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Life is Better with Sprinkles









Guess where Sprinkles Cupcakes decided to open their very first store in Florida? In Tampa! Not only is the new store, complete with ATM, located in my home town, it is a 10 minute walk from my house! Dreams do come true. Although I am concerned for my waistline.

Tuesday the store invited local bloggers and media professionals to come by and see the new store and, naturally, indulge in some sweets. We even got to make and decorate our very own cupcakes. I went with pink and high heels, of course. Kelly and I had a blast and went home with a half dozen new flavors to try. My favorites are the pumpkin and cuban coffee, which is fitting for Tampa. Our store also features ice cream, homemade cones, and cookies. So many sweets, so little time.

The store officially opens today! And the cupcake ATM will be functional next week. Sprinkles is just one of many exciting new additions to my favorite part of town, Hyde Park Village. When I first moved to Tampa, the Village was filled with little local boutiques and a coffee house everyone just hung out in and played board games. Sadly, at some point new management took over and the Village took a turn for the worse. Thanks to soaring rents, the Village became a bit of a ghost town for a while. But now, thanks to a new owner/investor, the area is going through something of a renaissance and returning to its former glory. New stores and restaurants like Bar Taco, Sprinkles and Kendra Scott are moving in, there is a food truck fair and farmer's market the first Sunday of every month, and a fresh flower market and doggie play area are in the works. If you ever find yourself in Tampa, Hyde Park Village is definitely worth a visit.

If you ever need to find me in Tampa, I will likely be walking to the cupcake ATM.

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Stocking Up For Summer




As much as I love my summer travels, planning and packing for three months abroad never seems to get any easier. Although, I do think I get a little better at it with each passing year. The key is that you have to think ahead and prep for not one, but two seasons, and all sorts of possible weather conditions and activities. This also means you have to purchase everything you need before you depart, and the search for cute, but still comfortable shoes, is a never ending saga.

While May in Italy is delightful (with some rainy days here and there), June, July, and August can be brutally hot. You would think I could handle hot, being from Florida and all, but heat is different when you are sightseeing/touring/exploring outside all day. Not running from your air conditioned home to your air conditioned car. Sadly, air conditioning is hard to find in Italy.

To beat the heat, I stick to dresses, skirts, and shorts (when appropriate) in natural fibers like cotton. I always try to select dresses with a short sleeve and a hem to the knee so I am church ready without having to add an extra layer. For some reason dresses with short sleeves are extremely hard to find! I will never understand why, they are so versatile and always work appropriate.

With just two and a half weeks left before I depart (I just had a mini panic attack with that realization), I have to finalize all of my purchases for summer. I have narrowed down what I want to bring and figured out what I am missing. I needed to add a couple more lightweight dresses, tops, and white sandals. I adore both of these eyelet dresses. Both are easy to wear and comfortable but still look super chic and put together.

This off-the-shoulder bright yellow top (which comes in petite!) will look great with all of the navy gingham I am packing (#sorrynotsorry). I couldn't believe how cute and comfy these white sandals are. They won't work if you need arch support, but for me they are perfect. Finally, I couldn't resist adding another hat to my collection (sun protection is super important when outdoors all day) and these fun tassel earrings. My color palette is bright as usual, but everything can be easily mixed and matched, which is the key to packing for big trips.


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Seeing Stripes







hat // sunnies // top (currently 30% off!) // jacket // shorts (currently 30% off!) // purse (last seen here) // shoes (currently 30% off!)


I own and wear far too many stripes. Then again, is it even possible to have too many stripes? I think not. I scooped up these colorful striped shorts a couple weeks ago (and now they are on sale!). I knew spring would not last long here in Florida and summer was coming.

While I love shorts, they are basically formal wear down here lol, I have to restrict how many I allow myself to buy. Because shorts just aren't super useful for my summer travels. In general, Italians/Europeans wear fewer shorts, and so many religious sites have dress codes that forbid shorts (for both men and women FYI). So while there are a ton of cute shorts that I am currently lusting over, like these, I will have to content myself with these pretty stripes... for now.

I also added this gorgeous panama hat to my growing hat lady collection. I love the crisp white detail against the rich, golden straw. Finally, I completed this bright and cheery look with my favorite lemon crossbody.

Happy Monday everyone!

Oh and PS, congrats to Jessica who won the Dagne Dover giveaway!


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Why More People Should Major in History



I get a lot of questions about what I plan on doing with my history PhD and what can be done with a history degree more generally. I am surprised how undervalued history degrees are. Despite what you might think, history isn't about memorizing dates and names. History teaches you how to read effectively, think critically, write, research, and analyze and interpret data. All very useful skill sets in a wide variety of fields.

While it is true that becoming a tenure-track professor in the current market is a next-to-impossible goal, this doesn't mean that history degrees are not valuable. I think we have to move beyond the mindset that employers are looking for specific degrees. While specific degrees are required for some careers, more often then not, employers are looking for certain skill sets.

I constantly hear from my friends and family in corporate settings and technological industries that their biggest issue with hiring employees is finding someone who can read and write. It seems so simple, but with higher education's current emphasis on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and technical training, I think we are not giving students the reading comprehension and writing skills they need to succeed in any field/life.

I realize history isn't for everyone, but if you do enjoy history, I encourage you not to dismiss it (or the humanities more generally) because it is perceived as being useless or not leading to a specific career. Both couldn't be further from the truth. History degrees are wonderful for preparing students for law school, government employment, and museum work. And the skills acquired from a history degree will teach you how to adapt ideas, explain & interpret events and ideas, summarize information, compare and compile reports, developed world views and understand interrelatedness, offer new perspectives, develop new agendas for old problems, problem solve in general, present information using written and spoken media, and the biggest one, write effectively. I could go on and on, but all of these are essential skills almost every employer is looking for.

So before you dismiss history, think about taking a course, minoring, or even majoring in history. You might be surprised just how useful it is. And on a final note, I leave you with this amazing poster from the University of Utah's Humanities Department:


If you are thinking of applying to grad school for history, you can read my tips for applying here. And if you want more history, here are the five history books that have had the greatest impact on me as a historian.

Buon Weekend!

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Picnic Perfect










I know I have been saying this for a while, but we have been having the most amazing weather in Florida this spring. It has been perfect -- highs in the 80s, low(ish) humidity, and a delightful breeze. Unfortunately, I am in the throes of trying to finish the dissertation chapter that I am currently writing before departing for Italy. This means I haven't had much free time to enjoy the outdoors.

Last week, however, Britt and I made a point to take the afternoon off and enjoy a picnic in the park. I was inspired to get outdoors and picnic by this adorable picnic basket, I mean it has a prosecco holder! It was basically made for me.

Britt and I sipped prosecco and nibbled from our charcuterie board under a shady oak tree. It was heaven. For me, the charcuterie board is the key to a perfect picnic. It needs to have a mixture of hard and soft cheeses, salty prosciutto and spicy salami, and interesting jams and jellies like strawberry jalapeño. Oh and don't forget the fresh baguette and cookies for dessert.

To go with my adorable picnic basket I created this bright and fun floral blanket. I am currently obsessed with creating my own patterns and having them made into fabric through Spoonflower. And this is not the last of my bright "poppy love" fabric you will be seeing. If you follow me on Snapchat (HinHH) it should look familiar. I used it to sew my very first dress, which I will be sharing on the blog next week!

As dedicated as I am to finishing this chapter before I leave, I am also making a point to get outdoors and enjoy the sunshine a little bit every day. It is good for the mind and body!

What do you eat on your perfect picnic?


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Dagne Dover Giveaway!



You guys, I am so excited about this. I am teaming up with Dagne Dover to giveaway my favorite work and travel bag, their 13-inch Tote in Powder Pink (a limited edition color that is no longer available)!

I carry this bag every day and when I travel. I absolutely love it! You can see mine in action here. The powder pink color is perfect for spring and summer. But thanks to the bag's structure and elegant design, it still looks professional and polished... and it's pink!

I have several Dagne Dover bags and I can honestly say they are the best made and functional bags I have ever owned. There is a pocket for everything -- your phone, iPad, laptop, pens, papers, water bottle, and cosmetics (plus room for more). My favorite part about this 13-inch tote are the foldable handles, which means it's perfectly stow-able and will maintain its chic shape.

And now we can twin!

Enter to win from today through Friday and make sure to check out Dagne Dover's full range of bags over at DagneDover.com. I will announce the winner next week. Good luck!


a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Lace Begonia Dress







jacket // dress // headband // sunglasses (similar) // purse // wedges

Ok, Ann Taylor has been killing it lately. I mean, have you seen their most recent set of new arrivals? I immediately scooped up this gingham dress for half off! This sale, which is 50% off everything, ends tonight by the way, so don't delay. Ann Taylor is definitely not just your mom's store anymore. I have linked more of my favorites below.

But back to this sweet little frock. I scored this pretty pink lace dress with navy blooms a couple weeks ago (during a 40% off sale). I love it because it's so feminine and delicate. I plan on layering a silk navy blouse underneath for work. For play, however, I went with my favorite gingham jacket to juxtapose the dress's delicate nature.

I am a little embarrassed to admit how excited Kelly and I were to find this pink wall just 10 minutes from where we live. We have been searching for a pink wall for ages. It's a simple background but photographs beautifully. It was the perfect backdrop for this pink, navy, and gold look.

Happy Monday everyone!


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How to Plan a Trip Abroad


images clockwise from top left: Château de Chenonceau via // Chateau Villandry via // Château de Chambord via // lavender fields in Provence via and via // google map (my own, I will share when it is comeplete!)


I have never been one to fly by the seat of my pants when traveling. I am a planner... and I love it. I honestly don't know how people take trips abroad without planning. Sure it sounds carefree and spontaneous, but the reality is that most of what you want to do/see will likely be sold out or unavailable (particularly if you are traveling during spring break and the summer).

Emily and I are currently in the middle of planning an exciting trip to the Loire Valley and Provence. Even though our trip is almost three months away we struggled to find a good hotel in Avignon. Everything was already sold out! Honestly, we should have started planning sooner, but it was a bit of a last-minute decision. Fortunately, we found a fantastic alternative, but it just reminded my how important it is to plan and research for a trip abroad. If you are going to spend all of that money and time to travel across the ocean, you need to make sure you can see, do, and visit everything you want to!

So how do I research for a big trip abroad? I love researching so I get really into this part of traveling. Over the years, I have perfected something of a process:

STEP 1 (1 year to 6 months out)
Begin by deciding where you want to go and what you want to see. You want to figure out the best times to travel to that location in terms of weather and tourist seasons (I hate going to places in high season, but in many cases it's unavoidable). If you are going somewhere during high-season, the earlier you start planning the better your results.

STEP 2 (6 to 3 months out)
It is great to dream about where you want to go, but it's important you take care of budgeting and entry requirements before you get too far into planning and purchasing. Obviously your budget will determine what you can do, so you want to set that early to avoid over spending. And make sure you understand what currency the country you are traveling to uses and the conversion rate.

You also want to check on your passport (do you have one, is it up to date?) and the country (or countries) you are traveling to entry requirements. In many cases your passport needs six months of passport validity, meaning your passport should be valid for more than six months before you would be allowed to enter a foreign destination. Americans are spoiled and rarely need Visas, but it never hurts to check. Turkey requires you to apply for your visa online and print it out. If you show up without it, you aren't getting in!

STEP 3 (6 to 3 months out)
Once I have decided where I want to go and I have checked travel guidelines and set my budget, I focus on transportation and lodging. Obviously it is important you figure out how your going to get from A to B and where you are going to stay. For some trips this is more complicated than for others. For example, if you want to "get off the beaten track" or explore smaller cities you will have to research trains, buses, and/or car rentals. Without my methodical research, I would have not realized that getting from Italy to Avignon is actually difficult and the easiest way is to fly to Paris (from Florence) and then take the high speed train to Avignon. It seems a bit out of the way, but it's the best option.

Begin by selecting dates and then making sure that a flight (or flights/transport) and lodging are available for those dates. Don't book one without checking the other. Emily and I actually had to change our travel dates because the week we originally wanted to fly didn't have a lot of accommodation options, so we had to adjust. I like to purchase all of these major items -- flight, hotel, and inter-city transport (if applicable) -- together to avoid issues. It is worth noting that many European rail lines do not offer tickets online or for purchase more than 90 days out. Don't stress too much over train tickets. Trains, since cars can be added, tend to sell out less. I wouldn't wait until the day of, but a couple weeks (and in some cases days) out is fine. And don't forget to research airport transport. In many European cities the major international airport is not located near the city center.

Bonus tip - I love booking.com because they offer free cancellation for many of their bookings. So you can lock something in and are still able to alter your reservation or cancel it entirely for several weeks.

STEP 4 (3 months to 1 month out)
Now that you have planned and purchased your airline tickets and hotel, and know how you're going to get around once you arrive, it's time to start filling out your itinerary with activities and excursions. The photographer in my loves to start with Pinterest to see what gorgeous locations are associated with my destination (obviously I am going to need all of the lavender pictures in Provence). Again, you might think that you want to be flexible and leave your schedule open, but I promise if you're going to a major European city in the summer this is not a good idea if you want to see or do certain things. Every summer in Italy I see tourists in Venice, Rome, and Florence spending their entire day waiting in ridiculous lines; lines that could easily be avoided with an online reservation. This just seems silly to me. But of course I don't travel to relax and sleep in, so my advice may not be for everyone.

I book as many things in advance as I can. I also like to leave one free morning or afternoon per location/city for the unexpected -- things I didn't know I wanted to do in advance, or ran out of time to see.

STEP 5 (4 to 2 weeks out)
In the weeks leading up to my departure, I like to create a file with all of my booking references and important information. I save this as a pdf on my computer and on my phone so I can access it where ever I am (and with or without data/wifi). I also like to create a custom Google map and save it to my map ap. That way I have a visual itinerary in addition to my printed itinerary, which yes I print and bring. It is also helpful if you want to plan a walking tour or road trip (don't worry, I will be sharing my Provence road trip when it's done).


I could go on and I am sure there are plenty of things I missed, especially when it comes to pre-trip prep, but hopefully this gives you a good outline on how to start planning. I have many more travel tips here. And please contribute your tips below!

I promise the more you plan the smoother your trip will go! And if you hate planning, consider small group, guided travel, or a study abroad program. And don't think study abroad is limited to collage-age students, we have non-traditional (i.e. mature) students go every year and have an amazing time. Some universities even offer group alumni trips.


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La Dolce Vita








hat // top // bag // jeans // espadrilles

A couple weeks ago I fell down the Etsy rabbit hole. There are so many amazing things on Etsy these days and after some arbitrary clicking and searching I stumbled upon Hats By Olivia. Olivia makes the cutest beach/summer hats I have ever seen. I immediately wanted one, but I was struggling on decided between "yes way rosé" or "rosé all day." I messaged Olivia with some questions and after chatting a bit she mentioned that she had made a "la dolce vita" hat before. Done! It was meant to be. I mean, I have to have a "la dolce vita" hat for my summer in Italy... right?

I couldn't believe how quickly I received my custom hat. I am not sure if you can tell, but the saying on the hat is done with hand-stitched sequins. I also love the pom-pom detail, which comes in several color options if you are so inclined. I have always loved hats, especially when I am traveling, but lately I am turning into quite the hat lady. And I am ok with that.

As soon as my hat arrived, Kelly and I headed out to snap a picture on our favorite pink wall. I wasn't planning on a full outfit shoot, just snapping some pics of the hat and my new gingham bucket bag. But one thing led to another and before I knew it we were staging a full on shoot (who doesn't put fresh blooms in their bucket bag?). If only I had done my makeup and coordinated my shoes better, but c'est la vie.

The final product was worth it and Kelly and ended up having a blast on a random week-day afternoon.

Be sure to check out Olivia's whimsical designs! And don't forget you can customize.


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What to Pack if You're Traveling or Studying Abroad This Summer




It's officially 32 days until I depart for Italy! I will be spending my usual 3 months abroad to teach and research in Florence. I will also be doing a little bit of personal travel (stay tuned for more on that). I met with this summer's students a couple weeks ago and, as expected, most of their questions and emails have centered around packing. 

Packing for a long trip abroad is difficult. Over the years, I think I have done a pretty good job of mastering this skill. I am able to pack for the entire summer abroad in one large suitcase, one carry on, and one tote. As I discussed last week, the key to efficient and stress-free packing is starting early.

If you've been reading here for a while, this advice will feel very familiar (Feel free to skip down to the example packing list below). But it is worth repeating, because it works! 

The following are my tried-and-true tips for packing:

1) Take the number of days you are traveling and divide in half (if you are traveling for more than 3 months, this will need to be adjusted). This is the number of outfits you should try and pack. So for my summer abroad I will pack 40 - 45 outfits.

2) Select items that you can mix and match. This will double your wardrobe for the trip. I suggest selecting one color scheme to ensure everything matches. You can see my example below.

3) For warm summer months, focus on natural fabrics that breathe.

4) Bring a variety of tops and bottoms of varying lengths and weights so you are prepared for all weather conditions.


6) Pack few toiletries, you can buy the basics when you arrive (more suitcase weight saving tips here).

7) Use packing cubes and compression bags to save space and stay organized.

You can read even more of my summer packing tips here.

Now on to the fun part. Here is an example of exactly what to pack. This is what I would pack for a month abroad (mid-May to mid-June) in Italy. This example would also work for most of Europe, you just sub a couple more layers for cooler evenings (there are few cool evenings in southern Europe in the summer lol). And obviously the later in the summer you go, the warmer the weather you need to pack for.



From this list, I can make 36 unique outfits. Don't believe me? Check it out.


I hope this helps ease your packing anxiety. And please share if you're headed somewhere fabulous this summer. I promise to share my plans soon!


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Shhhh... It's a Secret










hat (old, love this one) // sunnies // top // jacket // skirt // bag // espadrilles (super old, similar and a great price)


There are two things that I love, secrets and tacos! The only thing better than secrets and tacos is a secret taco. And it's no secret that Bar Taco is one of my favorite restaurants in Tampa. So when they invited me to try their secret taco, I couldn't say yes fast enough. Kelly was invited as well so we made a girl's day out of it.

Every month Bar Taco has an off-the-menu secret taco. But if you want to try it, you have to ask for it. This month's taco is a crispy avocado. I thought the cauliflower taco was my favorite until I tried this one. Delicious is an understatement. It's a lightly fried slice of fresh avocado over tangy cabbage and topped with a slightly spicy sauce. Next time you hit up Bar Taco with your friends (they have locations in CT, NY, VA, TN, GA, and of course, FL) you can impress everyone by ordering the secret taco.

Also, it is worth noting that Bar Taco totally gets Kelly and I, they brought us tacos to photograph and then fresh, warm tacos to eat (plus and all of the staff wear gingham).

After eating our body weight in tacos, guac, and churros (#sorrynotsorry), Kelly and I strolled Hyde Park and grabbed a coffee from the Buddy Brew brew truck. It was an absolutely gorgeous spring day so I wore an airy striped pleated skirt, lace cropped top, and denim jacket. I added some red accents with my bag and espadrilles. I topped the look off with my favorite hat that I recently refreshed by adding a wide navy ribbon and bow. It was so easy and really transformed the hat (you can see the before here).

I am so enjoying these lovely spring days (Britt and I had the most delightful picnic yesterday) and I hope they hang around for a while!

Happy Monday!


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