we went back (and forth) | #BTSS with Simon Malls

Okay, confession: For someone who likes clothes as much as I do, I don't like shopping. There, I said it. Especially back to school shopping. Changing rooms, no snacks, and it's usually just you and your mom arguing over the wash on your new jeans. But I decided to make a leap for Teen Vogue's Back To School Saturday at my local Simon Mall - the Great Mall. 

 The Great Mall is one of the biggest malls on the West Coast, so I got myself some solid backup -Adam volunteered as tribute, and KT was a surprise. The #BTSS event itself was held in the center of the mall, so everyone got to hang out and get flash tats, eat cupcakes, and talk back to school style. (I don't have the photographic proof  but just know that I look good with gold glitter palm trees on my neck.)  They had several talented hair stylists and makeup artists working double time showing off quick looks you can put together when "five more minutes" turns into "an hour late". (As styled on KT, because we all know what happens when you take the bobby pins out of my hair) We also went on a little spree around the mall. Or at least through a quarter of it. I honestly have no way to describe the sheer SIZE of this mall. There are enough outlets for the entire planet. I brought Adam because he has great hair, but then his use as a shopping bag carrier was quickly called into play.  The good news is that theres a million Starbucks and a Chipotle so you can be fully charged up. I'm going to go back with a map and about three more people.

Honestly, the coolest thing about this event was talking style with so many different people. Other than the other bloggers, there were a bunch of teenagers just ~doing their thing~, and each one of them had a different way of expressing that. Even just through the wash on their jeans.

Also, this was the day I got my selfie stick. Instagram was never the same. 

x J 

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wandering wien

I know - too much. But not nearly enough to sum up my trip to Austria.

Vienna is the opposite of Berlin. It's an old city that revels in it's own elegance and artistry. Viennese culture is preserved to the highest possible degree, with every street corner being an excuse for a cafe or museum.  I kept expecting to hit "the edge" - the part where the "old" part of most cities reaches it's limit and you're suddenly surrounded by glass and high rises, but I ended up at the Spanish Riding School instead. The edge doesn't exist here. Vienna perpetually exists in its own past. With that said, I saw more young people here than I've seen anywhere else so far. Sitting outside the Cafe Hawelka, one of the oldest in the city, I felt the appeal. Everywhere, the main hobby seems to be "appreciating life". Even when we accidentally wandered into the university library, there wasn't a dead silence full of stress - there was a light hum of conversation, the low rumble of barely suppressed laughter, and people sharing food over textbooks. That's another thing - THERE'S SO MANY THINGS TO EAT. I think I ate my own weight in apfelstrudel but I regret nothing.  

I TURNED 18. This was actually the perfect city to do it in, for me at least. I had originally planned to go to Giverny to see Monet's pink house and his final works, and when that fell through I was rather put out. Lo and behold - Vienna came through. The Belvedere, which is the gem of the city, is home to Klimt's "The Kiss", and countless other works of his. (Go watch The Woman in Gold) I was in impressionist heaven. Plus, there was apple strudel in the cafe, which slightly covered the sting of my grandmother ABANDONING ME (okay, so maybe I wandered off and she didn't have her phone, but still). Then, just to cover all the bases, the Albertina (more modern art) had a MONET EXHIBIT.  The turn up was real guys.

I've developed a serious neck pain from staring at ceilings but it's totally worth it - in the Great Hall of the Ã–sterreichische Nationalbibliothek (hah) I actually just laid on the floor to see it all. These buildings were built to be works of art in and of themselves, not just to contain people and things. In summation, here's what I learned in Vienna:1. You don't get coffee to go. Ever. Anywhere.2. The museum guards are definitely always making fun of the Americans.3. It makes total sense to to stare deeply at a painting for over an hour.4. Old Ferris wheels are better than new ones.5. Do not, under any circumstances, make jokes about Mozart.

Also, always ask how long the trip will take before getting on the train, because if you don't, 
you might just find yourself sitting on your suitcase in a corridor for 8 hours.
x J

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est. 1997


I'm now old enough to work at Walmart, date Tyga, and..um...buy lottery tickets? Exciting stuff.

Still not old enough to understand taxes though.

x J 

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carrying the game

shirt / H+M
backpack / c.o fjallraven
sunnies / zerouv
mophie / c.o mophie
earbuds / happy plugs

Yes, that is a baby bottle of sriracha behind me.

So you know when you go into  REI and you immediately feel slightly poorer and less fit than you were before you walked through the door? Same. But lets be honest, I'm not out here trying to climb the Andes. The cultivated streets of Western Europe aren't exactly a place where you need protein bars or foldable mountain bikes. (That's a thing.) So in my further efforts to YouTube, I made a video about my travel gear.  After watching, I've decided it's less "travel gear" and more "life gear". Just add wi-fi and you're set for school. 

It's been nearly a month since I left home, and I still feel like it just happened. I think when you do something sort of drastic like this, there's always the part of you that's like "what?! what?! what's happening right now?". But then it's also like "OH GOD I GO HOME IN 60 DAYS?!" You're in this weird time limbo where everything is starting and ending all at once.  With that said, something else is about to end: my childhood.

I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GET TO SAY SOMETHING LIKE THAT IN A VOICEOVER. Jokes though, I'm just turning 18. In exactly one week, I'll be in Vienna pretending to have suddenly gained infinite amounts of wisdom and the ability to understand taxes.

So I guess I'll be a real adult after all? 

(click this)

x J

PS. if you don't watch the video you won't see me getting hit with a book.

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bringing it to berlin

map of potsdam / cake at KaDeWe / former kitchen of king fredrick the great (seriously)
san souci palace / salmon delegates brot /  the great dom
 my new hat (fits over my hair and everything) 

I spent the last week in Berlin, and in order to properly write about it, I'm going to pull out a style I haven't used since my seventh grade creative writing class.

Riding backwards on a high speed train into Berlin was a very literal experience - you feel as though you are riding backwards in time, to a city whose tumultuous history lies only twenty five years under the surface. Everything had prepared me for a city like Portland, or San Francisco - a place that wore it's weirdness as a badge of honor. What I found was a city more like New York - a business city, a place building its future not next to its past, but on top of it. Everywhere we went, there was construction. Things were being paved, and put up, and pulled down, and covered over. Buildings that had sat quietly crumbling in the stand-still that was time on the east side of The Wall were being dragged into the 21st century, and and stones that fell along the way were cleared for the tourists. The tourists that took photos with fake soldiers at Checkpoint Charlie, and bought pieces of "the Berlin Wall" in the gift shops littering the streets. Indeed, the whole city has a strain of commercialism one expects in the most finely tuned of amusement parks, with every exit just on the far end of a gift shop. 

The weirdness is still there -in the graffiti that mysteriously appears over the fresh paint, in the couple in bondage leather carrying out groceries, in the young people with a pack of pugs outside Schloss Charlottenburg. It just doesn't feel like the kind of weirdness that can win over the tide of mainstream coming to clean it up. Then, there is the past. The past stands in the many palaces of Potsdam, where King Fredrick the Great and his relations built playground after playground, to escape the stress of a changing world. The most famous of these is named "Sans Souci" - "Without Worries" in French. The past lies in the one stretch of road no one will pave over, where the Berlin Wall separated so much more than just a city. It settles into the very corners, waiting not to sneak up on you, but to be found by those who are looking past their guidebooks, beyond what they expected to see. 

*drops the mic*

x J 


what a big house you have

Next week I'm finally getting a tripod. Finally, you will be given a break from my insistent postings of what are basically glorified vacation photos, and get to look at what few outfits I managed to fit in my suitcase! But until then...

I HAVE BEEN HERE FOR 21 DAYS. Isn't that crazy? 21 days already, and I didn't have french fries until last Friday at the zoo. It was worth the wait though because those are the best french fries I have ever had. (PRO TIP: Don't ask for ketchup in Europe as it will mark you as a tourist off the bat. If they offer, you can take it, if not, take the mayonnaise. Before you say "ew"... trust me.) There were also some sassy flamingos and Nemo (because all clownfish ever are Nemo, obviously).

On Saturday,  for the first time since I got here (My new walking average, according to my iPhone, is 16k steps a day.), we got in a car and drove to Wiesbaden to "have a day out and see a castle". 

Let me get this straight with you right now: they use the term "castle" very loosely around Europe. Houses that wouldn't even turn heads in Beverly Hills are suddenly "Schloss So-And-So".  So I have decided to create a very clear distinction with my grandmother:





I just needed to express that, because while what we saw was a really cool PALACE (Schloss Biebrich, if you wanna have a look), it was not a CASTLE. Despite this, it had four weddings happening at the same time, and so was slightly more cheerful than the absolutely beautiful Russian Orthodox church we visited. I couldn't take photos inside, but it was stunning. So is my handmade little matroshka keychain, whom I have named Anya. She now dangles next to Herr Ygritte (if you don't know, you know nothing), my tiny tiger from the zoo.  This is what I've been doing in Europe. Naming keychains.

Wiesbaden was a good day trip though because outside of the city, it checks off all the "quaint european town" boxes, with medival age houses, narrow little streets,
overflowing flower boxes, and - most importantly -

2.5 bakeries per person.

x J

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classics for a reason

all jeans: wild blue denim

Last month, Sallie and I snuck off to a very special secret shoot deep in Malibu. On the most beautiful location I've ever seen, with a dog named George and endless instagram opportunities, Sadie Robertson (yes, THOSE Robertsons) and I talked sky high shoes, the science of bandana tying, and the incredible importance of denim.

Wild Blue Denim, the geniuses behind both this shoot and the only pair of ripped jeans I haven't promptly wanted to rip off my body, are just getting started. I got a chance to peek through their debut collection (aka when everyone was paying attention to Sadie I ran through it) and was impressed. These are jeans for the people to live in. This was immediately put to the test when I managed to snag them on the stool I was sitting on, not once, but twice. There is none of the cheapness usually found in ~juniors~ brands. You know what I'm talking about. The "jeans" that are actually just scratchy plastic POSERS that you can see your knees through. Or, my personal favorite, the "high waist" that ends halfway between your waist and your high-waisted happiness. That game is done, I am calling a winner, and it's Wild Blue.

Watch this  *e x c l u s v e* behind the scenes video to get your own (totally legitimate and non sneaky) look at the new collection, which is dropping November 13th at Rue21's EVERYWHERE. INCLUDING THE INTERNET. Woo. You will also witness Sadie's attempt to bandana me with her own personal bandana, and what happened next.

Spoiler: my hair has a mind of it's own. But I guess we knew that already?

x J

ps. round of penguin clapping to Michael for catching all the good moments + Sallie for being my  extra silent momager. ily.

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day at the museum

You what Germany has a lot of? Other than stairs? (Never getting off it.) MUSEUMS.

None where things come to life at night, but you know, you can't have it all. 

They have museums for everything. Even things that don't really need museums. Like telephones. I mean, maybe a gallery, but a whole place to themselves seems like overkill. Just a bit.  We went to visit one of the oldest, the Liebeghaus, yesterday. I wish I could nail down the theme but it's just very...museum-y. There's a lot of statues, and some Egyptian artifacts, and some paintings, and Buddha heads. It feels very much like the living room of your distant relative who is an archeologist. One thing I did very much enjoy was the Ancient Greek collection - I've never seen that many representations of Athena (my namesake) that close together. I, of course, proceeded to put every security guard in the building on edge by leaning in thiiiiiiis close with my camera to catch the light right. #BloggerProbs, amiright?

One thing I have noticed is that, even in Europe, there are never young people in museums. WHY NOT FAM? They're GREAT. They've got mummies and stuff. If it's an art museum, they probably have really comfortable couches in front of amazing works of art that you can just sit and contemplate. Or pose for really good artistic Instagram photos. Your choice. Just think about it like this: museums are the only place in the world where the past exists in the present.

With that nifty little segue - my current present is 6k miles away from home, and YOU GUYS HAVE QUESTIONS. Understandable. I made my first proper sit-down vlog in...well, a while. I had to film it from a house plant, and there's a train in the background, but it happened. I appreciate if you'd subscribe so me editing hours of my face at that weird angle isn't in vain.

I have just realized that this was going to be an outfit post and I got completely off the point. Here is the point: this is the perfect museum-going outfit. I was tall enough to look into the eyes of the sarcophagus. I was not, how ever, grown up enough for that to not utterly terrify me.

x J

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falling up stairs

shot with Fujifilm x30
(in order)
Me on a train / Nelly the Pug / my magic Fjallraven backpack on the train
 there are flowers everywhere / the new-old German opera house | me with no bobby pins (gasp)

I wish I could be more interesting right now, I really do. I mean, you'd think that plotting and executing a surprise ship-off to Europe for several months would be enough, but it's not. All I've done since I've gotten here is eat, drink coffee, eat cake (which is a totally different experience than just eat) and climbed approx. 802842093849 stairs. My butt is gonna look great. I'll be dead, but I'll have a great butt. 

Here is a thing they don't tell you about Europe: everything is cardio. Everything. You can't even get out of your building to go grocery shopping without climbing stairs, then jogging across a railroad crossing, then carrying all your groceries around because you don't have a car because nO ONE HAS A CAR, then hauling those groceries UP the 79 stairs (yes I counted) to your apartment. Then when you lay down, and make a joke about how the only cardio you do at home is sideways running (IT'S FUNNY RIGHT?!) everyone will stare at you blankly because Fat Amy humor didn't translate in Germany. 

Remember how I previously mentioned the obsession with rolled up jeans and sneakers? So I attempted to, for one day, go native. Here is what happened: I did not like it. That's all there is to that story. Don't conform to The Man. Or the European Teenage Girls. But I did leave the house with 0 bobby pins, which felt dangerous. 

I promise I will start doing cool stuff you guys care about soon. Until then, enjoy the pretty photos and the video (or just turn the video on and dance, that's fun too.)

PSA: do not, I repeat, do not dance on a train. You will fall, and someone will snapchat it.

x J

PS. A lot of you guys have, in previous posts, asked about the kind of gear I'm using on the trip. I got some detail shots in the vlog, but would you be interested in a full post about it all? Maybe a vlog?? There's some snazzy stuff.

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willkommen zum deutschland

video filmed with fujifilm x30 

Look who made it across the planet in one piece. Ish. One suitcase, one carry on, one backpack, two MOPHIE recharges, a ten hour flight and nine hour time difference later, I am in the land of the pretzels. Because I do not believe in reasonable things like "resting up" and "adapting naturally",  I decided that I would not allow jet lag to touch me, and promptly began adventuring.

Here are some things I have learned in my first few days in Germany:

1. Everyone parks wherever they want, including on the actual sidewalk.

2. There is no such thing as an orderly city layout and you will get lost.


4. Aldi is what happens when target and Trader Joes have a baby and I've gone every single day

5. There are forests everywhere. Even in the middle of the city. #StadtWald

6. There are opportunities to eat everywhere, and you should accept them all.

7. You put change in shopping carts to make them go and it's genius.

8. Germans are obsessed with stairs, so no, there isn't an elevator.

9. It is not all dirndls and lederhosen - everyone dresses like they're in LA and I love it.

10. The only logical reason for Ueberraschungsei being banned in the US is that they're just too good and the government doesn't think the public can handle it.

The next three months are going to be crazy and great and I'm so excited that it's finally happening and YOU KNOW NOW. Seriously, not telling you guys was so stressful, a whole streak of my hair went *lowers voice*...straight.


PS. Do you live in Europe/did you visit somewhere cool/IS THERE SOMETHING IS SHOULD GO EAT?! Use the hashtag #JustinaInEurope on any social media so I can see - I'll be checking it regularly!

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