La Esmeralda x Florality: 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Small Things in Life

Ever wondered where all these new pop-up coffee shops are coming from? Walk by a small shop that wasn't there yesterday? Goods you've never seen before. Or maybe you have but not like this.... I call it "the small business revolution".

You go into any single one and you'll get a feeling that this is new. This is something you could get used to. The coffee shops smell like genuine, handcrafted service and then a faint hint of wood and leather. The boutique shops smell like vintage clothing with a modern twist. Not only is it new, it's comforting. But why?

Artists are taking a stand and finally holding a bit of their own. Small business owners are tired of big-name companies taking advantage of customers that deserve better. Better everything: customer service, quality, and--most of all--personability. I know it's not a word, but admit it: who doesn't love it when they find something personally crafted and meant for them? Unique to who they are as a person? And inexpensive, but high quality?

I wanted to give my local small businesses a chance in this post, because they deserve to have a voice--and have others speak for them! Self-promotion can be really hard.

Just imagine how much they work. They invest in their own materials, spend the time and the money and sacrifice their work and time out of every day to give to something that they believe in, that they want to see flourish. Doesn't sound to different from us dreamers, huh?

But out of the hours of time spent on their work not many are recognized or supported in the way they need to be. Would you agree? Why do some succeed and others, not so much?

If you haven't already, give them a chance. Even if you can't pay for anything, visit their shops, share their works of art via social media. There's plenty you can do. And maybe one day these lovely small businesses won't be so small anymore.

Here are the great businesses featured in the pictures above (in order of appearance):

Nearly all of these and many other fantastic small businesses were featured at the Phoenix Flea Market Small Business Saturday market. Check out the upcoming event (Holiday Bazaar) happening Friday, December 18th through Sunday, December 20th at the San Mercado Agustin in Tucson, AZ.

Good night, Dreamers! <3

Friday, August 7, 2015

True Wanderlust

You've saved up, you've dreamed, you've packed your bags. And now you're standing in line to board a plane that's going to take you to the place you've always just thought about going to. But now it's actually happening.

This feeling is true wanderlust.

If you don't already know, the word "wanderlust" actually originates from the beautiful Germany itself. "Wander" is wandern in German, which means "to wander" and the German word lust is "to desire." Literally: to desire to wander. Pretty straight forward.

So it only seemed right when I finally took the chance to travel to the place I've been wanting to go to for years....Germany.

I bought a special notebook just for this trip and the future ones to come, to log all of my adventures. I had a place to stay with my best friend, a suitcase full of hopes and dreams, and not a single itinerary in hand...

The first thing that had to be accomplished! Germany surprisingly had a wide variety of ethnic food. Turkish, Indian, Italian, and Chinese only being a few selections in many meal decisions...all good choices.

And, of course, I didn't forget to satisfy my sweet tooth.

Vegan Numi Chocolate Tea Cookies
Organic Matcha Green Tea Lemon Sorbet

And the sights were breathtaking. Every landmark is so surreal. I had to consistently ground myself every day and say "I'm in Germany. The place I've wanted to be in for five years."

The Dom Cathedral in Cologne, Germany

"Schloss Benrath" (Benrath Castle) in Dusseldorf
"Altstadt" (Old City) Dusseldorf
Cologne, Germany
Die Liebesschloss Brücke (The Love Lock Bridge) in Cologne

Hofgarten in Munich

The Viktualienmarkt in Munich
But the best part of it all? The friendships. Every single person was beautifully unique, from all over the world and Europe. And Germans are one of the most accommodating!

King Ludwig White Beer & the Chinese Tower in Munich

Planning to travel to Germany soon? Here's some DOs and DON'Ts that will be helpful for navigating:
  • DO use Trip Advisor for your sightseeing needs. Google Maps is also a great source!
  • DON'T buy your phone SIM card in the airport. Wait and ask your hotel staff or a friend where the best place is to buy it. I promise you it's at least four times cheaper!
  • DO travel by "Meinfernbus", it's one of the cheapest and easiest ways to get around all of Germany!
  • DO ask for help when you're lost. If your German is good enough, ask someone for directions! Germans are very approachable (despite the straightforward expressions they may put on) and if you're brave enough to try your German, go for it!
  • DO stay at places with free WiFi. You'll need it.
  • DO let your bank know that you'll be leaving the country. It would be a shame for them to close your bank account because of unknown ATM withdraws while  you're abroad!
  • DON'T stress too much about a set schedule. Germany is very hipster and very laidback. Unless you planned to go during an event, I challenge you to go without a plan! Things will come up and you'll be glad you didn't plan because you can make the most of this new opportunity!
  • DO try the beer. Germany is known for it. In many cities they have beers that they're known for. Cologne has the "Kölsch." Dusseldorf has the "Schlösser." Munich has liquid get the picture.
  • If you're staying with a host family DO where your house shoes and DON'T forget to bring them a gift for their hospitality. A guidebook of the city/state you're from is nice!
  • DO buy Birkenstock shoes. While Germany considers most Birkenstock shoes (especially the Arizona style) to be house shoes, the fashion in the U.S. begs to differ. So buy them here. They're half-price at the brand name store. Don't get me started on the Birkenstock outlets.

Ultimately, have fun! Wherever you're going, or wherever you want to go, cherish your time there, take pictures, and make memories that will last you a lifetime.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Going Local

Visiting your local farmer's market is not just good for the community but for your health too!

Buying local and organic brings promise to healthy eating. All organic foods mean that no GMOs or pesticides are used.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Love What You Do

Being happy with what you do isn't always easy. But sometimes you just have to take a step back and recognize what it is that makes you happy.

First, focus on your hobbies. Discover your talents through those and learn more about them. Whether it's reading an instructional blog post, watching a video, or checking out books from the library.

Second, try something new. If you have an idea of what you like to do but aren't quite sure, this is a great way to discover a piece of yourself that's been yearning to unleash itself. For example, if you're a baker, Sogi's cookies are a great inspiration and they're super fun to make! You can incorporate art into almost anything.

Or if you love jewelry, visit a bead store and make yourself some earrings or a necklace.
This bead store in Tucson, AZ is a great little shop for stocking up on all the beads you could ever want. Check out the DIY tutorials tab for instant  inspiration.

Third, go on out there and explore what makes you happy! Don't compare yourself to what others are doing but instead be inspired by their talent and work.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Taking Risks

The first new year's resolution that I wrote down was:

Take a risk!

It can be intimidating though when you get to a point where you feel insecure. But why?

Maybe it's because of what others say. You're not smart enough. You're not good enough. You're not. Not is so negative. And everything just starts to feel dead and dried out and lonely.

Remember: You're only as good as the limitations you put on yourself because of other people's words. Friends and family are important and are in your life for a reason, but you won't always have them. Everything in this world is temporary.

What will you do to take a risk today, without worrying about money or safety or other people's opinions? Take a risk that helps you discover who you are in your own way. Don't allow the pressure of other people's success stories to stir you into becoming a copycat. You hold the keys to your success.

Which door will you take?