2012: My favorites

Monday, December 31, 2012

I think this is the first time I've really looked back on a year in reflection. So here are my top ten favorite moments of 2012, including the people that made it all happen! :)

1. Europe with my Dad.

Definitely one of the highlights of the year. I am glad that I made it back to Europe (I went in 2010 as well), and I am glad that my dad was able to see it with me. This trip really helped me realize the passion I have for travel, as well as learning about different peoples and cultures. I was able to see the Basque country, which I didn't know anything about before this trip. I was able to walk the same streets as Ernest Hemingway in Pamplona, and see Picasso's Guernica. And of course, I saw Paris again. It was this trip that made me realize that I have to live in Europe.

My dad in the terminal during a layover in Germany. 

The inside of the Cafe Iruna, where it is said Hemingway wrote much of the book The Sun Also Rises (which I really enjoyed, I don't see why everyone hates it)

Hotel La Perla, where Ernest Hemingway stayed.

Me in front of the Mona Lisa 

My dad and I at the top of the Eiffel tower! 

2. High school graduation!
High school was tumultuous, but mostly enjoyable. I had great teachers, great friends, and there was a lot of good in school. Nevertheless, I was very excited to graduate and move on to the next phase of life. Graduation day was one of the most enjoyable days of the year.
Me being silly when taking pictures after the ceremony. 

Me and my bestest friend Colleen after before the ceremony! 

3. University of Denver
I have the wonderful opportunity to attend DU for college. Honestly, I couldn't have anticipated how wonderful it is. I have the most amazing professors that have challenged me in many ways, I have met the most truly incredible people I could ever hope to have the pleasure of knowing, and I have had so much fun. If the rest of my collegiate experience is similar in any way to my first quarter at DU, then college is going to be the best four years ever! Plus, the first presidential debate was held here on Oct. 3, which was AWESOME! The Lumineers played DebateFest, and I was in the front row! It was awesome.

The Lumineers! On my campus! At DebateFest! On October 3!

A pretty view of the bell tower at sunset.

4. PLP (Pioneer Leadership Program)
I have the unique pleasure of being a part of a program called the Pioneer Leadership Program, called PLP for short. I don't think my experience at DU would have been anywhere as close to amazing without the people I have met in this program. Every day is a new adventure, and I have gained incredible insight from my fellow PLPers. I owe some of my best friendships to PLP. Although people jokingly call it a cult, it's more like a family. I know I will grow so much by being a part of this group.

5. Delta Zeta
Never in a million years did I ever think that I would have gone greek. Never. But I am so glad I did. Being a Delta Zeta is one of the best things that could have happened to me at DU. I have met some of the most amazing women I could ever hope to know, and it is here that I have found friends that I know will last forever.

6. Working with my Mom
This summer, I worked for my mom at her business, called DIAZ Group. She is a furniture manufacturer's representative (she sells chairs for various settings, including education, government and healthcare). Although I worked for a parent, I learned so much about business. I learned how to answer phones, order samples, how to set goals and ask for favors in a professional manner. I learned about how to promote business through social networking (that was my primary task). Although I don't think I will go into the design world, these skills will be valuable for any professional setting.

7. Washington D.C.
My dad goes to Washington D.C. every year, and this year I got to go with him! After that trip, I knew that I would have to live in D.C. It was this trip that made me think seriously about wanting to pursue a career in museum work. I need to live there. Not only is it one of the most important cities in the United States, it is also a city full of history. I would breathe and live in history every day. That was one of the most inspiring trips I've been on in my life.

8. Mumford & Sons
Not only was their album Babel one of my favorites, but I also went to their concert at Red Rocks on August 29, 2012. Red Rocks is my favorite place for a concert, and Mumford and Sons is one of my favorite bands. Needless to say, Mumford and Sons was one of my highlights.

Plus, Marcus Mumford is pretty gorgeous.

9. Julep Nail Polish
This year, my obsession with nail polish really came to a head. I found a nail polish company that I absolutely love. Julep not only has really beautiful colors, it's high quality, and I love the brand. It's all about celebrating women, and the bond between us. The nail polish is 4-free, so it doesn't have formaldehyde, DBP, toluene, or formaldehyde resin. So I became a maven, and have a monthly subscription to nail polish. My favorite color is Audrey (it's a really pretty sparkly pink!).

10. TOMS
I have loved TOMS for quite some time, but this year they came out with some pretty neat stuff. I love their shoes, their vision, their mission. Unfortunately, I left all of my TOMS in my dorm room so I don't have any pictures of my favorite pairs. Here are some of the ones I would love to own!
Black Women's Strappy Wedges found here

Navy Blue stripe nautical biminis found here

2012 was a really important year for me, one that I will look back on often. Hopefully 2013 will be another great year!

Thanks for reading,
Zoe <3


Ah, the new year. 2012 has been a rather tumultuous year, to say the least. I graduated from high school and began college. But I've had my share of mistakes and low points. In many ways, I grew up this year. I've begun to figure out who I really am, and what I really want. As much as 2012 was an eventful year, I'm looking forward to the fresh start I hope 2013 brings.

Every year, I make resolutions. I type them up all pretty, using my favorite fonts. I sign them using a nice pen. I hang it up on my bathroom mirror so that I will look at them every day. But by the second week of January, I get frustrated. I abandon my resolutions. Every year, I promise myself that I will follow my commandments to myself. And every year, I get disheartened and give up.

The author of a blog I read religiously, College Prep, has grouped her goals into 12 months. Obviously, she does everything all the time, but each month she is going to delve deeper into one aspect of her life. I really like that idea. Instead of making a list of things I feel like I have to do, I would rather take the time to reflect on myself and my life one thing at a time.

I've divided my 12 months into things that make sense for that month. Don't worry, January won't have 31 days of posts dedicated to the virtues of running or the health benefits of quinoa, but I'm going to focus a bit more on my own personal fitness. So each month I've decided to focus a little bit more on one aspect of my life, whether or not it is entirely reflected in this blog. There will be overlap. But I'm trying to go with the flow more, so to speak.

Here is the breakdown:

January: Fitness
Since I was six years old, I've played basketball year round. Up until now, working out was never a problem. Playing an intense sport like basketball required constant attention, and between practices and additional workouts, I was very fit.

Now that I no longer play basketball, I need to be more religious about working out. I need to be more aware of what I eat. They say that the habits you form in college will be the habits you have for the rest of your life. I want to have good habits. So I'm starting 2013 by forging those habits. It will take a lot of work, and I may fail sometimes, but it is really important to me that I get into good habits. I will prevail!

February: Love
This may seem cheesy because Valentine's day is in February, but this month is about more than just having someone to give me chocolates and roses on the fourteenth. This month, I will look at my relationship with myself, as well as my friendships, sisterhood, and my relationship with my parents and family. Who knows, there may be some time to dedicate to boys too. :)

March: Art
Most kids rebel against their parents by getting a tattoo or staying out past curfew. I rebelled against my parents by refusing to acknowledge the artistic part of myself. My father is the Executive Director of VSA/Access Gallery, which is an art gallery that does art programming for people with disabilities. My mother paints, and she also has a gallery, which I work at.

I'm not naturally artistic. I can't draw or paint worth anything. So to rebel, I denied my own creativity. It's something that I deeply regret. This month, I want to focus more on the artistic part of myself. Maybe that means doing more creative writing, or utilizing my membership to the Denver Art Museum. Whatever form it takes, I want to embrace the creativity I know resides in me.

April: Nature
I am by no definition a nature girl. Yes, I live in Colorado. No, I do not ski or snowboard. Nature kind of freaks me out. I don't like to get dirty, and I think I'm some kind of mosquito magnet. Not to mention that I'm allergic to pretty much anything alive (flora and fauna).

This month, I want to dedicate myself to becoming one with nature. Yes, I live in a city. But my college is really close to a beautiful park. I want to take more walks, longer walks. Maybe take a weekend trip to the mountains and enjoy the beautiful wildlife that my home has to offer.

May: Learning
Towards the end of the school year, I always get a renewed vigor toward school. I always want to end the year strongly. So this month, I will take more time to enjoy school, focusing on my favorite school supplies, study tips, etc. I know that DU is on the quarter system, so school actually ends in June, but for the past twelve years of my life school has ended in May. I love school, and maybe I can help spread the scholastic cheer in May!

This also includes learning about other things. I want to pick up a hobby, maybe devote more time to practice knitting/crochet, or pick up the piano again (or learn to play the Carillon bells!).

June: Work
Although the search for work started months ago, June will be when the work starts. This year, I hope to get an internship, hopefully at a museum. This month will be dedicated to transitioning from student to employee/intern. Learning and improving my "people skills" and knowing how to dress to impress. Plus, how to make sure I love my job!

July: Adventure
There's nothing quite like summertime to make you want to travel and explore. In July, I want to foster my adventurous spirit. I believe I have a curious soul, and I constantly look for ways to learn and grow. In July, I want to dedicate more time to this, besides reading and visiting museums. I've always wanted to take a trip to Chaco canyon and see some of the ancient Native American ruins. I want to do something that frightens me. So July will be the month of Adventure!

August: Reflection
Again, I know that at DU we don't usually start until September because of the quarter system. But August is usually when school starts again. Before a new school year starts, I want to take the time to reflect on the past year, what worked and what didn't. Think about the goals I have for my second year at DU. Appreciate the moments of my first year.

September: Celebration
My birthday is in September, so naturally I want to celebrate that. 20 years is kind of a big deal to me. Most people think 21 is the best age (because that's when you can legally drink), but 20 is something to celebrate. That means I've been on this earth for two whole decades.

But I also want to celebrate the little things. I spend so much time being hard on myself for all the things I do wrong (which is a lot), and not enough time recognizing the things I do right. So this month, I want to celebrate not only my birthday, but the every day things. I want to celebrate my friends, the things that other people do to make the world a better place. I want to celebrate life, because it really is so good!

October: Fun
I have loved Halloween forever. Always. Since I was a little girl dressing up as a pumpkin (which I did probably 3 or so times). To me, Halloween was always a fun time. Plus, it was a great way to exercise creativity because as a true Colorado kid, I had to make my costume work with my puffy winter jacket, hat, and gloves.

I feel like I spend so much time trying to act grown up, trying to prove that I am a capable young woman. This month, I want to have more fun. I'm not talking about throwing caution to the wind and acting crazy and stupid. But I don't want to be afraid to be silly sometimes. Like the Little Prince (Le Petit Prince) taught me, don't be a big person all the time. Stay young at heart. This month, I hope to do just that.

November: Thanks and Giving (pun intended)
I feel like Thanksgiving is vastly under appreciated. After Halloween, people look to Thanksgiving as the day before Black Friday. That bothers me. Therefore, I want to use November (the whole month, not just Thanksgiving day) to give thanks more deeply. Gratitude is a goal of mine always, but in November I want to take a little more time to show my gratitude to those that I hold dear. I also want to use that time to be thankful for what I have, and give my time and resources to the organizations that service those who may need a little help. I volunteer as much as possible, but in 2013 I will dedicate more in November.

December: Comfort
In Colorado, the cold and snow can come as early as October, but December is the official start of winter. When it's cold outside, and the snow is on the ground, I just want to spend my time being comfortable. That means warm sweaters, tea, and a good book. So, in December I will dedicate more time to finding comfort in my life. Slow down, relax, and get comfortable. Bake, cook, read, etc. I want to dedicate my time to making others feel comfortable too.

I know this post was rather long, so a special thanks for reading.

I hope everyone's new year brings prosperity and love. Happy new year to all! :)



Sunday, December 30, 2012

Today, we took down our Christmas tree. For some reason, it hit me pretty hard this year. With everything that's happened in 2012, with all the change it's brought, it was nice to have some semblance of continuity for Christmas.

My parents and I have a tradition. Every year, we give each other an ornament. About six years ago, my parents began giving me ornaments of animals by Jonathan Adler. The neat thing is, each ornament is relevant to whatever animal-related quandary I found myself in that year. Here are all of my Jonathan Adler ornaments:

(From left to right) Giraffe, Elephant, Whale, Hedgehog, Dachshund, Turtle 

My dachshund and turtle ornament (the turtle is cool, because that year, 2010 or so, my parents also got me a beautiful turtle sculpture, but the shell opens up and it's actually a keepsake box)

This year, my parents gave me a hedgehog. You can also see my dachshund and turtle. 

Christmas was pretty special this year. I'm sad to see it go. But next year, it will be just as sweet I hope. 

I hope all of you had a good Christmas too, and a happy new year. :)

Thanks for reading,

Zoe <3

Biography, Part I

Saturday, December 29, 2012


I want to start by giving you a biographical (not the boring kind) introduction to me, Zoe Jade Diaz-McLeese. :)

- I'm 19 years old.

- I live in Denver, Colorado. I was born and raised here.

- I'm a first year student at the University of Denver, or DU.

- I'm a proud Delta Zeta! <3

- I'm an only child, but I have two wonderful cousins that are like my sisters (Brianna - 20 and Katrina - 16).

- I am obsessed with all things French.

- I wear a watch every day (random fact).

- I'm terrified of dogs, but I love them.

These are some things I love:

- France. Paris. My favorite monument is the Arc de Triomphe.

- Nail polish. I can't stand it when my nails look gross.

- Books. I'm currently reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and it is really wonderful.

- Daisies. They are my favorite flower. Always have been, they're so happy looking!

- Polar Bears.

- French bulldogs.

- Colorado. It's a wonderful place to call home. :)

- Office supplies. Nerdy, but I love pens and notebooks.

- Museums. I want to be a curator one day!

- Mumford and Sons.

- Turquoise, pink, green, orange, purple and blue are my favorite colors.

- Chamomile tea

- Santa Fe, New Mexico

- Washington D.C.

- Postcards from everywhere. I have over 500 that I've collected from my own travels and that loved ones have sent/given me. Some of my favorites are hanging in my dorm room.

- Listening to classical music while I study.

- My friends. Without them, I'd be lost. They know who they are.

- My parents. They are the most amazing people I know.

Hopefully this gives you a glimpse into my mind. I make lists and plans for everything, so don't be surprised if many of my posts are in list form.

Thanks for reading!

-Zoe <3

C'est La Vie!

Friday, December 28, 2012


My name is Zoe, and I live in Denver, Colorado.

I started this blog because I love to write. Sometimes, I will write about specific things, like my favorite pen (a purple Pentel G2) or a delicious sandwich (the turkey club at Amerigo on Larimer). Other times, I will write about fun experiences (like traveling to Europe with my dad), or funny things from my life. Maybe I will write about things that I have thought about for a while, but haven't had the courage to share. I will share my worries and fears (dogs, spiders, fireworks), and what makes me laugh and smile. I will tell you about myself, my school, and my friends. I will share with you my favorite poems and quotes, songs and movies, TV Shows and photographs. I will give you any advice I find useful, and tell you things I've learned from my mistakes.

Perhaps most importantly, I will learn. As I write, I will explore the depths of my own imagination, test my research skills, and learn about myself and my subjects.

To start, I will tell you about why I have titled this blog "La vie en Zoe." I wish I was French. Seriously. The language, the food, the fashion. Everything about French culture I love. Therefore, the name suits me. :)

I hope you enjoy! :)