Paris, France during Fashion Week

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ciao! I just got back from spending a long weekend in Paris. We flew from Florence early Friday morning and we stayed in the Gare du Nord district. This location was good for us because it was cheap and right next to a metro so we could easily explore the city. It was fashion week while we were there, so the city was busy with shows although the locations were very secret. We walked to Paris Fashion Week’s office and stumbled upon a show that was wrapping up and saw some pretty cool street style pouring out.

On Friday, we walked around the 1st arrondissement of Paris and shopped a little bit. We got lunch and I had a croque without ham and dulce de leche crepes. After lunch we walked to the Louvre Pyramid. We went to the Eiffel Tower at night and watched the light show, it was amazing! A local saw us looking a little lost on the metro and recommended that we stop at Trocadero instead of the Tour Eiffel station because it was a better view from a little farther than up close.

The second day we took the metro to the Eiffel Tower in the day and went up close to view it and Trocadero again and got some cool pictures. We walked to Palais Royale from there and spotted some street style because there must have been a show somewhere around there. The hostel we were staying in was very lively so we went down to the bar at night for a late dinner.

On Sunday we headed to Galeries Lafayette for some window shopping and in search of street style. It was raining all day so it was very hard to find people here for fashion week. I got macaroons at Pierre Herme and they were so yummy. I think we got a baguette at the train station every single day because they were so good.

On our last day we stayed in the district of the hostel because our checkout was at 10am and our flight was at 8pm. I got macaroons one last time at Laduree in the airport and we headed home! It was a great weekend trip and definitely something to see once in your life, even better that we were there during fashion week.

Interlaken, Switzerland

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ciao! I just got back to Italy from spending the weekend in Switzerland. I left at 9pm on Thursday and got to Interlaken at 6am. We stayed in a hostel that had an amazing view of the mountains. On the first day I went paragliding! To get there, we drove up a mountain and then walked a little to the edge. From there, we ran off the edge to paraglide. The view was amazing but it was very cold and made me very nauseous. However, I got some cool pictures! After paragliding, we got lunch at an Irish pub across from the hostel. The food in Switzerland was very expensive and not all that great. Each meal is 20 to 30 franks.

The next day we walked around Interlaken. I had some friends that went skiing but I wasn’t feeling great this weekend so I didn’t go but it looked like so much fun. We went to the Funky Chocolate Club which is a must see in Interlaken and I got hot chocolate. I bought some Swiss chocolate bars there to bring home. We walked to Lake Brienz and it was such a pretty view, but freezing temps. Interlaken is a resort town so there was not a whole lot to do other than activities like skiing and sledding that were very expensive. Some of my friends signed up to go kayaking in Lake Brienz but it was cancelled because it was too cold.

Overall, Interlaken was not my favorite but it was a cool experience. I think if I had felt better and went skiing I would have enjoyed it more. Early Friday morning I leave for Paris! Paris is the trip I am most excited about out of all of them because I am going for Fashion Week.

Prague, Czech Republic

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Ciao! This weekend I went on my first weekend trip to Prague. We left Thursday night for the 13 hour bus ride. We arrived in our hostel around 10am. I was kind of nervous about staying in a hostel for the first time, but the one we stayed in was very nice. It was a 4 person hostel and I knew the 3 other people, so it was basically like a hotel. When we got there we ate a quick breakfast and went on a walking tour. Our tour guide told us a lot about the history of Prague and showed us all the historic buildings and castles. Me and my friends went to the Czech Beer Museum after the walking tour. I’m usually not a beer person but they gave us 4 different beers to try and they were all soo good. For dessert, we got trdelniks, which is a Czech dessert that is made from rolled dough and grilled with sugar. I got ice cream in mine with chocolate syrup. That night, we went to a bar called U Sudu that was underground. From there we went to Lucerna, which is a big club in Prague that plays 80s and 90s music with the music videos on big TV screens.

The next day, we woke up early to tour the Charles Bridge and the John Lennon Wall. Me and my friends got lunch at The Sad Man’s Tongue. The food was so good! We took a nap after that to prepare for the Clock Tower Bar Crawl that night. If you’re ever in Prague, I so recommend doing this! It was so much fun. For 24 euros, you get 2 1/2 hours of an open bar and then 2 bars after that where you get welcome shots. The first bar we went to was my favorite because there were tables to play beer pong, flip cup, and card games. The last place we went was a club called Duplex that was really fun. However, it was a late, long night and we had to start driving back to Florence at 8am for a 14 hour bus ride (lots of traffic).

Overall, we had so much fun in Prague! The city is beautiful and it was so much different than the scenery we are used to in Italy. Today, I leave for a weekend in Interlaken, Switzerland. Next weekend I will be flying to Paris for Fashion Week!

Turning 20, Bologna, & February Travel Plans

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Ciao everyone! Officially 3 weeks here in Florence. I have started all of my classes and they are so fun. The classes I’m taking abroad are Mystery of Wine, Yoga & Meditation, Visual Merchandising, Culture to Italy, Retail Management, and working in a boutique as my internship. They meet once a week and last 2 and a half hours. I work in my internship 6.5 hours a week Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. My favorite class so far is my yoga class. For an hour we spend learning the philosophy of yoga and terminology and the last hour and a half is pretty much attending a yoga class. My goal was to stay active while living abroad, but it’s extremely hard with a very small gym that doesn’t have all the equipment I am used to. Me and one of my friends here attend the workout classes offered Monday’s & Tuesday’s and my yoga class has actually been a pretty good workout. I’m always so shocked the next day when I’m sore from just attending class, lol.

On February 1st I turned 20! It was a Thursday, so it was the start of the weekend for most of us. My friends and I went to a club in Florence called Bamboo and it was so much fun. Before coming here I didn’t expect Florence to have as much nightlife as it does but it has been one of the best parts of the experience so far. The day after me and some friends went to Gucci Garden, the new Gucci museum in Florence. Being a fashion merchandising major, I have done so much research on Gucci for school and it is my favorite designer. Gucci started in Florence and the museum was free for students and was so cool inside.

That Sunday, we took a bus to Bologna for the day and explored the city and the World of Eataly. The city was really pretty and similar to Florence. I’ve been to the Eataly in Boston but the Bologna location was 5 times the size and was more like a mall of food. Our tour guide actually described it to us as the “Disney World of food”. While it was semi-overpriced, the food was delicious. That night was the Super Bowl and we went to an Irish pub to watch the game. It started at midnight in Italy but it was really cool to feel like we were back in America for a night, even though there were no Super Bowl commercials in Italy!

Last week, I pretty much just ate a lot of food. Literally, me and my friends taste tested our way around Florence! We found a couple brunch spots, maybe too many gelato stops, heart shaped pizza, frozen margs, and whiskey milkshakes for brunch. On Sunday, we woke up early and took the time to explore Florence. I went to the Salvatore Ferragamo museum which was very important to see as a fashion merchandiser. I bought a Gucci belt (!!!) which I’ve been planning on doing for a while here in Italy. We climbed up to the Pizzale Michelangelo to watch the sunset and the view was amazing. We ended the night at a restaurant that served free, unlimited wine to college students.

Up until now, I have pretty much stayed in Tuscany since living abroad. This weekend I am going on my first weekend trip to Prague, Czech Republic. I leave Thursday night for the 13 hour bus ride and I can’t wait! I am excited to check out the John Lennon Wall and attend a bar crawl on Saturday. Next weekend I am taking a 7 hour bus to Interlaken, Switzerland for a long weekend. I am deciding between kayaking or skiing in the Swiss Alps.

Exploring Flo

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ciao! It’s been a week since I left Boston and I am absolutely loving Florence. Over the last week we spent more time exploring and finding our way around the city. I am still pretty jet lagged so I’ve been going to bed around 2-3am and waking up at 10:30 everyday, but I’m sure that will go away once I start classes tomorrow. Me and my friend have been running the Arno river everyday and it’s so beautiful! It’s about a 45 minute run from our apartments, around the river, and back. The gym at FUA isn’t amazing so we’ve been sticking to running everyday. Since we got here, we have found some wicked fun clubs and bars that a lot of abroad students go to that have great student deals. The first night we went to Space which was my favorite night! The other nights we went to a couple Irish pubs and a karaoke bar that were a lot of fun. We made reservations at The Lion’s Fountain for next Sunday to watch the Super Bowl.

the Arno river we have been running around

the Irish pub we’ve been going to some nights for drinks/food

As for food, everything so far has been amazing. Saturday night we ate at El Gato e la Volpe and they had the best bread and margherita pizza (for 5,50 euros!). My favorite gelato place so far has been Amalo, the biscotto flavor was so good me and my friends got it twice in one day. We’ve been scouting out some quick breakfast places to go before class and some American diners to go when we’re craving some American food for the future.

biscotto gelato at Amalo

my margherita pizza at el Gato e la Volpe

Friday night we walked around all the designer stores and I was in my heaven! I am really hoping to save enough money towards the end of my stay to buy a Gucci belt here. We did a little shopping in Zara (which was the only store we could afford) and I found a pair of jeans that I am very excited about for 10 euros!

the Gucci store in Florence

Today me and my friends have been researching the cheapest way to travel to places outside of Florence on the weekends. My roommate and I have been planning on doing a 10 day Greek island hopping tour for our spring break ever since we made the plan to live abroad and we booked it today! Florence for Fun was the travel agency we used which is great for students living abroad to get deals on day trips, weekend trips, and spring break trips. Food, transportation, and hotel is all included in the price and it is usually cheaper if you have a discount code or book multiple trips at once. We booked our Greek spring break trip and a weekend in the Amalfi coast today.

As for other places I am hoping to visit this semester, I am waiting to book them so I can get the best deals. I didn’t save as much as I had hoped to save, so it will probably depend on how much money I have left at the time. I definitely am planning on taking a bus or train to Milan for Milan Fashion Week the end of February. If everything works out, my other top places to travel that I am deciding between are Prague, London, Paris, Amersterdam, Interlaken, and Croatia.

Ciao for now!

Day 1 in Florence, Italy

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Hi everyone!
I am officially unpacked and settled in my apartment in Florence, where I’ll spend the next 4 months. I left Boston Tuesday night and arrived earlier this afternoon at 3 in Firenze. I spent roughly 12 hours traveling and slept maybe an hour during the flight! I was exhausted, starving, sweating (two 50 pound luggages and two carry ons will do that to you), and excited to see my new home. Luckily, we had FUA staff waiting for us at the airport to bring us to our apartments because I would have never been able to find it on my own. My apartment is less than ten steps away from the Piazza del Duomo (pictured below) and has the most amazing view. The apartment is pretty spacey and two floors to my surprise and I share it with five other girls. Everything about it reminds me of the Strega Nona books  we read in elementary school. We also have courtyards surrounding the apartment and a spa in the building! I think we lucked out with this space. Thankfully, it is a four minute walk from the university I am attending. After half-unpacking me and the roommates that are currently here (some are in Rome taking a class early) went to explore our new home and grab some food. We stood in awe in front of the Duomo for 15 minutes and then found a restaurant in between there and our apartment where I got a margherita pizza and red wine. I’m proud to say that it is now 9pm on Wednesday in Firenze and I’m still awake without real sleep since Monday night!

bos -> flr

the view from my apartment bedroom

outside of our apartment

dinner on the first day

the Duomo

As for the rest of the week, orientation is tomorrow at 8:30 am and classes start Monday! The rest of my roommates will be here this weekend and I am hoping to go to the Gucci museum sometime this weekend! Ciao!

How to Pack for Studying Abroad When You’re a Fashionista

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hi everyone! I’m officially less than a week away from my 4 month adventure to Florence, Italy. It came SO fast. I’m currently preparing to pack my suitcase for studying abroad, something I’ve been dreading ever since I made the decision to go abroad. I’ve read articles on articles and an absurd amount of packing lists since October and there really is no perfect answer on what to specifically bring when studying abroad. And considering I’m a fashion major and don’t even like wearing the same outfit twice, I knew packing would be extra difficult for myself.

Many articles I had read advised how to navigate packing everything you need into one suitcase, but given my obsession for clothes I knew that was not a possibility for me. I am bringing 2 suitcases and paying the extra $$ to bring it because it will be worth it for me because the amount of stuff I want to bring and buy when I’m there. I started the packing process by starting off with the warmer weather clothes that I don’t need at home right now. There was a couple bathing suits and dresses I had purchased recently to wear when I’m abroad (I plan on going to the Greek Islands for my spring break which inspired a lot of resort outfits!) so I started with that. Then I packed the summer staples that I repeat each year: like your favorite go-to pair of jean shorts, the white tank that matches everything, etc.

 Almost every article I had read about studying abroad in Europe wrote that packing heels/wedges would be a complete waste of time due to the amount of walking and cobblestone streets you’ll be walking on. I packed mostly boots, close-toed shoes, and tennis shoes since most of the time I am there will be weather under 60’s and then I packed a few sandals that go with everything. Thank god mules/slides and fashionable sneakers (such as these that I have purchased in the color Light Cyclone for my time abroad!) are in style right now! I packed one pair of wedges that are super comfortable and that I wear all the time for vacations. Shoes was the hardest for me since they are my weakness and I’m attached to each pair, I just wanted to bring them all! Regardless of whatever country you are going to, you will be doing a ton of walking. Think about it, you won’t have your car and your feet are your only way of transportation to class, sightseeing in the city you’re staying in, dinner, etc, unless you plan on renting a bike. I kept this in mind when packing shoes and made sure to only pack the shoes that I know I can last hours in. Thankfully I work retail and know the pain of walking around all day in boots that kill so this was easy to eliminate what to not bring!

When packing, I tried to think of the outfits I would be wearing there. You’ve probably already been told that you will stick out like a sore thumb if you plan on strolling the cobblestone streets of Florence in sweatpants and a sweatshirt. Italians dress presentable, even at the airport. This was not really a problem for myself since I am attending fashion school over there, but it is definitely something to keep in mind for traveling. A lot of the stuff I packed were items I could layer and re-wear making different outfits - a lot of basic cardis and tees with some statement jeans/skirts!

Specific items that I purchased for this next semester of travel were vacuum sealer bags for my suitcase, a laundry bag, toiletry bag, two Europe plug adapters (1 for your phone and 1 for your laptop), a travel wallet, portable iPhone charger, and empty travel size bottles for shampoo and conditioner. I also read that rain boots are a necessity for spring in Europe since it will rain a lot. A tip that I had read previously is to not bring anything that you don’t wear currently, which helped me a lot. There’s a lot of things I have saved thinking “oh this will look great in Italy!”, but realistically I will probably wear it one day, take a picture in it, and never wear it again, therefore leaving this item at home. Bring minimal accessories since they are a hassle and you’re more than likely to be buying some overseas. And of course, my Fitbit was a must since I wear it everyday and will be walking around all day everyday so it will be cool to see how much exercise I’m actually getting! Drinking protein powder is a necessity for me and I did research on supplement stores in Florence and it doesn’t look like a reliable options. I plan on buying individual packets of protein and putting some of the protein I already have in a ziplock for once in a while because I hardly get any protein in food since I am such a picky eater.

If anyone has any tips for myself, please comment below!