Saturday, September 29, 2012

I've decided...

... that I want to learn how to fly.

It's something I've always wanted to do, but never really put too much thought into.  For some reason though, my not-so-secret desire to fly a plane has come back with a vengence.  Maybe it's the adventure, maybe it's the way-too-cool-sounding job prospects, but I think saving up for a pilot's license is in my near future.  


Friday, September 28, 2012

One Year Ago

Exactly one year ago today I was boarding the plane which would take me to Madrid, Spain, where I would begin three of the most incredible months of my life.  Although it sounds a little nuts, I couldn't stop thinking about Spain today.  At one point, I even got close to tearing up when I thought about the friends, adopted family, and general way of living that I had left behind.  I thought that studying abroad would "cure" me of my passionate life-long desire to travel, but instead it's inflamed it.  I have the worst case of wanderlust...

Don't get me wrong, I was incredibly glad to be reunited with my family in friends in the good 'ole USA.  This crazy need to travel that I have has absolutely nothing to do with how much I love being with them, but more of an insatiable curiosity about other places and cultures.  

I'll never forget stepping off the plane in Madrid and being so excited I could hardly contain myself.  A year, several thousand photos, and many sweet new friendships later, I'm still so thankful to everyone that supported me along the way and continues to support me despite my constant "When I was in Spain..." ramblings.  

Has any fellow "study-abroader" else ever dealt with similar thoughts?  

Mi familia española: José, Maria, and Martina

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Nerja, Spain

If you're heading to the south of Spain, you absolutely must check out Nerja (pronounced Nair-hah.)
Two hours and €4 will take you from Málaga to the center of this tiny fishing village, which was made popular by the 80's TV show, "Verano Azul," or, "Blue Summer."  

Nerja has plenty of goodies to make a day trip completely worthwhile: fresh gelato, delicious tinto de verano, pristine beaches, natural caves, and local flair.  As an added bonus, you'll be able to see across the Mediterranean sea into Africa on a clear day.  If you still aren't sold on Nerja, chances are the friendly wandering cats and delicious seafood will win you over quite quickly.

Have you visited Nerja or other beaches in Spain?   Leave me a link in the comment section; I want to hear about it! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Over the Weekend

This past weekend one of the girls I studied abroad with roadtripped to Pittsburgh to spend the weekend with me.  The weekend was filled with trips downtown, delicious Primanti sandwhiches (a Pittsburgh original!),  and maybe even a little Third Eye Blind Concert.  

Weekends are so wonderful.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Chevron Canvas DIY

Instead of letting your Pinterest boards lay dormant, make them your crafting and cooking to-do list!  Today's project was a canvas painting I made over my summer break.  

What You'll Need
a painter's canvas- you can choose the size
your choice of paints
spray paint in your base color (i used white)
a paintbrush
painters tape


1. cover your canvas in color and then let it dry completely

2. once your canvas has dried, use strips of painter's tape to make the patten below

3. after you cover the entire canvas with painter's tape (leaving a few centimeters between the strips,) peel off between 10 and 20 strips scattered around the canvas
do as i say, not as i show

4.  use your spray paint to cover the entire canvas
you may need to use two coats to get a complete cover

 5.  after the spray paint has dried completely, pull off all remaining strips of painter's tape and hang your new masterpiece 

What are your favorite Pinterest projects? I'd love to know!  

Wanna follow me on Pinterest?  I'm at

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Mystery Trip from Last Weekend

Weekend trips are one of my favorite ways to travel- the brevity ensures that you (probably) won't spend too much money, you don't need to take off time from work or school, and they're a fun break from the usual downtime of a weekend.  

This past weekend, a few of my friends and I went on my school's annual Mystery Trip.  The really interesting thing about mystery trips is that you actually have no idea where you'll be going.  The only prior knowledge we had of our destination was a short weather report.  

In general, I'm very plan/control oriented; my planner never leaves my side.  For some reason though, I'm a complete type B person when it comes to travel.  Even though I like to have a general idea of what to see and how to get it all in, I prefer to take the days as they come and really try to soak up the place I'm visiting.  

Although it was a little tough to have absolutely no clue where I was going to be spending my weekend, my friends and I had a great time visiting our mystery destination- Baltimore, Maryland.  

Some Baltimore Travel Tips:
Seafood here is fresh and plentiful; make sure you try some local crabcakes.
The National Aquarium is a little pricey ($30 for one adult) but is a pretty interesting and entertaining way to spend a few hours if you're in the Inner Harbor Area.
If you're a boating fan, the Inner Harbor area has paddleboating, river cruises, a water taxi, and even a pirate ship!
Although most of the restaurants around the harbor are typical chains, most do offer patio seating and a great sunset view.  
When it comes to safety, I felt like Baltimore was a complete toss-up: One minute you would be in the nicest historical neighborhood, but a two minute walk the wrong way can completely change the atmosphere.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Málaga, Spain

Having spent almost three months studying abroad in Málaga, I've fallen in love with the people, the food (with a few exceptions), and the Mediterranean sunsets.  If you're visiting Málaga, or just dreaming about it, here are a few tips and photos.

La Comida- The Food
Roasted potatoes (Patatas Asadas) are very traditional around Christmas, but head out to Las Papa's in El Centro to feast on them year-round.  Essentially, these baked potatoes are served with almost more toppings than potato itself.  The toppings- ranging from meats to veggies to homemade sauces- sound a little weird, but almost every combination is delicious.  

What would Spain be without paella?  This local dish is a rice/vegetables/meat mixture that has a million variations.  Beware that serving sizes are almost always double (or triple) what most people could ever eat.  

Another Spanish favorite is churros and chocolate.  Whether these fried (but not sweetened) pastries are served giant and fluffy or small and dense depends on the café, but rest assured that both variates are delicious.  They're best served with a cup of chocolate that seems to be somewhat of a hybrid between hot chocolate and Hershey's Syrup.  If you're craving an actual hot chocolate, order a Cola Cao

If you're in Málaga, stop by Casa Aranda in El Centro for big, fluffy churros and great people watching.  There's also a great little cafe next door to the Plaza de Toros (Bullring) that serves up the crunchier variety. 

Places to See

Plaza de la Constitución is located at the foot of the giant shopping street Calle Larios, and is a perfect location for meeting up with some friends before wandering the tiny pedestrian streets of El Centro.  This is also the popular place for concerts, festivals, and large group gatherings. 

Málaga's town hall is gorgeous, and a perfect time to visit is when the lobby is transformed into a Bethlehem scene during the Christmas season.  Instead of Christmas trees, most Spaniards decorate with elaborate cityscapes that include everything from the Angel Gabriel to ancient marketplaces.   

If you're feeling a bit historical, visit the preserved Roman Amphitheater and adjoining Spanish fortress,  the Alcazaba.  With perhaps some of the most gorgeous views of the city, the Alcazaba was built by Muslims in the mid-11th century and was at once point used by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella!  

Craving some beach time?  Malagueta, the local beach, is lined with food vendors grilling espetos (sardines) and other fresh catches, people sunbathing, and kids playing in the sand.  Unfortunately, Malagueta isn't the greatest (or cleanest) beach around.  If you're looking for a gorgeous shoreline and crystal clear waters, hop on a bus and head an hour east to Nerja, Spain.

Local Excursions 


Thursday, September 13, 2012


I started blogging in 2009 over at The Closet Files, where I wrote about daily style and my life as a young college student.  Although I still like to have fun with fashion, lots of things have changed for me, and I was no longer passionate about writing for The Closet Files.  After taking a few months of blogger vacation, I realized that I missed having a writing outlet to explore the things I'm interested in, which is why I created Abby Explores.  

Nearly a year ago, I began a study abroad program in Málaga, Spain.  In addition to shifting the way in which I view life, my experience in Spain gave me a full-scale case of the travel bug.  Anyone who has been a young (a.k.a. poor) college student like me would understand that this isn't exactly the most convenient stage in life to constantly be in wanderlust.  

In this blog, I'll be writing about travel, life, and a few fun things as well.  Whether you like food, crafting, travel, or something in between, there will hopefully be something for you.  Feel free to email or comment- I love hearing from you!