Brexit

It feels like a punch in the stomach. The country I so proudly said I fitted right from the bat, where I changed and evolved so so much, where my hopes and dreams lay (or laid?), a country I was so ready to call home, is kicking me out.

I know it’s not black and white, but that’s how it feels. I’m still numb thinking about it. And the part that bothers and saddens me most is that hate, racism and xenophobia were the winning vote.

Are we really moving backwards? Are the fences going up to keep people from “their country”? The island superiority was ever present, but seeing the lengths they’re willing to go for something completely unknown…

Bournemouth, a small little town by the sea, was such an welcoming place and stage for such amazing stories.

London… there was a time I tried to find any excuse to go to London. I love the chaos, the people, such different cultures converge… And now some people are trying to destroy that…

Since the future is a complete unknown and the repercussions of the referendum are anyone’s guess (with hints from everyone), I’m just truly glad I was able to enjoy my year in a country that embraced diversity.

 

Fashion in black

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If I grew up admiring Henri Cartier Bresson’s breathtaking pictures and developed my love for photojournalism and journalism because of him, Bill Cunningham was the master when it came to street style and the world is now a little less colorful. 

I’m still digesting (very badly, if I may add…) the referendum and it’s result, debating my future and weighing what this represents… For me, for the people I know, the country and the world… 

São João

Since the first year I came to Uni in Porto, São João is a mandatory celebration. This year I was trying to convince myself since September that I wouldn’t be here for it.

I was absolutely trilled when I realized I could do my final project in Portugal and go to São João. It’s such a special holiday.

Wherever you look, groups of friends are laughing while trying to light up the traditional ballon and if two or three unknown hands end up helping, it’s all in the São João Spirit; the fireworks are a magnificent show in the dark skies, making the children jump with excitement; the alho porro (leek) that finds a way to your nose is a playfully move that gets a smile in return; kids run all over trying to hit people in the head with plastic characteristic hammers and grown ups get a little lower just to make them happy.

The joyful spirit is palpable, even someone coming to Porto for the very first time feels embraced by all the madness and enthusiasm around.

It’s definitely an one of a kind night, the only constant in the air being laughter, balloons and a good amount of alcohol.

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Mustard Yellow

A color that has been seen quite a lot recently and one I have to admit makes my heart flutter.

A color filled with live, not for the faint of heart and those who wish to slide under the radar, making a statement in whichever piece you’re wearing.

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I’ve been trying to be a little bolder and that’s how this lovely skirt from Topshop found its way to my wardrobe. I feel completely in love with the cut, the ruffled detail on the waist and the belt.

It’s a small step out of my comfort zone since I was never one to wear such figure hugging pieces because of my large hips, but I’ve recently come to the brilliant conclusion that as long as I’m having fun and I feel confident in what I’m wearing, all the rules fall to a secondary place. Also applies to the crop top I’m wearing. I probably shouldn’t, but paired with high wasted skirts and they’ve been a constant in my every day wear.

I went to a Beatles exhibition this weekend and I’m pretty sure I was worse than kids on Christmas morning. I was absorbing every single detail, picture, album and story behind it. Can you tell I love The Beatles?

Love, Ana

Love is Love is Love is Love

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Seeing the Times cover with the names of all the victims of the Orlando attack is surreal. How is it possible that a single “person” could take so many lives? How can hate be so powerful?

But then faith in humanity is restored when there’s a three hour line to donate blood to help survivors; when stories of people paying their homage are divulged; when vigils are spread all across.

Because for every “person” trying to shut someone up, there’s a million rising to give them voice.

Because love outweighs hate.

Always.

Love, Ana

Confession #1

I, Ana, have a confession to make.

This has been going on for a while… I can’t pin point the exact start. I never thought it would get this bad, the obsession is growing and growing… and with that my closet space is getting smaller and smaller.

I absolutely adore lace. It’s seriously getting out of hand, I can’t see a top or a dress with a little lace I’m heading that way without even noticing it!

And then, of course, whenever my boyfriend is with me he’ll point out how many lace pieces I already have. But lets be clear, they’re definitely not the same! The color is different, the cut, it’s a different length…. there’s always an excuse to add that extra piece that made my eyes glitter and my heart jump to my already clustered wardrobe.

I love the delicate feel it gives and pair it with something more rough to break it a little. I like to play around with layers, taking a piece from winter to summer with little effort.

I like to blame my mum, she’s the one that transmitted this better-be-carefull-with-my-wallet passion. Which is a plus from where I stand, this way I can raid her closet!

Love, Ana

Madrid

Never though I’d fall so completely in love with you.

You are absolutely breathtaking. Your buildings in each corner are imposing, with intricate details and a whole history on their faces.

The first day was dedicated to just walk around and get lost. We wandered through the streets, absorbed a little of the rhythm and enjoyed the lovely weather.

Oh the things you do for your loved ones. Visiting Madrid for a few days, of course I was dragged to the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium. Turns out, it was actually quite interesting. Football is not something I follow, but seeing the dimension of the stadium and standing in the field, having a tiny perspective of the expectation and pressure players feel was an amusing experience.

The parks… How many do you even have? They’re inviting, fresh, stage to love affairs and midnight runs. The Retiro park was our little lost paradise in all the rush the city offers. Another little breath of fresh air in such a busy city was the book fair happening just outside the park. If only I’d learn any Spanish…

I have to admit, one of your best characteristics has to be the free museums. How I loved getting lost in some of your galleries, six days is not nearly enough for all you have to offer. “Guernica” will forever be engraved in my memory (how are you so so big? I felt like an even smaller dust in the universe). The paintings  at Thyssen were definitely my favorite, I adore the explosion of color ever so present. The Prado Museum was… impressive. I flike to be exposed to the various artistic currents, but the collection on the Prado was not one I liked. It felt heavy, I can’t relate to the motives portrayed and I do not know how to appreciate it. Maybe in a few years time.

But your Royal Palace… What a magnificent exhibition of wealth and power. Every painting in each sealing was a piece of art on its own. The crafted gold filling the room; the amazingly big chandeliers with all the crystals; the jewels exposed; the draped, patterned curtains; the massive furniture much needed to fill the huge divisions… You were one of the best surprises and reminded me of Versailles, the luxury being mandatory in both.

We also made a quick stop in Mercado de San Miguel and the colors, smells and sounds found were rich and full of life. My little chaotic side loved the La Boqueria in Barcelona, but this market was much more organized, the building had a better fit and it resembled more a store than a market. We then went to the Plaza Mayor, with a beautiful building surrounding the square with lovely places to enjoy a nice fresh sangria.

Toledo, what a pleasure getting lost in you. Your panoramic view is indescribable. The cathedral rises above everything else and stands tall in between your walls. Putting my foot on the ground felt like entering a different world. You keep your history in every single stone, the medieval air is still so present and your crocked streets hold magic in them. You were impossibly hot and demanding, your narrow streets going up and down with stones not suited for the human foot, but I wouldn’t change a thing. You have such a distinctive personality and remain so strong through time, it’s amazing to see you so present in such a new reality.

I had very low expectations about Madrid. Never planned on going there, my boyfriend was the one pushing the idea and I’m oh so glad to let him get his way this time around. I left another little part of me in Madrid.

Love, Ana

I love watching people

I’m a creep, I know that, let’s move on.

I love observing them.

How they read their books. How they ignore their books, leaving them on top of the table right by their coffee while using their phones.

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The newspaper read in the underground, counting the stops left to walk through the door and just get rid of those shoes.

The headphones in place, shutting the whole world off while creating the most intricate scenes.

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The occasional writer, looking for his next muse and the strike of inspiration.

Friends meeting in the street, wide smiles and tight hugs being shared.

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Children looking at things as if everything is new and exciting.

The frown brow while fighting against the wind, planning what the rest of the day will look like. Or the rest of their life.

I love watching people. I learn more about human nature. I learn more about myself.

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Love, Ana