I am so excited to introduce Setarra from Quaintrelle to you today, a gorgeous face from across the pond! Setarra lives near Washington D.C. (only one of the most iconic cities in the world!) with her husband, and is a fellow lover of food, travel, and living to the max. She's also an inspiring voice regarding confidence in women and fighting against the common pitfalls of social and cultural pressures that we are under, which is so important.
Enough from me, get to know her with our little interview and go and say hello!
1 :: Give us a brief introduction to your lovely blog - what inspired you to start, and what do you like to write about?
I started Quaintrelle while I was in bed, recovering from knee surgery a little over 2 ½ years ago. I had injured myself dancing and felt frustrated about not having a creative outlet to express myself. At the time, I was living in NYC. So I decided that if I couldn’t dance then I could at least walk around and explore the many things to do in the city that I would’ve missed out on because I was always in a dance studio. I shared those adventures on my blog to keep my family and friends who lived afar in the loop and the rest is history. Fast forward to today, I now live right outside of D.C. in Northern Virginia but have the same agenda.
A Quaintrelle is defined as a woman who emphasizes a life of passion through personal style, leisurely pastimes, charm and cultivation of life’s pleasure. My blog serves as a liability partner in making sure I’m living life to the fullest. You can expect to find travel, food and life happening kind of moments on Quaintrelle with a few sprinkles of dance and style posts on the side.
2 :: It must be amazing to live in Virginia, and so close to Washington D.C.! For fellow locals and those who want to visit, what are your favourite things to do in the area?
One of my favorite things to do in D.C. is go see a dance performance at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. I also really enjoy checking out new exhibits at the close to 100 museums we have in the city (many of which are free). I’m a huge fan of the Dupont Circle and U St. area which have a lot of cool bars and restaurants to eat at. There is so much more to D.C. than its politics. The arts and culture scene has grown so much in the past couple of years and I’m excited to watch it continue to evolve and build a name for itself.
3 :: But you also love to travel, and went on an epic European adventure last year! What are your 3 best memories from the trip?
Ahh tough question. It’s so hard to choose just 3 memories but I’ll pick one moment from each city we visited: 1) Watching the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower in Paris. 2) Checking out the Red Light District in Amsterdam. 3) Tanning topless for the first time (ok, ok for about 5 seconds in reality– I punked out) at Icaria Beach in Barcelona.
4 :: And just before that, you eloped! I was so excited when I read that post. Has your relationship changed or evolved in any way since getting married? What do you think makes your marriage a happy one?
One of the great things about the informality of eloping is that marriage (at least to me) feels as if nothing has changed. My husband, Charles, still feels like my boyfriend sometimes in the best way possible. But where I see the biggest change in our relationship is the type of discussions we have. Charles and I were together for 7 years before we tied the knot. During that time, we never really made plans for the future; we simply took it one day at a time. But now that we’re married, we are always talking plans and it feels great to be able to share our dreams with each other and work towards accomplishing those goals as a team.
I think a big part of what makes our marriage a happy one is that we always have fun no matter where we are or what we are doing. We’re stuck with each other for the rest of our lives now so we might as well have fun, right?
5 :: I love that you're a foodie. What would be your ideal 3 course meal?
Hmmmm the monthly visitor is in residence at the moment so I’ll go with a comfort food inspired 3 course meal that would have to start off with a spinach and artichoke dip that is extra cheesy, garlicky and chunky. It would then be followed by an order of a medium rare steak and garlic mashed cauliflower on the side (I have a thing for garlic). As for dessert, it would be anything that is chocolate with lava inside and two scoops a la mode.
6 :: You are passionate about advocating confidence in women, which is something I also feel strongly about. How do you find confidence in yourself, when you're experiencing a dip in self-esteem?
I’m a huge believer in self-affirmations. Every morning, I stand in front of my mirror and repeat a few confidence boosting mantras to myself before I go out and take on the world. It’s so important to be your own cheerleader and to also surround yourself with people who will lift you up with integrity. Get rid of the debbie downers and negative nancys in your life as soon as humanely possible. I’m all about positive energy. If you put out positive energy, you will receive positive energy and vice versa.
7 :: Aside from blogging, what are your favourite hobbies and activities you enjoy during your free time?
I love to drink tea, read trashy romance novels, work on my photography skills, find new music to listen to and most importantly, I LOVE to dance. While I no longer pursue the field professionally, I’ve recently gotten back into the scene and have started taking dance classes again just for fun.
8 :: What are the best and the most difficult aspects of blogging for you?
The best part about blogging would have to be the community. Getting to know other bloggers and being able to meet them in person has been such a fulfilling experience. If I’m ever in London, you must promise me that we’ll meet up for food and drinks, pretty please!
(Editor's note: definitely!)
As for the difficult aspects, I think the hardest part has to be the fact that blogging is like a full time part time job. Not a lot of people realize the amount of work that goes into making one single blog post. Sometimes I’m able to whip up a post in 30 minutes. Many other times, it takes me a couple of hours. Early on, I used to get burned out and would stop blogging for weeks at a time. But I’ve recently found a rhythm that works for me. I only post 2-3 times a week and try to follow the mantra of “live first and blog later”.
9 :: You used to live in NYC - something I'm sure lots people would envy! What do you feel are the differences between living in somewhere like NYC and where you live now, in Virginia?
The biggest difference between living in NYC and Virginia has to be the change of pace. Life is much slower now that I live in the Virginia 'burbs outside of DC. Sometimes I miss the non-stop energy of the Big Apple but I must admit that living in that environment 24/7 was a bit exhausting at times. Right now, the Virginia lifestyle suits me just fine but if I ever need a "re-up", NYC is only a 4 hour bus ride away. Charles and I have talked about moving back up to NYC once we're both done with grad school so who knows where the wind will blow us to in the future chapters of our lives :)
10 :: If someone asked you what your "life motto" was, what would it be? You have such a positive and bubbly presence, I know that your "words to live by" must be good ones!
If someone were to ask me what my life motto was, it would be, “Phuck It. What do you have to lose?” This motto has helped me make some of the most difficult decisions in my life that I am so happy I made after all was said and done. A few examples of my motto in action: Go skydiving with a group of friends when I have a fear of heights? = “Phuck it. What do I have to lose?” Move up to New York for a job a couple weeks after I tore my ACL and start a long distance relationship with Charles? = “Phuck it. What do I have to lose?” Start a blogand actually share it with other people? = “Phuck it. What do I have to lose?” You get the idea. :)
I had such a good time reading Setarra's answers, and it portrays her personality perfectly! Click over to Quaintrelle for more - I guarantee you that any post you read of hers will make you smile, think, laugh, or all of the above.
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