Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Opportunities and experiences

Kaixo everyone,

Today I'm feeling sappy. Not bad sappy, but happy sappy (lol puns). As I was going to leave the classroom at 5pm, our translation class instructor told us that Bob Woodward, one of the journalists who uncovered the whole Watergate scandal in the 1970s was giving a talk at 7pm this afternoon, sponsored by the College of Law here at U of I. I decided that heck, I was gonna go hear this guy who has witnessed and has been history. I gotta say, the talk was terrific. He talked about 8 presidents (the talk is the first of a series on Abraham Lincoln and his influence) and it was truly interesting. After I left the auditorium, I started thinking to myself about how lucky I am to go to such a great school, and the opportunities and experiences that this university has given me:

- I got a Master's from a top school in the field.
- My advisor is the king of his field.
- Had my very own, movie-like American graduation.

- I presented in two different conferences and got published in the first's proceedings (fingers crossed for the second one!).
- I have now almost 3 years of teaching experience and 5 different courses under my belt, ranging from 100 to 400 level.
- I never had prom in Spain, so I got fraternity formals and semiformals. And one of them was at the Sears Tower in Chicago.
(I am NOT wearing flats)
- I have been to the place North Shore High (Mean Girls' high school) was based on. And the Walker Brothers Pancake House. And Old Orchard Mall. Mean Girls is my favorite movie ever.
- I have traveled to NYC and Oregon, and been back to Colorado.

- I have rediscovered Chicago and have fallen in love each time.

- I've seen plenty of famous people like Bob Woodward...

Major Lazer
Jeff Dunham
MCLOVIN (and okay, Dave Franco)
Piper Kerman (OITNB, anyone?) 
JOE BIDEN (and he held my hand) 
Nev Schulman (aka my future husband)
- Got into an honors society.

Phi Kappa Phi
- I am currently the president of the graduate student RSO from my department.
- I am part of a retail industry based RSO that no matter how little it has to do with my studies, I love.
- I am about to start leading conversation groups in Spanish.
- I have been able to start translating and being certified by it, and I have been offered really cool translation jobs.
- I have fallen in love and also fallen out of it (sappy alert).
- I have made lifelong friendships.
- I have had an experience I would never have imagined.

Man, I love this place.

- Ane

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Winter Uniform

Kaixo lovely readers!

I hope your first (or second? third?) week of classes went well! Mine was a whirlwind with teaching, classes and getting back on track, but I am happy to report that I have felt rejuvenated after Christmas and that I am very excited about the classes that I'm taking and the classes that I'm teaching. I am taking two translation courses (yay certification!) and a course with my advisor on L2 phonology, which is my thang. I'm teaching a course on the sounds of Spanish (23 students, 3 hours a week, scary but exciting! And they seem not to be confused!) and BASQUE! At first I thought I would have 4 students but it turns out I'll have 7! All the effort sending e-mails to promote it paid off!

Today I wanted to make a brief post of something that has happened to me that I had never noticed here before (maybe I wasn't paying attention, but it's strange because it's fashion related). A revelation. It happened today when I walked to the ARC, the kick-ass gym (one of two!) we have at UIUC. I stopped for a minute at the entrance to get my student card out of my wallet, when I looked up, and I saw all the girls in front of me (ALL OF THEM), wearing the same thing. A long black parka, an infinity scarf, winter boots, a head wrap and a Longchamp bag. OK did I miss the memo? At first I thought, is this a sorority girl thing? (Not trying to disrespect sorority women here by generalizing, believe me, if there were sororities in Spain I'd have joined one in a heartbeat and I would've been the president because #power) But when ALL girls are wearing that, that cannot be possible. UIUC has a large Greek population but I don't think it reaches 30%...

Basically, everyone was wearing a winter uniform. THE winter uniform. And I don't blame them, who wouldn't bundle up in this cold (it's bad but not as bad as the 2013-2014 end of the world #neverforget) in those cozy garments?

Clockwise from left: Parka: The North Face // Le Pliage Large Tote: Longchamp // Head wrap: BLOM // Infinity Scarf: J. Crew Factory // Boots: Sorel

I gotta admit I do have an infinity scarf, and an almost identical tote to that Longchamp. But seriously, that view of all the girls in front of me wearing the same things struck me. Oh life.

Now, how about you? Is this your winter uniform? What is your winter uniform, if you have any?

- Ane

Sunday, January 17, 2016

My First Visit to a Lilly Pulitzer Store

Kaixo everyone,

I'm in a white state of mind with all this snow falling. Ugh. My hair almost froze today on my way back from doing groceries, my nose was as red as Rudolph's and I was dressed like an onion with all those layers. But let's be positive, winter in Illinois will be gone sometime... soon? EL OH EL I can win the Powerball from last week too following that logic... In any case, if you are positive about it will go soon. That has worked for me in the past. Something that will definitely help is some bright clothes and accessories that I bought the other day in my first time ever in a LILLY PULITZER STORE!!!!!!! I have bought many things over the internet but I had never been to a store.

After landing in O'Hare (like an hour after, customs and clearing took freaking 5ever), I took a cab to the Oakbrook Center, a mall in the Chicago suburbs that has a Lilly store, the only one in Illinois (at least a corporate location). Now it wasn't a regular situation. I had my 50lb suitcase with me, a 40l backpack and a tote, and I had till 5 when I had to take the bus to Champaign. I walked through Macy's pretending I had no suitcase (everyone was looking at it, it's bright green after all), made my way outside and made it to the Lilly store.

It was so pretty from the outside, and then I came in, and the ladies there were absolutely the best. Like, they offered to keep my suitcase and backpack behind the counter. UGH THANK DA LORD! Carrying all that wasn't only obnoxious, it was also super tiresome. My favorite part of the store were absolutely the fitting rooms. And I was placed in the coolest one, in my opinion, the Chicago one! It had exclusive Lilly paintings that evoked the city and everything about it, I absolutely LOVED IT.

Since it was the first time in a Lilly store, I tried a ton of things: Shirts, shorts, pants, etc.

Although all these were beautiful, they did not look that good on my skin (milky white girl probs), so I did not take them with me. However, I went with something that I had not thought of at all while looking at the web, but I decided to try it on because it was on sale and holy Jesus it looked beautiful!

I got my first Elsa! I was not planning to get one but I tried it on and it looked surprisingly pretty and put-together on me, and the colors were incredible. I don't know what my mom will say about ANOTHER pink and blue shirt (seriously, another), but it really, truly looks beautiful. I fell in love instantly. And believe me, pictures don't do it justice (I don't know how I do it to look like an awkward preggo lady every time I take a selfie SMH). Pictures don't do justice to the fitting rooms either.

I cannot wait to rock this piece soon. I'm particularly excited to take it to Nashville when my family comes visit in March, I believe people will be more appreciative of it over there lol. I did get some other accessories (a candle and two market bags) and I got the beautiful water bottle on promotion this weekend!

More additions to my ever-growing Wild Confetti collection

I wish I could've stayed at least 3 more hours in the store (and that I had a Black Amex too, a girl can dream) but I had to leave very soon. The adorable girl who helped me out even held the door open for me and my obnoxious entourage (yeah, my luggage) to leave the store. I wish the store had more things (like more shorts and dresses) but I loved shopping there and seeing everything first-hand. 

So I went to take the bus, and was when I was at the pick up location (out in the cold in an Oakbrook Center parking lot), this lady who was waiting with her daughter to take the bus to Champaign as well told me to go in her car not to freeze to death, which was really sweet and moving. Overall, I was very happy! I got to Champaign, had a beer with my neighbors (I missed my babies so much!), unpacked and finally went to sleep after 24h awake. Now I'm back in Champaign and lesson-planning for the classes I'm teaching this semester.

I wish everyone had or has a great beginning of the spring semester, best of lucks!

- Ane

Thursday, January 14, 2016

How to defeat the "leaving home" blues

Kaixo everyone!

So, on Saturday, I am flying back to Illinois to start my second semester of my first PhD year. As usual, I am a bit nervous, since crossing an ocean is a tedious, burdening experience which usually results in my stomach acting weird or my fever rising. Something that I've talked about here is how hard it is for me to go back every semester. I am not sure of my future or where I will end up, if I will finish the PhD, if I will move there permanently or move back, etc. And all these questions usually start making an appearance right when I've had a relaxing, lovely time back home with my family and friends. I didn't do anything special for Christmas, and that made it the most special. Being around family and friends is the biggest blessing for me. Being back to "normal" life. So when those questions come to my head and the time to leave my loved ones comes, I usually get anxious, depressed, and cry more often than usual (and I mean, I cry when I see a random street in my town because I won't see it till summer).

In spite of this, the world is not stopping, and I am catching that flight on Saturday. And many others are too, no matter if it is going to school two hours away, 8 hours away or 2 countries away. It is a common experience to feel sad when leaving home, family, friends and what is normal to you. Since I have had to do this for 5 semesters now, I have learnt to cope with the following strategies:

- Cry it out: This sounds like a childish solution, but crying is cathartic and if you express your sadness and even tell someone about it while sobbing, let me tell you, it feels SO GOOD after it. Do not bottle up your worries and your sadness, it'll be worse if you do so.

- Pack early: I'm leaving on Saturday, so I started packing on Tuesday and plan to finish today. You don't want to be stressed out the last minute before leaving, and my golden rule is to keep my last day to myself, my friends and my closest family (my parents and sister).

- Say your goodbyes early: Not as early as packing, but avoid having to cram all your grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins the day before you leave. You will feel less emotional and will not start crying and make them feel terrible after. They are worried and sad they will not see you for months, so make the last time they see you a happy experience, or at least try to (no judgment if you cry, we're all humans after all).

- Treat yo self to things from home that make you happy: AKA food and drinks, for me. That delicious baguette from the bakery? Check. Real-deal chorizo? Check. Custards? Check. A nice, inexpensive, vodka orange Fanta cocktail? Double check. No time to think about dieting, you are sad, about to leave your home and you won't see those delicacies (or at least some of them) in months. TREAT. YO. SELF.

- Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you: Hug your family and friends, tell them you love them and you will miss them. Because you will, and they will too.

- Get excited about at least one thing for when you go back: I'm visiting a Lilly Pulitzer store right when I get to Chicago and taking the bus from the mall later to go back to Champaign. No long wait in the airport and cute clothes? I'll take it.

- Be happy that being away from home means you value it more than you ever could: There's no place like home.

Do you all have any strategies to deal with parting from home. Let me know!

- Ane

Wednesday, January 13, 2016


Shift dress from Trina Turk (298$)
... and thank you. (Another edition of Ane loves pink WAY TOO MUCH)

- Ane

Friday, January 8, 2016

Please and thank you...: Spring Wishlist

Kaito everybody,

So, Christmas is gone... But ugh, I wish it weren't. This year I did not spend much money in gifts, and I personally didn't look for anything in particular, but I wish I had come across this great webpage before... Enter Spring, a NYC based store that caters young-adult professionals like my jolly self (basically I like to pretend like I have my shit together, which could be easily done if I had everything from this store) and carries those super hip NYC brands that street style bloggers sport and make me cry about my current closet.

So let's pretend this is a week before Christmas, I'm arriving home and I'm excited for cute awesome stuff that Olentzero (the bigger, better and "Basquer" Santa) thinks I deserve (I mean, 2015 was definitely terrible), or, that my inner Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle have come out in full swing. TREAT YO SELF! So here is my wishlist!

Clockwise from top left: Sweatshirt: Bow & Drape // Earrings: French Connection // Pink Watch: Lexon // Yellow Watch: Lexon // Cord Strip Manager: This Is Ground // Bookmarks: Mrs. John L. Strong // Stationery: Coral & Tusk

A sweatshirt with a fun print (I mean, my life all day every day), some stylish earrings that go with everything, cute stationery to survive grad school with, a practical cord strip manager and a watch (or two? No judgment I really CAN'T choose between those to-die-for colors!). A New Yorker born and bred you (and every Soho native) would think!

If you liked this pieces, definitely check out Spring, they even have an app for you tech-savvy millennial to check out their adorable pieces on your electronic devices! I specially liked the accessories page, check it out as well! Let me know if you find anything you like (which I'm sure you will!).

- Ane

This post is not sponsored. All opinions on the products are honest and my own. The webpage was provided to me by Spring to review their products. Thank you for supporting Spring and the brands that support Basque Prep!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Basque Prep Wears: Airport in Winter

Kaixo everyone,

To start with 2016, I will like to start with a new series: The Basque Prep Wears series! Dude, super original. I know, I know it's not the most original name. But I can showcase what I like to wear in different situations with a little bundle of essential pieces.

Now, before I go on with the current edition of Basque Prep Wears, have you all read the book Classy by Derek Blasberg? Yeah, that Tiffany blue book on how to be a lady in a world of excessive spray tanning and general bitchiness? If you haven't, do yourself a favor and get it ASAP:

Buy it here
When I bought it 5 years ago (jeez time flies), I remember that my favorite parts were the pictures comparing the "lady" and the "tramp" outfits for different occasions. One of them was the airport edition:

Apart from its hilarity, it gave me some ideas on what to wear to the airport without looking like an absolute idiot. However, since my traveling is mostly limited to going from Champaign back to the Basque Country and vice versa, the packing part is completely different from those Herm├Ęs bags (I mean, I wish I had those, but my actual packing is long enough for another post) and I have to think about which clothes take most space in my suitcase to wear it while traveling.

Clockwise from top left: Tee: Mango (on sale!) // Boots: Zara (similar) // Coat: Zara // Tee: Gap // Jeans: Topshop // Head wrap: Zara // Necklace: Forever 21 // Slip-ons: Steve Madden // Earrings: Tory Burch // Sweater: Zara // Yoga pants: Lululemon

One word: Comfort. And what is comfort for me when traveling overseas in the cold months of winter? Cotton tees with cute travel motifs and long pants (either jeans or yoga pants), paired with boots (usually my heaviest shoes) or if I'm not taking boots with me, easy to combine, easy to remove in the usual TSA screening, white sneakers. In order to keep my head warm, a nice head wrap or beanie is coming with me. Accessory wise, I keep my earrings simple but I carry my heaviest necklace with me to give my otherwise simple outfit an interesting touch.

Another very important piece for when I travel is a scarf that can keep my neck, head and/or body warm! One of my worst memories ever was a flight from Phoenix to Seattle where I kept coughing and sneezing and I felt like dying. I wish I had a scarf then, but I was young, inexperienced and dumb. Since my outfit is usually made of simple garments, I try to choose a bold scarf to make it pop!
From left to right: Zara // Kate Spade // Lilly Pulitzer

Bright and bold, just like moi! While I like my outfit choices to be as stylish as possible, sometimes it's just plain difficult, considering I have to carry a massive backpack with books and miscellanea and my suitcase as well, and it gets hot and sweaty no matter the weather or the cold, so I usually pack my coat and my scarf in my backpack and bring them out when I'm feeling cold. Like I said, comfort is key when traveling, specially when traveling for more than 15 hours!

What do you wear when you travel? Any Basque Prep Wears edition you would be interested in seeing? Sound off below! :)

- Ane

Monday, January 4, 2016

Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale - January 2016

Kaixo everybody,

I am sorry to inform that this will not be an inner monologue post like last time, which you can read here. No matter how much I enjoyed it, this time around the sale frenzy did not hit me as hard. I had perused old Pinterest boards to see possible pieces I might want to get, like an Elsa top, or a shift dress, but I could honestly see nothing that stole my heart. Maybe some pieces from seasons way past the possible ones for this sale, but nothing very recent. Ugh.

In fact, when I got in the sale (at 2:40pm GMT+1, 8:40 ET), after having 8000 people ahead of me at first, I only got the Agenda Bonus Pack and some earbuds for when I work out. 21 dollars, which was pretty damn awesome considering my lack of self-control.

You can still find it here
Find them here
However, no Elsas, no dresses, rien de rien. I honestly was disappointed. BUT! my decision was not because the clothes were that bad or unattractive to me (although it had to do with it). In fact, I didn't go empty-handed today... Two hours before the sale, 12pm Spanish time, I was browsing some Lilly Pulitzer Facebook groups and somebody had commented that the Deal of the Day had started in Amazon. I went to check out what they had there without any intention of getting anything, but suddenly, one of those dresses from last year or the year before last there at half price! It was not cheap at all (89$ + tax), but I was looking for a nice Lilly shift for my roommate's graduation, since she made it very clear I had to buy a dress for hers because she bought one for mine lol! And here is the beautiful piece:

(Pictures via InstagramThe Sugared Lemon)

That's right, I got the Janice sheath shift dress! I cannot wait to wear this beautiful dress, it looks so elegant and sophisticated, and IT'S PINK! AND LILLY! I will probably have to hem it a little, but I honestly do not care, it will be PERFECT! :)

Did you purchase anything from the After Party Sale or any other places where they had discount Lilly? Let me know!

- Ane