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Spring Break Diaries

March 26, 2017

 

Last week, my best friend, Brianne, and I ventured off to the Florida Keys for spring break. Between the sunshine or the frozen cocktails, it really was one of the best weeks I’ve had in a long time. I’ve always believed that surrounding yourself with family and friends can drastically improve your mood, and that couldn’t have rung more true this week. Cheesy, I know. But, I really did need this break and having my best friend by my side really boosted my spirits.

 

Linked similar travel items at the bottom of the page.

Birds-eye view of Boston after take-off. 

Being nearly completely broke after living in Europe made it really hard to even think about planning a trip for spring break this year. But, I’m so blessed to have my awesome grandparents willing to take in Bri and I for the week for free stay. They have a house in Summerland Key, which is only about a 30 minute drive into Key West.

 

My grandparents really know how to spoil me. They greeted Brianne and I with these hand-made, rum-filled, coconut drinks the second we got off the plane.^^ (Making our 3 hour car ride from Fort Lauderdale to the Keys a bit more bearable). But, aside from that, they cooked for us all week, let us borrow the car whenever, and were constantly mixing us up some frozen daiquiris to quench our thirst! 🙂

 

Made by my grandma and SO YUMMY! Salad with fresh tuna, chickpeas, tomatoes, cucumbers, celery, salt & pepper, and olive oil & balsamic right from Florence, all on top of a bed of iceburg lettuce!

These Vineyard Vines suits are my favorite to wear for a decent tan line! I have about 5 pairs in all different colors & prints! I linked similar ones down at the bottom of this post.

Bri and I spent our first day at Fort Zachary Taylor State Park in Key West. Key West isn’t entirely known for it’s beaches but if you were to pick from their select few, I would highly recommend this one. It cost $3 per head upon entry and was well worth it. The beach is beautiful, clean, not very crowded, and everyone is very cordial. You have an option to rent beach chairs and an umbrella on the beach, although it was rather expensive ($35 for two chairs and an umbrella). There’s lots of sun and shade options as well and the water is clean and calm. We were even lucky enough to see a manatee swim up close to shore!

 

I normally never wear one pieces but this one was too cute not to buy! Similar links at the end of this post.

Another day we were there we spent at Bahia Honda State Park in Big Pine Key. This beach was a real treat. The beaches are great for hiking and the water is perfect for snorkeling! One end of the park gives you a gorgeous view of the old Seven-Mile Bridge and a view of the Gulf of Mexico. While the other side is a perfect swimming area in the Atlantic.

 

 

We spent our nights down in Key West. Key West is an entirely different world at times (similar to Provincetown on Cape Cod). You can freely roam the street with a drink in your hand and you may even stumble across a nude bar here and there. Every little corner is filled with a funny sign or an odd piece of art that is nothing short of entertaining.

 

You can’t go to Key West and not stroll Duval Street from one end to another at least once a day. It’s fun and entertaining every time. So many shops, restaurants, and bars. One favorite bar for us was Fat Tuesday’s They had great music and a fun crowd for spring break. You also can’t miss stopping in to Kermit’s Key Lime Shop. They have so many different key lime recipes and treats. Having Celiac Disease, Bri was ecstatic that they even had a huge array of gluten-free options for her, too.

 

 

As well as Duval Street, you can’t miss a sunset and drinks at Sunset PierThe live music and views make the atmosphere amazing. People come all over the world to watch the sunset here. Walk up and down the pier for street entertainment and local artists selling goods as well.

 

By the way, who else is just as obsessed with these sunglasses as I am!? I found them for only $7 as well as the romper at a boutique on Duval Street that very same day. (I may or may not have had the woman ring up my whole outfit with the tags still on my body LOL). My all-time favorite blogger is Amber Fillerup from Barefoot Blonde and these glasses made me feel ALMOST as fabulous as she is. Check out my links below for some more cute rompers and sunglasses.

P.S!!! Bri is a Dietitian major at the University of Connecticut and has a really cool food gram. Go follow it her and hire her as your nutritionist some day @glutenfree.bri !! (welcome 😉 )

TRAVEL: Leggings // Top // Sneakers // Luggage (similar; mine purchased from TJ Maxx) // Passport Cover 

BATHING SUITS:  

ROMPERS & SUNGLASSES: 

Thanks for reading!

Don’t forget to comment & subscribe!

xo,

Style, Travel

Florence Finds

March 10, 2017

I miss just about everything about living in Florence. But, although my wallet may say otherwise, I have been missing the shopping the most lately.

Anyone who knows me is aware that I have a serious shopping problem. Whether it be after a stressful day, or a long workout, I’m constantly making up excuses to “reward myself” by buying that extra pair of shoes that I just NEED.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Most of these pictures were taken in the Boboli Gardens, at Palazzo Pitti in Florence. The back of the 18th Century coffee house in the gardens made the perfect backsplash for the pictures. At the front of the coffee house you can also find some of the best panoramic views of the city. 10/10 would recommend.

This was taken outside of Santa Croce where I lived. 

Florence has a four-story woman’s Zara in Piazza della Repubblica as well as another store right across the street for men, woman, and children! So, does it come as much of a surprise that the majority of this outfit was purchased there?

I had a pair of black over the knee boots at home that I forgot to pack. But, since I had become an expert at braving the walk of high heels on the cobblestone streets, I knew I had to have this skin-tight pair from Zara for only €40. (My mom wasn’t too pleased by that impulse buy).

The floppy hat was a staple I knew I had to have to match the outfit. This one was purchased at a cute little boutique right outside Palazzo Pitti. (I can’t remember the name 🙁 )

I had been wanting a faux-fur coat for a while during my time abroad. There was a black one from Zara that I had been debating to spend €90 on but couldn’t seem to justify that after finding this one. I purchased this one at a boutique called Ginger right next to Shake Cafe on Via del Corso. The whole store has cheap and fashionable finds. This coat was only €50 and it had a hood, which I loved, as well as the contrast of color between the grey and black. But, the one thing I love the most about this coat is how soft and FLUFFY it is! Everyone is always wanting to come up and hug me when I’m wearing it and I can never complain about getting too many hugs. 🙂

 

 

I have been ITCHING to get back to Europe and travel some more. School and life have been taking its toll on me lately which has been making me look forward to summer and starting work again to save for my next adventure. The only question is; where to next?

 

 

Outfit Link:

Gingham Top // Skater Skirt (similar; mine is a knit one from Zara) // Floppy Hat (similar) // Faux-Fur Coat (similar) // Over-the-Knee Boots // Bag (similar; mine was found at the leather market in Florence)

More Style Inspiration:

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xo,

Travel

All About Amalfi

February 19, 2017

Having been to Europe prior to studying abroad, I really knew I wanted to focus mainly on seeing as much as Italy as I possibly could. I compiled a list of the places I wanted to visit and the Amalfi Coast fell at the very top.

Like I said in my previous post, Florence houses many great travel agencies geared towards American students. Two of my roommates and I decided to book our trip to Amalfi for the discounted price of about €200 with the company FlorenceForFun.  I HIGHLY recommend traveling with this company if you’re studying in Florence. Especially if you’re booking a trip to Amalfi. Our guide was born and raised in Amalfi and really hooked us up on all the excursions throughout the weekend (considering he knew absolutely everyone in the area). They also have wonderful customer service and advised us to take our trip one of the first weekends in September so the weather was still great.

Traveling with these companies at such a cheap cost, you need to be able to endure long bus rides and lodging suitable for students. For the weekend, we stayed in the beautiful town of Sorrento. Our hotel was called Hotel CavourIf you’re a student traveling on your own, this place is fine. But, my five-star mom wouldn’t be able to live off the lack of wifi and uncomfortable beds. But, the view and the breakfast every morning made it all worth it.

Day 1: Capri

We left Florence at 6:30pm on Thursday and didn’t arrive in Sorrento until about 2:00am Friday. Exhausted, we left the hotel at about 8:30 Friday morning to catch the hour-long ferry to the island of Capri.

In Capri, we paid €20 to do a “Booze Cruise” around the island and, as you can see, it was a blast.

 

I linked this outfit at the bottom of this post!

Unfortunately, during our boat ride, a storm aroused and we weren’t able to gain entrance into the Blue Grotto since the tide was so high. But, that just meant I saved €13 and got to go swimming instead!

My roommate captured this shot of me on my GoPro. Just look how clear the water is!

By the time we returned from our booze cruise, the weather had cleared just in time for us to go to a limoncello tasting outside of a local restaurant.

If you don’t have time to do a tasting, be sure to order limoncello at the end of every meal to cleanse your pallet!

After our tasting, we walked from the main piazza about 10-15 minutes to the Augustus GardensThe cost was only €1 to get in, which is nothing for the views you get to see!

I’m so mad at myself for wearing my hair elastic around my wrist in this picture! That’s one of my biggest pet peeves!

Day 2: Positano

We started off our day by taking about an hour long bus ride through the hilltops to Positano. Being on a large coach bus and taking tight turns off the sides of cliffs was a slight panic attack for someone who is extremely afraid of heights. But, once we arrived in Positano it was all worth it.

 

Be sure to have comfortable walking shoes in Positano! Whether you’re planning on planting your butt on the beach all day or not- there’s a lot of up/downhill walking. I wore my Jack Rogers all day and unfortunately learned the hard way! 🙁

 

^^ I linked this outfit at the bottom of my post, too!

I’m obsessed with collecting local art from each place I travel. I bought a painting from this man pictured above and he threw in a print of a watercolor he did of his wife and dog- it was so sweet!

(The chick with her arms out was one of my suite-mates, Christina. Follow her life and travels over at SlightlyFunctional 🙂 )

After planting our bums on the beach for a few long hours, we did another “booze cruise” (yet, I actually refrained from the drinking this time around). This time was extra special. Our tour guide hooked us up with a more luxurious boat and brought us to some places to cliff jump!

Cool mosaic outside the Church of Santa Maria Assunta

We saw this couple taking their wedding photos and it brought a tear to my eye- they were so perfect. 

Positano was nothing short of a fairytale. I hope one day I can return back here for my honeymoon. Everything about the hillside town is so romanticized and a thousand times prettier than the camera could capture.

 

Day 3: Pompeii

I was so excited for Pompeii because of my undying love for history. But, nothing prepared me for these ancient ruins. The size of the town is truly mammoth.


 

Unfortunately, there was pouring rain as well as thunder and lightning that day, so our time there was cut short. We weren’t able to get to Mount Vesuvius for that reason, either. But, definitely plan a full day there as well as a guided tour of the ruins if that is on your agenda.

 

The warm(er) weather this weekend is really teasing me. I’ll be in Florida for Spring break in a few short weeks. But, the tiniest bit of sunshine is really making me miss trips like this one.

 

Outfit Links:

CAPRI: Romper (similar, from my favorite Italian boutique) //  Jack Rogers 

POSITANO: Top (similar) // Shorts // Sunglasses (similar)

More Vacation Inspiration:

 

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xo,

Travel

Why Everyone Should Study Abroad in Florence

February 8, 2017

The decision to study abroad may come easy for some, but difficult for others. For me, I knew before going into college that I always wanted to spend a semester in another country. After the Lizzie McGuire movie made its notorious debut, I knew I wanted to go to Italy. However, after going to school and furthering my love for the arts and art history, I knew I had to go to the birthplace of the Renaissance itself: Florence.

Even if you don’t love the arts as much as I do, you can still find yourself easily equipped to calling Florence home for your time abroad. I compiled a list of the top reasons I think all students should study abroad in good old Firenze.

The Food


Gusta Pizza, Via Maggio 46R 50125 Florence, Italy

(Pro Tip: ask for the pizza in the shape of a heart <3)

(And the wine, too!) Of course, being Italy, this one is obviously at the top of the list. However, I travelled all around Italy and simply none of the food compared to the rather large amount of food I had in Florence. Florence has some of the most traditional cuisines in all of Italy that will leave  your mouth watering for days after. I’m planning on creating a list of all of my favorite places in a post at a later date (stay tuned 🙂 ).

Location, Location, Location

View of Palazzo Vecchio

Florence is in the center of Italy, which makes it absolutely perfect for travel. Italy isn’t a very large country to begin with, so, it’s never anything but a quick train ride to any one of the major cities in the country. Florence is also home to many travel agencies geared toward study abroad students that provide weekend and week-long trips at an affordable price. Some of them being: Bus2Alps, FlorenceforFun, SmartTripand EuroAdventures.

Size

View from Piazzale Michelangelo

Florence is the easiest city to navigate. The picture above is a view of nearly the entire city itself. To compare it to Boston, it is about the size of the Back Bay area, if not smaller. You don’t ever have to worry about public transportation. You can walk from one opposite side of the city to the other in no more than 30 minutes. That being said, upon arriving, don’t use your GPS! Go wander and get lost. And, if you really need help, ask one of the many, friendly, English-speaking locals.

Shopping!

Gucci window display

I added the exclamation point to this one considering I have a serious shopping problem. Florence is considered the home of some of the many modern fashion brands of the world such as Guccio Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, and the Fendi sisters. Head over to the Duomo or Piazza della Repubblica area for some high-end shops. (Hint: there’s a FOUR STORY woman’s Zara in Piazza della Repubblica and  also another one RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET) Go to the Ponte Vecchio to window shop for some jewelry or one of the many leather markets to shop for great gifts to bring home.

Art & Architecture

Side View of the Duomo Cathedral

Chalk art in the streets

Wandering around this city is amazing. Every corner you take, every museum or palazzo you visit, you are struck with either a piece of art or architecture that leaves you speechless. To say you leave having a newfound appreciation for the city’s history and infrastructure is an understatement.

Like I said before, Florence is the birthplace of the Renaissance. The Renaissance is still living and breathing in Florence today. The Medici family was the most influential and powerful family throughout the Renaissance and they reigned in Florence. They were major patrons of the arts; discovering and commissioning recognizable artists like Michelangelo and Giorgio Vasari.

I don’t go a day without my heart aching from having to have said goodbye to this gorgeous place. This city will always and forever have a special place in my heart. I couldn’t have been happier to have called it my home for four months.

Are you going abroad soon? Have any questions? Feel free to comment below and don’t forget to subscribe!

Thanks for reading!

XO,