Banana Republic Has My New Favorite Pair of Jeans

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I once wrote about mourning the loss of my favorite jeans, the Ava straight leg by Citizens of Humanity. They still carry it, but the new versions are a little wider around my calf and ankles, making it look more bootcut than straight. The extra ½ inch circumference does make a difference.

I became every sales associate’s nightmare, trying on seven, eight, ten pairs of jeans and not buying a single pair. I get it. I used to work in retail. But I’m not going to shell out a lot of money for jeans that aren’t, well, almost perfect.

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3 Days in Amsterdam

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Even when I first started my round-the-world trip, I was looking forward towards the end of my travels, when I would pay a visit to Amsterdam. As someone who appreciates art and fashion, I was long attracted to one of Europe’s most design-oriented cities. In addition, it has the highest museum density in the world! From the Anne Frank House and Rijksmuseum to the Museum of Bags & Purses, I could have spent a month just hitting up museums alone.

If you love flowers, April through mid-May is the best time to visit Amsterdam as you will catch the renowned tulips in bloom. And don’t forget to be there on a Wednesday to catch a free lunchtime show at Concertgebouw concert hall, which is ranked as having one of the best acoustics in the world.

Below would be my suggested timeline for someone who wants to see the highlights of Amsterdam and its countryside, fit in a few museums and unique shopping, as well as dine at a Michelin star restaurant. This particular itinerary assumes you are visiting Monday-Wednesday during the Spring…if you are not, then adjust accordingly.

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Weddings, Estrangement and Hard Love

HardLoveMy only sister is getting married this week. As happy as I am for her, I’m also filled with anxiety for her big day. You see, on my own wedding day nearly eight years ago, my mother never showed up.

The weeks leading up to our engagement, my mother gave me an ultimatum to choose between Mr. Wonderful or herself. And while I had spent most of my life trying to be “a good girl” in order to earn her love, I didn’t want to give up the man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I didn’t love her less. I just chose to stand up to her, for the first time in my life.

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Napa Outfit: H&M Striped Skirt and Zara Leather Crop Top

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Two weeks before our around-the-world trip ended, Mr. Wonderful asked, “Besides friends and family, what are you most looking forward to about being home?”

I thought of sushi, ramen, and Whole Foods. I thought of my bed. All things I love.

“My closet,” I replied, with a smile. After living out of a suitcase for 6+ months, I looked forward to creating outfits again. There’s only so much you can do with a pair of hiking pants, two pairs of jeans, two sweaters, and a handful of tops.

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Transitioning Back to “The Real World”

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Just a few months ago I was sitting on this ledge in Bagan, Myanmar, catching my breath after scrambling up the steep steps of Buledi temple. I remember thinking how my round-the-world trip with Mr. Wonderful had just begun. There was so much to see. The days and months seemed to stretch out before us.

All too quickly we’re back to what people call “The Real World.”

I hate that phrase. As if traveling for six-plus months was some irresponsible fantasy, and all we did was drink piña coladas on the beach. As if the world we saw doesn’t carry any permanent significance. There were family and friends who thought we were making a grand mistake we would never be able to recover from.

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Backpacking in Raja Ampat

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It was Mr. Wonderful’s wish to visit the remote area of Raja Ampat in Indonesia for our round-the-world travel. Renowned for its pristine corals and abundant marine life, it’s a dream for many divers to make a trip out there.

Remote, however, always sounds better than it is. Our Indonesian friend booked the entire 5-day trip for us, and for $600 a person ($1000 for divers), it seemed like a good deal. That is, until we were greeted with huts that only had partial walls, ripped mosquito nets, and squat toilets. Taking a “shower” meant scooping water from a garbage can and pouring it on your head while mosquitoes flew about. As one person in our group said, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so uncomfortable in my life.” [Read more…]

Why I Married Someone I Wasn’t Attracted To

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It wasn’t love at first sight.

Or the second. Or the third.

After maybe the twentieth time we hung out together (and 3.5 years later), Mr. Wonderful took an interest in me because I pretended to smoke a french fry at a group dinner with mutual friends (classy, I know).

By the time we went on our first “date,” I still wasn’t interested in him. To be fair, I thought we were going on a date as “friends.” If I had known better I would have declined altogether instead of leading the poor guy on.

But he persisted. And even though I was not attracted to him, I eventually decided to give the potential relationship a try. I let my brain win over my hormones. He was a good guy. My last boyfriend treated me badly. Why not?

This is where most people whom I have told this story to get confused. You mean you dated and then eventually married someone you didn’t feel any initial chemistry with? How does that work?

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