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5/recent posts
Winter Brights

Winter Brights




Who says that just becuase it's cold outside you have dress in boring neutrals? I prefer bright colors and bold color combinations even in chilly weather. Any time the weather dips below 70 in Florida, I go running to my closet for a jacket. Maybe it is a byproduct of being a Floridian, but I love jackets and coats! And this cropped pink jacket has been on repeat all winter long.

jacket (sold out, similar on sale) // hat // sunnies // top (also here) // skirt (old, similar) // booties (similar) // c/o Dagne Dover tiny tote

For a day of eating and mural sightseeing in Wynwood, I paired my go-to cropped pink jacket with with my favorite bell-sleeve top and bright red fluted skirt (click here for more on Wynwood). The diamond mural and ombré wall were definitely my favorites, obviously since they coordinated so well with my outfit.

Sadly this jacket and skirt are no longer available, but I have linked some similar options. This bell-sleeve top comes in a couple colors (also seen here) and is one of my favorite purchases to date. It is one of those pieces that looks very fashionable and dramatic, yet is still super comfortable and easy to wear. It will also transition easily into spring, since bell sleeves will be here to stay for a while.

Anyone else dare to wear brights in the winter?


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Ashley B
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Wynwood, Miami

Wynwood, Miami



So, I am sure by now you have heard about, or at least seen a million pictures on Instagram, of Miami's coolest and most colorful neighborhood, Wynwood.

Wynwood is basically Miami's Brooklyn. It is a hipster haven full of cool cafes, vibrant murals, art galleries, trendy eateries, and eclectic bars. Naturally, it was high on my travel bucket list.

Wynwood was once an unsightly warehouse and manufacturing district before it was transformed into a thriving arts district. The area is just a short drive over the intracoastal waterway from Miami Beach. It is definitely worth a stop when visiting Miami. Emily and I stopped to explore Wynwood on our way home from South Beach.

I was immediately taken by the amazing murals. In fact, Wynwood is one of the largest open-air and street-art installations in the world. But before exploring fully, Emily and I fueled up on duffins (doughnut and muffin hybrids), cappuccini, and avocado toast at Cafe Miam. I mean what is a trendy neighborhood without avant-garde baked goods and avocado toast?

Fully satiated, we wandered and admired the colorful murals. We, of course, took a thousand photos, before heading to Zak the Baker. And as if the bakery wasn't enough, when then decided "flock it" and headed to cutest flamingo-themed ice cream shop, Serendipity Creamery. In an effort to survey all of the areas best eateries and cafes, we also investigated The Salty Donut, Panther Coffee, and Coyo Taco. It's important to be thorough. If you're not a foodie, don't worry, you can also take an art tour for a more in depth look at the famed murals.

Wynwood definitely did not disappoint and should not be missed when visiting Miami!
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Ashley B
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Where to Stay in Miami

Where to Stay in Miami








With work and life back in full swing, I find myself day-dreaming of the days when Em and I were sipping prosecco pool-side in Miami. What I love most about Miami are the unique boutique hotels that line South Beach. From old world charm, to quaint art deco, or funky and modern, each has a meticulously crafted character. Rather than spend all my time at the beach, I like to explore these architectural gems, and their pools of course.

My four favorite South Beach hotels just happen to be right next to each other on Collins Avenue (around 18th and 17th streets). Obviously, you will likely only stay in one, but the others are equally worth exploring for their gorgeous grounds and delicious dinning.

Kimpton Surfside
The Kimpton is the most modern and affordable of the bunch (they offer periodic promotions online). While it might be more modern and relaxed than its neighbors, it offers all the amenities (pool, spa, etc.), beach access, complementary bikes, communal games, and brightly colored cows, which dot the property. The Kimpton is great for groups of friends and for people traveling with kids, but it is probably the least romantic for couples.

The SLS
The SLS is on par with the Kimpton in terms of price. But, it won me over with the pink accents throughout its decor and coordinating pink-striped beach umbrellas on the beach. In general this hotel is much posher than the Kimpton and has a thriving pool scene. Instead of a traditional lobby, the SLS has an open restaurant/kitchen. Like any well-designed hotel, this place is all about the details, from pink stripes, to chandeliers, and all-white rooms -- the SLS definitely has style.

The Raleigh
While equally stylish, The Raleigh is much more traditional showcasing its famed art deco design. An icon on the beach since 1940, The Raleigh is best known for its palm tree-lined pool (seen here), which was deemed most beautiful pool in America by Life Magazine in 1947! Even if you are not staying here, make sure to stop in and admire its architecture and pool... and fabulous martini and coffee bar!

The Delano
The chicest and grandest of my favorite hotels, The Delano is full of small eclectic details placed playfully in grand spaces. Like the others, it has a fabulous (and elusive) pool scene and gourmet dining. And, like any fashionable hotel, the rooms are all-white with marble accents and rainfall showers. This hotel even has a roof-top spa.

What is your favorite hotel in Miami?
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Ashley B
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How to Make the Most of Your Semester Abroad

How to Make the Most of Your Semester Abroad



It is that time of year once more. Students around the country are boarding flights this week and next to embark on an adventure of a lifetime -- a semester abroad! Just yesterday my sister messaged me on behalf of a friend stressing about what to pack for three months in Spain (I have lots of packing tips here). So I thought I should share some advice on how to make the most of your semester abroad.

Pack Less, Budget More
The best advice I can give is to pack less and budget more. Students always bring way more than they need. Instead of spending a ton of money purchasing things you don't need before you arrive, control the urge to spend and save that money for the trip. Trust me, you don't need 50 pounds of clothing for three months! Pack your clothing items strategically (here is an example of my packing process and here are some tips for shedding weight in your suitcase) and save as much spending money as you can. There will be so many unexpected opportunities and hidden expenses you were not even aware existed. You don't want to spend your time abroad stressing over the cost of unexpected taxi rides or an impromptu vespa tour in the Tuscan countryside.

Spend Money on Experiences, Not Things
Speaking of spending money, the money you are able to save and bring should be spent on unforgettable experiences and not on souvenirs or shopping sprees. Thanks to global commerce there is very little that you can't buy state-side online. Plus, thanks to exchange rates, shopping in Europe/the UK is usually 15-20% more. Believe me, the most precious souvenir you can bring home (and that will never go out of style) are your memories and photos of you experiencing the world.

Because of this, I always advise students to spend their money on travel, travel, and more travel. Student tour companies make this super easy and budget friendly. Whether it is a day-trip to the Cinque Terre or a weekend trip to Eastern Europe, you can travel to Prague, Budapest, the French Rivera, Paris, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Croatia, Greece, Rome, Venice, Milan, the Amalfi Coast, and Switzerland on the weekends. In Florence I recommend FlorenceForFun (if you're based in Florence) because I work with them and my students have travelled with them for years, but their are tons of student travel agencies that cater to Americans studying abroad.

Be Willing to Explore Alone
As part of a study abroad class or cohort, you will spend a lot of time in class and traveling on excursions in groups (you can read my tips on coping with group travel here). Groups are great and sharing these experiences with friends is fun. But, group travel can often be taxing and requires a lot of personal sacrifice. Don't skip an experience becuase no one wants to do it with you. Be willing to venture out on your own. Traveling alone can be a rewarding and worthwhile experience and I highly recommend it.

Make the Most of Your Free Time
A semester abroad is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Don't waist time being lazy or distracted by love interests or group drama. There is only a 1% chance you will meet the love of your life, but there is a 100% chance you will regret not seeing or doing something. I am also always amazed at the students who prioritize sleeping all day over sightseeing, traveling, and experiencing a new culture. Listen, you are young and you can sleep when you are dead! On this same note, be careful of getting caught up into the drinking and club scene while abroad. Yes, going out is fun, but the club/bar scene looks basically the same everywhere throughout Europe and the U.S. What you can't find in any major city is the Eiffel Tower, Colosseum, Grand Canal, etc., etc. Partying has its time and place. If that is your priority take your own trip, don't do an academic semester abroad.

Take Your Studies Seriously
This one is more important than you might think. Studying the David and then actually going to see the David is a learning experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world. The more effort you put into your classes will only enhance your extra curricular activities. I mean, the program I work with offers a chemistry of wine class! I audit this one and study very hard every year lol.

Don't Focus on Home or What you Miss
Lots of students get home sick. This is perfectly normal. There are a lot of difficult realities that come with studying and living abroad that no one talks about (you can read more about these here). But, focusing on home and what you miss will only make you more homesick and cause you to miss out on important and fun experiences abroad. Try to keep yourself busy and focus on what you love about your new home. Time will fly!

Adopt a "When in Rome" Mentality
Finally, when all else fails adopt the tried and true "when in Rome" or "c'est la vie" mentality. Do as the locals do and don't stress about things that are out of your control. Because, when it comes to travel, anything that can go wrong will (at some point). Prepare yourself for these difficult moments so you can overcome them with a positive outlook. Language barriers, flight delays, and strikes might be out of your control, but fortunately not letting them ruin your trip or good time is completely within your control.

Have you studied abroad? What tips would you give?
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Ashley B
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Pink Beach Bum

Pink Beach Bum



What's better than spending a day relaxing on the beach in Miami? Relaxing on Miami Beach in a pink lounge chair with striped pink umbrellas! I will admit I was on the hunt for these umbrellas. I had seen them featured in several Gray Malin prints and on Instagram. I knew I wanted to track them down while Emily and I were in town. Fortunately, we just happened to being staying at the hotel right next door! We did not even know it when we booked. I only realized it later when I deduced that my favorite pink umbrellas were at the SLS Hotel on South Beach. I Google mapped SLS only to find it was next door!

sunnies // tunic/cover up // hat (similar) // sandals (from Positano, similar here) // tote

I purchased this tunic/cover up two summers ago and it has been my go-to beach and island look ever since. I have worn it in the Amalfi CoastSantorini, and basically every time I visit the beach or pool. It is the perfect combination of comfort and style. And unlike most caftan styles, it is surprisingly flattering. Thank goodness Lilly is still making this style in new prints and solid hues. The price tag might seem steep at first, but I have more than gotten my money's worth with this caftan. Sadly, no caftans are part of the After Party Sale (from what I could get into to see). But, trust me this caftan is worth it, even at full price.

After taking a million pictures with these perfectly pink umbrellas, Emily I spent the rest of the day frolicking in the water and lounging around. It was certainly the perfect December day, especially since much of the rest of the country was dealing with fridged temps and lots of snow. Sorry guys! Might I suggest a winter getaway to Miami?


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Ashley B
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