Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Hello Friends!

I was trying to think of a name for this blog post and one word that came to my mind was "stronger". Since coming back from my trip to Spain, I have realized that I have achieved real growth in a lot of different areas of my life. I will try to summarize those areas for you....

Physical: When I came back from Spain there were parts of my physical body that were in shape but I had definitely gained a lot of weight during my trip. Since my return I have lost weight, gained muscle, and increased my aerobic capacity by working out consistently and eating LOTS of vegetables and meat. The type of exercises I do include: running, weight lifting, body weight exercises, yoga, and other various forms of cardio. I love the effect that weight lifting has on my body and I cannot wait to increase my lifts.

Spiritual: I love how God used my time in Spain to challenge me and allow for a serious amount of growth in my walk with him. I struggled with so many different spiritual battles during my time away that it would take a book to explain them all.

In addition to growing stronger with my body and mind, I noticed that I have become more confident in my "people skills" and ability to communicate. Being in Spain for three months without family or friends was definitely difficult at first but I really learned to adapt and I am so grateful for the relationships I built while I was there.

I am so grateful for the opportunity I was given to travel to Spain and I cannot wait to someday return. For now I am consumed by a busy life in Houston that includes:
Work, working out, cooking, driving everywhere, and striving to get closer to the Lord.

I am employed at Lululemon Athletica, Lonestar College, and Cannon Crossfit!
The last one is the most recent and I can't help but be super excited about it. I am only doing administrative assistant work and shadowing at Cannon but I already love every minute of it.

I hope everyone has had a GREAT week.
See you soon,

Friday, October 7, 2011

My Favorites

Welcome to the second edition of "What I Wore"..

Here are some of my favorite outfits I wore this week. Let me know what you think! I will try to explain my thought process behind each outfit and why I put them together... Hopefully it will be coherent.
Sweater-Juicy Couture
Boots-Steve Madden
Scarf- American Eagle

Last week I was going through my closet and I found a shirt that I hadn't worn during my whole time in Spain. I decided to try it out and ended up pairing it with a purple sweater and bright scarf. It was fun to mix the jewel tones and have a bright look for fall. This layered look was great for a chilly day we had.

Shorts- H&M
Shoes- Joan and David

It was a warm day in the village so I decided to wear shorts! When I got these shorts in Barcelona I thought that I wouldn't have a chance to wear them since it was getting cooler and I didn't see them as being very "fall friendly". But when I paired them with the green shirt and closed-toe shoes, the look was great for a warm fall day! What do you think? Too summery?

Sweater-Men's Gap
Shoes- Cole Haan
Scarf- Delia's

I just got those jeans in Andorra last week so I was excited to wear them. They have a light stretch but I love that they are straight-legged and so comfortable. I was going for a really relaxed look with the loose menswear sweater, but I made sure to pair it with a fun scarf and shoes... The shoes are a dark purple if you can't tell :). I wish I could wear this for my flight but unfortunately I have to dress up a little if I want to have the chance to fly in first class.. :) Flying stand-by has SOME perks.

That reminds me.. I am coming home THIS SUNDAY! It is hard to believe that I will be back in Texas so soon, but I am definitely ready. I love being in Spain but there is just no place like home. Please be praying that I can get on all of my flights back home and that I do not have to wait in the airport for a long time.

Thank you for reading my blog! I really appreciate you guys.
More posts to come this week! =)

With love,

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My Interesting Relationship with Swimming

What is this ridiculousness? This is not where I belong.

While in Spain I have been given the unique opportunity to have unlimited access to a gym, tennis courts, ice-skating rink, and olympic sized swimming pool. All of which are located at the "Polisportieu" which is about five minutes walk from the house. The gym I have used quite a bit,n but as I do not play tennis or ice skate, I have not had to pleasure of using those amenities. But when I came to Spain I decided that I would like to become better at swimming laps. Honestly I have never taken swimming lessons nor was I on a swim team at any point in my childhood. So the thought of swimming laps for a period of time was quite daunting for me.

It took a couple weeks but the day finally came when I would try doing laps for the first time. Thankfully Rebeca went with me so I did not look completely lost and out of place. I put on my ridiculously tight swimsuit from my life guarding years at camp and walked out of the dressing room. As I solemnly walked towards the indoor pool, goggles and swim cap in hand, I kept darting my eyes about, wondering what I looked like to these people around me who seemed like professional swimmers. I pulled on my bright orange swim cap, tightened my blue goggles and finally took the plunge into the tepid waters of lane four.
This is basically what I look like with mah cap on..

As I mentioned before, I have never had anyone teach me the proper technique of how to swim (well except for random people giving me pointers in our neighborhood swimming pool but I don't think that counts), so I naturally began to think about how utterly ridiculous I must look while swimming. Also, the ridiculous swim suit, cap, and goggles make me look EXTRA awesome. That is when it hit me, NOBODY FREAKING CARES WHAT YOU LOOK LIKE SO WHY DO YOU? My stupid pride in my (semi okay) ability to run and do other exercises had caused me to become extra aware of how silly I looked while swimming. But honestly, why does that matter? The point of exercise is to become a healthier, better person, and even though I have said that for a long time, it took me awhile to actually "get" it.

Unfortunately, it took an activity that got me completely out of comfort zone in both my physical appearance and in my physical abilities to understand that my confidence should not be found in athletic accomplishments.
The Lord took me by my hand through that situation and lead me to a mirror that revealed a different, ugly side of my heart that needed to be changed. But he did it so kindly and with a twinge of humor which has caused me to be so grateful for his warm and guiding hand. He graciously allowed me to go to the pool for the first time with Rebeca, which enabled me to have guidance on where to go and what to do and gave me confidence for the future. But it was not until the second time that I went, consequently by myself, that I realized the fullness of my silly pride which resulted in me stopping mid stroke and laughing very loudly.
GET ME OUT OF HERE..Kthanksbye

So there you go, a painfully honest post about some things that God has been working out of my heart. Pride and the love of self. I hope you enjoyed this entry...

Thanks for reading!

p.s. I am going to do a "What I wore this week" post tomorrow! =)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Week's Worth of Outfits!

This week I decided to take a photo of the different outfits I wore each day and write a blog post about them! I am sorry about the quality of the photos! I know they are all in weird lighting but I don't have a big mirror in good lighting so these will just have to work for now. I feel like the clothing would look A LOT better if I were able to take better pictures but oh well :(. I know these outfits are not THE most exciting thing, but they beat boring t-shirts and Nike shorts, right? Not that anything is wrong with wearing that combo, I just like to look sort of put together (sometimes)...
Disclaimer: You may see some repeats within these outfits..That would be because I didn't pack A TON of clothing for Spain so my resources are somewhat limited.

Cardigan:Banana Republic
T-Shirt: Target
Leggings: Lululemon
Shoes: American Eagle
Scarf: The streets of NYC

Shirt:J. Crew (Thrifted from Buffalo Exchange)
Harem pants: H&M (these basically feel like pajama pants, but they are acceptable for going out...yesss:))
Shoes: American Eagle

Cardigan: Banana Republic
T-shirt: Lucky Brand
Jeans:Banana Republic
Shoes: Cole Haan (Thrifted from Buffalo Exchange)

Sweater: Gap (Men's)
Pants: Banana Republic
Slippers: L.L. Bean (best. slippers.ever.)
Friday (this photo was taken by a grouchy little boy)
Top/Sweater thing: H&M
Jeans: Citizen of Humanity (Thrifted from Buffalo Exchange)
Shoes: Cole Haan

Saturday (please excuse my creepy smile)
Dress: Ann Taylor Loft
Sweater: American Eagle
Scarf: Delia's

What do you think of this post? Let me know if I should do another one similar to this... Also, suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Las Casas de Alcanar

In the first week of September, just before school started, I went with the family on their vacation to the beach. Rebeca's family has a beach home just outside of a little village called Las Casas de Alcanar. The home was located in front of the sea wall with a beach within walking distance (although the beach was a little rocky). Since the sea was so close, we could leave the windows open and enjoy the breeze and amazing sound of the waves crashing on the rocks. My room had windows that faced the sea so I really liked falling asleep and waking up to the sound of the waves.

Enjoying lunch in the back yardish area. That gate leads out to the sea wall.

While in Las Casas we enjoyed riding around on the boat, fishing, relaxing, and eating! The food we ate while on vacation was so fresh and tasty! A lot of it was very healthy (veggies, fresh seafood) but we also had some very unhealthy things (Paella and Leche Merengada).

Chilling on the boat.. :)

Paella is a traditional dish that originated in Valencia. It is rice that is cooked in a sauce with some sort of meat. There are different flavors and types depending on what kind of meat you use.

Leche Merengada is an amazing little drink that is basically milk that has been sweetened and frozen (slightly). It can also be made into an ice cream of sorts. You have to drink it with cinnamon on top! It was awesommeee. We went into the village and had this awesome drink just about every day.

A couple of times we took the boat out to a sand bar where there is a little restaurant. The food was so very fresh and amazing. I loved the outdoor eating area and I love that we had to take the boat out there. The paella we had out there was probably my favorite. If you have paella, make sure you squeeze some lemon over your rice, it definitely adds a lot of flavor.

The weather while we were there was sunny and warm every day. It was not too cold to swim but it wasn't unbearably hot. Some days it was quite warm in the house because of the lack of air conditioning. But with the windows open and the fans blowing, we survived.

One day I went running around one in the afternoon when it was probably in the high eighties. I definitely realized that I think(know) I have lost ALL of my ability to deal with higher temperatures. Before I left for Spain I could go running in 100 degree weather and be fine. My run in Las Casas had me gasping for air and crawling into the shade! (haha okay maybe it wasn't that dramatic)

The last three days we were in Las Casas, one of the Garces' family friends came and stayed with us at the house. It was great to have more people around and I really enjoyed getting to know them. They have three kids who are super cool and were very sweet. Two of them knew quite a bit of English so they were nice to have around.

The week at the beach was a relaxing and fun time. I loved being by the sea and I couldn't help but smile every time we were on the boat.

On Sunday it was time for us to make the drive back to Puigcerda.. On the way we stopped at a restaurant and got these charred onion things. They were quite interesting. Not my favorite. But they were still fun to peel and (sort of) enjoy.

When we arrived in Puigcerda, we couldn't help but feel that we had driven into fall. There was a slight chill in the air and leaves were changing and falling.

Fall is probably my favorite season so I was quite happy that it came upon us so suddenly.

Another great thing about fall is that it means I am coming home in less than a month! I have really enjoyed my time here, but I am so very excited that I will be in Texas soon.

I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Love you guys!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Barcelona? Barca? Barthelona??

When Jenny was visiting me back in August, we got to take a trip to Barcelona! She needed to fly out of BCN so we went a few days early and just explored the city. Rebeca and Sandro's family has an apartment in Hospitalet de Llobregat (basically a subdivision connected to Barcelona) so we only had to pay for food and such while in the city. I really enjoyed visiting the city, although the first day was kind of difficult because we basically had NO idea where we were in relation to the city itself and it took us forever to find WIFI so that we could get our bearings.

Random story time:
On our first day, we were looking at a map pasted to a bus stop, trying desperately to find where we were on the map and a Spanish lady walked up to us and asked if we needed help. She was a huge blessing because she stopped someone else on the street who knew where we needed to go and the second lady walked us to the correct bus stop! That first lady was definitely a blessing from God because there is no way we would have gotten to the right bus stop without her! It was also great because we used that bus stop every day to get where we needed to go.

It would be quite difficult to write a blog post about four days which means I am going to give you a little briefing on some of the things that we did. I will throw in some photos as well, just for fun =).

My favorite place we visited would probably have to be La Sagrada Familia. It is an AMAZING church that has been under construction since the 19th century. Quite a lot has been completed but there is still a lot of construction on the exterior that needs to be completed. We got to walk all around and inside the church; it was simply marvelous! If you ever go to Barcelona, it is definitely a must see.
One of the sides of the Church. This is the portion that has been completed for the most part.

This is the view you would have if you walked in the real entrance. We had to walk in from the side because the entrance still needs more work.

It took us quite awhile to get to La Sagrada Familia on the first day because we were quite silly and rode the bus for WAY too long. We missed the stop and almost rode the bus for it's entire route! Talk about frustrating. Thankfully we never made that mistake again.
That arrow is where we ended up... Can you see where we were supposed to be?

On the first day we met up with a family I had made friends with at the hotel family sports camp. They were so kind to meet us in Barcelona and we enjoyed a lovely dinner with them at an Italian restaurant. After dinner we walked up and down two main streets, Catalunya and Gracia, and enjoyed a coffee in a little cafe off of calle de Catalunya.

After the frustrating time we had riding the city bus on day one, Jenny and I decided to buy two day passes on the "Bus Turistic". This proved to be a very good plan as it enabled us to get all around the city and see lots of fun things. It was so great to be able to hop on and off at different locations and sometimes we just rode the bus around and listened through headphones about the interesting history of Barcelona.

The shopping in Barcelona was pretty fun as well. In the well-populated areas there were seriously an H&M or Zara on every street corner. I think I must have seen at least six or seven of each store while we went all around the city. I got a great new outfit from Zara and I even bought some Harem pants at H&M! =)

A famous artist from Barcelona, Antonio Gaudi, has created some amazing pieces of art and architecture. His work is like it was created from a fairy tale and is unlike anything I have ever seen. I love the homes he built and I really enjoyed going to Parc Guell. The last forty years of Gaudi's life were devoted to La Sagrada Familia, which he never got to see finished. He left specific details for the architecture of the church, though, and I know it will be amazing when it is finally completed. I hope to someday go back to Barcelona and see it completed!

A home by Gaudi

The view from Parc Guell

On our busiest day, Jenny and I went up to Mount Tibidabo. It was quite a trip but I am glad we did it. First, you have to take this blue tram to get up the first part of the journey.. Did I mention that it is a hundred years old? Yikes.

We then took another elevator/car/tram thing to get up to the verrrry top.
At Tibidabo there are some really cool things to see and do. The views of Barcelona are spectacular and if you are feeling adventurous, there is a theme park that has rides that are well over a hundred years old. Unfortunately the park was closed when we were there =(.
There is also a really pretty church up at the top that I really liked exploring. You could take an elevator to the bell tower but it was 1 euro so we passed up on that.. haha

On our last day in Barcelona, Jenny and I took the bus to the beach! It wasn't the nicest beach I had ever been to, but I loved being able to walk barefoot in the sand. We even played a couple of games of beach volleyball with some Spanish guys. They were really nice and even "let us win" one game... We had a yummy seafood lunch right off of the beach at a cool restaurant (which was called "Opium"...random. I know.). The restaurant was quite tasty and for 15 euros each we got: a coca cola, bread, salad, a seafood platter, and an amazing dessert. The dessert was probably my favorite thing. =)

The food we had in Barcelona was pretty good. I am sure it would have been a little better if we had been with someone who knew more about the city, but I still enjoyed our meals. One of my favorites was when we had a light sandwich(mine was cheese and asparagus!) and a couple of tapas (along with a clara*). This meal was exactly what we needed at the time and it wasn't too heavy.

I would definitely go back to Barcelona! Especially now that I know how to get around =). The city is rich with amazing architecture, art, and a wonderful culture. I really enjoyed my small taste of Barcelona, and I hope that I will return for a longer period of time one day.

Thanks for enduring this LONG post!
I am going to become more diligent about posting in these last weeks, I promise!
Cannot wait to be back in America in about a month!! =D

*A "clara" is a lightish beer (like Heineken) with Lemon Fanta. It is REALLY refreshing and so good. Jenny and I got them all the time while she was here.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How much trouble can two American girls get into on a Friday afternoon?

Not too Much... But Just Enough...

Jenny and I had a lot of fun wandering around the village, playing with the kids, and just relaxing during the week she was in Puigcerda. I am so glad that she came and visited me here in this random Spanish village.

During one of our last days in Puigcerda together, we decided to take a walk to the nearby village. That village just so happened to be in France which made it especially interesting. The walk to and from the village was a lot more fun than the actual village. In all honesty it was pretty sketchy and all of the shops we went into smelled badly(except for the pastry shop we went into, but the lady who worked in there was really snobby and a little creepy so we just left without buying anything). On the way from the village we took some random photos...

But then it looked like it was going to storm so we hurried our little booties to the car and upon returning to campus, we decided it would be fun to go for a run. But the problem is that we only had twenty minutes. It was starting to get more windy but it couldn't rain that hard could it? Just kidding. It POURED the entire time we were running(and stopped as soon as we got up to our room). I loved it and I felt like a little kid as I sprinted back to the hotel. Jenny wasn't as impressed with running in the rain but I think she still enjoyed it.

So I forgot to mention that we sort of met some Americans right before we started our run. I was telling Jenny something about our crazy run we were about to take and one of them looked straight at us and goes "woah hey, is that english????". Too busy to say more I looked at him, said "yeah" and started running away. Thinking back now, I realize that was pretty rude but honestly all I wanted to do was go for a run.

Before rushing to get the kids, I asked Nuria at the front desk about the guys who had been talking to her when we left. She just said that they were french guys and they weren't very attractive. At this point I was laughing and said "All I care about is that they spoke English and I think they are American". We argued for a bit about if they were French or American and I finally said, "Maybe they are Canadian!".
We finally figured out that they were with a sport group from France so the chances were getting kind of slim that they were actually Americans but I was still hopeful....

Reason #1 I was excited about the Americans:
I have been here a month in puigcerda and not having anyone here to understand what I am saying 100% of the time is frustrating. Yes Rebeca is fluent but there are just so many things in my vocabulary that are so very American. So the thought that there was someone who was fluent in english in Puircerda made me pretty excited... . I know what you are thinking, 'isn't her friend Jenny there?'... Yes she is, but she doesn't count because she makes the story less dramatic.

Reason #2
I dont need another reason... They are Americans, y'all!!!! (maybe)

Four or five hours later....

Jenny and I are peacefully eating dinner in the cafeteria at the hotel. There is no one else around and we are glad to have a chance to relax a little and have a salad, some chicken, and hot soup.
Lovely empty cafeteria.....

We were discussing the two guys that may or may not be American and also the fact there was some sort of sport team here from France, hockey or futbol or something.
All of a sudden we hear what sounded like a large group of people walking down one of the halls to the cafeteria. Our relaxing little dinner was about to be turned upside-down. The talking, laughing, and stomping got louder and all of sudden there were thirty French guys in the cafeteria, staring at us like they had never seen a female. There was a moment where they were staring at us and I was contemplating grabbing my leg of chicken and hightailing it to the kitchen to hide but I calmly kept eating my soup and tried to not look at Jenny because I knew we would start laughing or something. They begin to go through the line and I guess I figured they would all sit together away from us. Wrong. In five minutes our little table was surrounded by 30 Frenchmen and 60 French eyes.
And one of them came and sat down...right. next. to me. Consequently he was one that looked like Zach Galifianakis from the hangover, complete with beard and man purse (not lying). He was also the one who didn't speak ANY English so he just sat down really close to me, smiled and said 'Haiii!'.
He's a Keeper for sure...**

At this point there was really no way to stop the laughter and because I felt like every move I was making was being watched, and it was at this point I realized I would not be able to finish my food. Poor little chicken leg, we would have been so happy in the kitchen.
I was about to grab Jenny's hand and head for the hotel room but then I heard someone say in perfect English "ahh the girls from Texas! What's up?". It was the AMERICAN from earlier in the day! Thankfully he sat down with us and helped with Sebastian Manpurse. (his name really is Sebastian btw)
The American's name was Kirk and he is playing hockey with this team from Toulouse for a little while. He is from Colorado and is really nice. We were all refreshed by the fact that we were able to communicate and that we all got each others humor.

The French players continued eating their food and staring awkwardly while Jenny and I spoke with Colorado boy. The whole ordeal was probably one of the most awkward moments of my life, but it was also hilarious so I guess that was worth it.
Later, Jenny and I escaped the grounds of the hotel and walked into the village and go to a little cafe/bar called Central Park. It was so nice to be able to relax and we made friends with some of the workers at the bar. Most everyone I have met in Spain have been so friendly and nice. I really like the community here in this village and I am so glad that I am lucky enough to be here!

I hope you enjoyed this little story... Thanks for reading! Love you guys!

** I totally snuck that picture of Sebastian while we were saying goodbye to the nice American guys. Really not sure what he is doing with his right hand...