Monday, July 31, 2017

Book Club {GoodReads}

Hello My Fellow Clubbies!

I finally broke down and did it! I got myself a GoodReads account. I've been thinking about doing this for a while. I'm happy to have a place where I can keep track of my books, and add to my ever growing list of books. As y'all know, I have a VERY long list of books, plus I am trying to read the Rory Gilmore challenge for my 101 in 1001 challenge.

Anyway, I have a school "assigned" reading. Really I thought this was over with high school, but here I am again going into school with a summer reading book! I am determined to make the best of it. Everyone in our FaceBook group seems to enjoy it, so I'll give it the old college try. (Mind you I have not finished reading this book so I'm not recommending or not recommending the book).

All Souls: A Family Story from Southie: Michael Patrick MacDonald
I am really hoping this is a good book. I will probably update it on my GoodReads. We will see what happens!

What should I read next?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Summer Nail Colors

Hello Friends!!

I love doing my nails. I'm pretty sure this is something I talk about often on here, yet I feel like its been a while since sharing my favorite colors in the season. I love the bright nail polishes that pop up during the summertime. I've never been a red nail kind of girl, but slightly orangey or purple is right up my alley. 

This summer I've been alternating between a soft pink, a light purple, or a brighter orange based hue! I like to do my own nails, so I've picked up a few new colors. One of the most important things about doing your own nails is having the right utensils, like a good top coat. I'm usually going for the Essie Gel Couture or Sally Hansen Top Coat. Its also important to have the right tools for the job.

For the summer Essie launched their new Gala Collection. They have some really fun colors like V.I. Please and Living Legend. They're also perfect for your toes!

I also looked at their new TLC line that they relaunched with more color impact. I wasn't a fan of the sheerness previously. I like having some vibrancy and opaqueness in my colors even the lighter shades. The TLC in Treat Me Bright. Its nicer because you can get a few extra days of wear out of it. 

I also love light purples. I've been wearing Do you Lilac It? so much over the summer and spring. I really like the way light purples look on my fingers. My sister has been experimenting with white nail polish instead of a toned down color, but I can't decide if its a trend I want to attempt quite yet. 

What are your favorites now?

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Why You Need To Complete a No Spend Month

Hello Friends!

As you all know in about a month I am officially moving. Now along with a move comes packing up everything you own.... EVER! It is the worst! I never realized how much stuff I have. All the clothes, writing products, and random knick-knacks I've accumulated throughout the years is ridiculous. Luckily, I noticed this a while back and I was able to 1. start packing early 2. spend less month on products that I did not really need.

By being able to recognize my spending problem I was able to curb it and save enough money to make the most out of my summer! I was able to go skiing, travel to Maine, visit North Carolina, Boston, and Chicago. I was extremely excited to plan all of these trips, but like everything else, it all costs money.

If I had continued to spend money at the same rate I had been, I would not have had enough money to spend on the trips I had coming up. I knew that If I wanted to travel, I needed to stop spending excess money on things that I did not actually need. Lucky, I stumbled upon this blog post and I was able to get some ideas on what to do.

Why you should complete a no spend month:

  • Save for traveling
  • to make a big purchase
  • make use of the items you already own
  • save up to purchase the latest technology (which I had to do recently)

How to Successfully Finish a No Spend Month

one// Have an end goal in mind

Everything is easier when you have a goal to accomplish. It is much easier to avoid buying something on shopping sprees when tou know that money is going to something else. I know that the less money I spend, the more money I will have for travelling or for a fancy new laptop. Having goals and steps written down is incredibly important! Also look into apps that can help you save money like Digit or Mint.

two// Avoid shopping when you get bored

Now this is something I am REALLY good at! I don't really like being around people, but the problem is when I have to go out and buy one thing then I get caught up, bored, and end up shopping. I usually just go out for ONE thing and come back with three bags full of stuff. If you have to go shopping go with a list and only buy things on it. If you are bored try to stay away from shopping, go on family outtings or hang out with friends, try to come up with no-money outtings.

three// Avoid shopping online

This is incredibly difficult! Have you been on Amazon?? It is my weakness. I can get everything I ever need without ever having to leave my house. The worst part is that all I have to do is click "buy" and it automatically completes the transaction! Giving yourself a couple of days to think over the purchase before actually deciding to buy something. If you still want it after a couple of days then you are set to buy.

four// Make a list of exceptions

Like I said previously, making a list of what you can buy is incredibly helpful. If you plan on trying a no spend month (or longer), I would suggest allowing for a couple of exceptions. I woul consider a couple of items like groceries (not restaurants or snacks), hygenic necessities, and anything imparitive for work or school. My no spend month actually lasted longer than a month because I found it to be extremely beneficial for me. It helped me save money for moving, new laptop, and a couple of trips.

Have you ever completed a no spend month?
Are you going to attempt this too?

Monday, July 24, 2017

Motivational Monday

Hello All!!

As I am sitting here thinking about my upcoming week, I am definitely in some need of motivation. I can't believe July is coming to an end! I'm sitting here with a to-do list a mile long (who knew moving was so hard!) and not nearly enough time. I'm also feeling extra lazy. Plus my sleep schedule is all sorts of messed up. Clearly things are not going well for me. I 1,000% need some extra motivation today, so I'm bringing you a couple of motivational sayings/quotes. I do have some other tips and tricks to feel more motivated and I'll share those soon (maybe after I move?).

How are you motivating this Monday?

Friday, July 21, 2017

The Quintessential European Bucket List

Hello Friends!

I don't know about you all, but lately I have been having some serious wanderlust. I've been looking (read stalking) some different instas for travel. I'm dying to go back to Europe. I actually found this really cool website that you can set a budget, travel date, and "home base" and it gives you all sorts of options for places to visit. I'm looking at seeing if there's somewhere cool to go over my spring break. I've also been using Hopper to check out flights.

I love a cliche. Especially while traveling. When I think of Europe I think about sipping an aperol spritz in the summer sunshine, riding a donkey through the Grecian hills, or eating warm, flaky croissants. Europe is full of cliches and I am so ready for it. I want to be a part of all the wonderful times that there are to be had.

Ride on a gondola in Venice

Venice is known for its beautiful canals, water, and singing gondoliers. Of course, there are many different things to do in Venice, but this is a must do. I know as a first time visitor myself, this is the primary goal I have. For a quintessential Venetian experience, we must hit up the gondolas, later we will switch over to the water taxis or the local ferry network. 

Try Waffles & Frites in Belgium

There are many reasons to visit Belgium, but the Belgian Waffles are top 10. Along with the beer, Belgium has a few claims to fame worth taste testing. There is no better way to start your morning than with waffles and to spend you day with some frites.

Ride a bike through Amsterdam

This city is known for biking. I believe there are more bikes than people in Amsterdam. Definitely need to hop on a bike and see the city from the streets, meandering through small alleyways and through neighborhoods.

Eat Churros in Spain

There is nothing more amazing than hot chocolate and churros in Spain? These are amazing deep fried goodies. You must try the dulce de leche. Truly you cannot stay away from these. 

Visit a castle or twenty

Castles on castles on castles on castles. Taking tours, or just exploring on your own there is a magicalness of castles that will never wear off. All the stories and myths of the people that lived there are fascinating. Europe is the mecca for all the amazing castles (you can also explore churches). 

A Walking Guide to Prague | World of Wanderlust

Explore Prague

Prague is one of the hidden gems of Europe. The Czech capital brings together many eras, ideas, and architecture. There's gothic influence, medieval marvels, and the Old Town.

Eat Gelato in Italy

This is a MUST DO!!!! There is no gelato flavor that must go untasted. Between the pasta and the street side pizza, gelato is a must eat. No matter where you find yourself in the country, it is a time honored tradition. Some gelato and a nice espresso. 

Get Artsy in Vienna

I have never been to Vienna. It is one of the prettiest cities in the world. One of the major highlights of this city is the expansive art collections. You can't miss the Belvedere or Hundertwasserhaus.


Realise how cool Budapest is

Europe is super cool! But Budapest is a whole new kind of cool. There is a lot of "under the radar" appeal to this capital city. Definitely have to try the thermal waters and eat some goulash. There's a lot of fun outdoor activities to try out. 

Go to Poland

Poland is definitely an underrated location. It is a must visit Eastern European destination. It has an impeccable ability to capture, freeze, and honor its history. There is so much rich history, especially some of the larger concentration camps from WWII. Warsaw provides a realistic glimpse into communism in Eastern Europe. 

Complain about the price of Copenhagen

Copenhagen is a fun place to visit, but it is also ranked among the most expensive cities to visit in Europe. You'll just have to live by the "less is more" mantra. Bike around the city, and make sure to visit the Tivoli gardens. 

Go yachting in Croatia

Yachting throughout the summer time is almost like a right of passage. The "yacht week" and seasonal yacht trips throughout the season are combined with the beauty of Croatia. It is affordable and luxe! One of the many things to do in Croatia.

Attend Oktoberfest

This has been on my bucket list for ages! Beginning in mid-September, Munich is the place to be. I definitely want to dress in lederhosen and dive into the experience.

Stand in the Red Square

St. Basil's Cathedral in the Red Square, Moscow is iconic. It is symbolic of the Russian capital and cannot be missed. Another big one for my bucket list. 

Row a boat on a lake

This is another quintessential experience in Europe. It can be done anywhere, but why not try it in a more unknown local. Slovenia has some beautiful lakes. Make a lunch trip out of it. Hallstatt in Austria is also a must try.

Rent a vespa in Italy

Absolute must do. This is pretty much the most Italian thing you will ever do. Stop along the coast, grab a pizza, gelato, or espresso and head for the open road!

Bike ride from Vineyard to Vineyard in France

The countryside of France has wonderful things to offer. Wine country. This is a great way to spend a cool summer day.

Take photos of someone's laundry (at least once)

This is definitely a cool European novelty! 

Stay in a French Chateau

This is something we did as a family. It is so perfectly French. Hanging out on the countryside with a bottle of wine, some food, and let the sunsets turn to sunrises. There is so much relaxing to be had. 

Feel Lucky in Ireland

Kissing the Blarney Stone, finding a 4-leaf clover, etc. there are many things the Irish Countryside can offer. There are many castles peppered along the way. 

Catch the Hogwarts Express

THIS IS REAL!!!! I NEED IT in my life. You can actually ride the Hogwarts Express. Jump on board in the Scottish Highlands. 

Visit the real Hogwarts Great Hall

Within the UK (but unfortunately not at the other end of your train journey) is Hogwarts itself. There are many Harry Potter filming locations in the UK. This is the most realistic, locate in Christ College, Oxford. 

Eat nutella on everything!!

Crepes, crepes, crepes, crepes. 

Play with Reindeer in Lapland

Finland isn't usually on people's Eurotrip plans, but there's no reason it shouldn't be. It can be like a real life Chronicles of Narnia with reindeer or truding through the snow. 

Ski in Switzerland

Hands down some of the best skiing in the world. If the price puts you off, consider cheaper alternatives like Austria or Poland. Between the hot chocolate and the ski conditions you really can't find a better place. 

Paris in Spring

Visit Paris in the Spring

My sister went to Paris this past spring and it was amazing. It is not too cold, not too hot. Just perfect for exploring or sitting by the Eiffel Tower. Be sure to take 12000 pictures. 

Eat Pizza in Naples

Naples is the birthplace of pizza. You cannot be in Italy and not try the food they're famous for. 

Eat all the French Pastries

From macarons to mille feuille. There's a whole world of pastry to discover. 

Florence | World of Wanderlust

Step back in time in Florence

The cathedrals, art, and architecture will bring you back in time. As if the entire city has frozen in time and allowed you to visit. There are many places to visit in your time in Florence. 

Flam Norway | World of Wanderlust

Burn through your savings in Norway

Norway is one of the most expensive countries in Europe. Norway is gorgeous and wonderful for outdoorsy adventure seekers. From Hiking to Kayaking and everything in between. This is definitely an outdoor paradise. 

Island hop in Greece

I am dying to do this! So many of my friends have done this recently and I'm dying to go. From Mykonos to Santorini there are endless islands to explore. Start talking to the locals and find all the small, cool finds. 

Where would you want to visit?

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Tips for Feeling Fresh While You're Traveling

Hello Friends!!

So lately, I've had some pretty horrible, long days of traveling. There's so much waiting in the airport or sitting around on a place. Its a lot of stress, worry, sweating, waiting, annoyance, etc. and by the end of the day all I want to feel FRESH!! I mean, shower or warm bath and ready for bed. I want some cozy pajamas and a good book. Unfortunately, those things aren't available in the middle of the airport or on a taxi. But there are some things you can do to stay looking and feeling fresh all day long.

one// Layer your scents

 I like to shower the night before traveling. I tend to leave early for my flights (my next one is scheduled for 6am). I like Using the same shower gel (soap) and lotion. This helps keep the scent going for longer. If I don't know I'm in for a long trip, I will always travel with a "perfume stick."

two// Bring deodorant in your purse or travel bag

I always, always, always keep a mini-size stick of deodorant in my purse when I travel! It's always so tough when you're running from one taxi to the airport or between planes, lugging around luggage in and out of cars, etc. and it soooo gross after! Having the deodorant or some dryer sheets was fantastic and a quick way to feel better.

three// Bring mouthwash

This is another quick thing to slip in your purse. A small bottle of mouthwash can totally transform your travel. It will make your mouth and breath feel and smell fresh, which fighting bacteria! It is essential after all the coffee. 

four// Bring travel-sized bottles

I stole this idea from my boyfriend. I bought these bottles from Amazon so that I could easily transport lotion, body wash, perfume, and even make up. I really like these, because they are so versatile and have many different uses. Honestly, there's so many uses for your bottles.

five// Bring hand-sanitizer

This is a pretty important one for me. It's not that I'm a germaphobe or anything, but you just touch. SO. MANY. THINGS!!!! Sometimes some hand-sanitizer can help with the icky feeling. Its also nice to bring a hand lotion so that you can moisturize afterward.

If you have any additional tips for staying fresh on a travel day, I'd love to hear it!! Let me know in the comments. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

My Not So Secret Mug Obsession

Hi Friends!

I am OBSESSED with mugs! I love mugs that have fun sayings on them. I'm such a sucker for mugs. I always want to buy them. I wish I had enough room for ALL the mugs. I don't even drink that much coffee. I've gotten to the point where I'll eat ice cream or rice out of my mugs, because I have far too many. So in order to curb my compulsive need to buy the mugs, I'm sharing some of my favorites with you.

I definitely need this one for my office! 

I thought this one was so cute! It's a perfect wanderlust mug.

ALWAYS hungry! 

I think these are so cute. They make me so excited to be a real adult and have my own house.

Could not be a truer statement

This one is so fun. It's the "Throw Confetti Around Like Happiness" Club

On a more serious note, I really like the large opening of the mugs. Perfect for tea.

Which are your favorite mugs?

Friday, July 14, 2017

Mini Book Gifts {What I Love About You}

Hello Loves,

I wanted to share something a little more personal today. I guess I'm on a roll this week!! Tomorrow is my boyfriend and my anniversary. We are celebrating our first year together. Since we currently find ourselves on opposite sides of the country, we will not be able to celebrate together. We are instead doing a skype date at some point. Naturally the countdown until I do see him again is up and running! I wanted to share a little craft that I ran across and really loved.

So, I am sort of a gift fanatic! I love trying to find something that a person will love and find useful. Some of my favorite gifts are the ones that last or keep going and going:

For instance:

Why give the gift of one date night when you can plan out 12 Months of Dates?
Why give one birthday gifts when you can give 30 Gifts to Celebrate 30 Years?
Why share just one thing you love about someone, when you can share 26 things you love about them?

Since we are celebrating one year together I decided to create that last example into a mini-book gift. We wanted to keep it simple, nothing too fancy. Save the fanciness for when we are together. I'm going to give you a little sneak peak inside my book, but it's awesome because you can really make it your own.

Tips for Making Your Own

one// Print on high quality cardstock paper

Be sure to print in your printer's highest quality setting. I recommend using cardstock so that the mini-book will stand the test  of time. I also used some stickers and washi tape to decorate the pages. Even Sammy helped me craft (read: attacked my crafting supplies).

two// Write a rough draft

Before I filled out my A to Z mini-cared, I actually wrote out the letters A to Z down the side of a piece of paper, and I drafted out what I wanted to say. I took my time with this over a couple of days as new ideas popped into my head. I made edits and changes. This worked out perfectly because when I was finally writing them out, I didn't need to reprint a single page!

three// Be specific and write with a voice

As you write, challenge yourself to be specific in your affirmations; that way, they will hold even more weight. Don't hold back from allowing your natural writer's voice to shine through. This is the perfect opportunity to be personal and lighthearted. 

For example with the letter "T" 

                    "Teacher: Thank you for teaching me new things."

Now with some added detail:

                     "Teacher: For the way you patiently showed me how to fix and set up the internet on my                        laptop"

Using the more conversational tone with the details, not only brings up memories of something specific, but it helps demonstrate your point. It is a lot more personal.

four// How to deal with that pesky letter "X"

Feel free to "bend" the rules a little bit when it comes to tricky letters. You might want to choose a word that almost starts with the letter "X".
  • eXcitable
  • eXcuberant
  • eXpressive
  • eXpert
  • eXtraordinary
  • eXplorer
  • eXpedient
  • fleXible

five// How to deal with that pesky letter "Q"

I wanted to give a couple of ideas for "Q" as well because it can be a tricky one. I actually used "Quiet" for mine. Here are some other "Q" words. Don't hesitate to use a phrase.
  • Quick to _________
  • Quick witted
  • Quirky
  • Quiet
  • Quite ______
  • Questioning
  • Quality
  • eloQuent
  • inQuisitive 
  • uniQue
six// Assembly & Binding

Cut and hole-punch each mini-card, then carefully place them in order with any additional personalization. Then bind the book together using a binder ring (like I did) or you could use twine or ribbon. 

seven// Consider adding divider pages
If you want to fatten up your book a bit you can add an extra page between each letter, you can decorate the letter with scrapbook paper or pictures together. Its also great to add blank pages at the beginning for a "To, From" section and a little personalized note with the year and occasion. 

I LOVED making this mini-book, I'm definitely excited to try out some more.

What did you do for your anniversary?

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Birthday + NEWS!

Hello Friends!

On Monday it was the start of my birthday week! I have to say it was a very low key birthday. I stayed home, hung out with my family, had my favorite dinner and cake, then spent some time skyping my boyfriend. The not so great part about having family and friends that live super far away is that you can't celebrate with them, the nice part is that I spent the majority of my birthday talking on the phone. I spend hours and hours talking to all my family and friends. I must say that's my favorite part. Tuesday was a super busy day at the Red Cross. Today I'm hanging out with a friend, then Thursday is babysitting. Friday night I'm going to dinner then drinks with my friends. I am a very lucky girl.

Since it was my birthday, I wanted to share some news with you all. I will be moving to Boston in the fall (September) to start grad school. I know I alluded to it a bit in some of things I've posted, but I wanted to officially tell you all!!!

I am incredibly excited for this new adventure and chapter in my life, and to be able to share it with you all! If you know Boston well and would like to help a girl out with apartments, places to eat, things to do, etc. please let me know. I would greatly appreciate ALL THE HELP! I have never moved like this before, so we are all in for an adventure.