Tips for Picking a College

March 31, 2015

It's coming to that time of year when many high school seniors are selecting their college. I remember going through the same thing just one year ago! It definitely can be a stressful time. I'm very happy with the college I chose and I decided to pass along some tips that I went by when choosing a school.

1. Do get a feel for each school you visit. This part is pretty much up to the gut feeling that you get while visiting the school. When you look around, do you see people you could be friends with? Do you see yourself walking around the campus? I found this was something that I automatically knew. It's important to listen to your instincts.

2. Do look at the programs. If you have a major in mind, it's pretty obvious to choose a school with that program. However, also keep in mind that you may not ultimately end up liking your major. Make sure the school you choose has a variety of options that fit with your interests in case you decide to switch majors.

3. Do consider the setting. After all, the location of your college is where you will be living for the next four years. It's important to trust your instincts on this as well. Don't ignore a feeling telling you that you don't like the location or that you feel unsafe. 

4. Do know yourself. Don't base your choices on the person that you think you'll become or the person that you want to become. Most likely, you're not going to become a different person in just a few short months!

5. Do look at the opportunities. This applies for the opportunities available when you're in school and also for when you're out of school looking for a job. Think about what type of clubs or organizations you would like to be a part of, and make sure the school has those options for you. Additionally, consider what kind of alumni network and career resources the school has to aid you in finding a job post-graduation.

6. Don't care about the opinions of others. In senior year, it seems like everyone is obsessed over college. Whether it's your classmates, friends, parents, family, or even strangers, everyone seems to be asking where you're going and giving you their input. At the end of the day, though, I advise anyone to choose what you really want regardless of what others might say. In a few months, it won't matter to others where you end up!

7. Don't forget to use your resources. It's important to gain some insight on how the current students and alumni feel about the school. I read some online reviews of my school and also looked at the retention rate. This is important because it gives you an idea if students liked the school and stayed or if a ton were transferring. If you know people who go to the school, ask their opinions!

8. Don't stress out. There is a lot of pressure from friends, family, etc. but just keep in mind that it does end eventually and you are far more likely to end up at a school you love than one you don't.

9. Don't compare yourself to others. Your friends may have known where they were going for their whole lives or they may have gotten acceptances to more "prestigious" schools than you. I would avoid comparing yourself and your process to others. Go at your own pace and remember that it's absolutely fine to like schools that others don't and vice versa.

10. Don't ignore cost. This goes beyond tuition, which you can get financial aid and scholarships for. Consider that if you're going to school in an urban area, you're probably going to spend more money than if you were at school in the middle of nowhere. Also consider transportation costs to and from school if you're going far from home.

Good luck!

Saturday in Portsmouth

March 30, 2015

Portsmouth, New Hampshire is one of my favorite towns. The brick buildings and coastal setting make it quintessential New England. I've come to appreciate it even more since going to college nearby -- my friends and I love going into Portsmouth for some shopping or dining.

We went this Saturday and it was snowing, but we still had fun walking along the brick sidewalks and tree-lined streets.

We went into some clothing and jewelry stores and also headed into my favorite, a paper goods store called Gus and Ruby Letterpress. It's such a bright store filled with the best selection of adorable stationary, cards, prints, and an assortment of accessories.

I could browse around this store for hours! It's so much fun to go in every few weeks because they are always changing things up. (I wrote about the store and some of my purchases a few months back.)

You'll find the perfect card for any occasion!

I think my favorite part may be their amazing selection of prints. How amazing is this gallery wall?


Weekend Reading

March 27, 2015

Happy Friday! I've had a pretty low-key week easing back into the routine of school after spring break. This weekend I have some fun things planned so I'm looking forward to it.

Here are some articles that caught my eye this week:

{ via Target }

1. Lilly for Target Lookbook It looks like the Lilly Pulitzer collection for Target that's coming out April 19th will have some great options! I hope they don't sell out right away so that I can grab some of the things I have my eye on.

2. Beachy Hamptons Home Tour I think I enjoy home tours more than most people my age... I just love seeing how people decorate their homes and how creative they are! This probably also explains my HGTV addiction. This home is amazing, I love the coastal influences.

{ via Refinery29 }

3. What Stress is Really Doing to Your Body I love reading articles and becoming more informed about health and the body. I'd heard about the negative implications of stress on health but this article includes a video that is super helpful in explaining exactly how stress contributes to disease, mental illness, etc.

4. 20 Reasons You Should Drink Lemon Water in the Morning Another health related article that I found interesting this week. I'd been seeing articles about the benefits of lemon water and this article pretty much collects all the information in one place. I've recently been getting into the habit of drinking green tea with lemon in the mornings but maybe I'll switch that out for just water and lemon.

{ via YouTube }

5. Ed Sheeran's "Thinking Out Loud" Video I just watched this music video this week and can't believe I haven't seen it before. The dancing is incredible and it's so endearing how he put in all the effort to learn the choreography (the behind-the-scenes was a fun watch as well). This song is so sweet as well.


Favorite Fish Tacos

March 25, 2015

Fish tacos are probably my favorite meal. Living near the ocean I'm surrounded by the best, freshest seafood. Especially during the summer I eat out a lot at coastal seafood restaurants. I almost always order fish tacos. You would think that they would be hard to recreate at home, but it's actually really simple and lots of fun to customize with different toppings!

When I was home for spring break last week, my mom and I made fish tacos for dinner one night.

She seasoned some cod with cumin, garlic powder, and melted butter and then broiled it in the oven.

I made a fruit "salsa" with mango and pineapple.

Slicing fresh pineapple and mango makes all the difference as opposed to buying it pre-cut.

I then added some red onion, cilantro, lime juice, black pepper, and sea salt and topped the mixture with a lime slice and some blueberries. I love pairing tropical fruit with fish!

There are all kinds of fixings to top fish tacos with. The fun part is mixing it up every time and figuring out the best tasting combinations. I love avocado or guacamole, a fruit salsa, corn, sour cream, and sliced bell pepper. My mom also made a light coleslaw this time.

Melting the cheese on a warm, soft tortilla makes all the difference!


Philadelphia Art Museum

March 24, 2015

Strolling through an art museum is one of my favorite ways to spend the day. I love looking at art and learning about history through the paintings. On my trip to Philadelphia during spring break, I visited the Philadelphia Art Museum. I went to the Met in New York last fall and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston as well. I think I might have to add to my 101 in 1001 list with the goal of visiting several more art museums in different cities.

The Philadelphia Art Museum is a beautiful building and was the site of an iconic movie scene -- the steps outside of the museum are now known as the "Rocky Steps" because of the scenes in Rocky Balboa movies of the main character running up the steps.

The museum is pretty large but not overwhelmingly so. My cousin Maddie and I started off in the 19th and 20th century European Art rooms, which were some of my favorite because I love art from this time period.

I love impressionism, particularly Monet, Cezanne, and Signac. They had some beautiful works from Monet at this museum, including the "Bend in the Epte River near Giverny" above and "The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool, Giverny" below.

This museum was really cool because they had elaborate reconstructions of rooms from various historic places and homes, like this room below.

They also had a recreation of a Mediterranean-style terrace area with beautiful archways and a fountain.

I felt like I was back in Spain!

It's always interesting to stroll through the contemporary art section, too. Contemporary pieces always are a little more statement-making and provocative than older pieces.

"The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths."


Philadelphia Trip Recap

March 23, 2015

Last week during my spring break, I spent part of the week in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania area visiting family. I'm really close with my cousins and my parents surprised me with a plane ticket to visit them for my birthday. I always have a great time visiting family and my Pennsylvania-based relatives live in a beautiful area. It was slightly warmer than up here in New England and I was happy for the chance to leave my parka at home!

I touched down in Philly and my uncle and cousin Maddie picked me up. We headed downtown to catch the Pennsylvania Ballet's production of Swan Lake, my favorite ballet! The story had an interesting twist on it and the dancing was amazing.

We headed to the Rittenhouse Square neighborhood and I loved these brick facades.

For dinner, we went to a contemporary Asian restaurant that had a really cool ambiance.

They had an amazing shrimp pad thai which I could've eaten bowls of!

The next day, my cousin Maddie went to school and I got to see my other cousin Jill for a little bit before she went back to school. We did a little shopping and I did some on my own as well.

Lilly Pulitzer stores are instant happiness with their bright colors and vibrant prints! I've been obsessing over the Reagan Fit and Flare dress from their Spring collection and it was even more beautiful when I tried it on. Unfortunately, the store was out of my size.

It was cloudy but warm out, so I took a walk through historic Valley Forge National Park.

The park is the site of the winter encampment of George Washington's troops during the Revolutionary War. I love history and it was fun to walk around such a historically significant place.

My cousin and I had a low-key night of Chipotle and HGTV (she loves it as much as I do).

The next day we headed into Philadelphia and spent a few hours at the art museum. I love art museums so this was a lot of fun for me. I'm going to share more in a separate post tomorrow!

For lunch, we headed to the Reading Terminal Market, a huge indoor public market with dozens of vendors selling everything from fish to flowers to cheesesteaks. It was so much fun to wander around. I think I would go there everyday if I lived in Philly!

Had to share this one (featuring my uncle, he works in the city and met us for lunch!) because of the neon signs advertising Philly's famous Cheesesteaks and Hoagies.

I got an amazing vegetable and pesto crepe from this Creperie stand. I was dying to try the sweet varieties but it was lunch time... and the savory flavor surprised me by being just as delicious!

For dessert I chose an amazing lemon-coconut-white chocolate cookie from this heavenly place...

Maddie and I were tired out from all the walking in the city so we had another low-key evening. The next morning I hopped on a flight home! It was a quick trip but fun to get away and spend time with family.

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