After today I can truly say that I have a serious crush and possible love affair with the city of Shanghai! Today was a truly magical and yes…whimsical day. Strolling through the streets and villas of “Old Shanghai” was inspirational and AMAZING!!!…Especially after the craziness of the past two days with paying for plastic grocery bags, wandering through hidden food markets, and possibly falling out of my seat from straight jet lag in my 6:30 PM Chinese class.

Hopping on the Shanghai Metro Line was cute with a smooth easy ride, unlike the New York subway. Upon arrival to “Old Shanghai,” we found countless and never ending streets filled with an array of wondrous shops that contained items from sparkly odds and ends all for only 10 yuan (1 or 2 American Dollars)… to addictive clothing that give straight LIFE!!!!

The surprising event of the day was the constant, obvious, and indiscreet stares from the natives throughout the day… that I was actually warned about. The people of Shanghai went from frolicking citizens to ravenous paparazzi in 5 minutes tops. You would have thought we were YMCMB walking through the hood…Straight Up! It definitely went from extremely flattering to just ridiculous in a short amount of time. If this is what it will be like for the next 4 months…this should be an extremely interesting stay!

On the other hand this day out was immensely euphoric and satisfying to my soul. Great company, humorous exploits, and “Ball Until You Fall” shopping was the recipe for this Epic day out. This is definitely the beginning of my inspiration supply for my Shanghai inspired mini collection.

On the real though…I can honestly say that this day was truly fulfilling and my “Hai” has begun…




Hey My Loves!

It has been a definite while since I have come to you and given you the real perspective from my life here in Shanghai, China. I really have no clue where to start because soooooo much has happened since my arrival here. There have been mountainous ups and dangerously low downs! But even in the most craziest times, like now, when I am so far outside my comfort level….My Whimsy will not be broken!

So lets get started shall we…

So I must say…I was not expecting such a small dorm room for two souls to dwell in at the same time…every single day and night…but I have learned to adjust and its been pretty amazing so far!

Now once we got here there was absolutely NO Wi-Fi!!! Yes you read correctly….absolutely NO Wi-Fi in my dorm or on campus…now the campus library has it, however it takes forever for the Homepage screen to load. I must say the lack of Internet has really made me think of how Internet is strangely the life-line to my generation…especially seeing my floor mates go through “Instagram” withdrawls! I went without Internet for about a week straight…which I am surprised I made it through because I was desperate to talk to my mother the entire time! OMG!!!


I have come to find that the Chinese take their natural resources soooo much more seriously than Americans do. I was seriously shocked when I found out that we actually have to pay for the hot water in our rooms.

I recently did my laundry for the first time here and there aren’t any dryers so we hang the clothes on the terrace railing outside of our dorm rooms. I was sooooo excited to do this because I had never had a reason to do it before…with dryers and all in the US.

The card that we use for our hot water in the shower is the same card we have to use to get food from the cafeteria. Where the food is seriously questionable! So I try to keep it safe with vegetables and rice, with a pot sticker every once in a while.

I mean have been to a few food places that are pretty cute…One place in the Cloud 9 mall a few blocks away has this adorable eatery that is “Alice and Wonderland” themed with whimsical presentation and all…Mmmmmmm!!!

But this ain’t even the half…so stay tuned for SOOOOOOOO MUCH MORE!!!

Paris, Je t’aime

Last weekend I went to the gorgeous Paris and all I want to do is just go back. I visited Paris ten years ago, so I don’t remember much. I was able to experience everything all over again and it was wonderful. The first day we walked around to get a feel from the city and we did a night boat tour. We also went to the Eiffel Tower to see the lights sparkle at the top of the hour.

The second day we were very lucky and were graced with perfect weather. We started off with a tour bus and then walked up Champs- Elyseese, a famous shopping street in Paris. After we stopped for lunch and then grabbed some delicious macaroons from Laduree. I couldn’t help myself and I also got a raspberry ice-cream sandwich like pastry; it did not disappoint.  We then took our tasty treats to Montmartre where we ate them while sitting on the grass looking over the city. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

On the third day we only had the morning because we had to catch our plane. We went to Notre Dame and then we had lunch at the Latin Quarter. We got a delicious three-course meal for only 15 euro! I desperately want to go back; 2 and a half days is not nearly enough to see everything in Paris.

Nǐ hǎo!

(Hello n Chinese), fellow Bloggers and Bloggettes! I’m Ciara Cartrell your international connoisseur, who’s coming to you with the latest video updates and adventurous details from Shanghai, China. My apologizes for why it has taken me so long to post, but I have been without internet since my arrival last week and I recently got internet just yesterday. There are sooooo many advantages to study abroad; I seriously just don’t know where to begin. So for now I will just start with a pic and lead from there with future post. Zàijiàn!

Santa Croce

Last Thursday I visited the beautiful Santa Croce Church; one of the main churches in Florence. It is the burial place for men such as Galileo, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli, and holds incredible works of art. The ceilings are impossibly high and the walls of the church are lined with large, intricate paintings and eccentric tombs.

The church connects to a small inner garden that leads to a small museum with more paintings and statues. There are several hallways that lead to nook and crannies all over the property. One of these hallways leads to yet another smaller garden square, this one much more peaceful and quiet. Overall there was so much to see and the artwork was breathtaking. It definitely helped that it was gorgeous outside!

Galileo’s Tomb:

Dante’s Tomb: