It's A Date!

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So far, planning has been a fun challenge! There were a few big decisions (like finding our venue and wedding date) that we wanted to get done before heading back to LA and coordinating the wedding hundreds of miles away from our families. On one of the last weekends that my parents, Kyle, and I were all still in Northern California, we loaded up in the car and drove up the coast for wedding venue road trip. It was such a fun day. And now, I am so excited to say... we have a place! Now we have a place to celebrate with all of our family and friends and a day that will be special to us for the rest of our lives. Surreal. 

With figuring out our date and venue comes selecting save the dates. I'm so excited to be partnering with Basic Invite to show you some of our favorite styles and ask for your help in picking a favorite! We designed these three by selecting sample designs and customizing the fonts, colors, and wording. Basic Invite has over 900 wedding stationary sets and almost unlimited colors to choose from, so it was so fun to customize and see the endless design options we could use.





It's pretty obvious that there's a trending theme when it comes to color scheme and vibe for our big day! We're all about blues and florals. I can't wait to hear what you're favorite design is among these three! 

This post is brought to you by Basic Invite.  




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How I Took a Trip to Paris for Under $500

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I recently took a trip to Paris for under $500 dollars. Considering that the average week-long trip to Europe costs around $2,000 per person I was really happy to cut costs by about 75%. I'm going to share what I did to stay WAY budget friendly for this specific trip as will as share more tips in general for how I save money for traveling. 

Flights
Cross reference multiple third party booking sites in addition to airline websites themselves. And as your searching, clear your history! Otherwise, sites use cookies to track the flights your interested in and boost prices. This is how I found my $175 flight from LAX to CDG on Norwegian Air. 

Flexible Dates
You will save so much on airfare if you don't have a particular date for travel in mind.This worked for me because I was willing to travel mid week and was fine with missing a few classes. Many booking sites (like Student Universe) have a calendar feature where you view the cheapest days of the month to travel specific to your destination. 

Extra Airline Purchases
Do not do any of the add-on purchases. Most discount airlines make up for their cheap prices in charging for meals, drinks, checking luggage, and reserving a seat. Make peace with getting a middle seat, bring a meal and snacks on the plane, and pack  a carry on instead of checking a bag. 

Travel Alone
Obviously the less people, the lower the cost. But another perk of traveling alone is how streamlined the process with transportation can be. For example, its easy to take a bag on the metro by yourself, whereas with a big group and lots of luggage you have to book a car service. 

Stay
I spent no money on accommodations because I stayed with my best friend who was studying abroad! Staying with local family or friends is always best since it's completely free, but if that isn't an option, hostels or Airbnbs will always be cheaper than hotels.


Bring Your Own Food
I am such a foodie and think there is so much value in having a great dining experience. BUT, not every meal has to be out to still properly experience the city. Your first stop should be at a grocery store to buy the basics- cereal, milk, coffee, snacks. If you have all of your breakfasts and some lunches and dinners in, you will save so. much. money.

Walk around. Window Shop. Take pictures.
This is kind of self explanatory, but making memories is free. You don't need to spend money on expensive tours, souvenirs, etc to have a GREAT time.

Student Discounts
It never hurts to ask if museums, tours, and even restaurants. You'd be surprised how many places in the US and abroad want to help students out. For example, I really wanted to visit Musée de l'Orangerie and all I had to do was provide my ID to get a heavily discounted museum pass. 

The little ways you can save money while traveling are so important and can add up big time, but obviously your biggest cost is typically going to be airfare. I feel like most people just settle for international flights costing $1,000+, which is so not the case! If you are willing to be flexible and do some serious sleuthing, a little persistence will save you tons of money. Keeping in mind that I traveled during one of the most affordable times of the year( midweek in April) and was staying for free with a friend, this goes to show that traveling to Europe under $500 can be done! As my friend and personal finance guru Natalie says, being financially transparent can only help yourself and others! Below is my exact spending for the trip: 

In total I spent: 
$175 Flight to Paris 
$200 Flight to LAX 
$47 Five-day Metro Pass 
$8 Museum Pass 
$65 Food and Groceries 

Total: $495 

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A Day in the Life

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 photos by Kristen Marie Studio 

With my first day of senior year at UCLA right around the corner, I wanted to share how I spent most of my summer.  I worked at a PR company in San Francisco and I LOVED it. From the badass women I spent the day with to the chilly SF weather to the office espresso machine to the work itself, I was constantly energized and inspired. Even the hour long bus commute from home in Sausalito to the Financial District was oddly rhythmic and comforting. For the first time (basically ever), I had a pretty solid daily routine. I absolutely loved the pace and energy. I'm so glad that my school year at UCLA started so late, because it meant that I got to spend more time at my job! Here's a look at my typical daily routine: 

7am Roll out of bed, pack my lunch, get dressed 
7:30am Walk to the bus stop 
8am Hop on the bus, eat breakfast, do my daily devotion, and then start work 
9am Arrive at work, get coffee (still not fully awake) 
9-11am Each day looks a little different, but my mornings usually entail replying to emails, pitching, and media list making
11am-12pm Again, things change day to day but I usually have client calls in the early afternoon 
12-1pm Lunch! Explore the city, meet up with my best friend who's also working in SF, or get errands done
1-3pm Back to work. More productivity, pitching, emailing, writing, etc! 
3-5pm My most productive hours, trying to complete tasks by end of day 
5pm Off work! Head to the bus stop
5:30-6:30 Commute home 
7-8pm Go on a run with my mom or to yoga (or just chill if I'm tired!) 
9pm Dinner 
10pm Wind down, shower, watch tv, etc 
12am Sleep! 

Shop my outfit: 

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8/18/18

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8/18/18 was the best day of my life. It was the day I got engaged to the most wonderful person in the world, the day he gave me the most beautiful ring in the world at one of our favorite spots in the world, and the day that I felt like the most blessed person in the world.

A few weeks prior, Kyle told me that he had forgotten a few things at his old house and asked if I wanted go with him to help finish moving out. I love his college town, so I didn't think twice when he asked me to go. 

When we were planning the weekend, he mentioned that we should hike Bishop's Peak at some point. 

For a little context, almost two years ago when we did this hike, two things hit me: first, the ground when I tripped, fell, and wrecked my knee (ha, more on that later!) and then the realization that Kyle was my person. That hike solidified in my mind that he was the one I loved, cherished, and respected more than any other person on this planet. As I was driving home from that hike two years ago, I called my mom and told her that. I believe my exact words were, "MOM. SOS. I'm going to marry Kyle." Months later, I told Kyle how I felt that day and about the phone conversation with my mom. 

The thought definitely crossed my mind that if he was going to propose this weekend, it might be on that hike. But the trail was honestly so hard, any thought besides trying not to trip/sweat/die quickly left my mind. I think Bishop's Peak had become such a special place in my memory, that I completely forgot and underestimated how hard the actual hike was! 

As we were struggling up the mountain, we talked about how this hike was kind of like a metaphor for life; how the trail was really challenging, but that it would all be worth it when we reached the top and experienced the beautiful view. 

We made it to the top. Kyle crouched down to grab water out of his backpack and handed it up to me. He told me that he wanted to take a picture with the Polaroid so I didn't think anything of it when he starting digging through the backpack. Then he mentioned last time we did this hike and that phone call I had made to my mom. That's when I connected the dots.







I can't remember the exact words exchanged, moments shared, or how he went from kneeling with a ring to hugging me. It was the happiest, most adrenaline fueled moment of my life and the biggest, most important "yes" I could ever say. I think I stood there happy crying in his arms for a while until he asked if he could put the ring on my finger. 




Before I had even fully processed what had just happened, a photographer popped out from her hiding spot and Kyle told me she had been there to capture the entire thing. It is the most precious, special thing to have pictures and a video from when Kyle asked me to marry him. Thank you so much Jennifer Leigh for responding to Kyle's top secret Facebook request and for hiking up to capture this! 

Side note: as we were taking pictures, Kyle noticed his knee was cut up from kneeling on the rocks when he proposed. Now we both have scars on the same knee, from the same mountain, and from two very important days!  


(this is one of my favorite photos of the whole day!) 


From Facetiming our families a few hours later to swimming in the ocean while holding my left hand in the air so my ring wouldn't get wet to going out to dinner that night, the rest of the day was so special and I don't want to forget a single moment. It was the most happy, full of love, joyful day. It was the day Kyle asked me to marry him and it couldn't have been a more special or beautiful. 
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