Fall To-do List

September 26, 2016























It's officially fall! Fall is such a beautiful season, especially up here in New England, and I'm ready to make the most of it. Here's what's on my must-do list for the season:

1. Go for a nature walk Find some walking trails near you and venture into the woods in search of colorful leaves and crisp fresh air.

2. Attend a fall festival Look around for apple or pumpkin festivals at farms or towns near you. I'm headed to my hometown's pumpkin festival with friends this year!

3. Head to a farmers market Many outdoor farmers markets are ending soon, so get to one near you before it gets too cold.

4. Go for a hike and see the foliage from the peak What better way to see all the beautiful colors of fall than from the top of a mountain?

5. Pick out pumpkins at a farm I love to decorate my house with pumpkins both big and small, hand-selected from a local farmer.

6. Go apple picking One of my all-time favorite fall activities, nothing beats biting into a crisp apple picked right off the tree.

7. Bake a pumpkin pie I love the flavor of pumpkin, especially in pies and pumpkin bread.

8. Go to a football game Bundle up and spend an afternoon cheering for your college football team from the stands.

9. Eat a caramel apple Find a local candy shop that makes these decadent sweets and treat yourself.

10. Change over and clean out closet Replace your summer dresses with cozy sweaters, donating anything you won't wear anymore.

12. Hand wash sweaters Wash your wool sweaters and scarves so they'll be clean when you want to wear them.

13. Cook a fall-inspired meal for friends Invite friends over to try a new recipe inspired by the flavors of fall.

14. Carve pumpkins Spread out the newspaper and get to work on carving a face or design into a pumpkin.

I can't wait to check these off throughout the season!










































What are your favorite autumn activities?

Weekend Reading

September 23, 2016






























This week was a busy one and the weekend is looking full, too... Here's hoping I can quickly get over this cold I just caught! Some links for your weekend...

1. Makers and Gatherers is hosting a creative workshop and retreat on Lake Winnipesaukee this fall (November 4–6)! How fun does this look? You stay in a cozy lakeside cabin and spend the weekend learning about writing, styling, and photography!
{ via Makers and Gatherers }

2. The blogger behind Margo and Me's Instagrams from her trip to Italy is giving me serious Europe withdrawals... Can I go back now?
{ via Instagram }

3. Love this list of 20 easy things you can do to improve your life... little things that anyone can accomplish make all the difference.
{ via The Everygirl }

4. Always fun to read how blogs got started – Summer Wind is one of my favorites.
{ via Summer Wind }

Have a great first weekend of fall!

Tips for Clean Eating

September 22, 2016




























After getting back from spending the semester in Europe, I definitely needed to be a little stricter with my diet and exercise. I basically let myself eat whatever I wanted while abroad (no regrets!) but I wanted to eat a lot cleaner starting this summer. I'm generally a health-conscious person, so it wasn't too hard, but there's definitely a balance to be found.

Here are some of my tips for eating clean that I've found over the past few months:

1. Don't deprive yourself
When I first started trying to eat a clean diet, I wasn't eating enough calories in a day to sustain myself, so I would get ravenously hungry and eventually end up giving in to my junk food cravings. I quickly learned that I had to plan on frequent healthy snacks and more substantial meals in order to avoid making spontaneous bad food choices.

2. Limit eating out
I was also trying to limit spending this summer, so this rule went hand-in-hand with that. Eating out almost automatically entails big, not-so-healthy meals... Which is great once in awhile! But make it a treat and not a regular occurrence.

3. Have a healthy pantry
All your food weaknesses? Just don't buy them. (Not grocery shopping on an empty stomach is key!) I tend to eat a lot of bread so I only let myself buy it (and a healthy, sprouted multigrain version at that) once in awhile. I also have a big sweet tooth that kicks in mid afternoon or after dinner, but the only sweet I have in my house is dark chocolate (which I don't even like that much).

4. Meal prep
I never really took the time to prepare my meals ahead of time but I quickly realized it is key with a busy schedule. I usually do a few servings of overnight steel-cut oats in a mason jar that will last me a few mornings as well as a big batch of roasted root vegetables that I pair with brown rice for a couple dinners.

5. Enjoy it
You'll never stick with it if you don't find some fun in it. I started to really enjoy cooking and preparing meals this summer... (mostly because I work in social media so my head was in the computer all day and I enjoyed having something off-screen to occupy my time.) I also always like going to the local farm stand or Trader Joe's and picking up fresh vegetables and fruits.

Once you get into a routine of it, eating unhealthfully isn't even that appealing anymore! And it's more enjoyable when you actually do treat yourself.

Guide to Granada, Spain

September 20, 2016






















In honor of my current extreme homesickness for the city where I studied abroad, – Granada, Spain – I figured I would post the travel guide to the city that I shared on Musings Over Mochas a couple weeks ago. I previously wrote an extensive guide to studying abroad in Granada for anyone spending an extended period of time there, but here are my condensed recommendations for anyone stopping by for a trip.


If you find yourself in Spain, I think Granada is an absolute must. Despite the fact that the famous Alhambra palace is Spain's number one most-visited site, Granada doesn't receive a lot of attention (you might not have even heard of it!). But it is truly an incredible city with such a unique and rich cultural background. Here are my must-do's and must-see's...

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STAY
AirBNB: Granada is a very affordable city, so you can find a nice apartment for cheap! I recommend either the Albaicín or Realejo neighborhoods. You’ll get a feel for living like a local if you live in these neighborhoods (as opposed to the center of the city, which would be more tourist-y).


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The Albaicín is the historically Arabic neighborhood, and it’s filled with winding alleyways and unique architecture. Expect lots of hills! (You probably won’t be able to have a rental car if you’re staying in this area, since it is so old there is no parking.) It can get a little sketchy, so always be aware of your surroundings, especially at night.


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The Albaicín gets all the attention because it is so picturesque with the classic white-washed architecture and the views of the famous Alhambra palace, but I think the Realejo neighborhood is also very charming. It is also safer and more convenient to the city center. Also, the Realejo is at the base of the hill that the Alhambra sits on top of, so you can easily access the Alhambra and the surrounding gardens from here.


Hostel: The hostel “culture” isn’t huge in Granada, so personally I would opt for an AirBNB to get the true experience of a local. If you do want to stay in a hostel (for example, if you’re traveling along and want to meet people), you have to do LemonRock. It has a bar downstairs which is always fun and there’s live music, as well. The vibe of the whole place is just very cool, so I imagine the rooms in the hostel would be great.


EAT


A note before the recommendations – “tapas” are a Spanish tradition in which a small (and sometimes not-so-small!) bite to eat is served along with your drink. In most cases, you don’t get to choose what you get, so it’s a fun surprise! Granada is one of the only places in Spain where tapas are still completely free, so take advantage. You can make a whole meal out of tapas – I recommend doing a “tapas crawl” and hitting a few different spots around the city.


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  • D’eti coffee and cake: This was my “spot” in Granada. It’s a cute little café run by a British expat that has delicious café con leche and baked goods.
    • Area: Centro

  • Baraka: This place has a modern vibe and delicious gofres (waffles) and crepes.
    • Area: Centro

  • Terra: I loved this spot for their huge tostadas (toasted baguette) and café con leche.
    • Area: El realeajo

  • Abaco Té: There are lots of “teterías” in the Albaicín, which entice tourists with their exotic décor. Although they may seem authentic to the city (Granada was once an Arabic city, after all), unfortunately, they are not. If you want to try them, go for it, but I would instead recommend this eclectic tea house for your fix of teas and delicious food.
    • Area: Albaicín


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  • Dulcimena Coffee & Go: A rare place that serves coffee to go... the coffee is delicious and the owner is super nice.
    • Area: Realejo
  • Café Fútbol: A very classic Spanish cafetería famous for their churros y chocolate… but their gofres (waffles) are amazing too.
    • Area: Centro/Realejo
  • Café Cuatro Gatos: A popular café that has outside seating with a view of the Alhambra.
    • Area: Albaicín
  • Los Italianos: Widely regarded as the best ice cream in Granada, this family-run heladería is a must-visit. I get the cassata, a block of layered ice creams served in a cone.
    • Area: Centro







































  • Helados San Nicolás: This is my personal favorite ice cream place, because of the delicious, unique flavors and creamy texture. I love the honey date blossom flavor. Enjoy it at the nearby Mirador de San Nicolás while looking out at the Alhambra.
    • Area: Albaicín

  • Puerto 43: Delicious fresh seafood dishes and friendly service (somewhat rare in Granada). A “locals” spot.
    • Area: Centro, in Plaza de la Gracia

  • Cacho & Pepe: This tiny place has delicious fresh Italian food that you can take to-go. Grab it for a picnic, you will not regret it!
    • Area: Centro, near Plaza Isabel la Católica

  • LemonRock: Always filled with people, this bar has a fun atmosphere and cool vibe.
    • Area: Centro


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  • Babel World Fusion: Babel has funky, international-inspired tapas para elegir (meaning that you can choose what you get) and an eclectic atmosphere on one of Granada’s coolest streets, Calle Elvira.
    • Area: Centro

  • Colagallo: A great bar with the sweetest owner/bartender… order the Lychee Temptation, it’s addicting!
    • Area: Realejo

  • Taberna La Tana: I never made it here, but it’s recommended by Anthony Bourdain and thus has gained a bit of a popular reputation in Granada.
    • Area: Realejo


DO/SEE


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  • Paseo de los Tristes: Off of Plaza Nueva, this road leads along the Río Darro at the base of the Albaicín. It’s a beautiful street always bustling with activity. At the end, cross the river and ascend up the Cuesta del Rey Chino to get to the Alhambra, a beautiful and little-known route.


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  • Alhambra and Generalife: La Alhambra is the Arab fortress and palace complex originally built by the Muslim kings in the 13th century. It is one of the most-visited sites in the world and is a must-see. There are free areas that you can wander around anytime, taking in the beautiful view of the white-washed Albaicín neighborhood. You have to buy tickets significantly ahead of time to enter the beautiful Arab palaces and gardens (the Generalife).


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  • Albaicin neighborhood: The Albaicín neighborhood is the historic quarter built by the Muslims that originally inhabited Granada. It’s full of winding (and hilly!) cobblestone streets, ornate Arab doors, historic sights, and, of course, stunning views of the Alhambra that sits on the opposite hill.
  • Sacromonte neighborhood: If you go beyond the Albaicín, you’ll wind up in the eclectic Sacromonte. It’s inhabited by many gypsies, and is the site of Granada’s famous cave homes, residences built into the hillside.
  • Realejo neighborhood: In this neighborhood, you’ll find winding streets and pretty homes. If you make your way up the hill, you’ll end up at the Alhambra!


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  • Miradors: Miradors are lookout spots that have incredible views of the city. My favorites are Mirador de San Nicolás (touristy but nonetheless magical nonetheless with incredible views of the golden Alhambra and the snow-capped Sierra Nevadas), Mirador de San Cristóbal (where the locals go to watch the sunset), and Mirador de San Miguel Alto (located high above the Albaicín with panoramic views of the city).


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  • Carmen de la Victoria: This is one of my favorite spots in the whole city. Originally built as summer homes, carmenes, which you can find all over the Albaicín, contain beautiful gardens, fountains, and pathways but are walled off from the city streets. This one, owned by the University of Granada, is peaceful and has a beautiful, wisteria-framed view of the Alhambra.
  • Carmen de los Mártires: Another Carmen, this one is located right next to the Alhambra. It’s more expansive and has all different sections of gardens… you might even see some giant peacocks wandering around!

Browse some more of my Granada posts. I wish I could go back right this minute!

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