, and these statues are relatively new, having been created in the 1980’s or so, but I think it is such an interesting and different thing and I just have to see it. There is so much more to see and do in Arashiyama that I haven’t even touched on here like boat tours along the river, the Saga-Toriimoto preserved street, the Bamboo Groves, and the Togetsukyo Bridge to list a few, and I strongly urge you to research this area to see so many more absolutely incredible things that you can visit before you book your trip.

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Next up is Nishiki Market. This market is in central Kyoto and is one long and narrow street spanning five blocks with over a hundred shops and restaurants for you to browse. As I’ve mentioned before in other posts, the main purpose of traveling and exploring for me is to learn. I want to learn about the culture, lives, language, and customs of every place I go, and there’s no better way to do it than to jump straight in head first, and a market as bustling and busy as this one is perfect for that. Nishiki Market is known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen” and encompasses all things food related that Kyoto has to offer like fresh seafood, produce, knives and other cookwares, and I’ve read that it is the best place in the city to find Japanese sweets, pickles, odd snacks, and sushi. I’m more than excited by the prospect of taking some time to walk down the lane, sampling the various foods and treats that Kyoto has to offer, and interacting with all the people wandering through each store along the way.

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Before I add too much and turn this post into a much longer one than I intended, I’ll get on to the last thing on my list to share with you; the Eikando Temple, formally known as the Zenrinji Temple. Eikando is famous for it’s absoultuely breathtaking colors and lights in the fall months. I am someone that finds Japanese architecture to be stunning. The shapes and details added to each piece with such care; its all just so beautiful, and there are a variety of buildings on these grounds for you to admire when you visit, along with ponds, bridges, and a neverending supply of trees and landscaping. It truly is a beautiful place, as is the theme here with the temples and sites within Kyoto. There is a never ending list of places and sights that I hope to explore within Kyoto, and when I am finally able to get there on my own, I plan to share every last one of them with you all.

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When I was young I didn’t have as big of an appreciation of the Asian countries as I do now. I never took the time to see the beauty and the culture there, I was always very Eurocentric. But as I’ve grown, I’ve become increasingly interested and enamored with everything that they have to offer in Asia. The Japanese culture is infinitely different from my own, and that is something that always intrigues me. How amazing is it that we have the ability to travel places in a matter of hours and be immersed in almost a completely different world, where the people, the language, the buildings, the weather, and everything really, is completely different from what you live through day to day. What an incredible time we live in.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Take Me Away | Krabi

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Next up, Krabi, Thailand. This is one of many areas in Thailand worth visiting in my opinion. As a place full of culture and customs far different from what I’m used to, it has always been high on my list, and the image above is just a taste of the beauty you will experience while there. Located in Southern Thailand, visiting the town of Krabi gives you the opportunity to see limestone cliffs, stunning and lush jungle areas, little islands floating off the shore in the Andaman Sea, and infinitely more. Prepare for the heat, pack your hiking boots and swimwear, and get ready to go on the adventure of a life time. I for one, can’t wait till the day I get the chance to jump on a plane with my backpack and my camera, ready to explore the beauty and life in Krabi.

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I hope this first place on my list captures your attention and helps to show you the sheer serene beauty that Thailand has to offer. Just imagine yourself here, on Railay Beach,  listening to the people and children playing in the water, while the hot Thailand sun beats down on you. Picture the sun slowly setting, the sound of the waves rolling onto the shore; can’t you see yourself laying on the beach, watching the sun setting steadily, with the islands and the cliff sides as the most amazing of frames? I’ve been able to picture myself in this scenario for the longest time, and am more than prepared for the day that I get to experience it for myself. Railay Beach is only accessible by boat, due to the towering cliff sides that surround it, but once you’re there, you will never have a moment of boredom. Aside from being a beach bum, you can always swim, go rock climbing, or even just go for a walk to explore the island. If the photos above haven’t convinced you to put Krabi on your list, I’m not sure what will.

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Next on my list is actually a mixture of two things; food and people. Thailand has a diverse array of both that I want to learn about and understand. I feel like exploring the local markets is one way to do both. Immersing yourself into the life of the place you are going is key when you truly want to learn about it. There’s only so much you can get from reading a book about something; to truly understand it, you must live it. My goal with travel is and always has been to learn about and understand the places that I am going. The food and the people are some of the most important things you can learn about in a country. I want to sit down, and have a conversation with someone. Maybe I’ll get lucky and find someone to translate for me, or maybe I’ll be fortunate enough to learn enough Thai to partake in a conversation on my own. One thing I am sure I can learn about is the food. There are endless markets and cooking classes available for people visiting Krabi, and Thailand in general. You’ll have the chance to learn how to make traditional Thai dishes, and you may even get the chance to learn about the people of Thailand in the process.

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Next up, is another spot of pure beauty, the Phi Phi Islands. This spot is most definitely a tourist destination, but it’s worth it. It takes approximately an hour by speed boat to arrive here, and there are numerous Thai Island tours that you can take to see the stunning views here, but I strongly suggest that you don’t pass it up. Most Phi Phi Island trips, at least the ones I would personally be interested in, are snorkeling trips. This allows you to jump into the ocean and explore what lies beneath along with the amazing Island tours and views that you will have. You can have the chance to explore places like Bamboo Island, Hin Klang, Maya Bay, Lohsamah Bay, Phi Phi Don, Hiking Cave (stunning, trust me), and Monkey Bay, just to name a few.

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This next one isn’t for the faint of heart. Wat Tahm Seua, or Tiger Cave Temple, is a Buddhist Temple that holds an intricate bunch of natural caves and an overgrown jungle at the top. It is a beautiful place, and if you can make it there, is a very spiritual and soulful place to experience. I say “if you can make it there” because to do so, requires you to climb 1,237 steep stairs of varying sizes and shapes up a mountain side in most likely the hottest and most humid weather you will ever experience. Don’t let that deter you, I know I won’t! You can always climb some stairs, and take a break. Take a few minutes to take in the views, to soak in your surroundings. Watch the monkeys wandering around you, hoping for some food from the various tourists that arrive each day (don’t get too close to them of course, they are still wild animals after all). One thing I can’t stress enough is don’t show up in a beach cover-up and flip flops and expect things to go smoothly, because they most assuredly will not. Bring plenty of water, a towel for the buckets of sweat that will come from places you didn’t even know could sweat, and your most comfortable and supportive pair of tennis shoes (or trainers, if that’s what they’re referred to as where you are from). It is said that a Buddhist monk by the name of Jumnean Seelasettho wanted to meditate in the caves on the mountain, and discovered tigers roaming the various twists and turns that are inside them, hence the name “Tiger Cave”, and it is well known for the tiger paw prints throughout the caves for you to see as you explore. If you choose to make the trek, as I surely will, you will be rewarded with some of the most amazing views, the chance to explore and view a Buddhist temple and memorial, see incredible 1,000 year old trees, and various Buddhist statues and shrines. I hope I will have the will power and the courage to make this daunting trip when I arrive in Krabi someday.

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There is so much more in Krabi that I want to see and experience; Khao Phanom Bencha National Park, Ao Thalane, Amari Vogue, the Emerald Pool, go kayaking and scuba diving, simply exploring the area with no destination in mind, and so much more. These “take me away” posts mean so much more to me than you may realize. They help me to visualize what I am working for, to put my dreams and goals into words and images, and they allow me to be my own inspiration. Too often I let myself be filled with self doubt and negative thoughts, but these posts help me find that positivity again, and help give me the right attitude towards life. If you have the wrong attitude in life, nothing will be able to help you achieve your dreams and goals. You have to stay inspired, stay determined, and stay motivated to continue on your journey in life, and these posts are helping me do that, I only hope they can do the same for a few of you.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Sleepy Sundays | Why do some men act like this?

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Here I am, once again laying in bed with a nice hot cup of tea, setting out to write down all the thoughts in my mind. This one however, is more difficult to write. I don’t know what words to use to express how I’m feeling right now. Let me preface this post by saying that I am a romantic person, a hopeless one at that. I love the whole concept of romance and love, and hope with every inch of me that I’ll be able to find that love and romance that so many others have managed to find. I want to find someone to grow with, to learn with, and to explore with. I do not however, need to find someone to complete me. I am complete all on my own. I don’t need anyone to be happy in life. I can be happy all on my own. I want to find someone that compliments who I am in that perfect way, that way that makes us each even better people together than we would be separately. I want someone that is kind, and adventurous. I want someone that isn’t afraid to dream. I want someone that isn’t afraid of being themselves. I know that I am not a perfect person. I have flaws like everyone else. I have a little too much fat hanging around on my body, I tend to over-think things in the simplest of situations, I can be passionate and overly emotional at times, and I have forever lived with my head in the clouds. But I have always, and will always be kind to anyone and everyone I meet, live my life with integrity, and take every opportunity for adventure that comes my way, and I hope that someday I will find a man that accepts me for who and what I am, and gives me the chance to do the same. With all these things running through my mind, I also find it important to say that I will never settle. Far too often these days, I hear family members and various other people commenting on my love life. Just last week I heard my mother tell someone that I’ve “simply given up on men and love”. But that’s just not the case. I have given up on something, but it isn’t love, and it isn’t men; I’ve given up on living my life to please other people, and I officially gave up on it last night at 11:57 pm.

Last night, I went on a date. A date that I only agreed to go on to please my family and friends. To show them that I haven’t given up and that I still want to find love. I do this every so often, when people seem to be getting antsy about me sitting in my room too often, or laying at the park with my nose in a book too frequently, and this time was no different. A friend of mine made a comment about my dating life in front of my mother, and it started this whole conversation between them about me, while I was sitting right in front of them. And by the end of it, they had convinced me to say that I would love to go out with my friend’s boyfriend’s brother. A blind date. A horrible blind date at that.

Yesterday was the day, and I did my best to stay positive about it, I even managed to get a bit excited about the prospect of meeting someone new and maybe hitting it off. It’s been nearly two years since I ended my last real relationship, and I guess I assumed that maybe it was time to take dating seriously again. That’s not to say that I haven’t gone on dates since I ended my relationship, I’ve gone on plenty, the issue here, is that they’ve almost all gone the same way this one did; horribly.

I got to the restaurant, after having made the whole effort that a girl is expected to on a date; hair, makeup, outfit, the whole thing. He arrived a bit later, and greeted me nicely, gave me a little compliment, all good things so far. It was only when we sat down at the table and started talking that I started to become increasingly upset and annoyed with the whole situation. The waiter arrived and my date didn’t bother to look at him, greet him, or do anything that common courtesy and manners would normally see as standard procedure for interacting with another human being. He was just quite cold about the whole situation. But I shrugged it off and tried to keep things going. I told him about school, and all the things I’ve been up to recently, and various other things that you talk about when trying to get to know another person, but he seemed to only want to talk about himself, mainly the things that he has or the things that he’s accomplished, nothing about who he was or the person that he hopes to be. Almost as if I should be impressed and appreciative that I was able to be sitting at the same table as him. I tried to ignore it and just kept going with the date. But then the worst part of the evening came. The waiter brought the food to the table, and everything went downhill. My date was apparently displeased with the service, or the food, or something, I’m still not sure what set it all into motion, but he started being incredibly rude to the waiter, saying that he didn’t know how to do his job and calling him various names that I can’t quite remember at the moment, then called the manager over and was rude to him as well. I was so embarrassed by the whole situation that I couldn’t manage to stay any longer. I complained of a stomach ache, ended the date early, and went home to get into my pajamas, eat some ice cream, and heal from the trauma that is “dating”.

My question for you is why do some men act like this? The majority of the dates I’ve been on lately have gone similarly to this. Is it me? Do I attract men with huge egos and issues with being nice? Is it just the fact that I live in a city in the middle of Midwestern America? Am I overreacting? The whole idea of dating is hard for me. I don’t like the idea of getting dressed up and trying to sell myself to another person, trying to show them all the good bits about me and trying to hide the insecurities that I have about my body and my looks. Its all just filled with so much pressure. So is that why these men that I’ve gone out with have acted like that? Because of pressure? Who knows. All I know is that after eating half a pint of ice cream and binge watching episodes of Friends, at 11:57 pm Saturday on the 23rd of May, I officially gave up on pleasing other people. The next date I go on, will be with someone that I truly want to go out with, someone that is interested in me for me, and someone that I have things in common with. I don’t care if it takes me months or years to find someone that I really want to go out with, or if I have to go to another country to find that person; I refuse to let myself fall into the trap of living my life to make everyone else happy or to fit in to the mold of what I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing with my life.

Maybe the person I am meant to be with is sitting somewhere in Europe or Australia or Canada, dreaming of finding a girl just like me. Maybe he’ll be the sort of man that is kind to the people around him. Maybe he’ll be a dreamer. Maybe he’ll want to explore the world with me. Maybe he will be perfectly imperfect, just right for me. Maybe he’ll be my happily ever after, wrapped in a bundle of silly conversations, morning snuggles, netflix binges, love that isn’t based on appearances, arguments that only last a moment, and a life time of adventures.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Take Me Away | Skagen

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The next place on my list is Skagen, Denmark. This absolutely enchanting seaside town is nearly the northernmost point in Denmark, so it fits beautifully into the mold of the perfect chilly seaside retreat for me. Being of half Danish descent (the other half is Italian, but I’ll get into that another time), I’ve always been determined to learn as much as possible about Denmark, and the beautiful towns and sights inside it’s borders. Skagen is the first of many Danish cities that I dream of exploring, and I’m sure I will post about many more here on this blog, but Skagen is where this look into adventuring in Denmark is going to begin.

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The first thing I dream of seeing in Skagen (pronounced Skay-en, in case you were wondering) is Grenen. Grenen is a long sandbar, located north of the actual town of Skagen. At first glance, this place may just seem like your average beach, but that is far from the truth. Grenen is actually the point where the North Sea, specifically the strait of Skagerrak, and the Kattegat sea meet. The currents of the two seas are traveling in different directions, towards each other in fact, and when they meet, the collide with each other directly at the tip of Grenen. The contrasting colors of the two seas is stunning as well. The idea of walking out onto the sandbar, and placing my feet at the spot where two massive and powerful bodies of water are crashing together, meeting at one point and almost refusing to come together, is an astounding one indeed. There are endless other things to see and do here as well, from being regarded as the best place to view birds of prey during their migrations in spring, to viewing sea mammals and seals, to visiting the nature center; you will never have a moment of boredom when visiting Grenen.

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The next thing on my list is the Den Tilsandede Kirke, or The Buried Church. Being built between 1355 and 1387, it is one of the oldest buildings in Skagen. The name may sound a bit odd, I mean, why would it be called The Buried Church? But during the last part of the 18th century, the church was just that; buried. Nearby sand dunes consistently ended up burying the church, and the congregation struggled with the task of clearing the sand out until 1795 according to google, when they threw in the towel and abandoned the building. After this, most of the church was demolished, leaving us with only this tower to serve as a memory of the original structure that once stood. As many of you know by now, I love history, and flock to the most historical and old sites of every place I visit, so I would never pass up the chance to walk around and view this church. Thinking about how hard it must have been for the congregation to try and clear all of the blown sand off of the old structure over and over, and how amazing it is that this piece of it is still here after all this time and so many things working against it is incredible to me. If you are near Skagen, I highly recommend checking this out, I know I will when I have the opportunity.

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This next place is merely one of the five historic lighthouses that grace the coastline in Skagen. This one in particular is known as The Grey Lighthouse, or Det GrĂĄ Fyr, and was built in 1858, and is still very much in use today. I am one of those people that are obsessed with lighthouses. A beacon of light emanating from the coast, keeping ships passing in the night safe from sailing into land; what a beautiful thing. This one in paricular is 151 feet tall, and absolutely beautiful with the stunning blue Skagerrak as it’s back drop.

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Skagen is simply one beautiful place that I have always wanted to go. I’m not sure that I’ve done it justice in this post, but that doesn’t change the fact that I dream of seeing it for myself. If you haven’t been able to tell from my other posts, I have quite a love for the sea. I feel completely relaxed and serene when staring off into the ocean. The beauty of it, the sound of the crashing waves, the sea breeze brushing across my skin; it all just puts me in the happiest of moods. If I could, I’d pop a little cottage right by the seaside, in a country with a nice cool climate, and spend my days writing novels and daydreaming for a living. What a beautiful life that would be, and Skagen fits the bill for a nice chilly seaside retreat almost perfectly.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Ancora Imparo

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I went out today to grab some tea and a little lunch after leaving work early, and stumbled upon a little cafe that I hadn’t been to yet, which is rare in this city. I ordered my lunch and sat down at a little table near a group of men and women that didn’t look too far off from my age, maybe a touch older, and couldn’t help but eavesdrop on their conversation a bit. They were talking about life in a very general sense for a while, but then they came upon a topic that is very important to me, one that I feel should be important to everyone; Learning.

One of the men sitting nearest to me said something a bit shocking. He said quite causally, “I really feel like I’ve learned all I need to know in life”. His friends nodded and agreed with his sentiments, adding things like “yeah, I feel the same way” or “exactly, what else is there that we really have to learn?” I sat at my little table, sipping on my cup of Earl Grey, completely confused by the whole thing; how could there possibly be nothing left for them to learn? Have they explored every country? Read every book? Heard every song? Learned every language? How could they possibly have learned and absorbed all of this information, all of this knowledge, in the short few decades that they’ve been alive?

The short answer to those questions that raced through my mind is that they haven’t, and they never will. Not with that attitude and thought process. At no point in anyone’s life will there be nothing left to learn. Knowledge is infinite, and there will always be something new out there in the world that you have yet to experience, or even hear about. There are tribes in Africa with customs that we know nothing about. There are new scientific breakthroughs happening every single day that have yet to be published. There is new technology being thought of every second that has yet to be completed. There are new lives entering the world at every moment, that you may never have the chance to learn about. Even Johann Goethe, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and Leonardo da Vinci left the world before they had the chance to learn everything, and just imagine how much more there would be for them to learn if they were to come back into the world today.

Learning is something that is immeasurably important to me. It is the thing that keeps me going every day. I hope to learn as much as possible about the world. I want to travel and see as much of it as I can in my lifetime. I want to sit down with people from different walks of life and hear their stories. I want to write my own stories, to add to the material out there for people to consume. I want to learn. For the rest of my life, the thing I want to do most is to learn.

Ancora imparo. These were the words I wanted to say to those people sitting next to me, the ones that thought they knew everything, but really knew nothing. Ancora imparo. The words uttered by Michelangelo at the age of 87. Translated from Italian, it simply means “I am still learning”. Even one of the greatest minds, the sculptor, painter, architect, poet, and engineer, knew that he still had so much left to learn.

With that, this post of ramblings and thoughts is over. If there’s one thing you take from this, I hope it is that you can never be done learning. There will never be a moment when there is nothing left in the world for you to learn and explore.
Ancora imparo.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Take Me Away | Santorini

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The next place on my list is this absolute beauty; The Island of Santorini, Greece. There are few places that can match the beauty of the seaside in Greece. I have dreamt of seeing so many different places in Greece since I was quite young. Hearing stories of Greek Gods and Goddesses, tales of Spartan battles, and eating Americanized versions of Greek foods all began my yearning to visit the almost magical Greek landscapes. From the beauty of its land to the beauty of its peoples, Greece is one country that I think everyone should push to the top of their lists. With the size that the island of Santorini is, there is no way I could list everything that I hope to see and do there in one blog post, but if you keep reading, you will see some of the top places and things that I wish to one day experience in the stunning place that is, Santorini.

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One major aspect of Santorini, and Greece in general really, that I’ve always wanted to see is simply the architecture. The contrasts of colors and the beautiful simplicity of the shapes of the buildings is stunning to me. The vibrant white and blue shades are instantly recognizable as Greek in any photos I see online and I am always blown away by them each time I see them. In an Art History course I took a year or so ago, we discussed Greek architecture at length. It was clear that the Greeks reached for perfection when building on the islands. With the signature Cycladic architceture, and classicaly modern beauty, the architecture in Greece is hard to beat. I am thrilled with the prospect of photographing these buildings. Standing on the cliffside, staring off into the ocean and breathtaking views of the staircase-like buildings seemingly holding onto the earth with a fierce grip, afraid of falling into the sea below. Its what dreams are made of really.

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As I mentioned before, Greek history and Ancient Greece have always been an interest of mine, and If I were to visit Santorini and pass up the chance to see Ancient Thera (or Thira) I wouldn’t be able to stand it. Being located high above the sea on Mesa Vouna, Ancient Thera has stunning panoramic views of the ocean and buildings that lie below. As a bit of a history buff, I’ve learned over the years that the ruins of Ancient Thera date back to the Hellenistic era, and there are also extensive bits of the ruins that are clear to have come from the Roman and Byzantine periods. It is truly something spectacular to a girl from America, where buildings and sites are in their infancy by comparison. The extensive ruins also include Roman baths, Byzantine walls, and the stone church of Agios Stefanos, which is pictured above. I can’t imagine the feeling of being able to stand amidst something so old, filled with so much history. Thinking of how many hundreds of years ago it was built, what life must have been like for the people living there, how different the landscape below them would have looked, I can’t help but feel grateful that the option is there for me. Seeing the remains of the Temple of Dionysos, the Sanctuary of Artemidoros, or the Terrace of the Festivals would be a dream come true for me, and I feel like anyone visiting Santorini would be mad to pass up the chance to experience it.

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The next place on my list is the unbelievably stunning village of Oia. From friends that have visited, I have learned that Oia is not only one of the most famous villages in all of Santorini, but it is also one of the most relaxing places that you could go. Overlooking not only the sea but also the volcano of Palia and Nea Kameni and the island of Thirassia. Friends have told me, and photos have shown me, that viewing the sunset from Oia will someday be one of my fondest memories. I cant wait to be able to sit on a balcony in the village overlooking the vast sea and land surrounding Santorini, with a chilled glass of Ouzo, watching the sun disappear on the horizon. Aside from its breathtaking views, Oia will also give you that “oh my goodness, I am in Greece!” sort of feeling when you stroll down the narrow pathways, see the blue domed churches, sit down for a traditional Greek meal in one of the various cafes, or take the long journey down the set of 300 steps leading to the small port of Oia, called Ammoudi. I am looking forward to the moment when I can share a blog post full of photos of me enjoying the beauty of Oia with you in the future, I just hope it will be sooner rather than later.

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If there is one thing that Santorini has to offer, that I dream of experiencing, it is the sheer romance of the island. As a young single female, it’s hard not to imagine all of the amazing romantic excursions and moments that one can have in the various villages of Santorini. The landscape, the views, the volcanic distruction (okay, maybe not everyone’s cup of tea) and the undeniable beauty of this, and all other Greek Isles strike a match inside me, causing me to long for one of those storybook romances, where someone will sweep me off my feet, and whisk me away for a romantic Grecian vacation, filled with incredible sites, delicious foods, and endless love and romance. A girl can dream, right?

There is no shortage of places to see and things to do in this picture-perfect Greek Island. While writing this post, I am feeling so incredibly inspired. There is so much beauty out there, so much history waiting for me. I can’t wait for the day that my wanderlust gets the chance to break free, and guide me on all the adventures I dream of having.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

20 Summer Goals | 19.) Do at least three crafts | Tie Dye Shirts

Once again, I decided to set off on another little adventure in hopes of moving closer to checking another thing off my list of 20 summer goals. This time, I wanted to work on a craft, and what better to do than get a little messy and tie dye some shirts! I have to admit, I didn’t do this craft alone, I grabbed a friend and my niece, to make working towards this goal a bit more fun! After enlisting their help, we went off on a journey to Michael’s (just a chain of craft stores, in case you’re not familiar with it) to pick up the tie dye kits. I ended up deciding to go with two separate kits with 5 bottles in each, as the bottles in those kits were larger than all the others and I thought I’d be able to do more with them. The two kits I bought were both the Tulip One-Step Tie Dye Kit, and I bought one called Carousel and one called Neon.

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The colors included in the Carousel kit were Teal, Royal Blue, Black, Purple, and Fuchsia, and the colors included in the Neon kit were another Fuchsia, Orange, Yellow, Lime, and Turquoise. Each kit also came with some gloves to protect your hands from looking the same as your newly tie dyed shirt when you’re done, and some rubber bands to use when making the design. Once we arrived home, set everything up outside, and changed into old clothes that we couldn’t care less about, we got down to business.

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These kits are incredibly user friendly; all you need to do to get started is fill the bottles up with normal water from the tap, shake it up to incorporate the powder dyes in the bottle, and its time to dye! Before you start, its best to wash your shirt and pop them in the dryer (without any fabric softener or dryer sheets) so that they are clean and ready to go to soak up the colors. This kit doesn’t require you to soak them in vinegar before dying them to hold the color, but you can always do that if you’d like. I absolutely hate the smell of large quantities of vinegar, so I passed on that one. Once the dye was ready, I got started getting the shirts tied up in the rubber bands. For the tank top I’m going to share with you here, I chose to attempt a spiral pattern. I say attempt, because these things never turn out “right” for me. My spirals always turn out a bit wonky and off, but that’s honestly half the fun of tie dye; nothing ever comes out the same and it usually looks better when its not perfect!

First, you lay your shirt out as flat as possible on your work surface. I’m using an oversized tank top that I got from Walmart for something like $10, but you can use anything you’d like really. It’s just best to make sure it’s mostly (if not 100%) cotton, as it tends to be the easiest to work with and holds the dye the best.

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Then, now this is the tricky bit, you want to pinch a spot near the middle, or wherever you want the center of your spiral to be, and start twisting it counter-clockwise, gathering all the rest of the fabric into the spiral as you go. It is hard to explain, but once you start twisting your shirt you’ll understand what I mean. And don’t sweat it if you have to start over and re-do it, or if it goes a bit wonky, it always takes me at least three tries before I’m happy with the final product.

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After twisting the shirt until the entire thing has gone into one big spirally circle, you’ll just want to chuck a few rubber bands on it to secure it. Make sure that the rubber bands all meet in relatively the same spot in the middle of the spiral. It should almost look like a sliced pizza from the top.

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After you’ve done that, and have completed whatever design you’re wanting for your other shirts (if you’re unsure what other designs you’d like to make, just do a quick google search and you’ll find loads of ideas and instructions on how to do them), its time to start the actual dying process. For a spiral design, its easiest to just dye the shirt in between the rubber bands, as if you’re dying each little pizza slice a different color. I always do them in a pattern of sorts where each slice gets dyed the same color as the one directly across from it, but you can do whatever you’d like really. This is the messy part obviously, so do take care to wear the gloves provided in the kit and make sure you’re wearing things you don’t care too much about, because its almost guaranteed that they will get messy. It’s also helpful to lay an old towel or something down on the surface you’ll be using to make sure nothing gets ruined (aside from the towel) and also to make the clean up process a bit more manageable. The dye will bleed together with the one next to it, and chances are high that various colors will rub off from your gloves onto the next section of the shirt that you work with, but don’t worry about it too much, it will turn out fine in the end, I promise.

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After your shirt is thoroughly soaked with the colorful dye, you just put it into a zip-lock bag or wrap it in plastic wrap, and leave it to sit for 6-8 hours, or whatever your kit recommends if it is different from mine. Once that agonizing wait is up, you’ll have to begin the task of getting the excess dye out of the fabric. This takes a while, so be prepared. They say to rinse the shirt in the sink until the water runs clear, similar to dying your hair at home, but if I’m honest, I’ve never been able to get the water completely clear. So just do your best, and once that’s done, you’ll just pop them in the washer on the largest load setting you have (the excess water is necessary to get the rest of the dye out) and add in a very small amount of whatever laundry detergent you use, and let them wash. Once that’s through you can either let them air dry, or pop them in the dryer. I, being the forever impatient girl that I am, chose the dryer option, and in 30 short minutes, my shirts were dry and the tie dye process was complete!

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I love tie dye, and not because its psychedelic or because I’m a “hippie” as people often think, I just love it because of the color. The bright colors, the various patterns, and the way that every single one of them is different just makes me happy. And I’m always up for any excuse to get messy and do something creative.

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With this, I am one step closer to checking another thing off of my list of summer goals. And if there’s one thing that I’d like you to take away from this post, it would be to just go out and do something creative! There’s no “wrong” way to be creative, and that’s a beautiful thing.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx

Sleepy Sundays | What will my future be like?

Once again, I wanted to start this post out with an explanation of the title, and just what this post is all about. Like I said before, I’ve been thinking of doing some series sorts of posts, and I think I’d like this one to be weekly, written and posted every Sunday. A day where I lay in bed on a Sunday morning, sipping a cup of tea, and just write down what is going through my mind. All along I have wanted this blog to be personal, I’ve wanted it to be a place where I could share my thoughts, feelings, and day-to-day life with whoever wants to listen, and I think this particular series of weekly posts is one way to go about it. I approached a friend and fellow blogger for advice on how to go about blogging and how to stay true to what I wanted when I started this and what he thinks about when working on his blog, and his words really resonated with me. He told me to think about what matters to me, and he said “I think about how I would feel, if I was reading my blog in 50 years time. I’d want to be reading about my memories and feelings, my experiences and my opinions. Think about events in your life that have shaped you. Think about what inspires you now. Think about who you really are. The things around you won’t always be there when you leave home and grow old. The magic will be being able to open up your blog and remembering fondly, all those happy moments. Just be you!” So that’s exactly what I’m going to do. And these Sunday posts will be all of those things wrapped up into one neat little (or extremely large, who knows!) post about the things running through my mind each and every sleepy, snuggly, Sunday morning.

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As I lay in bed this morning, with my slightly too hot tea burning my mouth, and my toast leaving a trail of crumbs on my duvet, I can’t help but be happy. Nothing in particular is making me happy today, I suppose it’s just life really. Burning my tongue and making a mess of things isn’t something that would usually start someone’s day off the right way, but for me today it is. I’ve been laying here for an hour now, being completely and absolutely lazy, with no end in sight. Jack Johnson is playing in the background, and the ceiling fan is going full blast in an attempt to counteract the humid heat that’s plaguing me at the moment with summer quickly approaching. As I’m laying here, one topic has been racing through my mind, as it often does, and I just can’t help but wonder what my future holds. Will I ever finish this degree and be finished with college? Will all these student loans kill me like I think they will? Will I ever meet the right guy for me? Does the right guy for me even exist? Where will I be living? Will my dreams of moving to England actually come true, or are they just pipe dreams? Will I have a family? Would I be a good mom? A good wife? A good friend? There are so many questions and thoughts that circle in my mind surrounding this always daunting topic. I often daydream about what my “ideal” future would be, though I say that quite loosely as it is different every time I imagine it. One day I’ll imagine myself being a novelist living in England, in Dorset overlooking the seaside, or in a small village, with a dog and a cat, in a cozy little cottage, living happily waiting for the right guy to come along and sweep me off my feet, eventually starting a family and leisurely traveling the world. Other times I’ll see myself living in busy London, being happily single, working my way up the corporate ladder, but taking time to myself to write and explore the world. Other times still, I just see myself as a nomad, traveling the world, going from place to place, immersing myself into the cultures of the places I’ve been, chronicling my life through books and photographs. All of these variations of my imagined future life would be amazing, but I have to say, the first one would be my favorite. Those sorts of happily ever after scenarios have always been a dream, I mean, who wouldn’t want that? I’ve never wanted a crazy extravagant life, I’ve always been a bit more simple than that. Honestly, all I want in life is to be happy and comfortable. I don’t need a big fancy house, or to be the head of a big corporation, I just need to know that I’ve stayed on the path that I wanted to be on, and that I am well and truly happy with the way my life is going. If someone can say that about their life and mean it, then I’d say that their life has turned out pretty perfectly.

All in all, I’m more than aware that I will never be able to predict my future. But it sure feels nice to dream about it.

I hope you’re doing well, where ever you are in the world, and I wish you all the best.

-Lexie Xx