Monday, November 30, 2015

a weekend in bologna.

Tired from a day of travel and ready to dig into some tasty pasta!
Gnocchi with a classic Bolognese ragu sauce.

Dark chocolate filled croissants and cappuccinos for breakfast.

Best burger of my life: fresh meat on a black bun with fried squash blossoms, bacon, and pumpkin hash. Roasted potato on the side with homemade ketchup and mustard. Talk about yummo!

I Due Torri in the distance.

Love the fresh fruit and vegetable markets in Bologna!

These twinkle lights made me so happy!
After a month in Italy under my belt, I figured it was time to venture out a bit and head back to the city that made me fall in love with Italy in the first place. Bologna will always hold a special place in my heart, not only because it was my first home away from home in Italy, but also because it has such a warm atmosphere and amazing food!

I started my culinary journey off with a massive plate of gnocchi al ragu from Mercato dei Mezzi. The sauce is a Bolognese staple, so I knew it would be hard to go wrong. On day two, I began with a chocolate cornetto and a perfectly made cappuccino at ITIT Cafe. Delish! Lunch was undoubtedly the best meal of the trip. The Covo Burger (above) from Jukebox Cafe is hands down the best burger I've ever eaten. Adding pumpkin hash and bacon makes everything taste amazing!

Aside from my food experiences, I spent a lot of time wandering through the city streets. The shops were bustling and the streets were packed with people on their weekends strolls. All in all, I was charmed yet again by the city at the heart of Italy.



PS. Did you read about my night in Milan? How about when I went to Italy the first time?

Monday, November 23, 2015

favorite shoes for fall.

Clockwise from top center: Forever 21 black flats, MixIt leopard flats, Me Too heels, Converse sneakers, So black flats, B.O.C. leather boots, G by Guess biker boots, American Eagle moccasins

Disclaimer: These are all the shoes I packed for my extended stint in Europe (plus my Nike sneakers, flip flops, and slippers). However, they are also all shoes that I love in general and that I chose to bring with me for a good reason. They are the perfect fall to winter transition shoes!

To start, I have two pairs of black flats. Flats are my preferred shoes for everyday, and black ones match with everything. The pointed toe ones from Forever 21 are my absolute favorites and are surprisingly good quality for a fast fashion style.

My other favorites are my pointed toe leopard print flats that I scored for cheap at Kohl's. If my blog title didn't give it away, I'm a bit of a leopard print aficionado. Leopard is a neutral in my wardrobe.

I also think a pair of comfy flats is essential for fall fashion. Moccasins are ideal because they are soft and, hopefully, lined with fur or some warm material. They're basically like walking around in slippers. My other comfy shoe go-to is my pair of Converse. I got these right before I left for Italy, since my beloved black ones were dead. These are silvery-gold leather and I love them so much!

Last but not least we have a pair of heels and two pairs of boots. Black heels are my favorite for fall and winter because they go with everything and look nice with tights. While the ones I brought are a bit shorter than my standard heel, I love the old-fashioned style and the gold band on the heel.

As for boots, I think a pair of biker boots is key during the fall. This is my second pair of this style, since I wore through the first pair on my last trip to Italy (see here!). They are so sturdy and comfortable, and I highly recommend them to everyone. The other boots were a surprise score from TJ Maxx. I love the sturdy leather and the wearable heel.

Overall, I think fall requires comfortable, yet fashionable footwear. Flats are key for everyday looks. Add the requisite pair of sneakers and heels, plus a few good pairs of boots, and you'll be all set for a stylish season!



P.S. I would love it if you follow me on Bloglovin or Twitter!

Monday, November 16, 2015

how I moisturize.

From left to right: Astrida Naturals Orange Mint Lip Balm, Palmer's Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil, Clinique Moisture Surge Lotion, Jules and Esther Vitamin C Facial Serum, Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, Origins GinZing Hydrating Eye Cream, Eco-Beauty Good Night. Night Cream
With all the travel I've been doing recently (read more about that here), taking care of myself is a greater priority than ever. The easiest way for me to do that is to stay on top of my moisturization routine. My skin gets so dry, especially in the winter. That's why I always have a selection of hydrating products on hand at all times. After all, soft and healthy skin is always a good thing!

1. Chapstick - This is probably my #1 moisture essential. My lips are perpetually dry, so I never go anywhere without some sort of chapstick or lip balm. Recently, I've been trying to use more natural versions, because I think simple and natural is always the way to go when it comes to skin care.

2. Face Oil - I know this can be a scary product, especially for people with oily skin, but it really is amazing. The one pictured is just a sample, but I always try to have an oil in my stash. They are perfect in the winter when my skin feels lifeless.

3. Clinique Lotions - These get their own category because they are amazing and will always be a part of my makeup bag. I love the yellow one for daily use. It's perfectly light and still very hydrating. I tend to use the pink one more in the fall and winter months when my skin needs an extra boost. I don't know how it manages to feel light and moisturizing at the same time, but there you go!

4. Face Serum - I've gotten into serums more in the past year in an attempt to keep my skin looking fresh. I love brightening and moisturizing formulations like the Jules and Esther one pictured above. Anything that will keep my face looking glowy is always good!

5. Eye Cream - This is a no-brainer at this point. I've been using eye cream since high school and will continue to use it for the rest of my life. It keeps my eye area moisturized and helps to get rid of dark circles and puffy under-eyes. I think this Origins one does a great job of brightening, but this Clinique one is my favorite when it comes to hydration.

6. Night Cream - While my skin is normal for the most part, it can get really dry during the cooler months. That's when I break out the night cream. I don't use this stuff every night, but I will slather it on every few days to make sure my skin gets a chance to rejuvenate while I sleep.



P.S. Interested in learning more about travel? Read some of my articles for!

Monday, November 9, 2015

three travel abroad fashion tips.

My much-loved Nine West suitcase and a few of the pieces I packed.
Since this is my second go-around with traveling abroad for an extended period of time, I consider myself something of a packing pro. I always refuse to pay for a second suitcase on an international flight, so I have to fit all of my clothing essentials into one suitcase. What's more, my clothes have to work for me on a variety of occasions and throughout multiple seasons.

I'm currently a month into my extended trip to Italy, so I thought I'd share a few packing pointers that have helped me to make the most of a limited wardrobe.

1. Stick to one color palette. 

When you have to operate on a small closet, it's important to consider whether all your pieces go together. Before I threw anything (and by that I mean meticulously rolled everything) into my suitcase, I made sure that all of my tops and bottoms were interchangeable with one another. That way, I can create a ton of outfits without having to worry about repeating the same looks every week.

2. Think about your schedule.

The first time I traveled abroad was for study, so I was able to get away with packing casual clothing. This time, however, I knew I would be in a more professional setting. Although leaving behind my slouchy tees and favorite ripped jeans was hard, I'm happy with the wardrobe I brought. By only bringing nice, classy items with me, I never have to worry about looking less than presentable.

3. Remember the seasons.

This has probably been my biggest packing dilemma. When I was last in Italy, I didn't have to worry about the winter chills because I knew I would be gone before Christmas. Because I'm abroad for a longer amount of time now, I faced quite a challenge when it came to packing. Although it was warm when I arrived, the increasingly cool weather has made me thankful for all the scarves, sweaters, and thick socks I brought. Also, while I don't recommend packing a huge jacket, a light one that can be worn over layers is highly advised. On the other side of the spectrum, don't forget to pack a swimsuit and a skirt or two. You never know where your travels will take you!

What do you think? Have you had to survive on only a suitcase before? I'd love to hear your tips!



P.S. I'd love it if you follow me on Bloglovin!

Monday, November 2, 2015

a night in milan.

First trip to the Duomo! Wearing a Forever 21 dress, Aeropostale jacket, H&M scarf.
Who doesn't love a good crepe?
If you haven't tried a panzerotti yet, you need to now.
Spinning around the bull three times for luck!
The Duomo at night is unbelievable.
Can you tell I'm excited?
 I did it! I'm back in Italia! The last time I was here for an extended trip was two years ago (and you can check out some my adventures back then here or here).

It feels great to be back. I love the country, the culture, and the food. While I probably won't be traveling around as much as I did last time, because work and all that, I will definitely be sharing some of my day trips with you!

Trip #1 was my first visit to Milano! The city is gorgeous, and the Duomo is a hundred times more beautiful than it appears in pictures. My grainy photos certainly don't do it justice. They don't do the food justice either. I ate some of the most delicious things in just one evening, from traditional Sicilian cannoli (not pictured) and a Nutella and banana crepe to fresh roasted chestnuts and two mozzarella and tomato panzerotti. If you don't know, a panzerotti is basically a cross between pizza and fried dough. I'm not exaggerating when I say it's basically the most scrumptious thing in the world.

All in all, the evening was a success!



P.S. Have you ever been to Milan? Where should I go next? Sound off in the comments!
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