lately 001

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My last two weekends have been packed with activities. Like I mentioned in my Weekly Goals, I went to a 85 year old birthday party and a one year old party. The 85 year old is my boyfriend's grandpa, Grandpa Andrew. We all met up as a family, which includes many dog cousins. Picture above is my boyfriend & I's German Shepherd/Husky, Timber.
Sarah and her little lady.
Monty
Emma

Grandpa Andrew

Then I went to Makaio's birthday party. My dearest friend Andrea hosted him a Curious George birthday party. It was beautiful decorated. He's a lucky boy to have a caring mother like her.
Timber participated after. ;) 
This past weekend was 4th of July and Keith and began our day by watching one of our favorite movies, Forest Gump. 
Our favorite line. :)
Gregory, our family tortoise. (I didn't take many photos on the 4th because I mostly in a pool. ;))
THEEEN the day after the 4th, I went to my first Los Angeles Dodgers game!  
They have vegan veggie dogs! It was delicious. 
This usher tried to get out of the way. LOL.
AND they have vegan nachos with Follow Your Heart vegan cheese. I was one full happy girl. 
After the Dodgers game we went to one of our local favorites, Chapter One and watched the U.S. women's soccer game. I am so happy they won & kicked butt but I wish it was a more exciting game. 

 What have you been up to lately? Any fun parties? What did you do for the 4th of July? 
I hope you're having a great summer!

- Christina

Weekly Goals 003

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Here's another installment of my weekly goals. 
A way to hold myself accountable for my goals by sharing them with you. 

Scrapbook. I don't know what I was thinking that this goal could have been semi attainable. I have so.many.photos. from our Europe trip. & I want to edit all of the ones I want to print. I'm kind of overwhelming myself with this goal, but I will be SO HAPPY when I have all of my photos organized in one place.    

This Week's Goals:

Read 15 minutes a day. I plan on editing more photos to print but I think this week I should focus on a more fun goal. I want to read at least 15 minutes a day. I was reading a lot while I was traveling and miss it. I read Wild, One Day & now I'm reading The Happiness Project. Have you read any of them? I love them. (Especially One Day!)

Apply for a job. (& then a less fun goal...) Since coming home from a 3 month European backpacking trip, I've had a hard time adjusting and finding motivation to get back to work. You feel me? I think I should at least start looking for a job. even if i don't want to. :)

Do you have any goals for this week? I'd love to hear them!

- Christina

Guide to Bilbao, Spain

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Have you heard of Bilbao? It’s one of Basque Country’s gems. Basque Country is technically in Spain but they want their own independence. It’s the region in the northwest coast near the France boarder. I absolutely LOVED Bilbao. Although it was raining often (Bilbao gets a lot of rain. Don’t forget your umbrella!), it’s beautiful and welcoming. And surprisingly vegan friendly!

Where to Stay:
We stayed in the Ganbara Hostel. It was a great hostel, no complaints. They have very friendly staff who are very happy to help you with directions or tips for the city. Keep in mind it's a hostel and bunkbeds are a given. 

What to Do:
You may have heard of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City. Well there are more locations and one is in Bilbao. The museum is a work of art itself, designed to look like a fish. The museum is full of modern art and while we were there, the main exhibit featured Niki de Saint Phalle. Pictured above you can see her "Nanas", her famous women sculptures. 

The Guggenheim’s interest in featuring art has spilled into the rest of Bilbao. You can find artwork surrounding the museum. There's a gigantic spider sculpture near the river and and even larger flower sculpture named "Puppy" in front of the Guggenheim. Puppy was suppose to be a temporary exhibit but became permanent when Bilbao fell in love. And I did too. A large flower puppy? YES. 

Eat pintxos! Pintxos are Basque Country's tapas. They are typical open faced sandwiches with a skewer through the middle. Pinxtos are all laid out on the bar for you to choose. Let your tastebuds go wild! 

Where to Eat (Vegan):
Typically when I am traveling to a city, I would use these resources to find vegan options. This wasn’t the case in Bilbao. Vegan options just fell into my lap. It was such a pleasant surprise!

Tirauki is a bar that specializes in vegan pintxos. We had no clue we'd find vegan pintxos! It was a lovely coincidence. & they were very delicious, featuring vegan cheese and tofu. 

On the same street there is Muga Taberna which also featured vegan items on their menu. I had a vegan quesadilla with a ton of vegetables. It was kind of greasy but that bar food for you. I’d suggest trying something else at Muga Taberna. :) 

Hot Dog's House is an omnivore restaurant that has a vegan hot dog and hamburger. They’re prices were perfect. I admittedly had a lot vegan hot dogs there. The staff was lovely, a very comfortable place to go.

I absolutely LOVED Bilbao. I really want to go back and eat more vegan pintxos. (I miss them. ;)) Would you ever consider visiting Bilbao?

- Christina

Weekly Goals 002

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This weekend was packed with celebrations. 3 birthday parties ranging from 1 year old to 85 years old. & Keith's parent's 35th anniversary. I am exhausted, but in a good way. It's great to be with loved ones especially after a long trip. How was your weekend?

Last week's goals:

Make a onesie. I put a zipper in! This onesie has been pretty difficult for me to figure out. I've never really sewn off of a pattern before and I don't really know what I am doing. Fortunately my mom is helping me! One step at a time, I will finish it! (I just need to keep on making it a priority. :)) 

Get my blog posts in order. Check! I put all of my blog post titles in my iCalendar. I know other bloggers buy a specific calendar for organizing their posts, but in iCalendar, I feel that it's easier to move things around if need be. 

This week's goal:

Scrapbook. I am limiting myself to one goal this week because it's a big one. I want to edit, print and scrapbook all of my photos from our 3 month Europe trip. Huge goal, right? Wish me luck! Haha.

What are your goals for the week? I'd love to hear about them!

- Christina

3 Ways to find Veganism in Europe

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Before we left to Europe, I knew I needed to do some research on how vegan friendly cities were. It is relatively well known that London and Berlin are very vegan friendly, so I knew those cities wouldn’t be an issue. But I did fear how would I handle countries that were very meat heavy. So I prepared myself by doing research beforehand. Here are my three favorite ways to find veganism while traveling. 

Google is a vegan’s best friend. Type in “Paris Vegan” you will get results in the form of blog posts and articles. This article is especially helpfulAfter finding articles about veganism in different cities, I would pin them to my Vegan Europe pinboard on Pinterest. That way they would be compiled all in one place & be available to reference once we approached each city. 

Another very useful resource is HappyCow.net. Happy Cow is a vegan and vegetarian database that lists of different veggie friendly restaurants & markets. Listings include vegan only, vegetarian, and omnivore restaurants (that are veggie friendly). This resource is especially helpful as an app. You can use the free app or purchase the full app for $2.99. I recommend purchasing it. It will make your life easier (the free app is very limited). It also has a map feature so you can see which options are near you. 

And lastly, Lindsay from Happy Herbivore’s Vegan in Europe book was especially helpful for me. It’s an ebook so I had it on my iPhone and because it was an ebook, I could access it when I didn’t have wifi (I didn’t have a phone plan while traveling). So when approaching the next city, I would read the section dedicated to that specific city. 

Each chapter begins with a rundown on the country. It lists supermarkets, what the country’s cuisine is like, food warnings, a helpful vocabulary for the country. Then the more popular cities are featured listing the restaurants, a description, their hours, contact information, and location. Very helpful! (Honestly what I did was take the advice from Vegan in Europe and search for the restaurant on Happy Cow. It was nice to get more insight from Happy Cow reviews and get a location from it’s map.)

When all else fails, veganism is about consuming fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds. Those items exist outside of the U.S. If anything you can get fruits and vegetables you’ve never had before. I had white asparagus for the first time in Spain. I ate more capers than I ever did in California. There are so many farmer’s markets and stores that are dedicated to just fruits and vegetables. So I would say don’t worry. There’s huge misconception that veganism doesn’t exist in Europe. But it truly does. 

- Christina

Makeup I Packed For My Eurotrip

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You cannot believe how many things I packed that I did not need on my trip. My backpack became excruciatingly heavy, so fortunately I was able to ship a lot of the extra load back home. I’ve truly embraced that I was backpacking across Europe. I didn't need all of the extra things. (I also read “Wild” by Cheryl Strayed. It’s a true story about how she backpacked across the Pacific Coast Trail, a hiking trail that runs from Mexico through California, Oregon, Washington, and into Canada. It’s inspired me to live more simply.)

Anyway, this post was photographed before I left to Europe, and my collection of makeup change throughout the trip. (I shipped a good amount of makeup home. Sorry, mom. I should have listened. It was too much. & to think I wanted to pack a whole palette!) 

But I still wanted to share my selections with you. I think these items create a great, simple, natural look. All of these products are cruelty free, vegan & super affordable. 

Brushes
My brushes are from E.L.F., Eco Tools & Bare Minerals. Almost all of Bare Minerals brushes are not vegan, they are made with boar hair. But the one I have is synthetic & I purchased it before I became vegan. (Bare Minerals is also not cruelty free.) From left to right in the photo I use the first & second Eco Tool brush for my brows, the two E.L.F. brushes in the middle for my eyeshadow, the Bare Minerals brush for concealer, and the last brush for my mineral foundation. I love E.L.F.’s Daily Brush Cleaner. Not only does it smell amazing (like I would want to use it as a body spray) but it gets the job done.    

Face
For my face I packed E.L.F.’s Personal Blend Foundation which has SPF 15 and 4 shades of similar color so you can blend them. I packed E.L.F.’s Maximum Coverage Concealer which is good for under the eye discoloration and for spots. I received the blush (the name isn't on the packaging anymore) from the VeganCuts Beauty Box. It’s a solid blush that I put on my cheeks with my fingers and blend it in. And I used the Modern Minerals shimmer called Sakura (which I also got in the VeganCuts Beauty Box) as a highlighter. I put it at the very top of my check bones (just below the eyes) and in the inside corner of my eyes. I absolutely love that Modern Minerals shimmer. Using it as a highlighter really gives my face a little extra something. I am definitely interested in purchasing more colors and products from Modern Minerals. You should definitely check them out!

Eyes
I decided to pack my neutral E.L.F. Essential Flawless Eyeshadow palette. It's a perfect everyday look. The colors are labeled too, so you know which colors go where on your eyelid. It's helpful for a makeup newb like me. I also packed E.L.F.'s Studio Eye Liner, which I put in my waterline. 

Mascara
I packed two types of mascara. Wet n Wild is a cruelty free company with vegan options. A decent amount of their mascaras are vegan. I’ve done the research on which ones are & pinned them to my Vegan Makeup & Beauty pinboard. The first one I tried was their Mega Volume Mascara. It works fine. It doesn’t blow my mind, and it’s not bad either. 

I also packed Pacifica’s Waterproof Aquarian Gaze Mascara. I purchased this mascara after listening to this reviewThe Feminine Review Beauty talks about how natural and chemical free the mascara is. I knew I wanted to try it out. I was also interested because Pacifica has released a lot of new makeup items that I’m excited about. I’ve tried their tinted lip balms and love them, so I wanted try some of their new products. When I purchased this mascara, I didn’t realize it was waterproof. I’m not much for waterproof mascaras. It really does work. It really stays on. I figured it would be good for beach days. 

Lips
The top lipstick and the lipgloss next to it layer really well together. I really love E.L.F.’s Lip Exfoliator. You can see in the picture that it’s more than halfway gone. It’s great. Then I also packed a bright red for a pop of color and a dark brown/red lipstick. The dark brown/red fades away nicely. You know those lipsticks that fade away and look awful? This one fades nicely because sometimes I don’t want to be bothered by reapplying.

What I Shipped Home
I really love all of these products but like I said earlier, I cut back a lot. I ended up carrying more than my men travel partners, and I was suffering for it. Not only was it extra weight but I shouldn’t have been spending that much time in the bathroom getting ready for the day. I should have been out exploring Europe! 

As much as I love my Modern Minerals shimmer, I needed to be brutal with my selections. The blush went too. I technically do not need all of the lip color options & I used my toothbrush to exfoliate my lips (anyone else do that?). I used soap to clean my brushes. I only needed to apply my foundation, eye shadow and eyebrows with brushes. The rest I could apply with my fingers. & instead of waterproof mascara, I’m opted for no mascara at the beaches.

I’m happy with the products I packed and the products I decided to keep around. It was nice to be even MORE minimalistic with my makeup than I already am. I hope you enjoyed taking a mini peek into my makeup bag! What do you think?

- Christina

Weekly Goals 001

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I'm back! We returned from our 3 month Europe backpacking trip on the 14th. I have so much to tell you and I can't wait to post our adventure here on the blog. If you want a brief idea of where we went, I posted on Instagram (@city_loveee) most of our trip.

I'm excited to get into the groove of things again & especially excited to create weekly goals. It'll be nice to have my blogger community (my friends :)), keep me accountable for my goals. Unfortunately, Weekly Wishes from Nectar Collective doesn't exist anymore! (It was a way to link up your goals with other bloggers participating in Weekly Wishes.) But I won't let it stop me from continuing. Making my goals public really help me achieve them. So let's get into this!

Make a onesie. I want to attend to things that I have put on the back burner for a looong time. Years ago I told my boyfriend, Keith, that I would make him a onesie as Christmas gift. (Here is a photo of us getting the fabric. That was a long time ago!) I've made some progress over the years, but now I think it's time to finish this project. 

Get my blog posts in order. I'm so excited to be blogging again & especially sharing my travels with you. I have a HUGE list on blog post ideas. I need to organize when they'll be posted and start my drafts. I can't wait!

Do you have any goals for the week? I would love to hear about them. If you do post, or are interested in posting your weekly goals on your blog, feel free to send me the link so I can see them!

- Christina

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