5 Easy Ways To Cut Calories At Starbucks

Ahh, Starbucks. A millennial, American staple. Where would we be without our caffeine?

Unfortunately, many of the delicious drinks we order without a second thought sometimes are loaded with empty calories. (Enter: Pumpkin Spice Latte, Peppermint Mocha, Caramel Frappucinos….). With summer on the horizon, many of us are finding ways to easily cut calories so we can look and ultimately FEEL better on the beach.

Read on to find out how to satisfy your Starbucks cravings, while also not cheating on your diet.

If you want to have a “treat yourself” drink, opt for a tall.

Do you really NEED that Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte anyway? Instead, order a tall and drink it slowly to really savor it. Everything is ok in moderation, anyway!

Go for “skinny” versions of drinks 

This means you’d like sugar-free syrup, nonfat milk and no whipped cream. Easy enough, right?

Ask for almond, soy or nonfat milk rather than having the regular whole milk 

You are also less likely to have a stomachache after, as these options will have you avoiding dairy.

If you love added flavor, ask for sugar-free syrup or fewer pumps of it.  

1-2 pumps of sugar-free syrup should definitely curb your sweet cravings.

Avoid going to Starbucks often.

I found I was cutting calories (and saving my precious paychecks) when I chose to make coffee at home with my own, low-calorie creamer that I love. If you’re in need of a good creamer, I’ve been recently loving the Trader Joe’s Lactose Free Coffee Creamer in Vanilla.

9 St Paddy’s Day Tees For All Your Day Drinking Needs

It’s that time of year again — St. Patrick’s Day. For me, this is the day of every single year that I am reminded that I have nothing green in my closet and don’t like corned beef and cabbage very much. But I still eat in anyway and wear whatever I can find, in honor of my Irish heritage.

Given that I will be out of the country for St. Patrick’s Day this year and will unfortunately not be able to go out on the actual date, I went out this past weekend with my friends in Hoboken, NJ. While most may consider this to be rather early, I know this is what my Irish ancestors would have wanted ;). How twenty-something of me.

While I did not order any of these shirts, mostly because I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day early this year, I would definitely consider ordering one of these affordable options to wear in years to come.

Whether or not you will actually be partying this year for St. Patrick’s Day, some of these options are still appropriate for school or work. Hope everyone has a happy, healthy and safe St. Patrick’s Day 🙂


10 Last Minute Gifts For Her You Can Find on Amazon Prime

Procrastinating on Christmas shopping again? That makes two of us. 

I know that I’ve done a lot of my own Christmas shopping on Amazon Prime, thanks to their amazing free two-day shipping policy, AND because they sell just about anything you can think of. 

Whether she’s your girlfriend, sister, mother or second aunt once removed, it is likely that she will be happy receiving at least one of these gift ideas. I’ve also taken the liberty of including gifts of multiple price points. 

Wireless earbuds

In my eyes, you can never go wrong with technology — everyone has a cell phone.

Since Apple made the decision to remove the headphone jack on their newer iPhone releases, many consumers are making the switch to wireless bluetooth earphones.  They’re so easy to take on the go too! 

An essential oil diffuser

These are so popular these days because of their calming properties, and have been shown to promote higher quality sleep patterns. Perfect for that aunt that just started a new job and that cousin that’s working through her college application process.

A rose quartz face roller

For some reason, these rose quartz face rollers are flying off the shelves this season as they are considered to be the DIY version of getting a facial. A facial at home for a quarter of the price? Yes, please!

A winter scarf

Scarves are absolutely timeless. And a girl always need another one.

A reusable water bottle

I love my Swell bottle and bring it to work with me most days to ensure that I am always drinking enough water.  

The Amazon Echo (2nd Generation)

The Amazon Echo offers many capabilities — you can use it to listen to music and audiobooks, adjust lighting in your home, etc. 

A female of any age will love this — your college aged cousin can use it to play her music at parties and your grandmother will finally be able to listen to 50 Shades of Grey aloud on Audible. 

A leather tote

Every girl could use a classic tote because it’s so incredibly versatile and low maintenance. She can use it for high school classes to carry her books or as a diaper bag if she’s a new mom. 

Becoming Michelle Obama

This is the book of the moment. Every female on the planet is either reading it, has read it, or wants to read it because who doesn’t love Michelle Obama?

A beanie 

You can’t go wrong with a cute winter hat. This pom pom beanie comes in a ton of colors so there is bound to be something that fits her personal style. 

A pajama set

Give a girl a matching pajama set, and she can conquer the world. That’s how the saying goes, right? 

The Ultimate Study Abroad Packing List for a Semester in Florence, Italy

As David Mitchell once said, “Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”  

I can firmly state that the making the decision to study abroad in Florence, Italy of spring 2017 was one of the best things I did during my time as a college student. I was able to make amazing new friends that I would not have otherwise made, experience a new culture’s fashion, food and language first-hand, visit many European cities I had never seen before and gained an entirely new sense of independence.

With that being said, here is your go-to guide for packing for your semester abroad. 

Travel documents: 

  • Passport and/or visa 
  • Driver’s license 
  • Plane tickets
  • Proof of medical insurance 
  • Copies of passport, driver’s license and proof of medical insurance 
  • Local currency
  • Credit/debit card 

Toiletries: 

It is smart to bring travel-sized products for the first few days abroad and then stock up once you move in, especially because I struggled to find travel-size products in Europe. The small bottles are great to have on hand for weekend trips and are easy to refill. 

Also, leave hairdryers/straighteners/curling irons because they are likely to fry in converters. Instead, pick up whatever you need after you arrive in your host country. 

  • Travel size shampoo and conditioner bottles 
  • Toothbrush 
  • Travel size toothpaste 
  • Glasses and contacts for length of semester 
  • Travel size bottle of contact solution 
  • Deodorant 
  • Hair brush 
  • Makeup/hair products 
  • Medications for entire length of stay 
  • Emergency stock of ibuprofen, bandaids, and antibiotic ointment 
  • Razors
  • Feminine products 
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers 
  • Sunscreen 

Clothing:

Definitely research the climate of your country before leaving, as this will heavily impact what you need. Italy does not get as cold as Ireland does, for example. 

Also bring clothes that can be layered easily. 

  • Rain coat
  • Gym clothes 
  • Bathing suit 
  • Winter jacket (If needed. I only wore mine a handful of times during the semester!) 
  • Underwear, bras and socks (2 weeks’ worth!)
  • Sweaters/sweatshirts
  • 1-2 nicer outfits 
  • 3-5 long sleeve shirts 
  • 5-7 short sleeve shorts 
  • Shorts
  • Skirt
  • Shower shoes/rubber flip-flops —Good for warm weather trips and for showering in hostels/Airbnbs
  • Walking shoes – your go-to sneaker for long days of walking/traveling. Expect to toss these out by the end of the semester. I wore my Adidas Superstars as a stylish option and other people wore actual running sneakers. This is purely personal preference. 
  • Nicer pair of shoes — flats, booties or boots, etc. 
  • Leggings
  • A few pairs of jeans 

Accessories:

  • Beanie 
  • Blanket scarf — Use as a way to elevate your outfit and as a blanket on airplanes  
  • Gloves
  • Watch 
  • Sunglasses 

Technology: 

  • Headphones
  • Laptop
  • Smartphone  
  • Camera and extra memory card
  • Any corresponding chargers, chords or batteries. These can be difficult to find abroad.  
  • Outlet converters/adaptors — this is something I definitely forgot and would struggle to find on trips 

Extras: 

  • Overnight bag for weekend trips (duffel or carry on suitcase)
  • Backpack — great for weekend trips.
  • Purse that zips —  I brought my Longchamp bag and a crossbody purse to have options. 
  • Notebook and pen to write about your travels 
  • Waterbottle 
  • Umbrella 
  • Portable charger — handy on weekend trips so you never have a dead phone 
  • Travel pillow 

 

 

5 Tips To Dress a Pear-Shaped Body

In a world taken over by comparison due to the prevalence of social media, women struggle with body positivity and embracing their figures. With that in mind, I think that a major part of being “body positive” is dressing for your body type. This means wearing clothing that shows off what makes you feel amazing.

I personally have a pear-shaped body type. A pear-shaped body is characterized as someone who is smaller on top than they are on the bottom. Their chest and waist are on the smaller side, so it is most flattering to emphasize those parts, and draw attention away from their hips and thighs, where they carry most of their weight. Powerhouses like Beyonce and J-Lo are also pear-shaped ladies!

This article isn’t to say that you can’t dress in whatever you want. But I personally felt a wave of relief when I stopped forcing myself into clothing that clearly did not flatter the parts of me I was self-conscious about and instead drew attention to the things I loved about my body. With that all being said, here are a few rules I go by when dressing my body type.

Find what works for you and stick to it

In high school, when shopping for homecoming and sweet sixteen dresses with my friends, I felt like the “fat one” because body con dresses never seemed to flatter my curves like they did on my “thinner” friends. I tried to change the way I ate, but my body type remained the same. It seemed like bodycon dresses were the only option for social events like homecoming, and it etched away at my self-esteem.

After a long period of self-doubt, I began to try on other silhouettes. With some trial and error, I eventually figured out that my curves were MADE for skater and a-line dresses. Suddenly, my smaller shoulders, waist and flatter tummy were the star of the show, and I was no longer self-conscious of the extra weight around my hips and thighs that bodycon dresses drew attention to.

Knowing what shapes work for you also creates fewer tears in the dressing room and makes shopping a breeze.

img_1493

Buckle up! 

In 2018, belts are used for more than just to keep our pants up.

This season, statement belts are in, and can be used to cinch in your waist and bring attention to your smallest part, while also adding an edge to your outfit.

Two words: French tuck

Popularized by Tan France on Neftlix’s original show Queer Eye, the French tuck is the process of tucking in the front half of your shirt into your bottoms to bring attention to your waist, blousing it, while leaving the back portion untucked. According to France, it makes you appear “taller and leaner”.

I think that it also adds a certain *~je ne sais quoi~ to any outfit, while also better flattering my shape.

Avoid oversized clothing

While some pieces of oversized clothing are definitely considered fashionable these days and are obviously comfortable, I tend to avoid these pieces because I feel that they can make me look heavier. Instead, I look for more tailored pieces in soft fabrics so I still feel cozy without creating extra bulk.

When I do wear something oversized, though, I make sure to balance the large piece out with another piece that is much tighter. This can be as simple as pairing the piece with leggings or very skinny jeans.

High-rise pants are your BFF

I’ve recently coined the phrase “if my pants don’t cover my bellybutton, I don’t want them”.

Pear-shaped ladies have smaller waists than hips, so before high-waisted pants came back into style, it was really difficult to find pants that fit me everywhere. I love how high-waisted pants hug in all the right places and bring attention to my smaller waist.

Another thing I love about this style? They make my legs appear longer and your torso shorter, which ultimately makes your body look more balanced. 

High-rise pants also look great paired with crop tops so they’re incredibly versatile to have in your closet. 


Purchase my sweater, a similar tee and similar booties here.

23 Lessons I Learned by 23

In the words of the wise Blink-182, “Nobody likes you when you’re 23.” With that being said, after having already bypassed my birthday about a month ago, I have thought back on the lessons that I have learned over the course of my twenty three years spent living.

  1. Swearing is unattractive and makes you sound less intelligent.
  2. “If you have two friends in your lifetime, you’re lucky. If you have one good friend, you’re more than lucky.” – S.E. Hinton, The Outsiders
  3. Eat well not just to stay thin. Eat well for the sake of your well-being and mentality. Eat well because you’re WORTH IT.
  4. But still eat a burger sometimes, because life is short.
  5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you really need it.
  6. Your struggles definitely do not define you, whether it be your depression or lack of mathematic skills.
  7. Making to-do lists to stay organized are the keys to your success.
  8. Your parents are getting older, too. Treasure the time you have with them.
  9. “The smartest thing a woman can ever learn is to never need a man”
  10. Good things come to those who wait, whether it be the right job or a romantic relationship.
  11. As much as you may try, you cannot control others. The moment you realize this, life becomes a lot easier.
  12. Other people won’t make you happy — you need to face your insecurities head on and love yourself first.
  13. It is more worthwhile to go to bed at midnight and wake up early to work rather than working through the night. Your mind will be much sharper.
  14. Binge-eating Oreos will not fix your failed Calculus exam.
  15. You will never regret being kind to others.
  16. 5 shots of tequila doesn’t make you a better dancer.
  17. Write everything down. You’ll never remember when that meeting was otherwise.
  18. Stop comparing yourself to others — everyone moves at their own pace.
  19. Always carry Advil with you. You’ll never know when you (or someone else) will need it.
  20. Oh, and a portable charger for long days out of the house.
  21. The way you say something is sometimes much more important than what you say. Speaking in a calm voice instead of raising your voice will often go over better.
  22. Have a headache? Drink water. Bloated? Drink water. Is your skin breaking out? Drink water. Water is always the answer, basically.
  23. You were made the way you are for a reason. Stop trying to force yourself into a box.

You can purchase my top here, similar shoes here and my skirt here.

3 Major Fall 2018 Fashion Trends

In my humble opinion, fall is the best season of all. I love fall because of gorgeous colors of the changing leaves, apple picking, a break from summer’s sweltering heat, pumpkin carving, my birthday (October 7th — where my Libras at?), and most of all, the fashion. 

With that being said, fall is my favorite season to dress for, and the reason why I wanted to write this post — who doesn’t love fall fashion?  Read on to find out about fall’s hottest trends, as well as some outfit inspiration from some fashion bloggers that I follow.

Burnt orange //

In 2018, it seems that burnt orange is the new black. Whether it be worn in the form of a button front mini skirt, an overall dress, a sweater or a corduroy jacket, burnt orange is all the rage this season and can be seen everywhere.

 

 

65CC2507-D580-421C-ADD0-AC0171B7855A-550x688
Courtney Shields of Bring Your Own Beauty

Gray plaid // 

Plaid? For Fall?

Plaid is timeless — this season this menswear inspired trend be found just about anywhere — from Boohoo, Target, J.Crew or Lulus. 

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-10-02 at 11.27.27 AM
Blogger Grace Lee of Gracefullee Made

Leopard print //

Leopard print’s a neutral, right? I love this trend because it pairs well with just about anything (stripes, olive, denim, black…) and adds some pizzazz to any outfit. Whether you wear it in a the form of shoes, a cozy pullover, a purse or a scarf, this trend pulls a classic look together.

 

 

Screen Shot 2018-11-01 at 1.08.27 PM
Brighton Keller of BrightonTheDay

A Look Inside My First Birchbox: Unboxing & First Impressions

As many of you probably know, Birchbox is a monthly beauty subscription box service that matches you with products you may like based on your skin type and tone, hair color and type, etc.

I received a Birchbox subscription as a 23rd birthday gift from one of my best friends, Emily. While I have never tried Birchbox before, I have received Ipsy Bags in the past, so I was excited to see how these two beauty monthly subscription boxes differed.

A look inside at the products:

Benefit Cosmetics BADGal BANG! Volumizing Mascara 

 

I was initially very excited to try out this mascara as I have really enjoyed using Benefit’s other mascaras, They’re Real and Roller Lash, in the past.

Unfortunately, I did not like this one as much as I liked the other mascaras that Benefit has produced. While BadGal BANG! was nice for separating and lengthening your lashes, I found that they weren’t…well… voluminous enough for my liking.

I found this to be a bit irksome as the name suggests that the mascara does just that when it does not.

Vasanti Makeup Magnet Wipes 

IMG_7691

 

I loved that these wipes were not at all greasy or irritating on my sensitive skin, but still managed to get all of my mascara and eyeshadow off, most likely because they are infused with micellar water. 10/10 would repurchase.

Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Portofino

 

To be honest, I was never one for the liquid lip trend. I often find them uncomfortable because they dry out the lips and look unflattering when they wear off, as they often crack and wear unevenly.

I tried it out regardless — while the color, which Birchbox describes as a “pink rose shade” was a pretty one for fall, seemed to be long lasting and also dried evenly, I do not see myself reaching for this one. I would definitely be interested in trying out the satin finish lipsticks in the line though, in hope that they are a bit less drying.

Number 4 Super Comb Prep and Protect 

IMG_7694

I spray this leave-in conditioner on wet hair after having showered and was pleasantly surprised at how easily it detangled my thick hair upon bushing it out. It was very soft to the touch and left my hair feeling silky smooth and smelling amazing. I am definitely interested in trying this out again to see if it ends up repairing my hair from its color and heat damage.

Balance Me Congested Skin Serum 

IMG_7698

Upon first impression, I put a bit of this serum on a few breakouts on my chin. While I cannot tell if this helped to clear them up any faster, I loved how it made my dry, sensitive skin feel smooth to the touch and added a bit of moisture back into it.

After having read some rave reviews on Amazon, I feel that I will definitely have to keep testing this one out!

The verdict: As a recent college grad, I do my best to avoid spending a lot of money on makeup. If I choose to purchase a high-end product, it was most likely heavily researched to ensure that I can justify the price.

With this in mind, I loved being exposed to new products that I would not normally know about at an affordable cost. I also like that they are sample size, because I can try it out and then repurchase the full-size product if I see fit.  I look forward to receiving my next Birchbox and trying out more products next month!

5 Lessons College Taught Me That Can’t Be Found in A Book

As my grandmother said before her passing last December, I “blossomed” over my four years of college.

Throughout my undergraduate career, I switched majors once, acquired 3 internships, studied abroad in Florence, Italy for a semester, traveled to the Dominican Republic for a service trip, held several editorial positions at an online media outlet marketed toward empowered college-aged women, built strong relationships with my professors, and lastly, made friendships that will last a lifetime.

I learned a lot of content academically throughout the years, from what it takes to build a strong brand image to the functions of an enzyme.  But of course, there is more to learn than what can be discussed in a lecture hall. I have compiled this list of lessons that I have learned over the past four years, specifically ones that cannot be found in a textbook.

1. Who my real friends are. 

Keep in mind that these may not be the first friends you make. Don’t waste time hanging out with people because you feel that you should — life is too short. Your time should be spent with people who lift you up, make you laugh, and will support you during your darkest days.

Screen Shot 2018-05-19 at 12.58.19 AMProcessed with VSCO with c9 preset

 

2. You should be confident in your decision to stay single because you deserve the best.

Some guys are just not nice and are not worth your time or tears.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, even if a guy is perfectly nice and does all the right things — treats you with respect, texts you “good morning”, and takes you out on real dates that don’t involve “Netflix & Chill” — it still may not feel right and that’s okay too.

IMG_4141

3. Not knowing what you want to do is one hundred percent okay.  

So many undergraduates face a great deal of anxiety when making the decision of what to major in. What do I want to do with my life, anyway? 

I entered college as a psychology major but after enduring said anxiety, I changed my major to communication my sophomore year and have not looked back since. I knew going into college that I wanted to work with people, but after a few courses in psychology that were geared towards working in a lab, I knew that I was in the wrong classes — I wanted to work with people on a daily basis.

I had heard through the grapevine that marketing pairs nicely with a communication major, so I picked up a minor in marketing. I loved being able to take classes in something that I found interesting, was definitely applicable to the real world, and something that I seemed to excel at.

IMG_3030

4. Taking care of yourself is so important, both mentally and physically. 

This past semester, I made the decision to completely change my eating habits alongside two of my close friends — I started tracking everything I ate, practiced portion control, and increased my water intake.  I lost about 15 pounds but gained an immeasurable amount of confidence. After years of being ashamed of my body, I was no longer hiding behind baggy clothing.

Choose to go to the gym, not because you need to lose weight, but because you are worth taking care of yourself. Reap the benefits of exercise — go to the gym for 20 minutes to blow off some steam, even when you have that psychology exam tomorrow that you’re going to “totally fail”.

IMG_3022

5. Traveling can truly change who you are as a person. 

I had the opportunity to study abroad for an entire semester in Florence, Italy and was able to truly grow as a person, as cheesy as it may sound. I gained senses of resilience and independence living in a city inhabited by people that spoke a language I was unfamiliar with, as well as traveling every weekend to different countries with the amazing friends that I made.

Conversely, on my service trip to the Dominican Republic with a group of students from my university, I was exposed to a way of life that I had never seen before. We were housed in the Mustard Seed community in Puerto Plato, DR, and volunteered to work with impoverished children with developmental disabilities. That week in January allowed me to solidify the fact that I want to take on a permanent career that allows me to help others.

Screen Shot 2018-05-19 at 12.54.46 AM33340920_10211583703210210_7055033032687747072_o

 

I cannot express in words how grateful I am that I was given the privilege to study at Fairfield University for the past four years. My time there will be greatly missed, but I am excited to see the amazing opportunities that are on the horizon for me. Once a Stag, always a Stag.

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Governors Ball Survival Guide

On Saturday, June 2nd, 2018, I attended day two of the popular New York City music festival, Governors Ball, alongside my sister and two of her friends. Gov Ball is held every summer on Randall’s Island Park.  The festival mainly draws in young people, most likely between the ages of 17-25, so I definitely felt right at home.

The festival features artists from a wide variety of genres, so there is definitely something for everyone. This year’s festival featured big names such as Travis Scott, Halsey, Pusha T and 2 Chainz, while also giving exposure to lesser known artists such as LANY (one of my personal favorites), Mikky Ekko and The Spencer Lee Band.

IMG_2672IMG_3683

As someone that had never attended Gov Ball before, I really did not have any idea what to expect. There was one thing that I did not know though — that I would be exhausted at the end of the day. But in the end, I am pretty sure that I came prepared. With this in mind, follow my 5 survival tips for Governors Ball and you should be good as gold.

Dress comfortably. 

Given the fact that you’ll be on your feet all day, wear comfortable shoes and clothing. I went with a bodysuit, flow-y shorts and sneakers for my Governor’s Ball outfit — I wanted to look put together, but wanted to still feel free to move around.

I purchased my black bodysuit from American Apparel (you can get a similar one here!), my shorts from Tobi, my purple sneakers are Supergas and my mirrored sunglasses are Ray Bans.

IMG_5170

Stay hydrated. 

It’s hot out there, friends, and passing out from dehydration unfortunately is all too common during the summer. Gov Ball allows guests to bring in reusable water bottles, so do so if you want to be environmentally friendly. Otherwise, I advise everyone to drink water every few hours — trust me, the $4 price tag is worth every penny if it keeps you from fainting. They also offer free fill-up stations, so you can refill your empty water bottle without having to pay again.

IMG_3685IMG_3690

Bring a portable charger. 

We arrived at Gov Ball at around 1 PM and left the show around 11:30 PM. You can do the math and assume that your phone battery will not last the entire day. And while the festival did offer complimentary charging stations to guests, investing in a portable charger to keep in your purse or backpack to charge your phone up would be a great idea.

Processed with VSCO with c8 preset

IMG_7140

Protect yourself!

From the sun, that is. As someone who burns easily, I am always the one to bring along a bottle or can of spray sunscreen with me. At a music festival, the entire day is being spent in the sun, so definitely be sure to protect yourself from the sun’s powerful rays to avoid a nasty sunburn.

IMG_3689

Avoid the mosh pits. 

Ahh, no music festival would be complete without a moshpit. To avoid an injury, stay away from the area right at the front of the stage, as that is mainly where mosh pits tend to congregate — we learned this one the hard way during Travis Scott’s set.

IMG_3725Processed with VSCO with c2 preset

 

 

 

 

SaveSave

 

SaveSave