Saturday, May 25, 2013


Since I was little I loved to garden with my parents. Though in high school I avoided the garden, now (after the awkward high school years) I actually am starting to like gardening again. I can probably blame this new found love with pinterest, the usual culprit. I haven't had anything interesting to post yet this weekend, but here are two pictures I took today at the garden store, and at home. I really wanted an herb garden so I planted some basil, thyme, oregano, and rosemary. In the center is a tomato plant, and the tomatoes are seedless! I will definitely get a bigger pot, a nicer one too. I'll go out with my camera tomorrow and snap some pretty shots for you all! Plus, I'll let you know the status of my little garden!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tips for Studying Abroad: Part 3

As the last part of the studying abroad tips, I am going to cover culture shock, as well as what should you expect and do while abroad. Here we go!

When you first arrive to wherever you are going, its amazing. You are walking on air, everything seems so unreal and awesome. Then as you start your daily life, things seem different. Everything from taking a shower, going to the grocery store, and even doing laundry will be different. It is hard to put in words how things will be different, but slowly your lifestyle changes, unless you try hard not to. 

My first tip I can give you is to be open to change, and let it happen to you. Of course living a different lifestyle in a different country can be, well, foreign, but it is a great experience and great life changer. Before I went to Rome, I was not very independent, couldn't cook for myself, and never went out to stores alone. After four months in Rome, I traveled around the city exploring on my own, cooked my own meals, and became more confident and independent. Though I definitely changed, some others did not at all, they were stuck in America while in Italy; they remained in their beds, watching movies and shows, and on Skype. Not a fun way to spend four months while you are in a beautiful city.

The time you spend while abroad goes by fast. If you remain inside, you won't be experiencing anything, and honestly, wasting your time and money. So be sure to go outside and experience the city! Of course don't do anything uncomfortable or dangerous, and if you are scared to venture out on your own, ask one of your classmates! Also, if you want to explore the city, definitely look into Rick Steve's books, he outlines sites to see and the history of those places. I loved going to museums and other historical sites, and knowing what I was looking at. 

So here are the tips:

  1. Be open to change and a new and different lifestyle. You will be in a foreign country, don't try to bring America there, live the way they do!
  2. Don't sit inside all day. Yes you may be homesick, but sitting inside all day will make you miss home even more. Change is tough, but it is an experience you don't want to miss!
  3. Venture! Walk around the city, get lost (semi-lost), see the sites! It is a one time opportunity, you want to see the most you can in a short period of time, don't waste it!
So there you go! Just some short tips about studying abroad! Leave a comment or question if you want to know more about studying abroad. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Basic Accessories

Basic Accessories
Accessorizing is key to make any outfit go from "blah," to "wow." Here are some of the basics you will need:

  1. Black Scarf: A nice soft scarf is great in the fall, winter, and early spring to keep your neck warm, and make your outfits more put together and chic.
  2. Diamond Studs: Diamond (or faux diamonds) are great for everyday wear. They are super chic, simple, and stylish.
  3. Pearl Studs: Not to get too preppy, but pearl studs are perfect for fancy occasions, to look more put together.
  4. Leather Watch: I would make sure you have a leather watch. They are perfect for casual and dressier occasions, and multi-tasking pieces in your wardrobe is a must!
  5. Simple Necklace: Some shirts and dresses need some piece of jewelry to jazz them up. Try a simple chain necklace with a small round pendant, this will look simple and elegant.
  6. Sunglasses: Sunglasses can be expensive, if you aren't ready to make a commitment, try on different expensive pairs to know what looks good on you, then buy a cheaper version at Target. This way, you spend around $10, have a frame that suits your face, and you are keeping the sun out of your eyes stylishly. After you have several months of the perfect frame, maybe get a more expensive pair; they will last longer and look more chic. 
  7. Black Leather Belt: A medium width belt is great for jeans and trousers, especially when they are falling down. I would opt for a black belt since it will go with both work and everyday attire. 
There you have it! The seven different accessories you need to spice up your wardrobe! What do you like to wear to give your outfit some pop, comment below!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Basic Handbags

Basic Handbags

You definitely need something to carry your chapstick, phone, wallet and other goodies. So stop carrying everything in your pockets, and invest in a couple nicer bags that will last you a lifetime!
  1. Black Handbag: I tend to get a larger handbag, because I like to hold everything; camera, phone, papers, wallet, etc. I would opt for a basic black leather (or faux leather) bag. Make sure the structure is durable, and has some pockets within the inside. 
  2. Neutral Handbag: Like the black handbag, get a neutral color for the spring and summer. 
  3. Black Clutch: A nice black clutch is great for fancy occasions and nighttime. It is a nice size to carry your essentials for a night out. Many come with chains that can be worn over the shoulder, if you don't want to carry it in your hand, or under your arm. 
  4. Cross Body Bag: A cross body bag is perfect for vacations and during the day when all you really need is your phone and wallet. I would get a black one, because I tend to wear more black, but get one that will match your wardrobe.
These are the basic handbags you should have in your wardrobe. Again, having the basics will help you build your wardrobe, instead of going crazy and buying things you don't need. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Tips for Studying Abroad: Part 2

One of the frequently asked questions about study abroad isn't the experience it is going to grant you in your academic career, but what to bring. It is certainly a very stressful experience to pack for a semester into one suitcase and a carry-on. Of course, you can bring another suitcase (or 2), but that is very costly, and you probably won't have that much space to put everything you are bringing. 
For example: I lived for 4 months in a tiny apartment with five other girls. We had three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a kitchen. There was limited storage; no dressers, shelves, or hangers for all of us, or to accommodate everything each of us brought. In total, my room was about 8' x 9' with a 3' x 7' bathroom; the kitchen was about 5' x 9'. So needless to say, our American lifestyle had to be adapted to our living arrangements; especially when 6 people are crammed into an apartment for 4 months.
I hope this doesn't hinder you from studying abroad, but every experience is different; living situations included. 

So, what should you bring and how to decide. Here are some steps on deciding what to bring:

  • Look at what you use daily. Moisturizer, face wash, make-up, medication, etc. Take things that you will need while abroad. If you don't use specific brands, buy them at a super market once you get there; but be sure to bring a toothbrush, you never know when you will get to the store. Also, bring travel sized things for your carry-on to use until you do go to the store; i.e. toothpaste, shampoo, body/face wash, conditioner, lotion. 
  • Take a look at the temperature and climate. Since I knew I wanted to go to Rome, Italy a year before I went, I kept track of the temperature so I would know what to bring. You don't want to assume that the spring semester in another country will be devilishly hot, when in reality you arrive in January when its cold, wet, and rainy. The best way to deal with climate changes is layering. That way you won't bring excess clothing. 
  • Be respectful of local culture. In other countries, wearing certain types of clothing, i.e. too short shorts; is seen as disrespectful. Make sure you understand and know what type of clothing you should be wearing in the country you plan to live in. 
  • Think outside the box. You might forget the little things, like cell phone chargers, headphones, laptop chargers, female products, etc. You will be studying abroad, therefore taking classes, so make sure you have things like pens, paper, notebooks, etc. Also, I brought plastic shopping bags for garbage, ziplocks & plastic food containers for food, reusable grocery bags (you get charged 10 euro in Rome per bag), Advil and nail clippers. Ask people who have been to these countries to see if they have anymore tips about what you will need.
Now what should you bring? Depending on the length of your trip, the country you are staying in, and where you are going; along with your personal style and tastes; what you will bring depends on what you use and need. 

Accessories & Necessities:
  • Cash, credit cards, ATM card, passport, visa-- have copies of all these, one to carry with you, the other hidden in your place where you live-- in case of loss; as for cash, have some American cash with you for when you go home, in case you need to buy some food during a layover
  • Papers school gave you-- where you will be studying and living, flight information
  • Travel sized: toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, face wash-- put these in your carry-on
  • Toothbrush, deodorant, sunscreen, floss, chapstick
  • Advil, and any other medication you need; Rx, allergy meds, etc.
  • Band-aids, q-tips, feminine products, cotton balls, travel size tissues-- bring a small amount of these things, you may need them. 
  • Ziplocks, food containers (2-3), plastic bags, reusable grocery bag
  • Make-up, nail polish and any brand specific products; you may not be able to find your certain shampoo or mascara, its better to be safe and bring it along; or look for a Sephora in the city you are staying in (Rome had a couple Sephora's)
  • Laptop, camera, cell phone, iPod & their chargers
  • Adapters & converters-- if you leave the U.S., the outlets will NOT fit, you will need to buy an adapter and converter in order to charge your devices; make sure to get the right ones for the right country you will be in
  • Power Strip-- it would be great to have a power strip so you can use multiple outlets at once, without buying multiple adapters and converters; plus, in my apartment, each one of use only had about one outlet per person.
  • Umbrella- an umbrella is a great thing to have, unless you are going some place where it never rains, let's stick to what mom says, "It's better to be safe than sorry."
  • School supplies- books, notebooks, pens, pencils, paper; whatever you use for taking notes and doing homework. 
  • Tweezers, nail clippers, razor, hair brush, hair ties, headbands
  • Water bottle-- if the water is drinkable, bring one, then you don't have to waste money buying water
  • Sunglasses, glasses or contacts (if needed)
  • Towels (2)-- you may not have towels provided for you!
  • Hairdryer, hair curler, hair straightener 
  • Batteries (for camera, or anything else you bring that needs it)
  • Rick Steve's Book (or any travel book) & a map
  • Underwear, Bras & Socks: I would bring enough for 2-3 weeks; you don't know how often you can do laundry, plus in Europe everything is air dried
  • Tops: 3-5 camis in white & black; 5-7 blouses; 3-5 tees; 3-5 sweaters; 2-3 cardigans-- again layering is key, make sure that you have warm cardigans & light ones, as well as warm sweaters
  • Jackets: winter coat, rain coat (or just an umbrella- personal preference), medium weight jacket, blazer (for dressy occasions), light weight jacket (can be a cardigan)
  • Bottoms: 3-5 long pants- jeans (can be rolled as capris); dress pants; Personally, I didn't bring shorts- but if you do, bring 2-3
  • Shoes: dress shoes (non-heels- especially in Italy- cobblestone roads); sneakers, comfortable everyday walking shoes
  • Pajamas: 3-5 tee shirts, 2-3 pants/yoga pants
  • Dress- fancy one (if you want)
Hopefully this long list helps a little. Be sure you pay attention to things you normally use and wear, you will want to pack these. Be smart with your packing, only bring enough clothes for two weeks- and remember you can wear pants 3-4 times, and shirts 2-3 times (unless you sweat a lot). The next part will be about culture shock & what to expect, stay tuned!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Tips for Studying Abroad: Part 1

You have been accepted to study abroad, now what? For my college at least, tons of forms and paperwork had to be filled out; i.e. visas, passport info, medical insurance, etc. etc. I would talk to whoever is in charge and figure out what you need to do IMMEDIATELY! The longer you wait, the harder it can be to get a visa or passport in time; therefore delaying or stopping your study abroad experience. So the first step; 

  1. Find out what paperwork needs to be done
  2. DO IT!- procrastinating this crucial step will make this experience more stressful.
If this step is done, congratulations, it is the most stressful step. Next start researching and gathering information about where you are staying (apartment, college dorms, home stay ; as well as the country or city you will be staying in. Ask friends, family, professors, and students who have studied abroad, about what they did there and what you should do/see.

I would suggest taking a look at Rick Steve's website and even buying his book on your specific country or city. I had the Rick Steve's Rome book, and it was like my personal bible. I took it everywhere and read through it.

Another thing to think about; get a camera. I got a Nikon d3100 for Christmas just for my trip to Rome. You can get something simple, and much cheaper, but a camera will be great to capture memories, and share them later. We were also advised to keep a journal during this time, to write down our daily experiences. 

My tips:
  1. Research your country & city you will be studying in
  2. Talk to friends, family, professors and recent study abroad students about the area you will be living in
  3. Read a book; Rick Steve's books are the best-- walking tours, historical information, it is great for a budding traveler.
  4. Get a camera- use your phones camera, or get a digital one!
  5. Keep a journal; it is a good habit to write down what you are thinking and experiencing, being abroad is a great time to start
  6. Get excited! You are going to experience so much and see amazing sites; research these things ahead of time so you will be more excited!
I hope this helps you out! As always, leave a comment below if you have any more tips or questions about studying abroad; I am happy to help!

See Part Two here!

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Study Abroad: Intro

You have been selected to study abroad, now what? That is the million dollar (or your equivalent tuition total) question. You may be extremely happy to study in a new city, or country, and you probably are scared too. Don't worry, I will be writing about my experience last semester, from acceptance, to departure, and how you can make the most out of your study abroad experience! So stick around for the next few weeks as I help you become less stressed and more prepared to study abroad! 

Congratulations and I will be writing to you soon!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Blazer & Curls

The past couple of weeks being back in the states has been crazy. I've been working on my blog, on work, on everything! I have successfully cleaned out my room, though it still looks like a tornado tore through it, even with less stuff lying around. Well I got a new straightener, which I will write about soon (I promise!), and decided to do curls; honestly I bought a straightener for this sole purpose. As you can see above, that is my first time attempt. The curls lasted all day without any product! With a normal curling iron, my hair would be flat in twenty minutes, even after some hairspray! So I am a huge fan of using a straightener now! More changes to my blog are soon to come, if you haven't noticed the slight layout changes. Have a great rest of your day!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Basic Jackets

Basic Jackets

When it gets cold, or brisk, you need something to cover up. So don't go rumbling through your closet looking for more sweatshirts, but start with some of these basic jackets.

  1. Wool Jacket: Instead of your ski jacket that isn't too flattering, or even fancy, try a nice wool jacket instead. Make sure to get one that is lined, it will be warmer. I like to get one that is longer, covering my butt, so that stays nice and toasty too. Try to get a pretty neutral, that bright color may not be in style next winter.
  2. Trench Coat: Instead of your zip up fleece, get a trench coat; long or short. It is so beautiful in the spring and fall seasons when the weather starts to change. It is also very Parisian chic. Get the classic tan, or even get a darker grey. 
  3. Blazer: A nice blazer can be worn in the office, but as a jacket over nice blouses during the spring and fall seasons. It is a simple way to make a tank become more classy. 
  4. Leather (or Edgy) Jacket: I love the look of an edgy jacket, it makes me feel like a rocker and definitely brings some edge to my style. These type of jackets can be worn during the day, but look super awesome for the night time. Its a great jacket to have in your arsenal to have an "edge" up on a rather plain collection of jackets.
There you have it, the basic jackets you will need to keep your warm and stylish. Of course you can buy multiple other jackets; i.e. rain coats, etc.; but these are a few that will help your build your wardrobe. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Basic Shoes

Basic Shoes

Shoes, you can never get enough of them. They complete your outfit and help you get around, so choose wisely and make sure you have these six basic shoes to help maximize your wardrobe.

  1. Black Ballet Flat: Ballet flats are perfect shoes for summer, spring and fall. Having a nice black pair is perfect for casual and dressy occasions, and they go with everything and look super cute.
  2. Fun Ballet Flats: Have a nice pair of ballet flats in a fun color that matches your wardrobe, or even a cute pattern. 
  3. Pumps: I would get two pumps to start off with; a black pair for work and to go with your LBD, and a nude pair for your wrap dress and lace pencil skirt. Obviously you can wear these pumps whenever and with anything you want; jeans, skirts, dresses, etc., but start with these two neutral pairs and then go crazy with all the pretty pumps you can find.
  4. Sandals: I love wearing sandals and flip flops and ones that are comfortable and have support are your best option. 
  5. Sneakers: Keds are my favorite shoe to wear. Other than keds, you will need some type of athletic sneaker for working out, walking, yard work, etc. 
Shoes complete any and every outfit, make sure you have shoes that you feel comfortable walking miles in, and that fit your style; they will be with you for the long haul!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Basic Dresses and Skirts

Basic Dresses and Skirts

I am always trying on dresses, though I barely wear them. When I do wear them, its for more dressy occasions, not everyday wear. So if you are like me, the basics I posted are great for you; if not I would look into flowy a-line dresses and skirts with nice patterns for everyday wear. 

  1. Little Black Dress: (LBD). Every woman needs a LBD, they are the perfect for every occasion, as long as you have the right accessories. Try different silhouettes to find the perfect LBD for you!
  2. Wrap Dress: I love wrap dresses, or faux wrap dresses. They really emphasize your waist and gives you a great hourglass figure. Try getting a solid color that looks great with your skin tone, instead of a crazy pattern that will be out of trend in a couple of months.
  3. Pencil Skirt: Pencil skirts are super flattering, if they fit correctly. Opt for a black pencil skirt for office wear. 
  4. Lace Pencil Skirt: I adore lace, it is so pretty and feminine. Though I don't wear skirts and dresses everyday, I like to be able to dress up in something totally feminine that makes me feel really pretty. Like your black pencil skirt, make sure the length is appropriate and it hugs your body correctly. 
I hope that this helps! I am not a huge dress and skirt person, unless it is for a fancy occasion. But again, having a few basics will really help maximize your wardrobe's potential, a great LBD can take you from the office to a night on the town with the changing of shoes and accessories. 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Basic Bottoms

Basic Bottoms
Having the basics in your closet is key, especially when it comes to bottoms. I have the hardest time picking out bottoms because of the many different washes, lengths, fits and styles. Here are some of the basics you will need to build your wardrobe:

  1. Medium/Dark Wash Skinny Jeans: My go to choice, skinny jeans. I always opt for a medium or dark wash jean whenever I create an outfit because they are the most versatile tint that goes with everything and anything. For a more dressed up look, wear a darker wash; while the medium wash is more casual looking. If you don't like skinny jeans, get a pair of medium and/or dark wash straight or boot cut jeans. 
  2. Black Jeans: Black (skinny) jeans, are also a must have. They are perfect for a dressed up occasion, and with your chambray! 
  3. White Jeans: White (skinny) jeans are perfect for spring and summer. Roll up the bottoms and make them capris and wear your summer tanks with them. Like black jeans and blue jeans, these will go with everything. 
  4. Black Dress Pants: Of course you will need some nice dress slacks for fancy places, or office spaces (one rhyme at a time people). Get a nice fitted and straight pair of black trousers, make sure they fit especially if you are wearing these in the office.
  5. Jeans Shorts: Also known as "jorts," jean shorts are perfect for the hot weather. They will go with anything you own and are cute when rolled, if they are still long enough to cover your butt. I wouldn't get a dark wash however, its just not as fun and summer-y.
  6. Khaki Shorts: I also love tan shorts during the summer, though they usually make me look very pale, they are still a nice and neutral option for wild colored summer shirts.
Now that you have the basics, start building your wardrobe, maybe try a colored jean or shorts. Remember pants are not a nightmare to find, they are just a long process. It took me 16 pairs of pants to find some that truly fit me like a glove. Be patient and once you find your favorite pair, write down the size and use that as a reference when you go shopping for some more awesome pants. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Book Review: All the Sad Young Men

"All the Sad Young Men" by F.Scott Fitzgerald is a great, quick read. If you liked "The Great Gatsby", or plan to see the movie soon, keep the Roaring Twenties spirit alive with this set of short stories by the same author. Some of these stories can be seen as alternative Gatsby endings, but without any knowledge of Gatsby, these stories are good enough on their own. My favorite story would have to be "The Baby Party" which tells about the love between a father and a daughter. To keep things short, all the stories are similar to Gatsby, most with tragic endings about how women let down the men they "love." It seems Fitzgerald's endings always turn out this way, but it is still a great read.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Basic Tops

Basic Tops

If you are like me and love clothing, and to buy clothing, then end up feeling like you don't have the right things to wear, or find out you hate that peplum shirt you bought three months ago, then  this list is made for you. For me, I love simple and put together fashion, but feel that my closet really lacks the fundamental basics to help build my wardrobe. So after looking around on pinterest, I came up with a list of basics that you need to help build your wardrobe, regardless of your style.

  1. White V-Neck: A simple white v-neck can be easy to wear on its own during hot days, and under a pretty colored cardigan for the spring and fall. Layer up necklaces, or bracelets, to help add your own personal touch. I love wearing my white v-necks with some dark skinny jeans in the summer.
  2. Black V-Neck: I also like to have a black v-neck in my closet. I like to throw it on for casual things; going to the grocery store, hanging with friends, or just around the house. You can easily dress it up and tuck it into cute and colorful a-line or even pencil skirts with a nice chunky necklace. 
  3. Cardigans: I am putting both the opened and buttoned up cardigan in one category. I love cardigans, hands down. They are perfect with any tee shirt, blouse, or tank top. I love to wear them for every season, and in casual and dressed up conditions. Open cardigans in light fabrics are great for spring and summer time, while buttoned up cardigans are great to wear with dressy tops and they are good to even wear as a top.
  4. Striped Top: Its the most classic Parisian chic item. Striped tops can vary in width of stripes, color, and sleeve length. If you are afraid about looking too big in horizontal stripes, try smaller stripes that are closer together. I opt for a black and white striped long sleeve, I love to wear it when I am in a hurry and want to look instantly chic. 
  5. Chambray Button-Up: Chambray is simply the hottest thing in fashion, well at least on pinterest, and it should be in your closet. I love to wear mine with black jeans and white jeans, but it is great with tons of other things, just check out pinterest and you will soon find out the possibilities for this new classic.
  6. Patterned Blouse: A nice and dressy patterned blouse is great for work, as well as for the weekends. A lightweight and satiny blouse is great for hot weather and also for the office under a blazer or (buttoned-up) cardigan. 
  7. Racerback Tank: I love racerback tops, they really accentuate your shoulders and back. I would definitely get several tanks for summer time, but you can also layer them and wear them with cardigans and under your chambray during any season. 
Hopefully this was a good guide for those who feel hopeless when opening up your closet doors. Having the basics really makes a difference in your wardrobe and makes your mornings a lot easier when searching for something to wear. I will be doing more basic posts soon, so stay tuned!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Summer Plans

Pictures are from my trip to Hadrian's Villa in Tivoli, Italy 

After having an amazing four months in Rome, it is back to reality. My summer plans are looking pretty relaxing, as well as frustrating. First, I am look for an internship within the architecture or history fields, and second, looking for a summer job on top of that. So wish me good luck, my portfolio and resume are being polished and off to search we go. Other than this, I am going to be working on tons of crafts for friends and family, organizing my room/life, and just updating this blog. I have a big list of crafts to do on my pinterest, and hopefully they will all go well. I will show you guys what I make as well.  So I hope you all have a great and relaxing summer, and keep checking up on my blog to see some tutorials, clothing posts, and even food recipes and book reviews!