My Experience at the Museum of Memories (Dallas)

If you are a millennial reading this and didn’t get to live out your 2000s dreams, look no further, you’ve stumbled across the right blog post! As a certified millennial weirdo who hated recess and wasn’t very popular on MySpace, the 2000s was more of a dark time for me so after attending the Museum of Memories, I feel like I finally got to satisfy my tweenage dreams to my heart’s content.

I had no real concept of beauty until I was 11 and no concept of body image until I was 12, when I first realized that having big thighs without a flat stomach was “unacceptable”. The 2000s wasn’t the best time to be an adolescent female because it was an era where tall, skinny girls were considered hot, and being thin was the standard of beauty for females. Scene girls who were popular on MySpace and the stereotypical preppy “popular” girls that dressed like Regina George (“Mean Girls” character) ran the show, and anyone that didn’t fit the mold was considered an outcast. Body positivity and mental health awareness weren’t popular concepts in the 2000s, neither was social media other than MySpace so there were really not many outlets for adolescents and teenagers that didn’t fit in to express themselves. I was in middle school in the 2000s and a size 2 brown girl with curly hair and glasses was an abnormality in Rochester, Minnesota in the era of “Mean Girls” and Paris Hilton.

I was tired of being bullied and ostracized by my peers so I would up free Bollywood gossip magazines from the local Indian grocery stores and studied photos of Bollywood actresses to learn what being a “hot girl” meant and how a “hot girl” dressed. 2000s fashion seemed so exclusive to me because it’s not like there were influencers tagging where they got their clothes from so the most I could do was assume what clothing was fashionable by observing the “popular girls”.

When I was invited to The Museum of Memories, I was excited that I finally got to bring the future me that occupied my middle school daydreams to life. I did my best to channel my inner “2000s hot girl” and live out my 12 year old fantasy of what I would look like in the future, apart from the fact that fantasy me is tall and real life me is short. I think that the 12 year old me would at least be satisfied with what I ended up looking like to a certain extent.

All of the murals at The Museum of Memories were hand-painted by the artist Steffi Lynn, also known as @haveanicedayy_ on Instagram! Unlike a lot of the other pop-ups that are good for photography, The Museum of Memories also had exceptional art that brought each room and scene to life. Upon viewing the photos, I was shocked to see how realistic each mural appeared in the photos so it’s definitely worth paying attention to Steffi’s artistic talents when you visit! You can check out her store here to see more of her art, and the official Museum of Memories Instagram here as well!

I drew inspiration from the memories of the magazine images of Bollywood actresses whose beauty I idolized and the Disney Channel show “Kim Possible” and added some personal touches to my look for The Museum of Memories. Without further adieu, I present you with the photos of me living my 2000s dream! All photos below are by my friend Jeremy LaRue, as always! Jeremy frequents pop-up art exhibits often too so you should check his feed out if you have the chance!

Pink is such a 2000s color!
“I want Candy” by Aaron Carter inspired wall
This is for those of you that ask me where I’m from.

Credits/Details: -Top: Aeropostale | -Skirt: Aeropostale | -Shoes: Steve Madden 2018 | -Photographer: Jeremy LaRue | Artist: Steffi Lynn

Vintage Market Days 2019: McKinney, TX

After about 6 months of consistently working at blogging, I’ve come to really develop an interest and newfound love for my hobby. I used to always look at bloggers and think I could never go into blogging because blogging requires you to essentially be a one person team. Bloggers often have to be their own stylist, makeup artist, photographer, retoucher, writer, and do their own social media marketing so for someone who struggles to get out of bed, blogging seemed like a very daunting task to take on. One thing I’ve been struggling with for the past 7 years is productivity so anything that requires me to do a lot of work is not really my cup of chai, but then I started struggling with this IBD and IBS flare-up so I needed a hobby. Initially, I had to take some time for my symptoms to get a little bearable before I really started getting into blogging in January. I’m still relatively new to blogging and have a lot to learn, but I’m happy with the progress I’ve made with learning more about the blogging world.

I was invited to a preview of Vintage Market Days in McKinney, Texas, which is a suburb of DFW. McKinney is an area that I go to often so I decided to accept the invite, and I was super excited to attend my first real influencer/blogger event! Although my blog is primarily travel and art focused, I spend a lot of time in my home base, which is Dallas so attending Dallas events more often is something I am attempting to do more of!

Vintage Market Days is a farmhouse and vintage themed event full of vendors from all over the country! When I first entered the Vintage Market Days, I was transported to a world of Southern charm and farmhouse flair. The rustic charm, country feel, and authenticity of the vendors made the event a very unique experience. Below are some photos of the event as well as a list of the vendors websites. I wasn’t able to get the name of every vendor I visited or took a photo of so if I have left off a vendor, I will update it if I find out the name in the future!

Some of the vendors pictured below:
-Paula’s House

-Mad Dash Mixes

-Stillwaters Farm

-The Cat’s Pajamas

-The Rustic Angel

-Flash & Trash

-Tastebuds Coffee

Because of the event, I got to meet this wonderful vendor by the name of Tastebuds Coffee! Their coffee is fair-trade and organic, which makes it great for conscious consumers. I am working towards becoming a more conscious consumer every day so knowing how a product is sourced and whether it contains pesticides or not is important to me! As someone with chronic gastrointestinal issues, coffee is something that I cannot have without experiencing cramps, pain, nausea, and many other symptoms. I thought coffee was something I was forever done with until I discovered Tastebuds Coffee! While I cannot speak for others with chronic gastrointestinal issues or caffeine sensitivity, Tastebuds Coffee seems to agree with me so that makes me quite happy! This coffee does not have a bitter aftertaste, which helps a lot with how my body processes this coffee, and I haven’t experienced nausea, queasiness, stomach cramps, or a stomach ache due to the lack of the bitter aftertaste. While I have never experienced feeling sick to my stomach after drinking Tastebuds Coffee, but I am NOT a doctor or medical professional yet so please note that this is NOT a medically proven statement, this is just my opinion and experience with Tastebuds Coffee! My favorite flavor so far is “Almond Mocha Crunch” (pictured below), but I also like “Sinful Pleasure”. Below are some photos of their booth and other content related to their brand so you can learn more! If you intend to check them out, please let them know Kal sent you, and I am sure they will be happy to give you the best possible assistance as they gave to me! You can check out more on their official website and Instagram!

My Birthday Post: Why I Dread My Birthday + Snap 151 Photos

Not a day goes by that I don’t wake up with anxiety over getting older every day because getting older means more responsibilities, more bills, and more problems. I’m not too worried about the responsibilities, I say bring it on! However, I’ve been living with an IBD flare-up for almost 11 months that I haven’t been able to get under control, which has changed the course of my life and career path. Had my health cooperated with me, I was supposed to be in another country, living independently and working on building the career I had dreamed about for my whole life. IBD and IBS took that away from me. I am now 25 years old and trying to start my life over while I watch my peers are smashing their goals, achieving new heights in their careers, getting married, having children, having full-time or well-paying jobs, traveling the world, living on their own, and able to afford to pay for their meals. My list of worst fears got longer today because a year from now, I will not be on my family’s health insurance plan–which is scary for someone who has lived with multiple chronic illnesses her whole life and has to work multiple odd jobs to make a living. I have to worry about gathering money for private insurance and being denied or charged a higher amount due to my pre-existing conditions.

I’m not writing this post for anyone to feel sorry for me nor am I here to complain about my life. I just want to write a blog post that is more personal in nature so that there is more awareness raised about the struggles that people living with chronic illnesses and mental health disorders have to face. Society stigmatizes chronically ill individuals and individuals with mental health disorders on a regular basis as we as a society somewhat covet the idea of having a secure job working under someone else. Earning money, having a solid job, being able to have reliable transportation, and living independently are some truly empowering things for an individual, but when your independence is taken away from you through no fault of your own, what do you do?

To answer that question, I would need to present some more information first. According to RAND Corporation, almost 60% of American adults are living with at least one chronic condition, and 12%, which is roughly 30 million, are living with 5 or more chronic conditions. The AARDA reports that around 50 million Americans, roughly 30 million of which are women, suffer from an autoimmune disease. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has estimated that 46.6 million adults living in the US experience a mental illness annually, but 11.2 million adults in the US experience a severe mental health disorder that limits major life activities. These numbers may not mean much to you, but as someone living with a plethora of debilitating invisible disabilities, these numbers somewhat define my life. I wake up every morning hoping that maybe today will be a good mental health day, and that maybe today, my health issues won’t bother me to the point where I only have enough energy to focus on healing.

To keep this post relatively short, I won’t go into detail on every chronic condition I have, but because there are millions of people suffering with a similar reality I have to face every day, I think it’s important that more people speak up about it so we can shed some of the stigmas surrounding being chronically ill. I spent my 25th birthday crying about how many important years I’ve lost to battling a chronic condition, whether it be mental or physical. My freshman year of college was lost mainly due to epilepsy. What was meant to be my sophomore year of college was lost to respiratory issues, specifically asthma, and the freakish hell of depression. I’ve been living with weird gastrointestinal symptoms for a long time, but it’s only been this past year that all of the gastrointestinal issues came down on me hard. Despite losing almost a year to IBD, IBS, SIBO, and other gastrointestinal issues, I wouldn’t say this is the most difficult battle I’ve fought considering that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has claimed 7 years of my life.

I have never gone into detail about my struggle with PTSD on my social media due to the stigma that comes with being someone with PTSD who was not in combat. I spent 5 years out of the 7 years that I’ve had PTSD pretending to the world and lying to myself that I don’t have it and that it went away. My PTSD relapsed in August due to being triggered heavily, a month after my gastrointestinal issues began to take over my life so it wasn’t until this year that I started acknowledging my PTSD again. I remember on my 18th birthday that I felt afraid to go out and I was not able to celebrate my birthday, let alone anything for that matter. 7 years later, I never thought I would reflect back on a day that I never thought I would be reflecting on my 18th birthday and feeling as if not much has changed.

Disorganization and chaos are two common themes in my life, and I’d be lying if I were to say that PTSD wasn’t the reason behind it. I won’t go into detail about my struggle with PTSD because it still is a very personal subject for me, but I will admit that I miss the hyper productive person I used to be. Of course, I long for the day that I will be able to eat without pain and fear of diarrhea, but I long for days where I can work all day and accomplish goals even more. Looking back, it seems like that person is gone now and has been replaced with what is now the new me, with little direction and an unsure future. I have spent so many years fighting suicide ideation, which I’ve only had relief from for 7 months, that I didn’t think I would make it this far.

The reality of it is that I did make it this far, and the only thing I know how to do is rebuild. I don’t know where to go from here because I’ve had to change my direction with every obstacle life throws at me. Given all the confusion and change, it doesn’t come as a surprise that I feel so lost. I feel as if I’ve lost so many battles and continue to lose more battles every day, but I’ve definitely been able to adapt to everything life has thrown at me over time. Through all of the failures and trauma I’ve experienced, maybe I am a bit weathered, but I am definitely not the loser that the stigma from society combined with the monster that is depression tell me that I am.

Human beings are mammals and are naturally focused on survival. I’ve gained so many new skills as a result of just trying to survive. Until I sat down today and truly reflected, it never occurred to me how hard society is on individuals such as myself that live their daily lives with their survival skills compromised by these various chronic conditions. Living with debilitating chronic conditions, whether they are mental or physical, is different for everyone, but most of us have to know many different skills and do many different things just to make our every day lives work. According to The Invisible Disabilities Association, roughly 26 million Americans are living with a severe disability, but only 26% of these people use visible devices to help them with their disabilities. A lot of adults with debilitating chronic conditions work 9-5 jobs, but some, such as myself, choose to become entrepreneurs or do freelance work. Whether those of us that are living with debilitating chronic conditions work a 9-5 job or choose to earn money in a non-traditional way, we still strive to function in society and not let our disabilities control us. Living with debilitating conditions is a task of its own and it is different for each individual so while some people’s conditions may give them the opportunity to do what society defines as “strong” and “working through their struggles”, not all of us are capable of doing such. Just because I chose to be an entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean that I am less than someone else with a disability working a 9-5 job because circumstances vary on an individual basis. My point in presenting all of these numbers, facts, and anecdotes from my life is that you don’t have to be dealt the best cards to reshuffle the deck until you have a good hand.

With that being said, thank you to everyone who wished me happy birthday! I hope I am able to work to the best of my ability for the next 364 days to report from a better place in my life next year! All of the photos featured in this post were shot by my great friend Jeremy LaRue at Snap 151. Below are the rest! Thank you to those of you that read this post, and I wish you love and light! ~Kal

My Experience At CandyTopia (Read Before Visiting!)

I’m over all of these adults and young adults putting on facades as if they don’t love candy. Don’t lie to yourself and acknowledge your inner child, CANDY IS GOOD!

But seriously, I can’t take anyone who can eat candy freely that says they don’t like candy. As someone who has dietary restrictions, I can honestly say even those of us with health issues that inhibit our candy consumption still love candy, we just don’t like what it does to us.

And still, even with this 10 long month flare-up from hell, I still ask for candy as my desired gift for birthdays and other occasion. I’m almost 25 so I’d be better off with botox than baby bottle pop, but I haven’t tried baby bottle pop yet so I feel like that’s a much more worthwhile gift. 

So for a candy-lover like me, CandyTopia seems like the best place on earth, right?!

I wouldn’t say it’s the best as I would an unlimited vegan chocolate buffet to be a dream come true, but regardless of the fact, I still had a fun time. If you are looking to go to CandyTopia, I would recommend it, but there are just some things you need to know some things before your visit:

-You can’t go back into any rooms so once you move forward, you have to stay in that room or continue to move forward.

-Most of the rooms are timed. Have your poses ready!

-The bathroom is in the middle of the exhibit so please go to the bathroom beforehand! If you have a medical problem that can cause you to go to the bathroom frequently, prepare in advance or let your guide know! I didn’t eat anything prior to going to CandyTopia to avoid a bathroom trip!

-The candy sample boxes are usually on the sides of the room by the wall or at the front of the room before you enter the next room! Make sure you grab whatever samples you can have!

-Ask your guide for allergen information and read up on their official website on allergen information before you go!

-The lighting is problematic for DSLRs so if you’re going in with a DSLR and expecting to color correct these photos, just know that you will have to work with lighting that is optimal for iPhone/cellphone camera photos.

-Bring a backpack! There’s barely any spots to put your stuff down if you want to take pictures and have a lot of stuff to carry.

-Don’t touch any of the pieces that are made with candy!

-If you want to take pictures on the confetti wheel, it’s better to lay down or pose with your eyes closed or else you may squint in your photos! Just a fair warning to anyone who may be interested because you will see in the photos below where I had some trouble myself.

-There are probably going to be a lot of kids during your time slot so be wary of kids running around.

-If you don’t like loud noises, stay away from the cannon at the Marshmallow ball pit! The noise is EXTREMELY loud!

-There is a gift shop at the end if you want to buy some CandyTopia merchandise or some candy!

-Don’t be disappointed if your photos don’t turn out well! CandyTopia is honestly more for the experience rather than for the photos, as I learned from my visit!

I really wish I had read someone’s blog post about CandyTopia before my visit! I saw so many beautiful photos, but I still had a hard time taking some good shots there and I now understand why! The lighting was colorful and really different so it made everything harder when it came to taking photos, but my friend Jeremy LaRue, who I often visit immersive art pop-ups with, and I made some great stuff! All of the below photos were shot by him! Without further adieu, here are the photos from CandyTopia:

So as I mentioned before, CandyTopia is better to experience than to take photos at. If you do take photos and they don’t turn out well, realize that the goal is to get better memories than to take good pictures! If you decide to go to CandyTopia, I hope you have a wonderfully sweet time!

My First Immersive Art Pop-Up: Rainbow Vomit

Depression is the enemy of creativity so I’ve been having trouble trying to get this started. Every bad mental health day is a day of productivity lost, and I’ve already lost so many days to poor mental and physical health. Ever since my flare-up started in July 2018, my whole life has turned upside down, and I’ve had to make a LOT of lifestyle changes to accommodate my chronic digestive issues. Not only have I hit the pause button on my modeling and acting career for a while, but I’ve also had to stop traveling for the most part as well.


When I lived in New York, I was taking some medication four times a day for my ulcer that had a side effect of constipation. It helped me get out of the house and see some beautiful gorges and waterfalls in upstate New York, but eventually, my digestive issues got worse and I had to leave upstate New York. While living in upstate New York for a change was great, I couldn’t get an appointment with a primary care physician for a check-up because most of them weren’t accepting new patients. I had to come back to Dallas, where physicians are abundant but waterfalls are not. 


It’s as they say, everything is bigger in Texas—which meant any state park worth visiting was quite the distance from Dallas. Taking day trips to these state parks was not a realistic option for someone who was dealing with the symptoms of multiple gastrointestinal issues. I stopped wanting to get out of the house because of my symptoms. Even grocery shopping became problematic and difficult for me, and the fatigue and pain associated with my conditions started to become a problem for me. 
Dealing with on and off periods of diarrhea isn’t new to me so upon being diagnosed with microscopic colitis and now IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), I really felt like a weight was lifted off of my shoulders. I’ve been searching for an answer that wasn’t a juice detox and eating mostly vegetables for years so receiving the first diagnosis helped me achieve some peace while the second diagnosis kind of disrupted the peace. I was treating microscopic colitis for all of these months and I was told that I had to treat a whole other disease too so it’s caused quite a bit of anxiety for me. All of the new challenges that have been popping up since this flare from hell began are a lot easier to deal with since I know what’s causing the problem, but I’m sick of having to change my lifestyle over and over.

The things that used to bring me joy only bring me anxiety now, like, for example, ANY activity that has to do with getting out of the house. Traveling used to bring me a peace of mind, but now all I care about is whether there is a bathroom at the destination and if I have all of my food prepared to take with me in the event that there are no restaurants with food I can eat. However, now that I’m finally making progress with my colitis, I wanted to try to get out of the house for a bit. 

That being said, an hour at an immersive art pop-up seemed reasonable to start off with. I had been mentally preparing for this for days and despite having a cold and a rash the day of, I was determined to force myself to get out and do something for an hour. I kept telling myself it was “only an hour”, but getting out for that one hour took a whole day of mentally preparing and planning—don’t you just love anxiety?


The car ride to Rainbow Vomit was an anxiety filled 25 minutes of me freaking out over what I could eat for dinner and my outfit not being colorful or correctly planned enough to match the concept. I went with a simple, cute outfit instead of an eccentric one so I spent a whole 25 minutes regretting my outfit. 25 minutes of non-stop anxiety is a hell most of us know but want to forget.

Needless to say, my anxiety REALLY calmed down when I got there. 
I met up with my photographer friend Jeremy at the Rainbow Vomit. We had worked together last year on a shoot, and we have been great friends ever since then. He never disappoints when it comes to edits, and I’ve always loved how bright his work is so I feel like his style is perfect for a colorful art exhibit! I asked him if he wanted to check out Rainbow Vomit with me, and I’m glad it worked out because neither of us had been to an immersive art pop-up before so it was a really unique experience. 

The two photos below are taken on my iPhone 7 by me.

The Lobby
Vintage style office table with a typewriter & phone

Rainbow Vomit is a comic book themed immersive art pop-up and had both colorful and black and white rooms. We were all informed to be on the look out for a secret room at the start of the exhibit as well. The lobby and some other areas such as the bathroom were in black and white but as we went through the exhibit, we started to see more the colorful and eccentric side of Rainbow Vomit.


All photographs featured below were shot by Jeremy LaRue.


Being someone who shot boudoir and swimwear primarily, I was completely out of my element at a whimsical art pop-up, which made it all the more fun! Due to my ongoing struggle with my health, I haven’t shot in over 6 months so posing in an interactive art exhibit in jeans and a crop-top in a room full of strangers was definitely a challenge. I’m still new to blogging and channeling my inner blogger for photos hasn’t been a walk in the park just yet.


We used up the full hour to take photos and experience the entire exhibit. I’m sure there were subtle details we missed because I was afraid of breaking things. We didn’t end up finding the secret room, and some others who had gone to the exhibit told me where the entrance was after we left. The entrance to the secret room is one of those things you have to seek out instead of letting it find you so the next time we go, I’m 100% sure we will be looking out for it! I’ve been looking at immersive art pop-ups since October 2018 and it’s now February 2019 so I’m glad I finally got the opportunity to go to one. I look forward to visiting more immersive art pop-ups whenever I come across one again!