Staying in Shape Abroad

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Ciao everyone! Before leaving for living abroad, I was terrified about gaining weight while living in Italy and heard all about the abroad 15. At home, I am very active and make it a priority to get to the gym everyday 5-7 days a week. It is definitely a lot easier at home! The gym at FUA is very small and crowded. There’s 4 treadmills and 6 dumbbells, making it very hard to get a full workout in. Not to mention the amazing food you’re surrounded by in Florence, it’s nearly impossible to stay in the same shape I was at home. After spending a month here I’ve learned a little along the way on how to avoid putting on the abroad 15.

First of all, you are walking soo much. I have not taken a taxi or bus anywhere around Florence and rely on my feet and the Google Maps app. Walking to class can take up to 40 minutes depending where you live in Florence and I’ve been averaging anywhere from 17,000 to 30,000 steps a day. This pretty much takes care of cardio for you considering I got 20,000 at the most steps at home. Bringing my Fitbit has been such a great idea because I love seeing how many minutes I’ve been active on a busy day. Me and my friend have also enjoyed going on scenic runs on the days the gym is closed (FUA’s gym is closed all weekend). Some routes that I love are running around the Arno river or up the steps of Pizzale Michelangelo (a rewarding view!).

I didn’t want to buy a gym membership abroad because it is kind of expensive and wanted to put my money towards more trips, but I’m very glad I did. I got a membership at Swan Gym which is a 2 minute walk from my apartment and offers deals for international student. The gym is fully equipped and if fitness is an everyday part of your routine at home and the school gym isn’t doing it for you then it’s perfect!

Taking advantage of the free workout classes offered is also a good way to keep yourself accountable. At the FUA gym, I usually get overwhelmed with how crowded it is and end up leaving after a short time. Attending a class eliminates the ability to go home and having an instructor is a good way to push yourself. On Monday's and Tuesday’s I’ve been attending a typical full-body workout class that incorporates cardio and weights that are an hour long.

There are a lot of unique classes offered when you study abroad no matter what university or country you go to. For example, I take a wine class and a yoga and meditation class. At FUA, they have a lot of health/fitness related educational classes for college credits that are worth looking into if you have some Gen-Eds you need to take abroad. In my yoga class, we spend a good hour actually doing yoga and getting a workout in. In the beginning I would be so sore the days following class because I don’t ever do yoga at home!

Buying groceries during the week and not drinking on weekdays are other ways to cut back. This was what I struggle with the most, lol. The days I have class I am so busy running from one class to the next to my internship and it’s so easy to grab a margerita pizza and gelato on the way. However, if you get this down it’ll end up benefitting your financial situation as well. Packing some snacks in your backpack to keep you occupied has also helped me because my teachers usually give us a break in the middle of class to get food.

Spring Fashion Inspiration

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Ciao everyone! I haven’t posted a fashion blogpost in a while and I thought it was time for one. I haven’t been able to do much shopping in Italy because I am broke, very broke. I have been looking on Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration to make the most of what I got, and what I look forward to buying once I’m home and working!

First of all, two blogs I discovered in the last month are We Wore What and How do you Wear That. I think these blogs have been around for a while so I’m late and you may have already heard of them, but I’m so obsessed with their style. I follow a ton of fashion blogs but I think these two really reflect my style, or what I would like my style to be, lol. I started listening to We Wore What’s podcast and it’s so interesting to learn how she started, because I find her starting point to be similar to where I am now in life. It sounds so weird, but I’m also really excited to go home to work. I work at Anthropologie and love my job there, but also love the clothes there! I keep scrolling through Instagram and seeing their new arrivals and get jealous that I’m not home to buy them right now, lol.

everything about this outfit I love for Spring: mustard yellow, front-tie tops, jean skirts, small sunglasses, straw bags!! (insert all the heart eyes)

I’ve been loving the hair tie trend lately. I’ve been tying it like a headband lately but I’m definitely gonna try tying it around my ponytail like this soon.

my hair inspiration for Spring/Summer! I definitely want to do a lighter balyage like this when I get home.

I have been wanting flare jeans like this forever. I love how it is styled with the large belt!

I love the femininity of the polka dots and ruffles, I recently got a dress that has this same style!

I have a neck tie almost identical to this one and this outfit is so easy to recreate! And perfect for spring.

What trends are you guys loving for Spring?

Hot Springs and Wine Tasting in Chianti

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Ciao, again! Like I said in my post earlier this week, the weather has been so nice here. I have been so used to rain and not seeing the sun here in Florence and the past two weeks have been mostly sun and 60 degree weather. Last weekend I didn’t have any weekend trips planned, but it was going to be super nice out so I wanted to do something. One of the abroad travel agents that I frequently book through, Florence for Fun, was offering an afternoon/evening trip to Chianti for a visit to the hot springs and wine tasting. The trip was under $100 so I instantly signed up and Julia from Fashioning the World joined me too.

It was a group of 8 girls in total and we had an older Italian guy named Vincenzo as our driver. It was about a 45 min drive to the Rapolano Hot Springs where we went first to relax. Luckily, the weather was tanning weather and we were able to lay out in the sun by the hot spring pools. There were about 5 pools which was nice because we were able to go to one where nobody was. We were there for 2 hours and then got back in the van to head to the Chianti Countryside for dinner. But first, Vincenzo brought us to a quiet vineyard that was next to the winery we were going to to watch the sunset and it was so cool.

The winery was so quiet and we were the only ones there besides the tour guide. She showed us how the wine is made and all the different steps it took. The winery only had red wine since we were in Chianti. We tasted a rosé, Chianti classico, Chianti, and amaro after dinner. We were given cheese, meat, and bread with the wine. Everyone else got a pasta dish, but I am really picky so I stuck to the bread and cheese. It was a really cool experience and we were able to have their wine shipped home to America if we wanted.

It was such an awesome day and the trip was so worth it. I wanted to do a wine tasting in Tuscany before leaving Europe and I’m so glad I did it this way! If you are interested in seeing more pictures from my time abroad, I post frequently on my personal instagram, you can follow me there!

Easter in Cinque Terre

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Ciao! Today marks exactly one more month left in Italy and it’s so bittersweet. Half of me is excited to be home and get back in routine of reality and the other half of me never wants to leave Florence. I am excited to spend the month exploring more of Italy, because so far I have only been to Bologna, Cinque Terre, and Chainti outside of Flo.

a sunny view of the houses in Manarola

Molly and I in Manarola


The weather is gorgeous here in Italy and it’s finally time for some outdoor trips. Last weekend was Easter and my friend Molly was here visiting me for the week. The weather was 70s and sunny so we booked a day trip to Cinque Terre with Smart Trip. There was a small group of abroad students with us and two tour guides. We traveled to Cinque Terre by bus and it was a 3 hour bus ride. The first town we went to was Manarola, which is the place that has a perfect view of the cliff-side colored houses. The sun was very bright so it made it hard to get a good shot of the houses, but luckily I’m going back next week! We took a train to Riomaggiore, another one of the 5 towns in Cinque Terre. We spent about an hour there and it was right on the water. We went to this pizza place, Mamma Mia, which apparently has amazing pesto pizza. I am plain and just got a slice of margherita and it wasn’t that great.

The rest of the day we spent in Monterosso, the town with the beach. It literally felt like we weren’t in Italy anymore, the sun made it feel like 80! It’s hard to believe we were still in Northern Italy. The first place we went was this bar right next to the train station in Monterosso. I’m not positive on the name, but it’s famous for their “drunk buckets” and it’s hard to miss. They make all their drinks with real fruit, so it’s basically an alcoholic smoothie. I got a mudslide and the prices were reasonable for how big the drinks were. Molly got a strawberry margarita. After that, we went on a small hike to see the town from the top. Monterosso is a good place to hike because the hikes can be as long as you want them to be and they’re barely even a hike. It was so hot out, so at the top we put our backpacks down and used them as pillows to lay down and tan. We got some good pictures up there and there were even some farms. Before we left, we got pizza at Lapos, and outdoor restaurant in Monterosso for pizza. It was sooo good and the view was cool too. We slept on the way home because we were so tired from the drinks and the sun.

If you could go anywhere in Italy, where would you go? I would love to hear what is on your guys’ bucket list!

Greece Island Hopping for Spring Break

Friday, March 30, 2018

Ciao everyone! I have been super busy these last 3 weeks so getting a blog post together has been difficult. After Paris, my friend from home visited for the week. I had midterms, and then spring break! I was island hopped around Greece for 10 days and got back Sunday night. Monday morning, my other friend arrived in Florence for the week! The semester is flying and it’s hard to believe it’s more than half way over.

The first day of spring break we took a bus to Ancona to meet the mini-cruise ship that would take us to Corfu, Greece. It was an overnight ride and we spent a lot of spring break on boats like these to get to place to place. I absolutely loved the Greece trip, but these boat rides were absolutely miserable. Each one was 8-24 hours sitting in a coach bus style seat. There were some restaurants on the ship but they weren’t that great and very expensive. We stayed at the Pink Palace in Corfu, where we had the best weather of the week and the nicest hostel I’ve stayed in so far. They greeted us with free ouzo shots, as they gave us ouzo frequently throughout the weekend. The first day we were there we went ATVing. The second day we were there it was so nice out so we were able to swim in the pool and lay out and tan all day. The weather was 60-70s in each town in Greece. That night we went to a toga party held in our hostel where they smashed plates on our head after giving us ouzo shots. The next day it rained all day so we didn’t do much before leaving for an overnight bus to Athens that night.

On Tuesday morning, we arrived in Athens. I didn’t expect to love Athens as much as I did! I had been told before that Athens was a little scary, unsafe, and dirty. Some parts of the city were definitely a little scary, but it’s such a big city and it’s really nice that there’s beaches too. We went to the Acropolis and walked around the city all day. We were happy to see an American Eagle here. That night, me and my friends went to a rooftop restaurant with a view of the ruins lit up at night. The waiter was so nice and gave us a couple round of free shots and dessert. We went to an amazing milkshake place after dinner and went to bed early for a 6am ride to Santorini.

Santorini was my favorite place I’ve been to so far! We got there Wednesday late afternoon and stayed in Thira. On the first night we went to watch the sunset in Thira before all going out to dinner together (by the way, I did this trip through a abroad student travel agent in Florence, so we had 3 tour guides and there were about 30 students). After dinner, we went to Two Brothers Bar, which is a very fun bar in Thira. The next morning I got coffee at a coffee shop near the hostel because I heard that Greek coffee is amazing (and it is!). We did an island tour that day to Red Sand Beach and the black sand beach, but it was so windy so we weren’t able to swim. We stopped at Pygros, as well. For the sunset, we went into Oia to watch the famous sunset over the white houses on the cliff. Little did we know, we were in the middle of an African sand storm, so the sky was golden yellow and it was extremely windy. Locals told us it happens every two years, but this is the most extreme they’ve ever had it. We went to Two Brothers again that night cause it was so fun the first time. The next morning me and my friend rode donkeys up the steps overlooking the cliff and shopped. The next 2 days were filled with traveling back to Italy!

The weather is starting to get nicer in Florence so there is so much more to do. My days have been packed and me and my friends barely spend any time in our apartments. For the rest of the semester, I am pretty much staying in Italy! Me and my friend that is visiting are doing a day trip to Cinque Terrre for Easter and next week I am going on a day trip to Chianti for wine tasting and the hot springs. My family is coming in the middle of April and were going to Rome, Cinque Terre, and Siena. The week after that I am going to Amalfi Coast for the weekend. The weekend after that is my last weekend abroad! I will be going to Munich, Germany for Springfest.

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!