Weekend Inspiration

1.  Halloween is right around the corner!  If you are in need of some decorating inspiration, here are 60 ideas for dressing up your pumpkins!

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2.  If you’re hosting a halloween themed get-together, here’s a simple recipe for some pumpkin-shaped deviled eggs.  These oeur d’oeuvres are adorable and such a quick fix.  Besides, who doesn’t love deviled eggs?

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3. For most of us, it’s inevitable; Cold weather means overlooking extra weight that slips on to keep us warm. It’s easy to let go of our trim physiques when we’re no longer bikini-clad.  Since Halloween usually means revealing costumes, try some Yoga exercises to stay toned a little while longer.  I’ve recently been going to a yoga studio, but as we all know, those aren’t always affordable.  Try these exercises at home and create your own yoga routine!

yoga thumb (Mobile)

Have a lovely weekend!! Do some yoga! decorate some pumpkins!! Ciao for now!

xox,

{Valleys of Venus}

Nobody Allowed, Stay on Roof

Thanks to our foreign landlords, we can twist the meaning of the sign posted on the door to our apartment rooftop. Yes, we understand that frolicking on the roof makes us a liability, but hey, the sign could suggest we are granted permission. Even though we’ve almost exhausted our awesome 360 degree city view, we found some ways to make use of our illegal rooftop once more! 🙂

With the commencement of October comes pumpkin flavored everything (beer is our favorite), crisp strolls through central park, and warm fabric tones.  Since fall weather can be a bit bipolar, find ways to make seemingly summer pieces work by throwing on tights, a beanie, or adding boots. This ensures that you are season appropriate but also unlikely to have a heat stroke on the warm days. At night, add a leather jacket, blazer, or cardigan to deal with the chill, and your outfit is officially fall-proof. (click to enlarge photos)

Get the look: Dress-BCBGeneration (try this one); Boots-Steve Madden (similar here); Beanie-Zara; Leather Jacket-Zara; Bracelets-Mixture of Vintage, Forever 21, and Target

xox,

{Valleys of Venus}

From the Smokies to the Big Apple

I finally took the plunge and moved to NYC with 3 roommates (Maria being one, of course), next months rent, a college degree, and a whole lot of hope. Thus far my experience has been an uncanny mix of awe and panic. The potential beauty of life here in the city is limitless, but getting there is definitely stressful. For now all I can do is email, email, email and apply, apply, apply while hoping this Hail Mary doesn’t place me in a premature grave. I already find myself looking forward to future times when I can reminisce on the days my gypsy soul encouraged me to take tremendous risks and stretch my boundaries. I have no doubt that things will fall into place–after all, I am a persistent person with the belief that all good things come in time–but patience has never really been my virtue. Being the first in your family to graduate college and leave your home state makes for an interesting tale, and I hope to have an amazing story and enough experiences to last a lifetime by the end of this crazy journey. As my first week as a New Yorker comes to a close, I’m excited to see what adventures are in store!

 Granny and Zane 

xox,

Amber

{Valleys of Venus}

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Being a New Yorker-My One Month Anniversary

The mark of my one month anniversary as a Manhattanite is in a mere 2 days. Ok, so I probably shouldn’t call myself a Manhattanite yet, but I like to pretend that I’ve been here longer than I actually have. Even though there are moments I would love to do nothing but stand in the street and gawk at the breathtaking highrises, I will admit that I don’t, in fear of appearing as a vexatious tourist.

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This is my inevitable post, a few things I’ve observed in my first month:

1. FLOWERS. EVERYWHERE. and I love it! Why does no one else mention this awesome attribute of the city? (practically) Every corner of every block is lined with beautiful flourishes. With my early 20’s budget, I obviously can’t afford the luxury of maintaining fresh flowers at home, but I’ve already decided, when I’m a grown up, there will always be a vase of blooming peonies in my living room.

2. No one does their own laundry. No one goes to pick up their own take out.  Hell, many people don’t even walk their own dogs. In fact, my friend is paid $25 an hour to walk dogs. I can definitely get used to this.

3. speaking of dogs, I can’t remember the last time I saw a mutt. Manhatannites are pretentious about their canines.  I’ve recently developed what I call frenchie fever, as in, I want a french bulldog so bad, it’s painful seeing them.  They’re everywhere and they’re so cute, I can’t stand it. one day…

4. If you need an apartment for August 1st, you should probably start looking around July 25th. Real Estate here really is unlike anywhere else.  If you find an apartment, that application better be submitted within a few hours or you’re likely out of luck. competition, competition, competition.

5. Brunch is the most essential meal of the week.  If your budget only allows you to eat out sparingly, save it for brunch. Lower east side, Hell’s Kitchen, Astoria, Brooklyn…basically every neighborhood/borough will brag about their impressive brunch spots. The best part? $25 unlimited mimosas/bloody marys/ you know….we take sunday funday seriously.

6. New yorkers aren’t rude, you’ve got it wrong. There’s a difference between being rude and being rude to tourists.  Don’t mix the two.  Imagine your city being overran by a surplus of foreign transplants who delay your day. you wouldn’t like it either.  Having an office anywhere near Times Square sounds like a horrific nightmare.

7. The concrete jungle is just that. a jungle of concrete. It doesn’t matter whether its 80 degrees or 97 degrees, it’s just plain HOT. thank you humidity, thank you concrete, and thank you skyscrapers for trapping in hot air. On the plus side, the ephemeral breeze of the subway train as it runs by is a little bit of heaven.

8. FOOD. need I say more? anything you can possibly imagine. not only is it here, it stays open late AND delivers…most of the time.  The abundance of delectable cuisines is never ending.  I find myself in a constant state of comatose from overeating (which is fine because I walk an insane amount). I don’t know that I’ll ever eat at the same restaurant twice…but really.  The Kosher delis have sandwiches to die for.  Any type of ethnic food is usually authentic. you simply can’t beat it.

9. The little boys that breakdance on the subways.  At this point in my early adulthood, I’m in no position to fork over cash to the homeless.  I struggle enough to make ends meet in this ridiculously expensive town. The  breakdancing boys though….you can’t resist but to give them a little something.  Not only are they talented, they’re so young and adorable. You can’t say no.  It’s one of the endearing charms of the city, where else do you see 9 year old kids preforming in a train unchaperoned?

10. Endless amounts of fun, the hankering for great success, the constant motivation to climb to the top. Jay-Z did say, “If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere.”  There are many people who would never in their right mind move to New York; The hustle and bustle, the wreaking smells and crowds, the constant traffic and noise, blah blah blah. Here’s how I look at it, I live in a city with some 8 million of the most talented people in the world. You must constantly strive for success, or you’ll be pushed out of here in no time.  How can I not love this place?  For the first time in 23 years, I’ve never felt more alive.  You have to be a little crazy to live here, and that’s how it should be.  With all the characters I meet, everyday is an adventure, everyday is exciting, and I wake up everyday eager to explore.  If you want to live life on the edge, move to the city.  NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU!

xox,

Maria

{Valleys of Venus}

On the Road

My first cross country road trip was, of course, nothing like I expected.  While I was hoping to reach an epiphany about my impending leap into the real world or maybe come to understand the cosmic meaning of it all, nothing of such epic proportion happened.  BUT, being on the road for 2 weeks provides you a whole lot of time to clear your mind or fill it with aimless wonder, and I must proclaim, I have gained new perspective and appreciation for how beautiful life really is (super cheesy and cliche, I know, but seriously).

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My friend Matt and I started our adventure in St.Louis and drove through Missouri to middle-of-nowhere Kansas. Here, in Meriden (pop. approx. 800), I was introduced to the most welcoming family I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting.  The Jernbergs, having known us for a brief period, invited us to stay in their home and fed us a home cooked meal.  They even hauled out their ATVs and their vintage John Deere tractor just so I could experience the country life before moving to the big city.  That evening, Matt and I got out a guitar and sang some tunes for the most blissful bunch of people. Mr. Jernberg stayed up all night to listen to us sing and play, with an expression of absolute elation that never left his face.  In Kansas, I witnessed raw happiness that is rare and often lost. This family doesn’t live lavishly, but they hold an indispensable truth that people spend fortunes to never obtain.  Here, I was inspired to find the joy in my life.

 Moab and Zion, UtahImage

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The landscapes in Utah are some of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen.  Massive sandstone structures erected like islands in the sky.  Some of the hikes we attempted were excruciating but every view was worth the precipitous climb.  The top photo was taken at sunset in Canyonlands National Park. It was the end of the day and we were lucky to be the only ones left on the trail.  Sitting on the edge of the cliff, peering out into the vast infinite canyons was staggering.  Complete silence permeated and in that moment, I felt so insignificant to the world.  Honestly, it was such a comforting thought.  Here, I was amidst a view so eternal and boundless and suddenly my problems felt so frivolous.  In Utah, I gained a new perspective and lost the weight of the world on my shoulders.  At night, we camped out and stargazed for hours.  I can’t remember the last time I could appreciate a clear sky with a plethora of stars.  Staring at the innumerable twinkling lights and unable to fathom the immensity of the universe, I felt my existence shrink once again. When I contemplated the relationship of earth to the universe, then my relationship to earth, I felt so small.  On this part of our trip, I realized, in the words of Mahatma Gandhi, “Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.”  

Las Vegas, Nevada

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Las Vegas was as far west as we traveled. We only planned to stay for a night but that quickly turned into three.  After camping out in 100 degree weather for a week, an air conditioned room and cold shower felt like heaven.  This was the first time either of us had been to Vegas and at first, we felt like a fish out of water strolling the strip.  gambling was foreign to me and watching the tourists with such austere expressions at the poker tables was quite intimidating. After being there for a day, we both learned to love Vegas. We loved it so much we extended our stay.  It really is grownup Disney World.  I found the youthfulness of the city to be so endearing.  Vegas was a breath of fresh air. Being there helped me realize that life doesn’t have to be so serious.  Everyone needs to lose their inhibitions sometimes. 

After leaving Las Vegas, We made made a short stop to the coast of Alabama, then booked it home. We stayed just long enough to soak our toes in the ocean and so we can say we ventured across all the differing landscapes.  I leave for New York City in three days to start a new journey and I’ve never felt more anxious, excited and fearful at the same time.  It’s a necessary fear though, one I hope will motivate me to reach my dreams.

If ever you feel the air is stale, go on a journey, gain a new perspective 🙂

xox,

Maria

{Valleys of Venus}

Take a Hike!

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.” 

– Henry David Thoreau

ImageImageImageImageAs June approaches, the weather has been getting hot, hot and hotter.  Most people enjoy laying by the pool to sunbathe but I personally find solace in higher altitudes, where the air is still a little crisp (my preference for cold weather makes me an anomaly down here).  With my time in Tennessee trickling down to its last days, I couldn’t think of a better way to appreciate this land than to hike the Smokies!  These pictures were taken at Clingman’s Dome and Abrams Fall. There are an infinite amount of trails. If you’re ever in the Smokies, check out http://www.hikinginthesmokys.com and find a good hike!

xox,

Maria

{Valleys of Venus}

Listening

With Bonnaroo a mere 3 weeks away, here are a few of our festival favorites: Mumford & Sons, Macklemore, The XX, The Lumineers, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeroes, Passion Pit, Of Monsters and Men, and Kendrick Lamar.

xox,

{Valleys of Venus}

Getting Lost Along the Way

With the foreboding demise of our college career and inevitable plunge into antiquity that comes with turning 23 in the rearview mirror (or almost for me-May 28th), we decided to make our last summer as “college students” one that helps heal our post graduate malaise through an abundance of adventure. My summer was initiated with a week long road trip through Washington, British Columbia, and Idaho. Mother nature was at her finest, and I enjoyed every moment of exploring the city streets of Seattle and Vancouver and getting lost in the back woods of the west coast. Unlike most college graduates who move so quickly to find a job and figure out what’s next, I hope to use the next couple months not only to figure out what I’m meant to do with my life, but also to get lost a few times along the way. Sometimes it takes risk to find your true calling, and before I set myself on a solid path, I aim to ensure I’ve explored my options-In the end we will only regret the chances we didn’t take!

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Where will your Summer adventures take you?

xox,

Amber

{Valleys of Venus}

Here’s To New Beginnings

The moment we part ways with the “imaginary” world of college and become newbies of the real world is imminent. In a recent nostalgic spill, we asked ourselves, where have the last 5 years gone?!!! and none of us could come up with a solid answer. Yes, everyone says it but really, its BIZZARE how time flys. With this revelation (which we’re clearly behind on), we decided, what better way to chronicle our impending explorations and thoughts than with a blog?! We want to retrospect some day and commemorate the good times or laugh at our fashion faux pas. Either way, as life pulls us in unexpected directions in the years to come, this will be the perfect place to seal our memories. Being three girls (soon to be) roaming three cities, there’s sure to be an abundance to share! stay tuned friends!!

xox,

Maria & Amber

{Valleys of Venus}