While I’m stuck at home…

While I’m stuck at home, bored, with limited human interaction and talking ceaselessly to my dogs, I figured I’d reminisce about the time not so long ago when I was absentmindedly living in Florence without a care in the world. That is until the coronavirus hit Italy. It has now been over a month since my program decided to hastily cancel the semester. What was la dolce vita turned into a chaotic mess within 48 hours while we all tried to rapidly flee the country. At the time, it seemed like a major overreaction by the program. As it happened, that abroad program was the first American school to cancel in-person classes, a move that seemed drastic, yet now ironic, as practically every student from the US is currently completing their semesters from living room couches across the country. All of us abroad students, along with the rest of the world, are trying to grapple with what happened to “our time” abroad, “our time” to travel, explore and be free, “our time” to not be burdened with work for once and have nothing in our way. I know that there are many more severe problems that people are facing with this virus, and that is it truly a privilege to go abroad in the first place. Still, I think it necessary to accept and mourn everything we’ve lost, even the small things, to keep our sanity in this surreal situation. It has been an emotional blow for me since study abroad has been something I’ve dreamt of my entire life. Some days, I wake up, confused, and have to come to terms with everything that happened since I don’t usually live at home. Positively is key, however, and I can only hope to return to Italy as soon as possible and continue to explore and immerse myself in the beautiful country.

I’m very thankful for the time I got in Italy and Europe. If I have learned anything, it is to always take advantage of any opportunity because you never know when it could end or be taken away from you. I tried to make the absolute most of my time abroad, traveling when I could, and exploring Florence when I had the time. No, I didn’t get to see the entire city, regretfully saving many attractions for when my parents and friends came to visit. That’s ok, though; it gives me a reason to go back. There were many places I was dying to see this spring, yet, I can only look forward and still anticipate visiting them in the future.

After “fleeing” Florence, I luckily had the chance to spend some more time traveling in England and Scotland, as I had already planned a spring break trip in London and had friends I could visit there. I wanted to prolong returning home as best I could, and quite frankly, I stayed in Europe as long as I possibly could have. The two and a half weeks I spent on trains traveling around the UK were remarkable, and I’m thankful to have gotten the chance for more memories before the whole quarantine fiasco started. My travels in the UK felt as though there was a dark cloud over every excursion and conversation as the coronavirus was about to start affecting everyone else abroad. There was much uncertainty since it was only a matter of time until other programs got sent home. The virus was chasing after me, but there was nothing that anyone could have done. I had my adventures, often by myself, that I can look back on and cherish. I saw more of the country than I would have if my program didn’t get canceled, and I got to spend more time in London, one of my favorite cities in the world.

I’ve been reluctant to look back at all of my travels, and have put off writing about them while back at home since it seems as though it was a lifetime ago that I was carelessly moving throughout Europe. I have had a hard time thinking about my time abroad, choosing to focus on various crafts, family activities, and schoolwork to take my mind off of where I should be right now. Positive distractions are essential at a time like this. It’s been long enough, though, and I hope to share more about my journeys and experiences moving forward through posts and pictures to reminisce and celebrate the time I did spend in Europe. For now, arriverdverci

Austrian Adventures

Austria, home of strudel, snitzel and the Sound of Music, has a sense of regality that makes you feel momentarily like royalty.  History seeps into every grand avenue of Vienna, lined with enlightenment era white marble buildings and ornate cafes.  Two days in Vienna allowed me to appreciate the cultural richness of the city from the classical music to the turn of the century art movements that define the golden era of the Habsburg empire.  Across the country, lays Salzburg, in the mountains, where both Mozart and the Von Trap family originated.  I regrettably only spent one night in Salzburg, but that was enough for me to fall in love with the alpine charm and natural beauty of the area.  

Vienna appears surprisingly like a modern busy city from the outskirts in with plenty of energy and vibrance.  City center, however, old town charm is abundant.  The churches show the best of baroque architecture, marked by the massively elaborate St Stephans Cathedral with its intricately colorful mosaic roof and spires.  I happened to walk into a service at the church and got to hear the organ play while taking the elevator up to the rood which was quite an experience (imagine hearing the lords prayer sung in German).  The cathedral boosts wonderful views of the city, along with views of the unique roof.  The famous opera house, where Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven, among others, casually premiered much of their most well known work, is right across from the Sacher Hotel, home to the original Sacher Torte.  I enjoyed the famous chocolate and apricot cake at the Sacher Cafe which was magically upholstered in deep red velvet and magnificent chandlers.  The apple strudel from the cafe is also amazing and the atmosphere itself is worth it, even if you don’t like chocolate cake.  

Schoenbrunn palace is a quick 15 minute subway ride outside of the city center and holds so much history from Austria’s Habsburg glory days.  The giant palace sits on beautiful gardens and is well worth an inside tour since the rooms are perfectly preserved, including the grand ballroom and the big portrait rooms.  From a historical standpoint, the audioguide offered a lot of insight into the palace’s history and the lives of the people that lived there which was extremely fascinating.  

Belvedere palace is actually an art museum, yet looks extremely regal from the outside.  The palace hosts many of Austria’s most famous works such as Klimt’s The Kiss and other works, and the big Napoleon painting that is instantly recognizable.  The museum is really well done with a beautiful neoclassical marble interior and a great collection of art spanning many centuries.  

Beyond desserts, Austrian food is hearty and comforting.  I tried both pork and veal weiner snitzel served traditionally with potato salad, lemon and cranberry sauce.  The breaded and fried meat pairs perfectly with the sweeter garnishes.  It’s disgustingly delicious and definitely a must-try.  Austrian beef-broth soup is also very tasty, served with a big singular dumpling (think matzo-ball soup with beef instead of chicken).  Bratwurst stands can be found all over Vienna and they might seem sketchy, but they serve up the best hot dogs in soft baguettes.  I tried a cheese filled one with mustard and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.  Cafe Central is a famous belle époque era cafe that mimics a gothic cathedral and has had many famous intellectuals as regulars over the years.  I had apple strudel for breakfast there and have no shame about it.  

Cafe Central in all its glory

Traditional Austrian dinner

Salzburg, at the foot of the alps, is a mountain city, full of both regal and charm.  The Sound of Music tour was the perfect way to see the city and the surrounding area in a short time with unmatched panoramic vistas.  You get to visit all of the filming locations and sing along to the music on the bus.  The town makes Mozart’s presence know, with monuments and squares all over dedicated to him.  Walking around Salzburg at night was surreal, as the hill top castle and other landmarks are lit up, along with the incredible rock face that the town is built into.  

Restaurants:

Cafe Sacher: famous and beautiful

Cafe Central: also famous and beautiful with good breakfast

Weibel’s Wirtshaus: great classic Austrian food in a nice setting

Zum Zirkelwirt: Fun atmosphere and casual Austrian food in Salzburg

København Kool

Copenhagen, or as the Danish say “København” with the emphasis on the vowels, oozes with cool and style. I’m hard thought to think of a trendier city that I’ve visited. The “hipness” finds itself in everything from the fashion (think Ganni and ACNE Studios) and street art to the food and fresh juices. Compared to the cramped streets of Florence, the quaint Copenhagen streets feel reminiscent of fairy tales. The contrast between the old and the modern is very distinct in art and architecture.

Amalienborg Palace with Frederik’s Church in the background, representing the best of regal Denmark

The castles and palaces of Copenhagen are all beautiful and offer insight into the history of the country. Rosenborg Castle looks as if it could easily be out of Disney’s Frozen with its spires and picture perfect carp filled mote. The interior is full of rococo era art and decor and the basement holds the crown jewels of Denmark which are just as majestic as they are fascinating. Amalienborg Palace is more modern and it serves as the current home of the Danish royal family. The square, along with Frederik’s Church, is beautiful.

The ornate and fascinating Rosenborg Castle
Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world and served as inspiration for the Disneyland

Walking through the city is quite honestly like walking through a fairy tale and Tivoli Amusement Park embodies the epitome of the Disney mystic. The park is found in the middle of the city, yet feels removed and magical with pristine rides and attractions that puts Disneyland to shame, visually. The winter lights at night are beautiful and the international food hall is a great and delicious way to save money on dinner. I felt like a giddy little child walking through the park and seriously could not stop smiling of happiness.

Funky modern design can be seen throughout the harbor tour

Taking a boat tour through the canals and harbor helped me grasp the layout of the city and see all of the interestingly designed buildings from the water. The opera house and library (both on the water) contrast the quaint colorful buildings that line the canals with state of the art unique modern architecture. The tour also goes to the famous Little Mermaid statue which is out of the way by foot and a bit underwhelming. It’s one of those things that you have to do as a tourist and the tour made it worth it.

Altalier September has one of the most trendiest brunch’s in the city

Copenhagen has mastered the instagram-era art of brunch with trendy cafes and ascetically perfect food. Not only does the food look amazing, but it also tastes amazing. The Danes are known for their open-faced sandwiches, so you know the avocado toast will be superb. I had two of the best avocado toasts I’ve ever had and that’s coming from someone who religiously eats avocado at every opportunity.

Union Kitchen’s popular brunch

Copenhagen’s food scene is consistently named one of the best in the world, thanks to an emphasize on creativity and healthy natural foods. The now international juice chain, Joe and the Juice, started in Copenhagen and they are about as easy to find as a Dunkin’ Donuts in New York. Superfoods are abundant and they love fresh seafood. The smoke salmon and pickled herring were amazing for dinner and the baked goods for breakfast were unique and always flavorful.

Light display at the Museum of Design

I’ve never been to a museum quite like the Museum of Design, a museum dedicated to the tradition of cutting edge design in Denmark with displays from the 18th century to today. They had a special exhibit about the evolution of disco and nightclubs which was super interesting and well done. The permanent exhibits were a visual treat with a wide range of art, both modern and traditional, on display.

Contemporary furniture display at the Design Museum
Reminiscent of NYC’s Soho campaigns, this Pepsi ad is one of many murals found around Copenhagen

Places I ate:

• Restaurant Puk (Traditional Danish in a fun environment)

• Union Kitchen (Trendy brunch and coffee)

• Joe and the Juice

• Tivoli International Food Court (very good cheaper food and lots of options)

• Atelier September (great coffee shop with small plates)

• The Market (trendy contemporary Asian)

• Kompa 9 (small local coffee shop and bakery)

Shopping: 

• Stroget street (longest pedestrian street filled with both danish and international clothing chains)

• Normal and Message (two trendy Danish stores with decent prices)

• Magasin (Big nice department store full of Scandinavian brands)

• Ganni (Danish “It” brand of the moment around the world thanks to Instagram influencers)

Summer in the City

So I might have completely neglected blogging the last couple of months, but being a busy college student doesn’t always lend itself to an abundance of free time. A lot has happened since I last wrote. I managed to somehow survive a brutal finals period, pack up all of my stuff, move out, and work and prepare at home for a summer move to New York City. I am now finally settled in the city after a whirlwind first two weeks. So far, it has been an amazing experience, and I am absolutely loving the thrill and the freedom of living in the middle of a giant metropolis. I could write endlessly about everything that I have done so far, but I’ll leave that up to future blog posts that I’m anxiously waiting to post. Anyways, what am I doing and how am I living in this wild fast-paced city?

I admit that I was a little apprehensive about moving by myself to a large city. This is the first time I have lived in a city and it’s definitely a far cry from the isolated and sheltered rural college that I attend in Upstate New York. Here, I have to fend for myself. No more ordering everything on Amazon and marching myself 5 times a day to the unlimited dining hall. I even have to figure out “cooking” my meals which, although I’m a huge foodie, is definitely not my forte. Trying to prepare meals has probably been my biggest struggle, and I have resorted to a lot of dinners full of energy bars and bananas (I have some work to do). I’m also having to figure out transportation methods which is interesting enough since New York has a ton of options, none of which are completely ideal (rural college=clueless Uber newbie here). I seriously love walking around though, and my daily walks to and from work is actually quite invigorating. New Yorkers are intent on their commutes and they walk with such purpose which I can totally embrace and go along with. It’s fast paced and lively, giving me energy for my busy workday.

Talk about distractions, walking around is the worst for my wallet (and tight budget). There are so many great little cafes and restaurants to grab quicks meals or coffee. They all somehow seem much more appealing than my spinach and avocado “salad” waiting for me at home. Good food is so dangerous, please take caution. Everyday, I see somewhere new and make a mental note to try it out, pushing back my homemade oats further down my meal prep timeline. What might be even more exciting and even more dangerous are the sheer number of amazing stores dotting the whole city. Just on my commuting walk alone, I have probably ventured into 5 different stores and I have started a list in my head of all the shopping districts that I need to visit for my soul and not for my wallet’s sanity. My internship’s in fashion, so it’s all in the name of work, right?

Work itself is amazingly interesting and fun. Even being an intern and doing interning things is still somehow exciting. The environment is so creative and lively and the days go by quick. I feel so professional which sounds cheesy, but I get a rush when I walk into the elevator with all these fashion bigwigs at the beginning of each day. While the city can be overwhelming, it means that there is nonstop excitement, leaving me busy and curious. I could write on and on, but I’ll leave that up to next week. Yesterday, I went the Smorgasburg… so stay tuned!

Where I Write

Throughout my blogging journey, I realize that I’ve probably mentioned my love for quaint coffee shops quite a bit. I’m not shy to admit my very basic girl tendencies which are sort of ironic because I don’t even like the taste of coffee. I love the idea of a calm peaceful space dedicated to quality drinks. Small coffee shops are always a joy and I find that there is no other space where I can be at my productive peak. I go when I need to study, socialize, write and experience food and drink in such a pure and wholesome form. Given this love, I figured I’d share where it is that I settle down with a chai latte and write to my hearts content.

Whether it be for studying or blogging, I find that quaint coffee shops offer the perfect little escape from the world around me. There, I can fully focus on the task ahead while relaxing and enjoying my surroundings. Being in college, the library and other spots on campus can often be high stress suffocating environments that distract me from doing my best work. That is why I escape. I leave to relax, take a few deep breaths and get to completing what seems to be an always growing pile of work.

At home: Penny’s Coffee (Linden Hills, Minneapolis)

While I still stand loyal to my multiple local Starbucks, I was super excited when Penny’s Linden Hills opened last spring since I really wanted a perfect work space coffee shop near me. Their drinks are incredibly flavorful and unique with specials such as the pink spicy peppermint latte (perfect for the ‘gram). They serve up a menu of gourmet crêpes and sandwiches, along with breakfast items and pastries. I will literally just come for their avocado toast which is probably the best I’ve ever had. They just recently started baking their own pastries which is giving me major FOMO since I’m back at school.

At school: Rye Berry Cafe (Hamilton, NY)

I’m currently sitting at Rye Berry right now, writing this, and eating their amazing homemade extra-strained yogurt which is definitely my ideal way of spending a Tuesday morning. Everything is made fresh in-house every morning from the coffee and tea syrups to all of the breads and baked goods. I think that you seriously cannot go wrong with any of Rye Berry’s breakfast or lunch options which range from a daily quiche special to biscuit sandwiches and cinnamon buns. They had a mean pumpkin spice latte this fall which made me actually enjoy the very sweetened taste of coffee.

At school part 2: Fojo Beans (Hamilton, NY)

The Fojo Beans cafe just recently opened after having a local gourmet coffee business for years. The shop specializes in their special blends and fancy teas while selling a changing menu of baked goods from local CNY bakeries. They have a variety of grab and go items such as rice puddings and overnight oats which are delicious and (fairly) healthy. The atmosphere is very relaxed and casual making it a great space to get work done and hang with friends. It is great that Hamilton is expanding their cafe culture with another new place to come in and study.

Inside My Dorm

Ah the college dorm, the dreaded small dingy confined space barely large enough to fit that twin XL bed, let alone a girl’s wardrobe.  Decorating a dorm proves to be an oddly exiting challenge that students look forward to, including myself, at the beginning of each year.  There is something strangely satisfying about figuring out how to fit everything and “hacking” the space you are given.  Thankfully, this year as a sophomore, I was able to get a single room that, while still small, gave me ample space to decorate and customize to my heart’s content.  Last year, I was cramped into a room with two other girls and, although hard, it helped me figure out how to make the most of my space.  I swear by companies like Pottery Barn (PB teen has a specific dorm brand), Bed Bath and Beyond, and Etsy to find solutions for storage that are cute and minimize the clutter because, as you probably can tell by this blog, I love clothes (and shoes and jewelry and accessories).  So how do I manage this year?  Read below to see how I transformed my space to be comfortable, personal and practical! 🙂

To stay organized, I separated by dorm into different sections based on purpose.  I have my mini fridge (and freezer!) near the entrance in the little foyer on top of a storage unit for my snacks and kitchen ware.  My kettle, cups and mugs are all on top of the fridge making what I like to call my “vertical kitchen”.  Further inside the room, I have my wardrobe across from my “little sitting area”, my bed area with storage underneath, and then my desk area where I store all of my toiletries, jewelry,  makeup, and school supplies.

My Bed:

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I tried to keep the decor neat around my bed and stuck with a constant color scheme throughout my room.  The base is all light soft pink, and then I have a lot of navy, gold (including rose gold), black and white which all come together to contrast each other.  The floral lights are from PB Teen.  The little pinup board and monogram are customized from Etsy which is the place to go for custom decor at a decent price.  The dog painting is actually my dog and she’s right below an art piece representing my state, letting me have a little piece of home on display.  I got the The Breakfast at Tiffany’s picture from Art.com which is a fabulous place to get art at a reasonable price.  I know it’s super cliché but I love Andrey Hepburn and classic movies, plus the picture goes well with my overall theme.  The rose gold dots are from Umbra, a company that specializes in sleek modern home decor all at a very cheap price.

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You can never have enough pillows, especially in college when your bed doesn’t have a headboard.  I have yet another monogram on a pillow from Etsy (I love the cursive look and the personalization of them).  Two of the other pillows are from Lily Home, another from Kate Spade (it’s a Jane Austen quote since I love classic english lit), and a fun sequined pillow that is more for my own entertainment than practicality.  My bedspread is called Whimsical Waves from PB Teen.  I made sure to have a neutral solid spread, so I could go all out with pillows and other fun patterned accessories.

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As a storage hack, I have a special rail (PB Teen) that hangs under my bed to store my vests and light jackets.  It also shields the junk that I have under my bed such as my suitcases and boxes, so nobody has to see the cluttered mess underneath.  The little ottoman is from Bed Bath and Beyond and it also stores clothes.  It doubles as both a seat and a step stole making it absolutely awesome.

My sitting area:

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My favorite part of the room is the little make shift seating area I created.  The tapestry, which takes up the majority of the wall, is from Society 6, a great site specializing in funky affordable decor specifically for young people.  Tapestries are great since they transform a space with little to no effort on your part.  I honestly couldn’t resist having a pink and purple Prada Marfa sign in my room!  The seat and lamp are both from target, while the truck is from PB Teen.  The truck was a bit of an investment, but is multi-purposeful as both stylish storage and furniture for my room.

My Desk:

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I admit that my desk is a bit cluttered, but that’s partly because it serves so many functions.  The acrylic makeup container stores all of my hair and makeup supplies, along with lotions and perfumes.  I separate that with my jewelry which I have stored with a hanger from The Container Store and a small pottery and wire earring holder.  I use my desk as a vanity, so I have a nice foldable mirror from PB Teen that takes up limited space.  I’m a total Harry Potter nerd, so yes I have all of the books lined on the shelf, and as extra decor, I have the leather-bound version of two of my favorite classic books which mount my piggy bank.  Yes, I have a Chanel inspired piggy bank, judge away.  I taped up perfume campaign ads that Sephora sent me to add a little something to the area’s wall, and because I honestly had no idea what to do with them…

My Curtains:

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Over my window, I put up a white and gold curtain that hides the ugly vent and window sill.  To make my bed look a little cozier, and honestly more bed-like because dorm beds are so basic, I draped layered curtains behind and above the bed with hooks.  The drapery creates a canopy illusion and makes the room much more colorful while serving as decor for the overall bed space.

So there, my little cozy temporary home…

Go Good Uncle!

Meet Good Uncle, the new food delivery start-up taking select colleges on the east coast by storm.   The company is more generous than any friendly relative, as they will become your new best friend- a bff that specializes in simply bringing you food, on demand.  Good Uncle started at Syracuse by two ambitious students who were determined on elevating the college dining scene.  Just this year, they launched on 5 different college campus while being headquartered in New York City.  The idea is similar to Uber Eats, but with no delivery fee since the food is all created by Good Uncle through their Michelin starred food mastermind, Erik Battes.  They then transport it to one of their many handy delivery spots around the campuses with their super cool fancy food truck-like trucks.  Magical- right?

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Currently, Good Uncle is only at Colgate, Syracuse, Cornell, Lehigh and UMaryland, but they hope to expand in the near future (that future is very near given their popularity).  While you might not be at one of those schools, or might not even be in school, Good Uncle could come to you, and you will then, thanks to me, be in the know (ahead of the game, on the next big thing!).  Their food is simply delicious, and definitely beats most food found in college dining halls.  It ranges from very healthy options of salad and rice bowls to hangover-cure like foods such as the BBQ plater and the bacon, egg, and cheese brunch sandwich.  There’s a wide range which makes it easy for everyone to find something to suit their every desire.  Their menu changes monthly, ensuring that nobody gets tired of their extensive menu.  With that absent delivery fee, the prices are very reasonable for “to-go”-like food.  For a college student’s budget, it is cheaper than eating out at most places with dinners ranging from 7-12 dollars.

So you go to Colgate or any of the other schools that have Good Uncle?  Here is what I most recommend.

Tofu and Mushroom Bowl with the Mediterranean Fresh Fix Toppings:

Healthy and trendy, you can’t go wrong with one of Good Uncle’s bowls.  The tofu bowl is great for vegetarians and vegans since good tofu is often hard to come by in college.  It’s all on a bed of quinoa, and you have the choice of what kind of toppings/salad you want with the bowl.  I’m obsessed with the Mediterranean toppings which I get for both the tofu and the chicken bowl.  It’s the classic fixings of hummus, tzatziki, pita chips, feta, cucumber and tomato, along with a serving of arugula salad.

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Pesto Parmasan Pasta:

Good Uncle really nails the pasta thing which we will all be thankful for when winter comes around (Aka comfort food season).  The pesto pasta really hits the spot since they throw in copious amounts of sauce along with a generous serving of melted parmesan cheese.  Tasty, yes, and comforting!

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Seasonal Açai Bowl:

Ahh the food of the moment (and of instagram), Good Uncle makes it easy to keep up with the trends.  Who wouldn’t want an açai bowl delivered on demand?  It’s simple, but delicious and makes for a great addition to brunch.  The vividly purple base is topped with fruit and granola, and has shredded coconut and almonds mixed into it.  Unfortunately, the açai bowl is only available on weekends, but that might be for the best (we probably don’t need an açai bowl everyday!).

Buffalo Chicken Sandwich:

A good buffalo chicken sandwich for me is the ultimate guilty pleasure, and Good Uncle doesn’t let me down with their October special.  The chicken is topped with oozy buffalo cheddar cheese and a blue cheese dressing.  The bun is a nice soft brioche bun that is sweet enough to pair perfectly with the spicy chicken.

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Grilled Chicken Tenders:

Probably Good Uncle’s smartest creation, these chicken tenders are both extremely tasty and healthy.  Instead of being deep fried, the chicken is seasoned in a mix of flavorful herbs and grilled to perfection, ready to be eaten with a delicious dipping sauce.  The sauces are a highlight since they have a variety to choose from, each unique and amazing.  I recommend getting a couple to dunk the chicken into although the chicken is good enough on its own.

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To read and find out more about Good Uncle, visit my article for Spoon University here!

5 Of My Favorite Products To Get You Through The End Of Summer

I have never really written a post about products and cosmetics, but I figured why not?  I’m a big Sephora fan, and I’m also always on the lookout to try new things, whether it be hair products, skin products, or makeup.  The summer heat and sun get to be rough on your body (that’s not to say that winter weather isn’t), so here are 5 new beauty products that I’ve been trying this summer that I totally 100% recommend.

*I am not being promoted for any of these suggestions

  1. Buddy Scrub Coffee Body Scrub

We all love drinking our morning coffee, but did you know that coffee, and to a larger extent caffeine, has skin health benefits when used externally.  In fact, coffee is proven to help reduce cellulite and promote smoother shinier skin.  This Buddy Scrub is the perfect product to use in order to get that “summer bod”.  Just lather and scrub your body a couple times a week and you’ll have yourself smooth and healthy skin.  The scrub is totally natural, vegan, and cruelty-free with no harmful products or ingredients you can’t pronounce.  It smells amazing too!

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Buy it here through Anthropology for $18

2.  The Pocket Palette, one-use make-up kits

The Pocket Palette is a start-up company that created these mini makeup kits for on-the-go travel and disposal.  Each palette contains a single portion of BB cream or foundation, a single portion of lipstick that doubles as rouge, and a single-use mascara brush.  The palette is tiny and can easily fit inside any pocket, purse or container making them super easy to carry with you.  I have used my pocket palette for overnight trips when I don’t feel like lugging a large makeup kit around and for after events such as golf where I need to quickly cleanup and make myself look presentable before dinner.  After use, you simply throw the kit away, and the makeup is great quality and very versatile.

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Buy them here in sets of 3 or 10 ranging from $12 to $35

3.  Tarte Mermaid Glitter Gel

Glitter is having a major moment right now thanks to the growing popularity of music festivals and festival fashion.  This gel-like body glitter is just the thing to get you festival-ready for all those instagram pictures.  It isn’t an eye shadow like other glitter products.  Instead, the liquid gel dries on to the skin, keeping it in place anywhere on the body.  Not only does the glitter work great against skin, but the jar is super fun and aesthetic.

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You can find it here from Sephora for $18

4.  Too Faced Hangoverx Replenishing Face Primer

This primer doubles wonderfully as a face moisturizer since it restores and helps contain moisture in the skin.  As the name suggests, it’s ideal for hangovers, but also any activity where your skin looses moisture such as working out and sun exposure. For those long summer days outside, this works as the perfect remedy making skin supple, smooth and lively.  As a bonus, Hangoverx has no shine or oily effects which is much appreciated when it comes to a good everyday primer and “lotion”.

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Buy it here at Sephora for $34

5.  OUAI Sun of a Beach Ombré Spray

Ever tried the old trick of squeezing lemon in your hair to make it lighter?  And it kind of works? Temporarily.  Well, OUAI has come up with a product based off of the classic lemon hack, but works stronger and stays longer.  Sun of a Beach Spray lightly bleaches the hair in a healthy way that doesn’t dry the hair out.  It smells nice and has little texture.  And, it actually really works!  The spray gives you a summer sun-kissed look which we all want while still looking very natural and healthy.

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Buy it here from Sephora for $24

*Pro Tip:  As I mentioned, I swear by Sephora.com since I love their loyalty program. Living in a rural area means that I need to order most of my products online, and Sephora is amazing for that.  I pay $10 a year to get free shipping which saves a lot of money in the long run, plus I get free samples which are great for travel, loyalty points for free awards, a birthday gift, and special deals that include a lot more free samples/minis.  It’s a fabulous program especially for college students.

Spoon University- The National College Foodie Network

I would like to apologize in advance for my lack of content lately.  It’s college finals season, and I have a lot on my plate.  Believe me, I would much rather be writing fun articles for this blog right now.  Anyways, one thing that has kept me busy of late has been this club called Spoon University.  For those of you who don’t know, Spoon U is a nationwide blogging network of college students who write and publicize all things food ranging from fun recipes, restaurant reviews, random food hacks, and healthy lifestyles.  Everything is related to the college experience, and it’s a great way to get support about writing something that I’m passionate about.  So far, I’ve written 3 articles, but I’m hoping to write a lot more soon and will try to incorporate them into this blog.  I’ve learned a lot through the process about how internet publishing works, so it’s been great for this.  I would love if everyone were to check these articles out!

  1. The 10 Best Chobani Flavors Ranked by Taste– Greek yogurt is my go-to breakfast every morning since it is full of energy and taste delicious.  Read about what flavors I love the most!Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 11.13.33 PM.png
  2. Everything You Need to Know About Post Workout Snacks– I’m a workout junkie, and because of my competitive athlete background, I know a lot about workout nutrition.  Here is what I have to say about what to eat after a workout.  Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 11.13.08 PM.png
  3. Where to Find the Best Fried Chicken in Every State You can never go wrong with fried chicken!  Check out 50 great places to find bomb chicken everywhere across the country!Screen Shot 2018-04-30 at 11.12.37 PM.png

Honestly, whether you’re in college or not, Spoon is a great site for any foodie to check out!  You’ll learn a lot and there is so much more content and info than the typical food blog.  They have a Facebook and Instagram page too which are totally cool and worth it!  And stay tuned for more of my articles which I hope to share here soon!

April Picks- 10 Tips on Surviving (or almost surviving) Finals

This time of year is always crazy, whether it be high school, college or life.  If you are like me, you have a boatload of work piling up, finals looming, have finally some nice weather to distract you, and the stress of moving out of a room and getting everything back home.  That’s April, and it’s crazy.  However, throughout school, I’ve learned a few things here and there about managing stress, time efficiency, and optimizing performance which has helped a lot, especially now that I am in college.  In school or not, these are some tips to help anyone get through this time of year.

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Some sunny tranquil motivation to get you through finals, and to help you remember that college can be beautiful

  1. Managing what and how you eat
  • It might be cliché, but you really “are what you eat”.  I find that if I control what I’m eating and make sure I get a lot of nutrients, my mind is more alert and productive.  Also, eating well makes your body feel better all around, putting you in a better mood and thus, making you more willing to study.  I’m not saying you have to go on some sort of strict diet, it just a matter of being mindful and controlling yourself.  Stress-eating is not the answer to solving stress, but eating a little something sweet is good to reward yourself while in the thick of finals.

2.  Exercise

  • Another way to ensure that your mind is in tiptop shape for exams is to exercise.  Many people find that they don’t have the time to hit the gym while studying, but I find that doing only 30 minutes of cardio is just as beneficial for me as studying.  Not only does it trigger endorphins in the brain, but working out also provides for a great little break in the day.  I personally can barely get through a day without working out since it motivates me and keeps me going.  If you are really stressed about time, you can also watch review videos or read notes while running on the treadmill.  There are many ways to study and exercise at the same time!

3.   Take mini breaks from whatever you are doing

  • To ensure that I don’t get restless while working on something or studying, I always make a point to get up every hour or so and walk around.  I might just go to the bathroom or maybe I’ll talk to some friends, but either way, I find that I always need a little bit of a break to keep me focused and concentrated on my task.  Even now, as I write this post, I’m taking breaks every so often to keep my mind fresh!  Going off of the exercise thing above, your mind needs you to move, so walking around is a great choice and a great way to procrastinate!

4.    Find an environment that motivates you whether that be with or without other people

  • Everyone studies differently, and everyone has different ways of studying the best.  I find that I like being around people, but people who are not talking since it motivates me to study alongside everyone else.  Some people need to be alone and some people need to talk, but it’s important to find what works best for you.  I also love going to different environments such as coffee shops since it keeps my work interesting.  One place I can’t get anything done: my dorm room as I associate it and my bed with sleeping and watching tv which means that I am not as productive.  Figure out what works for you, and it will make a huge difference.

5.    Listen to energizing music while studying, preferably classical or instrumental

  • You’ve probably heard of the Mozart effect, the theory where listening to classical music makes you smarter.  While that might not be totally true, there is a lot of scientific evidence that listening to classical music helps with focus and relaxes the mind, therefore, making it perfect and beneficial for studying.  I personally cannot do any work without music, and I find that for studying and reading, I need something a little more upbeat.  I like “Epic Classical” on Spotify for this, or I’ll listen to full dramatic symphonies.  Although classical music might seem dull, it keeps studying interesting.  Over time, you learn to rely on it and appreciate it.

6.    Reward yourself for motivation (you deserve that 1 Netflix episode!)

  • This goes for what I said before about treating yourself to a little dessert during finals.  You are working super hard, and you are doing fabulous- so you deserve something to take your mind off of finals, at least for a little bit.  I find that putting an hour aside the night before a final to watch a tv episode and eat a small dessert is a great way to relax and make myself feel at ease for what is ahead.  With that being said, however, don’t get distracted and don’t reward yourself too much!

7.    Review any notes or study material right before going to bed the night before an exam or test

  • After I “reward” myself, I quickly skim through my notes right before going to bed which makes sure that the material is fresh in my mind.  A lot of people swear by this strategy, and although it could be the placebo effect, I really think it does work.  Plus, it’s easy and rather mindless to do!

8.    Drink a lot of water!!!  And try to limit excessive caffeine!

  • You’ve probably heard this one before, but drinking as much water as possible keeps the brain hydrated which, in turn, makes it able to function better.  Caffeine, on the other hand, dehydrates you, making your brain less optimal.  While caffeine can be definitely a necessity (I’m guilty, especially while studying for finals), it is best to not consume a lot.  If you cannot help yourself, drink even more water to substitute the liquid lost from the caffeine.  I rely on water to get rid of any junk food cravings while studying and to keep me concentrated (water works, it seems,  in a similar and healthier way as caffeine).  I tend to “stress drink” water instead of “stress eat” which is super effective and helpful.

9.    Put away your phone and take “phone breaks” every once and awhile

  • I might sound like a parent here, but we waste so much time on our phones; time that could be put into studying.  I’m guilty, but I’m trying much harder to limit my access since I get distracted easily by my phone.  Put it on do not disturb, turn it off, whatever, but it really does make a difference.  And, every once and awhile, reward yourself by letting yourself spend time on your phone.

10.    Most importantly, try to sleep!

  • What might be the biggest study cliché of all, but hands down the most important- sleep.  We all need it, even if we think we don’t, and we’re much better off getting a full 8-hours the night before an exam than staying up to study even more.  I’m a stickler for sleep, and I definitely feel the effects of being tired versus the effects of being well-rested.  I believe that to do well on finals, you have to get sleep to stay focused!  I know everyone’s different, but we all need it.  I often will take melatonin before a test, so I sleep well and am not kept awake by stress.

Hope that helps!  And good luck to everyone taking exams right now or later this spring!