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Showing posts from 2013

5 Favorites: October Edition

October. This month has been especially crazy because I have begun working as a barista in a bakery. When I first accepted the job I had no idea I was going to be a barista, I had figured I would be in the back kitchen decorating cookies or delivering orders. My first day of work was quite a surprise, but so far, I have enjoyed it.  The customers always keep work interesting. And of course, since it is October, Halloween is just around the corner! This year I'm excited for the holiday because: a. I love costumes b. I get to volunteer with a great organization to hand out candy to kids while they trick-or-treat at the local zoo My mom also sent me a care package that consisted of a trick-or-treating Halloween cat bag full of KitKat bars, a candy bowl and chicken broth (priorities! Thanks, Mom).
This Mahogany Teakwood candle from Bath & Body Works has a wonderfully fresh scent. It could definitely be considered a more "manly" candle scent because it does have a bit o…

The Autumn Tag


The green forest gives in to the persistent cooler air. Striking gemstone hues bespeckle the twisting turns and neighborhood sidewalks. Slowly the heat fades away completely and the days become short. Umbrellas and rain boots become necessary on most Fridays. Scarves replace sunglasses. Leaves line our pathway and cushion our steps until only the evergreens remain standing tall and emerald.

Favorite thing about autumn? The afternoon rainstorms, slightly cooler days and the wonderful way the trees begin to turn golden yellow and sunset orange.

Favorite drink? Homemade pumpkin spice lattes and real caramel apple cider. Here is a link to my fav Pumpkin Spice Recipe.

Favorite scent/ candle? I'm not the biggest fan of fall scents because they tend to be heavy and I prefer light scents. However, I really love the scent of apple pie spice and pumpkin pie spice.

Best lipstick? Rimmel's Kate Moss matte lipstick in 107. It is a pretty great wine red, perfect for autumn.

Go to moist…

5 Favorites: September Edition

This salad. Spinach and kale mix, with feta cheese, strawberries and raspberry walnut vinaigrette dressing.
I must admit that at first I was skeptical of these crease-less hair ties and was reluctant to pay the higher price. I finally caved and grabbed a pack of Kistch hair ties at a local boutique. They're great! Once upon a time I was an elliptical, treadmill and yoga only girl. However, I recently kicked the elliptical to the curb and have started lifting 2-3 times a week during my workouts. I am already starting to see a difference. If you are considering weight lifting, but think you will look bulky, read this article.
Urban Decay's Naked Basics Palette. The looks that can be created with this palette are lovely. The shade Venus also works as a great highlight.
This month I have finally found little time to play World of Warcraft and explore Pandaria. If you don't know what World of Warcraft is, watch this trailer.

String Lights Done Right, Decorating. Finds & More

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Last week it got a little pinteresty in my new apartment.

After utilizing some unconventional wall hanging techniques this was the result.

So without further ado...

String Lights Done Right

Mini LED string lights (they don't get as hot as regular strand lights)Extension cordA mechanical timerSewing pins or small nailsA small hammer Tape Clothespins (optional)Pictures (optional)Begin by taping the lights where you want them on the wall. Then, take a big step back and make sure they look even and centered.Now take a hammer and nails or sewing pins and gently hammer one in at each turning point of the strand. I prefer sewing pins because they leave holes that are barely noticeable, however there may need to be more than one pin placed at each end because the weight of the lights can be a little much for just one pin.Set up and plug the lights into your mechanical timer. Admire your work.Last and optionally, use clothespins to hang your favorite …

Not Quite Panera's Potato Soup

Yesterday I decided to break all the rules and make a warm soup in the middle of summer.

This recipe was created about 4 years ago when I was attempting to duplicate Panera's potato soup. I had already tried several online recipes, but none could match the taste of Panera's soup.

Taking matters into my own hands, I tried to replicate the recipe. It still didn't end up like Panera's soup, but my family loved it.

This particular recipe is only about 300 calories per serving, is a little spicy when cayenne is added and like most soups, tastes better the next day. Cayenne pepper is the secret ingredient in pretty much everything I make. Add as little or as much cayenne as you would like.

Servings: 8

5 large potatoes, peeled and diced1/4 cup minced onion32 oz. chicken broth1/2 cup water16 oz. cream cheese1 tsp. ground white pepper4 dashes garlic salt1 cup milk or creamCayenne pepperIn a large pot combine potatoes, spring onions, chicken broth and water. Bring t…

Reverse Culture Shock

This post is late, late late, but I hope you still enjoy it.

Since the day I arrived back to the U.S. I've found myself struggling ever-so-slightly to adjust to the lifestyle of the good 'ole USA.
For example, one day before the 4th of July I was at HEB. For those of you not from Texas, HEB is a fantastic grocery store with tons of yum stuff.
On this particular HEB adventure, I was picking out avocados.
No big deal.
Until someone walked up behind me. In a panic I looked at my hands, then dropped the avocado back in the bin and leapt over to the place where the plastic gloves, worn by vegetable-perusing Italians, would have been located only to realize seconds later that I was in fact in Texas.
Prior to my return home, picking up veggies and fruit from the local Conad grocery store in Florence, Italy had become a biweekly routine for me. After my experiences of getting yelled at in Italian and then receiving a harsh explanation in English about where and why I have to always…

When in Rome... Again!

On my third day in Italy I threw a coin into the Trevi Fountain to be sure I was guaranteed a return to Rome.
On my last day in Italy I regretted this earlier action when I found myself traveling to a hotel in the heart of Rome to stay for one extra day.

The morning we were supposed to leave was hectic, but our large student group had actually made it to Terminal 5 right before it was to open. Everything seemed to be going smoothly until we learned we had been told to go to the wrong terminal. When we reached the right terminal we were too late to make our flight. However, we still ran through the airport and tried to get someone to help us possibly hold the flight.
The problem was that in Italy no one really wants to do her job.
The woman at the help desk sent us to another group of employees. The other employees sent us back to the woman at the help desk. We were finally informed by the lady at the "help" desk that there was nothing she could do to help us.
As she got up t…

Festival in Florence

Where have I been?
I've been away traveling and completing my final projects for school.

What did I do during my time away?
I traveled to Austria and Germany. Hopefully, I will have time to post about my travels.
I also spent some time photographing a festival in Florence. This festival was in honor of San Giovanni the patron saint of Florence. Usually there is a historic soccer game, but it was cancelled due to some really crazy thunderstorms that rolled into town just before the game was going to start.
Thankfully the storms didn't stay long. The sky cleared just in time for the evening fireworks show.
Here are a few (unedited) pictures from the festival.

Lemons, Oranges, Islands & Sun

I spent the weekend in Sorrento, Pompeii and on the Island of Capri. All of these cities are beautiful places with a severe lack of free wifi/ internet access. In Sorrento trees full of oranges lined the streets. In Capri the ocean was clear and the color of sapphires.
Now that I have returned to Florence I will probably be blogging more regularly again.
After a few days by the ocean it was difficult to return to class, but today we had a great guest lecture about the Italian mafia. I may write a little more about it later when I have the time to sit down and sort my thoughts.
On a totally different note, I will be traveling to Austria and Germany this weekend if all of the hotel room/ train ticket travel plans work out.

Oranges in Pompeii. These were located at stand that makes fresh squeezed orange juice and buffalo mozzarella pizza.

On the Island of Capri.

Lovers arch. We took a boat tour all around the island and got to pass under this giant arch.

Sorrento lemon orchard. Sorrent…

Night Photography in Florence


On Sunday my friends and I took a break from the busy city life of Florence.
We boarded a bus around 8 a.m. and headed off to see the Tuscan countryside.
Our first stop was in a small town called Pienza.
Pienza is the top producer of Pecorino cheese. There are cheese shops everywhere, and even the town itself smells a bit like cheese. There is also a cheese sport that the men participate in that involves rolling a wheel of cheese toward a stick. I'm still not sure how it works, but I do know it must be a lot more difficult that it looks. It seems that cheese wheels are generally not very cooperative.
After Pienza we were on our way to Salcheto Winery. This was probably the scariest part of the trip mostly because the charter bus we were on got stuck going uphill and most of the trip there was spent driving on winding dirt roads with high cliffs on either side of the bus. Somehow we made it to Salcheto Winery unscathed, and only had to get off the bus once so it could drive up a …

Monday Through Thursday From 3-6 p.m.

When I am not roaming the streets of Florence sampling Italian cuisine, writing, looking through a camera lens or sitting at a cafe sipping a latte, I am in class. At my university I am enrolled in two classes: Advanced Magazine Editing and Media Photography. Both classes are challenging and enjoyable in their own ways.
The objective of the advanced magazine editing class is to create a complete magazine about the Florence study abroad experience for future study abroad students. At first I thought it would be boring for the first few weeks, but it has been fascinating. Currently, we are working with another student who wants to make a documentary about the Madonnari or street artists of Florence. So far, we have compiled a list of questions for an interview we will be setting up with one of the most well known street artists of Florence.
In my media photography class we are moving a little bit slower, learning concepts class by class and not jumping into everything head first. We go …

The View From Above

Late Post: This was supposed to be published the day I wrote it when I was in Italy. Unfortunately the internet was moody and decided to save it a a draft instead....
So here it is now months later.

After hiking up a really steep hill to Michelangelo's Plaza, I had the chance to shoot some sunset and night photos. This was my first nighttime photo shoot. I will soon have some amazing pictures, if they turn out how I think they did.

During the day, I crashed a fashion photo shoot with my photography class. It was interesting getting to see the different aspects of live outdoor photography and photo shoots. I tried my best to sneak a shot, but I couldn't get my camera to cooperate. The area was crowded and, as you can see in the photo above, the lighting was harsh so everyone had lovely raccoon eyes.

A longer and more detailed post should appear on my blog soon. Right now sleep is my priority. Starting at 4 a.m. the alleyway by my becomes a bottomless pit of construction sounds…

Navigating Italy

The larger towns in Italy are composed of tiny side-by-side shops that line streets so narrow that anything bigger than a MINI Cooper will struggle to wind its way through. Outside of these larger towns lies the sudden, sprawling, countryside which intermingles with various industrial fortresses. As I rode the bus to Florence I would see a lone field full of crops, a small farmhouse, then nothing but trees and flowers, and out of nowhere a Prada factory.
So different from Texas, but charming in its own way.
Adjusting to college was surprisingly more difficult than adjusting living in Italy. However, there have been a few funny and slightly embarrassing experiences my new friends and I have had since arriving in this foreign land.

It was our first day in Rome. My friends and I had just sat down outside of a cute cafe for a quick lunch. The waiter brought us a menu, we ordered our food, received our meal, finished eating and waited for our check. We talked about our afternoon plans and…

I'm On a Boat (And a Train)