That One Time I Studied Abroad

Remember that one time I went abroad and frolicked across Europe for almost 5 months? I wouldn't have really gone abroad if I didn't write some sappy post about it and I wouldn't be me if I didn't write said post like 3 months too late. so here it is: a post all about how “study abroad changed my life 5ever and how I’m so cultured and different now”

kidding.

kinda.

when you go to a school like nyu, studying abroad is the norm, and almost expected. I never really thought that I would spend a semester abroad until nyu came into the picture. for context, nyu has their own study abroad sites in 14 counties which makes studying abroad ridiculously easy. I’m really lucky to have this opportunity and for 70k+ a year there was no way I was gonna let this not be a part of my college experience.

my original plan was to study in Prague the fall semester of my sophomore year, when I didn’t get into the program I shrugged it off and spent my semester watching basically everyone I knew spend their time in Prague while I sat in New York. I felt a twinge of resentment watching their bonds grow closer as they travelled together and realizing that when I was accepted to study abroad in the spring that I would likely know no one.

after a hellish visa process (crying on the phone to my brother, parents, and friends, checking my application status religiously, losing paper work, almost losing $1500, and so much more) I finally found myself in the Prague airport, in the brutal cold (I did not know cold until I went to Prague) ready to have what should be the best semester of my college career.

in my eyes study abroad was a great experience, and again I am so grateful for the ability to study, live, and explore for four months, but I did not have the experience that is often promised to students by program administrators, brochures, or other students.

I did not meet my best friends for life, I did not particularly deepen bonds or grow closer to anyone. I have few stories from late nights in new cities with friends.  I have even fewer good photos of myself. sometimes I feel like I did study abroad wrong because my experience doesn’t look like everyone else’s, but I realize that my experience is my experience and it is what I’ll think about and recall in 5, 10, 30 years’ time. sure, I didn’t get to go everywhere I wanted, see everything I wanted, do everything I wanted, but I had a damn good time.

I didn’t come back with any shot glasses, or t-shirts, or key chains. but I did come back with a postcard from each city, over 2500 photos, the ability to navigate any city, and 10 new countries under my belt.

oh, and a four minute recap video.

Summer in the City

Bodysuit: H&M // Shorts: Thrifted Levi's // Shoes: Birkenstock

It's summertime and the living is easy. I'm spending my summer in the city working part-time and interning and it's such a good change from last summer. I'm not stuck in a cubicle wearing boring office clothes, but instead I get to create programing for incoming NYU students, and work a pretty sweet retail job where I'm surrounded by pretty clothes. 

Despite being a Texas gal, I'm still learning how to look cute in the summertime. Usually my summers consist of staying at home and binge watching everything on netflix in my pj's, but now that I'm constantly out I'm looking for ways to stay cool and look good. 

I'm glad that I didn't put this bodysuit away for the season because I love how it looks with a pair of shorts. The low back makes me feel badass and gets rid of the possibility of back sweat, a very real issue on the very humid streets of new york. Now that the heat is in full swing, I've finally accepted that my trusty denim shorts are going to retire very soon. I've been wearing these shorts since I thrifted and cut them myself for over four (five?) years now and i'm definitely not the same size I was then! 

Any suggestions on a good place to find denim shorts?

Travel Guide: Amsterdam

Walking around Amsterdam felt like walking around a pop-up fairytale book. Architecturally it looks and feels different than most of the cities I saw in Europe. With its buildings in all shades of black, grey, and maroon and the plethora of canals and bridges, Amsterdam doesn't feel like a real city at all. 

The city is very walkable which is great because every street you go on is so beautiful. Also no need to know Dutch because essentially everything is in English which is such a blessing. I imagine that in the Summer the city is even more lively than it was when I visited towards the end of March, but I honestly think that the city is a great place to visit, no matter the time of year. 

As always, I've attached my handy dandy map with all the locations mentioned and more to the bottom of this post!

To See and Do

  • Anne Frank House (*note: tickets sell out very early and the line gets crazy long so try to plan for this as far in advanced as possible)
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Bloemenmarkt
  • Nine Streets
  • Vondelpark
  • Red Light District- it's Amsterdam– you have to.
  • Concertgebouwplein- check their website before you go because I think they do free concerts during lunchtime every Wednesday! 
  • Keukenhof- if you go in the spring, you must take a trip out to Keukenhof to see the tulips!
  • I Amsterdam Sign

To Eat and Drink

  • Coffee and Coconuts
  • Pluk
  • Bakers & Roasters
  • Kantjil & De Tijger- holy smokes. one of the best meals I had while abroad, must stop by if you're into Indonesian food!
  • Cafe het Paleis
  • Getto

KEY

Blue= Places to see and things to do

Green= food

Yellow= Coffee

Grey= Shopping 

Photo Diary: Amsterdam

Amsterdam was less about seeing all the sights and more about eating good food, walking aimlessly, and having good conversations with my friend Irvi. That being said, every inch of Amsterdam is adorable and photogenic so naturally I took photos of as many canals and moody-toned buildings as humanly possible. We also took a short trip out to Keukenhoff to see the famous Dutch tulips!

In Amsterdam I really got to experience a slower pace of traveling which I'm not used to, but I really enjoyed it. Sometimes it pays to sit in a cafe for a few hours instead of rushing from one place to the next.

The Ordinary Skincare First Impressions

I told myself that once I was back home I would start taking better care of myself– I wanted to be more aware of what I was eating, find a workout routine that I enjoy and that would keep me active, and I desperately needed to actually start taking care of my skin. Overall I have decent skin, I rarely get breakouts, but I do have some hyper pigmentation that I'm not too happy with, my skin is fairly dry, especially around my nose and between my eyebrows, and I've always had issues with my skin feeling rough probably due to my skin not shedding properly (cute, I know). 

I've heard a lot about The Ordinary via various blogs in the last few months praising them for making skincare products that are backed by science, actually work, and best of all are affordable. I was able to stop by one of their shops in London and pick up a few items to try for myself. I've only been using them for about a week and a half but my skin is already showing signs of improvement and my only regret is not ordering these products sooner. 

I went ahead and picked up the Glycolic Acid Toning Solution to help exfoliate, brighten, and even out my skin, the Azelaic Acid Suspension for its brightening properties, and the Natural Moisturizing Factors to combat my dry spots. 

The Glycolic Acid Toner is by far my favorite product. I've already noticed a huge improvement in how my skin feels! Before I would get a lot of build up around my nose or in crevices like right behind my ears. After one use any and all signs of build up were gone and my skin is baby smooooooth. I use this every night and it does have a bit of a warming sensation that starts to lessen the more you use it. This product will make your skin more sensitive to the sun to be sure to use sunscreen in the morning! I definitely prefer chemical exfoliants over physical ones and at just under $9 you bet that I'll be buying another bottle when this is finished. 

Next up is the Azelaic Acid Suspension. I started using these products all at once so I can't speak for how it stands on its own, but I do think that this is part of the reason why I've seen great results in my skin evening out in just a little over a week. I use this every night and I'll occasionally use it in the morning under my moisturizer if I feel like it. This also has a warming sensation that fades as your skin adapts. My main qualm with this though is the texture. It's described as a "cream-gel" but feels very silicon-y and had a matte effect on the skin. When applying I feel like it sticks to where its first applied and you need to put in some work and move fast to blend it in properly. Because of this, I feel like I'm using more product than I need in an attempt to cover my face and neck. I do think it helps to brighten and even out the skin, but this product may be more favorable to people with oily skin because of it's mattifying effect. 

Last up is the Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA which is my least favorite product out of the bunch. Just like the Azelaic Acid, this has a silicon-y feel mattifying look which is not ideal if you have dry skin and are looking to use this product as a moisturizer. This doesn't make my skin look or feel more hydrated and I will not be repurchasing this. At the moment I use this before I apply my actual moisturizer, but there's no way I can use this on its own.

Overall I think The Ordinary is a great place to go to if you're looking to start taking better care of your skin on a budget. I love the simple packaging and the fact that they really do have something for every issue. Definitely do your research before hand because there are some products that cannot be mixed or that need to be applied is a certain order to be safe and effective. This youtube video and corresponding information sheet are very helpful if you want to learn more about the rest of their product line. 

Are there any products from The Ordinary that catch your eye? Let me know what some of your favorite skincare brands are!

Currently Binging on Netflix

Is it just me or did all the good shows come back on netflix recently?! I'm generally not the one to watch netflix during the school year but I have a few days relaxing outside of London until I'm back in New York and dealing with jet lag, moving, and starting an internship, and finding a job to get all caught up on the goodness that is netflix shows. Here's what I plan on binge watching:

Master of None

You've probably heard all the rave reviews already but Master of None is such a refreshing show to watch. I feel like it should be mandatory for all first/second-gen immigrants to watch because Aziz Ansari just gets it. It's hilarious, makes me feel all the feelings about my parents, and it well done overall. Plus, Ansari is an NYU alum and we're both marketing majors so I like to think that I'm destined to be the next him.

House of Cards

I am waaaay behind on House of Cards (I think I'm stopped somewhere on season 3?) but with the currently political situation I think this would actually help me take the mind off the news. Kevin Spacey is amazing as Frank Underwood, so much so that I almost aspire to be him (minus the murder, and deceit, and all that jazz).

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I really appreciated the past two seasons of UKS for it's lightheartedness and catchy tunes (pinor noir anyone?). I think this is the perfect show to relax over with a tub of ice cream and feels perfect for the summertime. 

Chef's Table

The latest season of Chef's Table actually came out a few months ago, but I was holding out until I could watch it at home on our super HD tv (with the curved screen and everything. #extra). Chef's Table is one of those shows where I am glued to the screen, it is one of the best produced shows I've ever watched and it never leaves me anything short of breathless. I could honestly go on about my love for this show in a whole post of its own!

I recently finished watching Abstract: The Art of Design which I loved, and I'm anxiously waiting for Daredevil to come back next year. What have you been watching lately, anything you'd recommend?