Maine Moments

November 30, 2015

I had a great few days up in Maine relaxing with family. Our Thanksgivings are always pretty low-key, but I don't mind. It leaves plenty of time for hanging out and relaxing. 

I got to grab dinner and brunch with some friends, go on oceanfront walks with my dad, stroll around town with my mom, and have plenty of laughs with my sister. Definitely a successful long weekend in my book.

Walking by the waterfront docks on a stroll with my mom.

Delicious thick-crust pizza for a quick lunch at a favorite local spot.

Beautiful sunset over the bay during an after-dinner walk with mom.
A Thanksgiving walk along the waves at Ocean Point with dad.

Trusty Bean boots for exploring the rocky Maine coastline.

Classic Maine waterfront home looking out on the rocks and ocean.

Brunch at my favorite spot with a friend followed by a stroll downtown.

Grey skies and big waves at a quiet spot by the ocean catching up with an old friend.

Weekend Reading

November 27, 2015

Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

I've had a nice relaxing few days at home with family. Today, instead of braving the Black Friday crowds, I'm heading to a scenic place and enjoying the day in nature.

Here are some links I liked this week (and last)...

1. 10-minute rituals to start your day stress-free.
{ via Domaine Home }

2. Loved this fun feature of CompartĂ©s Chocolate... now I want to try some!
{ via Cupcakes and Cashmere }

3. Common phrases you're probably using incorrectly. So many of these bug me when people misuse them!
{ via T&C }

4. This little girl who knows the periodic table of the elements is the cutest! This was the original video and then this one is from her appearance on Ellen.
{ via Ellen }

Happy Thanksgiving

November 26, 2015

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

I have so much to be thankful for this year, including being home in beautiful Maine with my parents and sister.

Enjoy your day!


November 24, 2015

Lake McDonald in beautiful Montana from my trip there this summer.

I recently read that outdoor gear brand REI is closing its stores this Black Friday, encouraging customers to instead spend their days outdoors. I love the idea of this #OptOutside campaign. I love shopping as much as the next person, but a day spent in nature brings me so much more fulfillment!

I have a few days at home in Maine this Thanksgiving break, and I've decided to spend Black Friday outdoors. Even better, the weather in New England looks like it'll be unseasonably mild on Thursday and Friday.

I'm thinking of heading up to beautiful Acadia National Park to get in a final hike of the season and take in the beautiful coastal scenery.

Are you going to #OptOutside this Black Friday?

Study Abroad Check List

November 23, 2015

I'm preparing to study abroad next semester and I'm so excited, but there's so much to do get ready!

I've written up a checklist of the things I have to do to get ready, partly for myself (!) and partly for others who are also studying abroad!

☑︎ Apply for a visa 
It can take several weeks to process your application, so make sure to give yourself enough time. You will probably have to visit the nearest large city to go to the consulate of whatever country you'll be studying in, so make sure to factor that in as well.

☑︎ Get/check your passport 
If you don't have one already, make sure to leave yourself enough time to go through the passport application process. If you do have one already, check to make sure it doesn't expire soon.

☑︎ Register your travels 
Make sure to register with the local U.S. embassy of your destination through the State Department's Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. You can also register with International SOS to get safety and travel alerts. 

☑︎ Schedule medical appointments 
Since you'll be overseas for an extended period of time, you'll want to get your medical and dental check-ups out of the way before you leave, including any necessary immunizations. Also, make sure to fill up on all prescriptions.

☑︎ Talk to your cell-phone provider 
Figure out your cellphone plans, whether you want an international plan or are planning on getting an international SIM card for your phone once abroad.

☑︎ Book your flights 
Book your flights and research any additional travel that you will need to take to get to your final destination. Closer to my departure date, I also want to do some research on potential weekend travel that I'll do and what the best options are (train, plane, bus, etc.).

☑︎ Buy travel necessities 
Make sure you have luggage, additional bags, any products you can't get in your destination that you'll need, and things like plug converters. These are some things I have my eye on for my semester abroad.

☑︎ Do some research 
If you're not already acquainted with the culture, make sure to read up on the customs and everyday life. Also, use a variety of resources ahead of time to make sure you're properly prepared. I'll be referring to one of my favorite blogs, History in High Heels, which has a ton of study abroad posts and tips!

Note: Here are all my posts from studying abroad.

Weekend in New York

November 16, 2015

I spent the weekend traveling all over the east coast, from New Hampshire to Boston to New York and back again! I'm very tired but it was a great weekend and I'm so glad I made the trip.

My friend Elizabeth is studying dance in New York, and she was gracious enough to let me come visit her and show me around the city in between her rehearsals (I visited last fall and last spring, too). I also enjoyed exploring by myself while she's dancing. 

I arrived on Friday night and settled into the apartment (and took an online exam... college student life) while Elizabeth had rehearsal. Afterwards, we went out for sushi and then turned in early.

On Saturday morning, we walked through Central Park from the Upper East Side to the Upper West Side. I always love strolling around Central Park (although I think it was a little bit prettier when it was lush and green in the springtime).

I hadn't explored the Upper West Side before and I absolutely loved it. I found there was a lot more to do than on the UES. I loved the cross streets with beautiful brownstones. After Elizabeth headed downtown for rehearsal, I wandered through the Natural History Museum and along some more streets.

It was chilly but there was still sunshine and blue skies!

I loved this festive stoop all decorated for fall.

I originally had my mind on a famous Levain cookie but the line was so long... so I settled for a Magnolia Bakery cupcake. Tough life, I know ;). I wasn't really expecting much because I usually don't love cupcakes but it was so good. 

City views walking down Broadway.

Elizabeth and I met back up and relaxed in the apartment for awhile before heading out again. We walked down 5th Avenue and explored all of the floors of Bergdorf Goodman, eventually making our way up to BG, the restaurant at the top. We had beautiful views of Central Park and the city lights and had a delicious dinner. I didn't get any good pictures, but the restaurant is such a fun experience and the food is delicious.

We had tickets to see the legendary dancer Sylvie Guillem in her final performance tour on Saturday night.  She performed several contemporary pieces. Contemporary is not my absolute favorite but there was no denying Sylvie Guillem's incredible talent and artistry. I think the audience was collectively in awe.

On Sunday morning we woke up and made our way down to West Village. We started the morning with coffee and chai.

We had brunch, walked around a bit more, and then parted ways so I could catch my bus back up north. It was a quick weekend but I definitely packed a lot in! I'm so glad I got to visit New York again.

Weekend Reading

November 13, 2015

It's been a bit of a busy week but I made it to New York this afternoon and I'm excited for a weekend here!

I had Wednesday off from classes for Veterans' Day, and my friends and I (along with a group from our school) went to a local nursing home to volunteer. We set up a dance and danced and chatted with elderly folks for a few hours. It was so much fun! My friends and I are so glad we did it. 

On Thursday, I had an appointment in Boston to get my visa for studying abroad next semester. I decided to make a trip of it and head down on Wednesday night to stay with my sister for two nights. We had so much fun even though it was a short trip! I always love seeing her and her roommates.

I was only downtown for a few hours one morning, but it was nice to get my Boston fix nonetheless. 

And then I took a bus to Manhattan earlier this afternoon! I'm going to try to pack in as much as I can into the few days that I'm here. It should be fun!

Some links for the week...

1. Real-life locations that inspired Disney movie sets... these places look beautiful.
{ via House Beautiful }

2. I love a good apartment/house tour once in a while!
{ via The Everygirl }

2. Very cool ideas to "upcycle" items you would usually throw away.
{ via House Beautiful }

4. The attacks in Paris are absolutely tragic... I came across this Instagram that contains an amazing, extremely relevant quote that's important to keep in mind in times of sadness.
{ via Instagram }

Tips for a More Productive Day

November 11, 2015

Being busier in general this year has taught me how to pack a lot into one day -- work, classes, schoolwork, errands... It's definitely a valuable lesson to learn how maximize the productivity of your days. If you get a lot done during the day, you can take that time to relax and have fun... which is equally important!

Here are my top tips for being productive:

1. Stay off your phone This is number one for a reason! If you're grabbing a coffee and have a few minutes to scroll through your phone, go for it, but other than that, it's just a way to procrastinate. Put your phone away while doing homework so you're not tempted to check it every two minutes. You'll get a lot more done and feel so much better!

2. Be realistic with your to-do list The best feeling is realizing you checked off all of your to-do list items at the end of a day... but you'll never get there if you're unrealistic with your daily goals. If you know you have a lot of homework, save your errands for tomorrow. You'll feel and be more productive if you're not stressed about getting it all done.

3. Change up your location Sitting in the same chair in the library all day probably won't be the most inspiring setting to get your work done. Move around from your dorm, to a study lounge, to a classroom building, to the library. Your brain will be refreshed by changing up your spot.

4. Don't forget to drink water and eat meals Nourishing your brain is key in staying focused. Keep healthy snacks nearby and don't skip meals. And always have a full water bottle with you!

5. Take small breaks I find that the key to a productive day is having small breaks in between all of your various tasks. Long breaks lying in bed or watching TV will probably disrupt your productive mindset. I like to take 20 minutes to sit and eat or, even better, do something active as a break (for me, this is usually my midday dance class).

How do you stay productive during the day?

Weekend Reading

November 6, 2015

Happy Friday! I was hit hard with a cold this week and it wore me out, but was kind of a much-needed wake-up call to remember to take better care of myself. A few days of taking it easy and eating healthy have definitely helped.

My parents came for a spur-of-the-moment visit on Sunday and it was just what I needed. We spent the day eating our way through the Seacoast. Portsmouth is beautiful this time of year, and we also made our way across the river to Kittery, Maine to try a cafĂ© I'd been hearing about, Lil's.

And of course we got caramel apples, which are my favorite fall treat.

On Wednesday, I woke up and felt so tired and drained from the cold that I'd picked up, but didn't want to sit in bed all day. I wanted some fresh air, so I went for a drive and ended up in New Castle, the prettiest little coastal town! I had never been there, and wasn't even planning on going, but a few random turns through quaint little neighborhoods and I ended up in this beautiful spot... I can't wait to go back and explore more.

Here are some links I loved this week...

1. I've been following Essena O'Neill for awhile now and I think her recent decision to leave social media has been interesting to read about! Her new website has a lot of interesting content.
{ via Let's Be Game Changers }

2. This is the most amazing story... a policeman gave these kids a Halloween to remember instead of right away sharing the heartbreaking news that their parents died in a car wreck. Must read!
{ via GoFundMe }

3. This town in Spain was built into and around a giant rock. Pretty amazing... Maybe I'll be able to visit when I'm there next semester!
{ via Messy Nessy Chic }

4. I love Giuliana Rancic and this feature she did with The Everygirl is a good read.
{ via The Everygirl }

Checking in on 101 in 1001

November 5, 2015

Last January, I made a 101 in 1001 list, which is a bucket list of 101 things to complete in 1001 days. It was tough to come up with 101 things, but I think I did a pretty good job of creating a list of things I actually want to accomplish.

I've checked off a few things in the past 11 months, although not as much as I would like, but I'm getting there! The 1001 days are up on September 28, 2017, so I've got a bit of time.

Notable things I've checked off have been within my travels to New York, Rhode Island, Montana. I also accomplished a goal of mine to get more into yoga. I also got an on-campus job/internship this semester which I was looking to do!

I'm studying abroad in Spain next semester and I have a feeling I'll be able to check off a lot more goals while abroad.

I encourage everyone to create a 101 in 1001 list, or at least a bucket list of some kind. I find writing down your goals makes you much more accountable! 

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