Travel Giveaway! Win a New York City TV/Movie Tour

Living overseas, one of the things I miss most about living in my hometown of Los Angeles is the buzz of the entertainment industry. Over the years, I’ve attended talk show tapings, been a seat filler at major award shows, wandered down from my UCLA dorm room to spot celebrities at red carpet movie premieres, and stopped to watch film sets I’ve accidentally stumbled across.

Attending the Juno premiere in Westwood in 2007. (Jason Bateman! Allison Janney! Michael Cera! Rainn Wilson! All up close and personal)

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How to Make the Most of 24 Hours in Madrid + Travel Giveaway!

Madrid is a city that deserves to be experienced slowly over a long period of time. After living there for two years, I consider it my favorite city in the world, and with good reason. But what if you only have 24 hours to spend in the Spanish capital? No te preocupes, there’s still a world to discover in just one day.

La Almudena cathedral, Madrid, Spain

Madrid’s Almudena cathedral

Whether it’s your first trip there, you’re revisiting and want to make sure you hit all of the hotspots, or you’re a local who wants to appreciate what makes Madrid so great, this itinerary will take you by Madrid’s most iconic sights and give you a taste of what makes the city so unbelievably magical. Continue reading  

Australia’s Scandinavian Film Festival: Underdog, Raspberry Boat Refugee, and The Grump

One of the best things about cinema is its ability to transport you across place and time. The Spanish Film Festival in Australia a few months ago teleported me to Spain and Colombia, and, lucky me, I have new teleportation plans in place: the Scandinavian Film Festival hits Australia in July.

Scandinavian Film Festival, Australia
At the age of two, I was able to explore Scandinavia on a Baltic cruise that took us to Sweden, Denmark, and Finland (as well as the Soviet Union just months before it fell!), but seeing the region again as an adult is something I’m eager to do. I’m even one-eighth Swedish, so perhaps the homeland is calling? Continue reading  

How to Master Any Foreign Language with Audiovisual Media

There are few greater feelings for me than finally being proficient enough in a foreign language to be able to understand bits of an eavesdropped conversation or, even better, to carry on a conversation of my own. But if you’ve studied any language, you know that it takes incredible amounts of diligence to get to this level. Being multilingual isn’t easy!

But, as my bilingual students in Spain would attest here, it's definitely fun.

But, as my bilingual students in Spain would attest here, it’s definitely fun.

Immersion is one of the best ways to pick up a foreign language, but taking a language course can be pricey, and jumping on a plane to a foreign country often isn’t feasible. However, there are still plenty of ways to boost your language skills right from home. Here are some of my favorite audiovisual strategies for learning a foreign language. Continue reading  

Australia’s Spanish Film Festival: Lasa & Zabala, Gente de Bien, and Spot

I may have left my heart in Spain, but for a few weeks this year, Spain is coming right to me in Sydney!

This year’s Spanish Film Festival is hitting eight cities across Australia, from the 21st of April to the 13th of May, offering screenings of some of the best recent films from Spain and the Spanish-speaking world. The festival is headlined by the hit Basque film Ocho apellidos vascos/Spanish Affair, which I’ve been eager to see for the past year, and there’s no shortage of other appealing films that speak right to my Hispanophile heart.

Australia's 2015 Spanish Film Festival
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Giveaway! Win a Map Art Print of a City That Stole Your Heart

Like most travelers, I looove me a good map. The Clay Aiken and Paula Abdul posters that adorned my wall as a teenager (why do I admit these things publicly?) have been replaced in my adulthood by maps of my favorite cities and countries, and I’m always on the lookout for more map-related decor.

Between my love for maps and my appreciation for talented Etsy shop owners, I’m excited to be hosting a giveaway with Stuart of the Etsy shop The Map Collection. His shop sells customized art prints of maps, and he’s giving away a free 8″x10″ print, featuring your choice of city and color, to one of my readers.

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Captivated by Capri

Spring break in Italy was already shaping up to be unforgettable, with visits to Rome, Naples, Pompeii, and the Amalfi Coast. Our next destination was the island of Capri, home of foil juice packets and calf-length pants. Wait, wrong Capri.

After a quick homemade lunch in Capri’s town plaza, the sun finally made a brief appearance as my mom and I climbed to one of Capri’s lookouts over I Faraglioni, striking rock formations just off the island’s coast.

Capri, Italy

Looking out over I Faraglioni

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