Black on Black // What Wearing All Black Means to Me

Black on Black

Over the past few years, my wardrobe has slowly but steadily lost its color. Open up my closet door and you’ll find everything organized into blacks, whites, and greys…but nothing else. And even still, I usually go for black items anyway; grey usually appears in the form of a cardigan and white as an easy cropped tee or maybe a pair of shorts when I’m feeling summery. All of my shoes are black. Almost all of my bags are black. I just love wearing black.

I used to wear a lot of color in college, but the gradual departure of color from my wardrobe feels like me becoming more of myself. College was so transitory, all about finding myself…and that’s what wearing color in those days feels like in retrospect. Finding my sense of style, finding what makes me feel good, defining my “look.” I was a wannabe “scene” kid in high school, with black hair and tons of makeup and always wearing black band shirts paired with skinny jeans and black hoodies. I drifted from that in college as I tried to be more adult-y and grew out of the scene kid thing. Yet here I am as an actual adult person going back to the black-on-black vibes I lived on in high school, and it feels really “me.”

I love how simple wearing black is, yet it makes me feel dressed up even if it’s just a black tee + black denim. I like the way it looks with my skin tone, I like the way it looks with dark lipstick and simple eye makeup. I like the way all of my garments go together, easily matching each other with very little effort. I like how simple it makes shopping; if it doesn’t come in black, I’m not going to buy it. And not gonna lie…I like how it makes me feel like a witch, a little bit intimidating, a little bit on the scary side.

But above all, I love how wearing all black makes me feel intense and powerful but also quiet and mysterious. Though I like bright colors on other people, they seem too “fun” for me, too outgoing and attention-grabbing. I like being on the sidelines, away from the spotlight, and wearing black feels like that. Powerful on my own terms, powerful just sitting here by myself, powerful without being at the center of attention. It is being loud while being subtle. Though it is as dark as dark can be, to me it is strength burning bright.

What does something about your style mean to you?

7 Turkish Foods You Have to Try

7 Turkish Foods You Have to Try
My favorite place about anywhere usually has to do with the food (duh). After I published this post about Seattle foods my mom even asked me if we did anything there but eat🙈 You need food for survival, ok!?!? Really though, trying new foods is one of life’s biggest-but-simplest pleasures and I think everyone should experiment with new cuisines…especially when traveling.

Before heading to Turkey last summer, I was scouring Pinterest for tips on what Turkish foods I just had to try (because obviously I didn’t want to miss anything that was too good to miss!). The results were pretty varied and the lists I came up with were consequently super extensive, so I thought I’d make a list with my personal favorite Turkish foods that I can’t wait to have again next time I’m there/that you should for sure try if you get the chance to do so!

01. Turkish breakfast

I seriously just f*cking love breakfast in general, but there’s something about ordering an entire huge spread that just makes your day first thing in the morning. By far my favorite meals in Turkey were all breakfasts, especially this one in Bursa that I loved so much I wrote a whole post about it (the below two photos are from that best breakfast I’ve ever had). Second favorite was in Istanbul with Ilhan at a place called Van Kahvalti Evi (third photo below) where they brought us the most giant spread with baked eggs, fresh bread, homemade jams/butters, olives, cheeses, breads, oils…TO DIE FOR. DO NOT MISS.
Best Breakfast In Bursa
Best Breakfast In Bursa
Turkish breakfast

02. Pide

So this is essentially a combination of flatbread and pizza, aka a bread meal from heaven. Picture this: you place your order specifying what meat and cheese you want (or do you want extra cheese? extra meat? meat combo? SO MANY OPTIONS.) and this heaven bread comes straight from the oven to your plate. I of course got extra cheese…it was stringy and melty and amazing. DO NOT MISS.
Turkish Pide

03. Döner kebab

Hashtag the reason everyone goes to Europe (I’m kidding…kind of). I essentially thought about these daily since I left France (why oh why don’t we have döner kebabs here in the US…WHY GOD!?!?) and could NOT wait to get them in actual Turkey. Best drunk food ever. Too good to be true. Definitely worth the two year wait. 10/10. DO NOT MISS.
Turkish döner

04. Iskender kebab

So while döner definitely takes the cake as far as drunk on-the-go foods go, iskender kebab was one of my absolute favorite non-breakfast meals. We had this several times, actually (the best was at Can Doner in Izmir)…it’s strips of kebab meat smothered in amazing tomato sauce. It comes with pita bread and fresh yogurt and was seriously drool-inducing. DO NOT MISS.
Izmir, Turkey

05. Breads

Ahh, bread. It’s truly fascinating how something so simple can vary so much from place to place. While French bread is still my favorite bread on earth (I don’t think I’ll ever find better tbh), I wasn’t about to say no to any of the yummy Turkish breads I was offered. My favorite were these rolls with cheese baked inside (first picture below) and simit (those circle breads on the bottom row, second picture below). Anyway, what the heck…why wouldn’t you just pop into a bakery and give something a try? Bread is universally loved…DO NOT MISS.
Izmir, Turkey
Izmir, Turkey
Izmir, Turkey

06. Turkish delight // lokum

How much do I really need to say about this? I love Turkish delight (does it remind anyone else of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe?), and it’s obviously the best in Turkey. We got ours in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar, where the selection was out of control, but I’m sure it’s good from anywhere in Turkey. I wished our purchase would last forever😭 DO NOT MISS.
Turkish delight

07. Turkish ice cream // dondurma

I’m not a huge ice cream person…if I’m going to go for a dessert I pretty much always want something carby. But the whole dondurma experience is worth it for sure, because the guys that serve it put on a huge show when they’re making your cone for you. The ice cream is different than regular ice cream; it’s SUPER sticky which allows for the server to do tricks and stuff with it. They’re super cheap, they taste good, the experience is fun. DO NOT MISS.
Dondurma

08. Turkish coffee & tea

I know this isn’t an “eat,” but I thought it was still worth a mention. You simply can’t go all the way to Turkey and not try their coffee and tea. I dedicated a whole post to the coffee because it’s seriously that good (plus it comes with Turkish delight, so.). Like the coffee, the tea is different than what you’re probably used to…it’s very, very strong as far as caffeine goes and the taste is quite bitter (I had to take mine with sugar, which I usually don’t do). Even if you just try each once…DO NOT MISS.
Turkish coffee
Best Breakfast In Bursa

So there you have it, my favorite favorite Turkish foods (and drinks!). Have you tried any of these before? If not…which would you want to try most?

Hey What’s Up Hello

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Helloooooo. It’s already been over two weeks since my last post and besides that it’s been months and months since I wrote a real life update. I’m not sure when my blog got a LOT less personal, but I remember back when I first started writing I shared a lot of stories about my life and I just don’t do that anymore. I guess my life got boring🙊 So here’s the lowdown on my life lately.

  • I’m running in a half marathon on the 24th. Kinda freaking out about it especially because I thought I was following a 12 week training program and just today realized it was a 16 week one…so I’m definitely four weeks behind fml. So hopefully just bumping up my runs to 4-6 miles 3-4x/week will help me get ready in time because as of now I can only run 5! Yikes! Anyone have any crash half marathon training tips?
  • I’ve started my own business, Kova Creative. It’s a full-service social media agency (I might be the only agent so far but whatever!) that I’ve been thinking of starting for about six months now, so I’m pumped that I’m finally getting finished with all the legal stuff/it’s officially named/the website is finished!
  • Ilhan and I are going to Coachella this year. We bought our tickets last year in like June or something so idk how I haven’t mentioned this before but there’s that.
  • Chaya passed away very unexpectedly back in February. I didn’t mention it yet because I didn’t want to talk about it…it’s still hard for me to think about. We’re on the hunt for another friend for Nala so she doesn’t get super lonely but she’s picky about who she rooms with.
  • I’ve gone 85% pescatarian! I’m planning on eventually transitioning to vegetarianism, but for now this switch has been difficult enough. I’ve done a really good job at ordering strictly seafood when I’m out, the only time I go back to other meats is when I’m at my parents’ house or if I get drunk food or something haha. I’m going to do a more extensive post on this transition later this week (it really has been an experience haha) with more details about why I switched etc.
  • Also I’m going to try posting 3 times a week instead of 5…I think shooting for 5 is what made me burn out every time I’ve gotten consistent this year so far.

    So what have you guys been up to?

    Seattle Eats // 10 Spots You Have to Try!

    Seattle Eats 10 Spots You Have to Try

    I take eating out very seriously, especially when traveling. When you only have a limited amount of meals to spend in a particular city, you want to make sure your time is spent wisely right? Before we went to Seattle, I spent hours reading Yelp reviews and checking out menus before making a prioritized list of places I wanted to try while we were there.

    Let me tell you…it was sooo worth it. We absolutely loved every single one of these stops and I would revisit them all regularly if I could! So here’s to saving you a bit of time prepping for your Seattle trip…here are 10 spots you have to try while you’re there (thank me later😉).

    Pike Place Chowder

    With 4.5 stars/3,730 reviews on Yelp, we were absolutely determined to try Pike Place Chowder. It has won the “Nation’s Best Chowder” award three times (even beating out East Coast chowders!) and several other prestigious awards regionally and nationally. Ilhan got the New England Clam Chowder in a sourdough bread bowl and I got a cup of the Smoked Salmon Chowder. Literally salivating right now remembering this meal…absolutely phenomenal and perfect for a chilly day at Pike Place Market. TO. DIE. FOR.

    Seattle EatsSeattle EatsSeattle Eats

    There are two locations (we went to the Post Alley one, right in Pike Place Market)
    Address: 1530 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101
    Hours: 11-5
    Address: 600 Pine St. 4th floor, Seattle, WA 98101
    Hours: Monday-Thursday, 11-8; Friday-Saturday, 11-9; Sunday, 11-7

    Piroshky Piroshky

    Piroshky Piroshky is a little Russian bakery that’s also located right in Pike Place Market. Ilhan and I wanted to try it all weekend but we were constantly so stuffed that we didn’t have the chance to go until the end of the trip. We went at night, though I hear that it’s better in the morning when everything is fresh and hot. Not complaining though, Ilhan got Beef & Cheese and I got a Mushroom & Cheese and we were both super satisfied. We both preferred Ilhan’s, don’t get the mushroom one unless you actually really love mushrooms…it was very mushroomy and quite a large pastry.

    Seattle Eats
    Seattle EatsSeattle Eats
    Seattle Eats
    Seattle Eats
    Seattle Eats

    Address: Pike Place Market, 1908 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101
    Hours: Monday-Friday, 8-6; Saturday-Sunday, 8-6:30.

    Biscuit Bitch

    Kinda hard to find, but definitely worth the search. SUCH GOOD BISCUITS, great eggs, great coffee, and the employees were all really nice. The menu is full of items called things like “Straight-Up Bitch” and “Smokin’ Hot Bitch” which added to the place’s attitude/made it awesome haha. We both got the “Easy Bitch” which was just biscuits and gravy topped with eggs over easy, absolute yolky goodness😛

    Seattle EatsSeattle Eats
    There are two locations, we went to the one on 1st.
    Address: 1909 1st Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
    Address: 2303 3rd Ave, Seattle, WA 98121
    Hours: (same at both locations) M-F, 7:30-3; Saturday-Sunday, 8:30-3.

    Kedai Makan

    We tried Kedai Makan in an attempt to be more adventurous than usual; neither of us had ever tried Malaysian food before. It was absolutely packed/we should have made a reservation, but luckily the hostess referred us to a nearby bar and told us she’d text us when our table was ready. We got Duck Noodle Soup and Singapore Tofu Noodles and were in heaven; we each ate half of our own dishes and switched because we both liked them both so much!

    Seattle EatsSeattle EatsSeattle EatsSeattle Eats

    Address: 1802 Bellevue Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
    Hours: 5-11 daily, closed Tuesdays.

    Tilikum Place Cafe

    I already wrote about Tilikum Place Cafe because it was that good. I was going through pictures for this post with Ilhan and when we got to the Tilikum Place Cafe ones he was like “oh my god that was sooo good.” And it really was. Seriously a KILLER brunch and the nicest serving staff. 6/5 stars, for real. Oh and the Bloody Mary was BOMB😛

    Seattle Eats Tilikum CafeSeattle Eats Tilikum CafeSeattle Eats Tilikum Cafe
    Address: 407 Cedar Street, Seattle, WA 98121
    Hours: 11-3 and 5-10 daily, plus weekend brunch hours 8-3.

    Maneki

    Seafood galore, you guys! So here’s a fun fact about Maneki: it’s been running for over 100 years! But sadly during WWII its owners/staff were forced into internment camps so the restaurant was ransacked and ruined in the 40s, but fortunately after the war the owners were able to reclaim it and keep Maneki going so we can still enjoy it today. The interior is beautiful, and the service was great. They told us from the beginning that the kitchen was swamped and offered us a lot of options to keep us held over until our main course arrived.

    Everything was amazing, but really this was one of the best yellowtail rolls I’ve ever had and just LOOK AT THAT BOWL OF FISH. It’s called the Chirashi Bowl and it was so freaking fresh and clean and beautiful and delicious. SERIOUSLY YOU NEED TO TRY IT.

    Seattle EatsSeattle EatsSeattle EatsSeattle EatsSeattle EatsSeattle Eats
    Address: 304 6th Avenue South, Seattle WA 98104
    Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 5:30-10:30

    Moore Coffee Shop

    The coffee tasted amazing but beyond that, how adorable/incredible is that latte art? The breakfast sandwich was yummy too though I think you’d come here more for the coffee. It was a really cozy space, we wished we had more time to hang out there but we didn’t stop in until we were on the way out to Vancouver.

    Seattle Eats
    Address: 1930 2nd Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
    Hours: Monday-Friday 6:30-4:30, Saturday 8-4, Sunday 8-2.

    World’s First Starbucks

    Hashtag obviously? Don’t need to say much about the beverages here, but if you’re a Starbucks lover like me I think this is an absolute must for your Seattle eat/drink excursion. I mean even if you don’t love Starbucks…this seems like a pretty important place to check out as far as modern society is concerned haha.

    Seattle EatsSeattle Eats
    Address: 102 Pike St., Seattle, Washington 98101

    Canon

    Named one of the 50 best bars in the world and home of the Western Hemisphere’s largest spirit collection, Canon couldn’t be missed. The interior was dark and beautiful and the craft cocktails were phenomenal (my pictures of them turned out horribly). If you wanted something off-menu, you can tell the bartender what kind of liquor you want and a vague description of the kind of drink you like and they’ll make you a surprise with a secret recipe! Ilhan and I shared one and it was even better than the menu ones we got, plus the experience of ordering a mystery drink was fun.

    Seattle EatsSeattle EatsSeattle Eats
    Address: 928 12th Ave, Seattle, WA
    Hours: 5-2 daily.

    Rachel’s Ginger Beer

    Last but not least, Rachel’s Ginger Beer. We stopped here completely on a whim after poking around Pike Place Market and couldn’t turn down Moscow Mules made with house-made ginger beer! I freaking love Moscow Mules and these ones were the kind that you keep sipping the melted ice at the bottom hoping it’s more mule haha. Hashtag that house-made ginger beer makes a huge difference!

    Seattle Eats
    Address: 1530 Post Alley, Seattle, WA
    Hours: Sunday-Thursday, 10-8, Friday-Saturday, 10-10

    So that covers everywhere we ate and drank in Seattle! Writing this post seriously makes me want to go back immediately, everything we tried was beyond fantastic and definitely worth flying from San Diego for ;]

    Which of these spots would you be most excited to try?

    Bumble BFF is My New BFF

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    You’ve probably heard by now that the popular dating app Bumble recently entered the ~friend zone~ and you can now switch the app to “BFF” and swipe right for new galpals! I have never used a dating app (Ilhan and I started dating before smart phones were a things lol) but you’d better believe I downloaded Bumble the second I heard about the new BFF feature. And can I just say it is actually mind-blowingly amazing.

    I work from home and have a long-term boyfriend, and neither of those is very conducive to making new friends…plus all of my friends from school are on the East Coast. So basically saying my circle here in California is small is the understatement of the century haha. I’m an introverted person who lives for alone time, but I’m simultaneously social and prefer having a large circle of friends, so I’ve been pretty sad at the lack of meaningful friendships I have here.

    Anyway, Bumble BFF seems to be a game changer. I’ve had the app about ten days now and have already met up with two great gals (two times! We’re turning into a cute little group!) and have plans with others! Not to mention all of the fantastic conversations I’ve been having on the app. So I just have to share my experience for anyone curious about friend dating. Here’s what it’s like getting on Bumble BFF!

    So it all starts when you download Bumble. Or if you already have it…set it to BFF, like so ^. Bumble will import your most recent Facebook profile pictures for you but you can arrange the order and delete/add photos if you want. I highly recommend adding at least two pictures because I think it’s sketchy to only have one…it could be anyone who just saved a random girl’s Facebook profile picture you know? Then comes the hard part…filling in the “Info” section UGH. Doesn’t everyone just hate writing About Me’s? PS I’ve noticed literally everyone using this app likes wine and brunch.

    Bumble BFF 1

    So now it’s time to start browsing! To be completely honest, at first I swiped everyone right because why not? But I’m pretty sure that was everyone’s mindset because I got like 50 connections right away and that’s just impossible to keep up with. So now my swipe routine is first checking if they have more than one picture, and then reading their about me. Only one picture? Swipe left. No about me? Swipe left.

    It’s an exciting moment when you make a connection! I love that it’s instant and you can immediately stop swiping and get to messaging if you want. I was so awkward and nervous (like is this actual dating or what is going on?) when I reached out to my very first connection…seriously how do you even start a conversation with someone. But Bumble provides you with a huge selection of amazing GIFs!! What an incredible ice breaker right!? My favorite one for opening the conversation is an adorable waving bear with the word “Hello!” Who can say no to a bear waving at you right?

    Bumble BFF 2

    Conversation can be a little slow starting out of course, but in my whole ten days of experience I can say I think it’s clear pretty fast who you click with and who you don’t. For example, I starting talking with one girl and almost immediately we realized we’re pretty much the same person and our messages back and forth were getting so long that Bumble messages would cut them off/not send the whole thing! On the other hand, I’ve been in convo with other girls who don’t ask a single question back at me/only provide super short answers. Those fizzle out pretty fast.

    So as mentioned above, I have already met up with some lovely ladies met via Bumble. I connected with one of them and she invited me to drinks along with another gal that she had connected with. I was SO NERVOUS getting ready for this, guys! What would we talk about? What was the minimum expected length in case it was too awkward to bear? What if I was getting catfished by a serial killer? But I was nervous for no reason…the three of us hit it off so well we ended up turning drinks into dinner and hung out for four hours!

    The verdict on Bumble BFF is…IT IS AMAZING. I’m really happy with my experience so far, even just in communications on the app (and a few of my connections and I have ~upgraded~ to exchanging phone numbers and texting heheh). Really, I think there are so many wonderful people in this world that we miss out on in the hustle and bustle of day to day life, especially in a city like LA where everyone is in their car all the time, just headed directly to a specific destination.

     Have you used Bumble BFF? Would you?

    24 Hours in Sofia, Bulgaria

    24 Hours in Sofia, Bulgaria24 hours in a city, especially a capital city, is never enough time…but you take what you can get. Our 24 hour trip to Sofia was a whirlwind (we even got caught in a torrential downpour! Is a whirlwind trip even complete without getting caught in the rain at some point?) I wanted to try and plan a detailed, precise itinerary to try and see everything but we ended up just wandering and absorbing; the architecture was gorgeous, colorful, grand, and the Bulgarian language buzzed around us. The one exception to this was making it out to the Bulgarian National History museum (National History Museums are always my favorite parts of capital cities).

    It felt like it was over before it started.

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    11 Saint Patrick’s Day Drink Recipes

    11 Saint Patrick's Day Drink Recipes

    So Saint Patrick’s Day is coming up in a couple days aka the best day of the year to get your drink on ;] Since I myself won’t be participating in a particularly boozy holiday Thursday and I’ll be attending a dry wedding over the weekend I figured why not live vicariously through you? I’ve never done a post like this before, but I guess helping you get drunk for Saint Patrick’s Day is a good reason to start, am I right? So lets get on with it…11 Saint Patrick’s Day drink recipes!

    01. Baby Guinness Jello Shots

    Baby Guinness Jello Shots
    1 layer Guinness, 1 layer Bailey’s. Yes please. Recipe here.

    02. Ombre Saint Patrick’s Day Jello Shots

    Ombre Saint Patrick's Day Shots
    They’re just pretty, and ~so~ on theme. Recipe here.

    03. Irish Car Bomb

    Irish Car Bomb
    The name makes me lol and bombs are always fun albeit messy. Anyway they get the job done really quickly and this Guinness + whiskey + Bailey’s combo actually sounds good! Recipe here.

    04. Irish Car Bomb Shots

    Irish Car Bomb Jello Shots
    Same flavors as above, but in a much less messy jello shot form👌 Recipe here.

    05. Pot of Gold

    Pot of Gold Cocktail
    I love that this one is less theme-y than the others/could for sure be served at any time of the year! Recipe here.

    06. Honeydew Cucumber Mint Mojito

    Honeydew Cucumber Mint Mojito
    I’m all about crisp and refreshing cocktails and this one gives me all the heart eyes. Recipe here.

    07. Shamrock Sour

    Shamrock Sour
    My mouth waters at the word sour! Whiskey + plenty of lemon and lime, yum. Recipe here.

    08. Shamrock Juice Cocktail

    Shamrock Juice Cocktail
    Well apparently the original recipe calls for 1.5 ounces EACH gin, vodka, rum, tequila and blue curaçao (EACH!!!!!!!) aka it will for sure get the best of you. This recipe still calls for all of those boozy buddies but in much smaller doses…so even though it’ll still get you good n drunk it won’t be as much of a knockout as the original haha. Recipe here.

    09. Honeydew Ginger Martini

    Honeydew Ginger Martini
    I love ginger. I love honeydew. Can’t say I love vodka, but it is my usual go-to for mixed drinks haha. So this sounds like a delightful mix to me! Recipe here.

    10. Sparkling Shamrock Champagne Cocktail

    Sparkling Shamrock Champagne Cocktail
    Bubbly always equates celebration, and this recipe sounds refreshing and super simple to put together. #yas! Recipe here.

    11. Irish Mule

    Irish Mule
    I freaking LOVE mules. They’re pretty simple, are delicious and refreshing, and are served in a pretty bronze cup. What’s not to love about them? I usually go for Moscow mules, but this Irish mule (same recipe, just exchange vodka for whiskey) is calling my name. Recipe here.

    So tell me, which of these looks best to you? I’m reallyyyyy leaning towards that Irish Mule (I always save the best for last haha), or maybe the Irish Car Bomb shots haha. Remember to ~drink responsibly!~

    Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

    2016 Travel Bucket List

    2016 Travel Bucket List

    I know, I know…it’s already March. A little late for any sort of 2016 bucket list post, right? I intended on writing this back in January like a normal person but I was busy/it didn’t happen and then it just seemed too late to write it. But the desire to put this together stuck so I figured I may as well just do it! This is my blog and I’ll write whatever I damn well please ;]

    I really love lists. I feel like putting your goals, even far fetched ones, on paper helps make them become reality; I wrote a travel bucket list for last year and I ended up going to almost all of the spots I listed.

    Tokyo

    Tokyo
    Tokyo has been on my radar for a while now, and that was only increased after seeing Miho’s pictures from her recent trip to Japan. It just seems like such an exciting, beautiful place…plus sushi and ramen are some of my favorite foods haha.

    Toronto

    Toronto
    I’ve heard AMAZING things about Toronto and I would like to explore more of Canada in general (especially considering Donald Trump might be elected president…if that happens I’ll have to evacuate quickly).

    Austin

    Austin
    Everyone I know who’s been to Austin says it’s beautiful, plus the food trucks are calling my name hehe.

    The Grand Canyon

    Grand Canyon
    I honestly don’t know how/why I haven’t been here yet. It’s only a 6ish hour drive from where I live so there’s not really an excuse to miss such an amazing national park.

    Big Sur

    Big Sur
    I’m DYING to camp in Big Sur! Or at least just see it…of all the times we’ve driven up to SF, Ilhan and I have never stopped in Big Sur.

    Paris

    Paris
    It’s been three years since I’ve been in Paris. This isn’t ok. It’s time to go back, I’m dying.

    Seoul

    Seoul
    I met some very dear friends from South Korea when I was living in France and I’ve wanted to visit in Seoul ever since. Maybe this is finally the year!

    Iceland

    Iceland
    Is there anyone on earth who doesn’t want to sit in this glorious lagoon? For real though…😱

    Have you been to any of these places? What’s on your travel bucket list this year?

    ***Image credits: Tokyo, Toronto, Austin, Grand Canyon, Big Sur, Paris, Seoul, Iceland.

    4 Must-See Mosques in Istanbul

    4 Must See Mosques in Istanbul

    One of the most impactful cultural experiences for me in Turkey was visiting mosques, especially in Istanbul. I’m not sure I’d ever even seen a mosque before this trip and I definitely hadn’t seen any as big and beautiful as those in Turkey. Although I’m not personally religious, I never felt any cultural shift when entering an old European cathedral; for me, doing so was more of a historical experience, perhaps because I’m so very familiar with Christianity.

    In Istanbul it was different. The calls to prayer would reverberate across the city, haunting and beautiful and foreign to me. And while I love old cathedrals (Notre Dame is my favorite place in Paris), the mosques simply took my breath away. The domes, the elaborate Arabic writings, the vibrant tiles, the hanging lamps…it was like nothing I’d ever seen. I couldn’t stop taking pictures, I couldn’t help but stare at the gorgeous ceilings until my neck got sore.

    We visited into several mosques (Istanbul has almost 3000!), but these 4 must-see mosques are my most recommended. They’re some of the most well-known as far as Istanbul mosques go, but I think that’s completely justified (does it irritate anyone else when people knock “touristy” things simply because they’re touristy? Some things attract tourists for a reason…). They were massive and bustling, colorful and architecturally stunning, and were some of my favorite stops of our whole trip.

    New Mosque

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    Though it’s called the New Mosque, the word “new” is relative; construction was completed in 1663. It’s on the Golden Horn near the Galata Bridge, so it’s right next the water! More info here and here.

    Address: Rüstem Paşa Mh., Eminönü, 34116 Fatih, Istanbul

    Süleymaniye

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    Süleymaniye is Istanbul’s biggest mosque and one of the city’s most famous sites. It sits atop the Third Hill and the views from it are AMAZING. Seriously even if you don’t go inside (which you should), climbing up for the view is worth it. More info here and here.

    Address: Sinan Aga Mah. Zeyrek Cad. No:4, Zeyrek, Fatih, Istanbul

    Rüstem Pasha Mosque

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    To be honest, I thought that this was the Blue Mosque when we first went inside haha. It’s SO MUCH MORE BLUE than the Blue Mosque! But it was my favorite of these four because the interior is just so incredible. It’s much smaller than the other three and was far less crowded. It’s located right by the New Mosque, nestled in a market area. More info here and here.

    Address: Rüstem Paşa, 34116 Fatih, Istanbul

    Sultanahmet // The Blue Mosque

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    Sultanahmet Mosque aka the Blue Mosque is right next to the Hagia Sophia…so it’s very popular. In 2006, Pope Benedict XVI visited Sultanahmet Mosque for a few minutes of meditation; it marked the second papal visit to a mosque in history. More info here and here.

    Address: At Meydanı No:7, 34122 Fatih, Istanbul

    Introducing Daenerys!

    Daenerys the Cat
    Have you ever had a pet that you felt destiny brought into your life? As if the two of you were just supposed to be together and the universe made it happen? That’s how I feel with little Daenerys, this beautiful kitten who entered my life quite unexpectedly a few weeks ago. She is simultaneously a feisty spitfire and the sweetest angel of cat, and I’m actually obsessed with her to say the least. So I wanted to introduce her to Blogland and tell the story of how we found each other.

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    It started with a weekend trip to the desert with some friends. I was carpooling with one of my friends and we’d already left when her sister asked us to turn around to get some stuff from home for her. So after retrieving her things and heading out for the second time, a little kitten ran out in front of my car. We all live in the country, so it’s definitely unusual to see a kitten just out and about, especially at night. And it’s dangerous for cats at night too with coyotes and owls on the prowl.

    I pulled over of course and she was sitting next to an electrical box and shied away at first, but after I turned to go back to the car she ran out again and let me pick her up. She immediately started purring and didn’t stop until we got to my house (where I was leaving her for the weekend while I was in the desert). She immediately made herself the queen of the house, not backing down to our dog or any of our other (huge) cats. At this point, the other cats were still so scared of Carl they wouldn’t come out of their hiding spots, but the kitten curled up on the couch and would swipe at Carl if he bugged her!

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    We all fell in love with how spunky and unafraid she is; weeks later, she still bosses around our other cats, and they’re all GIANT 15-20 pounders! It’s so so funny. And as I mentioned above, she’s also a sweet angel kitten. She follows me around and loves sitting in my lap and comes running when I call her. She loves love…she’s literally done that internet cat thing where she reaches up to my hands and pulls them down to her face when she wants me to pet her. Really is there anything better than a little kitten who just wants to hang out with you all the time?

    I don’t know how I got so lucky! We weren’t even supposed to be in our home town at that time, and she just happened to run out in front of my car…it was truly destiny. I’m completely obsessed with her; I seriously had 30 pictures ready for this post and forced myself to whittle it down to these six haha. I’m seriously one of those people that does nothing but take constant, practically identical pictures of pet child. But she’s just the best little cat there ever was.

    Tell me about your fur child!