Friday, August 25, 2017

Graphic Tees

In case you weren't aware I have been obsessed with graphic tees lately. With that being said I have always been drawn to them but could just never figure out how to wear them, so I just always ignored that urge to get that cute tee. BUT! In the past year or so I have started figuring out different ways to style them that made them actually look cute. If you want ideas on how to style a graphic tee Liv, from What Olivia Did, is literally the queen of graphic tees. Or my go-to is throw it on with a pair of jeans and flannel for a super easy, casual outfit!

Besides the actual graphic (which I am quite picky about), the biggest key to a good graphic tee is the fit. I definitely prefer something that is boxier and not too fitted, otherwise I feel like they look like they came out of the juniors department at Kohl's. Anyways I keep stumbling across the cutest graphic tees that I am literally drooling over. The most economical way to satiate my thirst for graphic tees was to do a round-up post on here of some of my faves! Enjoy!
// 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7 // 8 //

Some of these tees are a bit pricier but, this is more of a tee-aspiration (wut) post. Which, all of these brands/websites have a great selection of graphic tees too, so don't be afraid to check them out! I've been loving Ban.do's tees, but my current fave might be the Taylor Swift tee.... I don't know why I love it so much, because it's ridiculous, but I love it.

As far as a few other tees I love:
Alexa Chung's t-shirts, while $$$, are to die for.
This tee is too cute.
And this is a great subtle Friends reference.

Have you seen any graphic tees recently that you are dying over?
Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda


Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Super Simple Banana Bread!

Can we talk about how, as a rule of thumb, banana flavored things always sound so repulsive? But all of sudden you add bread to it and suddenly everyone wants a bite, anyways just something that has been going through my head recently.

Banana bread is always the perfect remedy to any situation, and really one of the most versatile breads (if you could even call it a bread). I mean you can eat the stuff for breakfast or dessert! Or want a mid-morning snack? Banana bread! Mid-afternoon snack? Banana bread! I've had a few old bananas that have been in the freezer waiting to be whipped up into banana bread and I figured the sooner the better!
My mom and I have a go-to banana bread recipe that makes really delicious banana bread, but I decided to try something new! I am always up for trying new recipes, especially if they're less fess. So I used this recipe from Liv, aka one of my fave bloggers, and it turned out beautifully! This recipe was really easy to whip up in about 15 minutes! I have also recently started to love using European recipes because they use metric measurements which make throwing it all together 1000x easier, and honestly weighing things is 1000x more accurate.

Ingredients:
225g self raising flour
175g caster sugar
1tsp baking powder
2 eggs
2tbs milk
100g unsalted butter
chocolate chips, nuts, or anything else you may prefer!

In Liv's video she just threw everything into a mixer and just mixed it all together, I tend to be a bit more meticulous. First I preheated my oven to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Then to start off I stirred together the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl.  Then I creamed the butter and sugar together in the mixer. I then added the eggs and 2tbs of milk and made sure that was properly mixed. I last slowly added the flour mixture until everything was just blended. It's always important not to over-mix the batter once you add flour because that can make your baked goods turn tough and chewy. I finally added some chocolate chips and stirred those in by hand! I greased and floured a bread tin and slapped my batter in and popped it in the oven for about an hour!

This loaf turned out great, it wasn't overly sweet and it had a great banana-y flavor. I am, of course, always partial to a generous handful of chocolate chips as well. To quote a friend, "Any slice of banana bread is a good slice because that means I am eating banana bread." Okay she might've been referring to pizza, but I think it works the just same with banana bread!

Hope you enjoy!
Thanks for reading!
xox,
Amanda

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Florence

As our stay in Venice quickly came to an end the next stop on our journey was the beautiful city of Florence. Coming to Florence from Venice, Florence made Venice seem like a sleepy city. Venice is a city made of windy paths and canals, there are no cars. We arrived in Florence to traffic, bikes, and pedestrians, but with that being said Florence is still a small quaint city.

Italy is a country that is not lacking in rich history and that is more than evident in the city of Florence. After dropping our bags off at the hotel we ventured into the city and went off in search of the Duomo. A quick trot from our hotel, we turned the corner and were all shocked at how enormous and beautiful it was in real life. I'm sure we've all seen pictures of the Duomo and the Cathedral of Santa Maria but nothing compares to seeing it in real life, it is easily one of the prettiest churches I have ever seen. I actually embarrassingly don't really have many pictures of the church just because I knew that I picture wouldn't capture the beauty of the building.

Our time in Florence was spent eating delicious meals and oogling at all of the history that is easily found all throughout the city.
As I've mentioned a lot of our time in Florence was spent learning about the city's rich history. We spent a lot of time in museums too, which if you go to Florence you cannot miss the Accademia Gallery or the Uffizi Gallery both of these galleries are full of famous masterpieces that have been studied for hundreds of years. Again, I embarrassing don't have many pictures from either of these places as I feel like pictures don't do any of the pieces justice.



Things We Did:
Accademia Gallery- As I have just mentioned you cannot go to Florence without a visit to the Accademia. Housing some of the worlds most famous artwork like Michelangelo's "David" which is simply ginormous and breathtaking in real life.

Uffizi Gallery- Again another museum you cannot miss in the city. This gallery is packed to the gill with famous Renaissance artwork and houses every from work by Botticelli, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, Caravaggio, and again Michelangelo; just to name a few.
Boboli Gardens- These historic gardens aren't only a beautiful place to take a stroll. But offer gorgeous views of the city. At the top of the hill in one direction you will see the gorgeous rolling hills of Tuscany and the opposite offers a beautiful view of the city full of red roofs.
Top of the Duomo- I mean the Duomo is one of the most iconic sights in Florence how can you not visit the top?!
Basilica di San Lorenzo- Out of all the churches in Florence this one was super cool. My favorite thing was that from the outside it looks super boring and not very fancy, but then you walk in and it's a gorgeous church on the inside.
Cathedral of Santa Maria and the Baptistry- I mean just as iconic as the Duomo itself you cannot go to Florence and not see these sights.

Where We Ate
Yay! The "Where We Ate" Florence is going to be much more exciting than the Venice one I promise!!

Pepo- This little restaurant was literally a block from our hotel and we ate here twice! The food is delicious and they serve you a glass of Prosecco to enjoy while browsing the menu, so I mean....
La Menagere- Literally the cutest trendiest restaurant in the city. This place is funny because it's  like a cafe, restaurant, and bar all in one. We went here one morning for breakfast, coffee and croissants, and the cappuccinos and pastries did not disappoint.

Mercato Centrale- A giant indoor food market that is an excellent stop for lunch. My whole family got lunch from a mozzarella place and it did not disappoint.
Amorino- Onto the gelato. Fun fact: my family cannot go to a city with Amorino without going to there. It's a must.

Edoardo- This might have been my favorite gelato of the trip. I got chocolate hazelnut and cinnamon and it was the best decision I have ever made. I decided to go on a whim and get cinnamon and was magical, it was like eating Christmas.

Gelateria dei Neri- Okay not going to lie this gelato was delish too. I don't recall what I ordered but it was good.
This was the birth place of Mona Lisa!


Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

Monday, August 14, 2017

Glossier

I am sure you have heard of Glossier, I mean who hasn't? I feel like everyone and their mom has been going on about Glossier for ages and I must admit I was a bit skeptical. Actually I was very skeptical, which I usually am with these bandwagon things. For a while whenever I saw someone mention it I would internally roll my eyes and wonder when people were going to stop fan-girling over the brand.

Well loe and behold I picked up the summer issue of Domino Magazine where not only is Emily Weiss (found and CEO of Glossier) on the cover but there was an entire article on the company. Which is where my feelings towards the brand took a complete 180, I really enjoyed reading about the history behind the brand and Emily Weiss' passion for her company, and that Glossier came to fruition through dedication and hard work. One of my favorite things I learned about the brand is that they have a specific Pantone shade picked out for their branding, Pantone 705C, if that's not brilliant I don't know what is. Anyways I started paying attention to it more when it would pop-up and I found myself frequenting their website and blog (Into the Gloss), and suddenly lusting over their products and wanting to be a cool girl who uses Glossier. Apart from that Glossier is more than an "aesthetic" brand, but a company that supports the modern woman and encourages her to be her best self and feel good in her own skin (cringe?).
Long story short Glossier was offering free shipping for a day the other week and I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and pick up a product that I have been eyeing for a while. Now it may be something quit boring to some but it was something that I knew I would use and love and that is the Birthday Balm Dotcom, it's just birthday cake scented lip balm, but you guys I'm in love and not just the product but the whole brand. They have their branding down to a tee, and you also get so much free swag (cringing at using that word) with your purchase! AKA stickers and a free makeup bag!! Anyways I made this post to announce to the world that I am total Glossier girl now and you should be too because they are an amazing brand!

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

Friday, August 11, 2017

Links

//via//
Hope everyone out there has had a great week! Some excited things have happened to me this past week and I can't wait to share, but I don't want to jinx it yet!! The future has been looking slightly brighter recently, which is good! Also, to all of you who are going back to school soon hope you are soaking up your last few weeks of summer!! You probably hate me for reminding you, but I may or may not be slightly jealous. I wanted to share a links post as it's been a couple weeks since I've shared some and as I've said before and will continue to say these are some of my favorite things to post!

As someone who is very often prone to runaway from feelings (one of my more undesirable qualities), this is a really refreshing read on feelings and how we shouldn't look at them as problems to be solved. The best quote from the article is, "You've been around long enough to know that dark places aren't locked rooms, but tunnels."

Someone created a Twitter thread on how Joey and Rachel should've ended up together and it is the best, and I thought I was the only one who didn't hate the Joey and Rachel thing!!

Speaking of Friends Matt LeBlanc shared the real reason why Joey had a sling in this recent interview with Jimmy Kimmel.

Harry Potter's childhood home is on the market!!

This cute song by Dodie.

I saw Dunkirk last week and to quickly sum it up and was intense and the cinematography was beautiful. Here's an interesting article on what people who were actually in Dunkirk thought of the film.

This timely blogpost by Shannon about tips and tricks for your LinkedIn profile, literally much needed because mine is V. sad (aka it exists to the extent that I made an account).

Confession: I watched Life of Kyle and I didn't hate it. KUWTK is my guilty pleasure and I don't know why I kind of love that show/fam.

Ugh, Sade's outfit is to die for.

Hope you have a fab weekend!!
Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Postcards from Murano and Burano

I wrote about Venice last week, but decided that the islands of Murano and Burano deserved their own posts. While in Venice we decided to take a day trip to the neighboring islands of Murano and Burano, which are a must! While Burano is the real gem, Murano is a quick and easy stop along the way. While there is not a lot to do on either island they are both so adorable, with Murano being known for glassmaking, and Burano known for lace!

Murano 




Burano






Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda


Monday, August 7, 2017

Dorm Room Essentials

Since moving home from college the majority of my things have been sitting in the garage for the past two months, until recently. Since all of my stuff is stuck here, along with myself, my parents decided that it needed to go in a better location. We ended up hauling it all down to collect dust in the basement instead. Whilst we were moving everything it got me thinking of all of the random little things that I found to be the most useful throughout my four years in school.

While all the change of going to college can be a tad stressful and a bit much, it is a really exciting stage in life. As a gal who loves shopping I was initially excited about getting to buy a bunch of new stuff for my dorm room and being able to decorate a whole new space. But there is also a whole lot more that you need for a dorm than just pretty bedding and cute things to hang on the wall. 

With a simple Google or Pinterest search you will be able to find hundreds of dorm check-lists hoping to make a college freshman's transition easier. But if you are anything like me, one glance at those lists make your stomach turn as you try to decipher the things that you actually need from the hundreds of items listed. So today I wanted to give a little college freshman a hand out there and talk about some of the things that I actually found useful in school as well as some tips to help in trying to figure what you actually need and what will fit in your dorm room.


Jewelry Organizer // Doesn't take up any floor space and can easily store all of your loose jewelry floating around.

Scarf Hanger // Again takes up minimal floor space and an easy way to store and organize all of your loose scarves and I even hung my belts up on it too.

Door Hooks // Do you see a theme? Whenever you can hang anything it's a lifesaver.

Steamer // Okay so I never got a steamer and I feel like every dorm advice page, getting an iron is such a taboo. I ended up getting a mini iron and an ironing mat, but if I could go back I would totally go with a mini steamer. My roommate had one of these and they are just so much easier than an iron.

Folding Step Stool // Just a useful thing to have on hand that I didn't realize freshman year. Especially if your bed is high, it makes getting in and out of bed a breeze.

Command Hooks // These are lifesavers. I ended up having a collection of all sorts of hooks, velcro strips, and poster strips throughout college.

Compact Drying Rack // Great for if you don't put all of your clothing in the dryer, like myself. The compact ones aren't as wide as normal ones and are easy to fold up and store when not in use.

Clorox Wipes // Your cleaning savior. Clorox wipes make cleaning a breeze and you can use them to clean so many different things.

Tips

I completely understand how difficult buying things to fill a space that you have never been in can be. While at the base of it all college dorm rooms are similar, it's the slight differences at each school or even each building that always seem to make all of the difference.

My first tip would be to try to research as much as you can about your dorm before deciding what all you might need. Whether you scour your university's website, like I did, for more information, or try Googling it, when I did this my freshman year and it definitely helped a lot when trying to decide what I needed. For example, I knew that I could adjust the height of my bed beforehand so I decided not to invest in those bed risers.

Some information to look for that you might find helpful include:
  • What furniture does your school provide for you?
    • Is your bed a twin or a twin XL?
    • Can you adjust the height of the bed?
    • Does the room have dressers or nightstands?
    • Does the desk come with a storage shelf?
    • Can you adjust the height of the bed?
  • What type of bathrooms will you have?
  • See if you can find the dimensions of the room.
Second if you haven't already talk to your roommate. First college lesson: communication is key when living with someone. Ask them about their ideas for the room, like if they want to coordinate or if they have had any ideas of things to bring. I also recommend splitting up bigger ticket items, such as the microwave, mini-fridge, television, and coffee maker.

My last little tip is that you can't be too organized. I am not a very organized person, much to my chagrin, and the idea of buying a bunch of things to put other things in was super intimidating. Let me tell you, from my experience there is no such thing as too much storage.

Sorry this might not have been the most exciting post, but hopefully it helped someone out there going back to school!!

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Venice

Buonjorno! So back in May I went on a little graduation trip with my family to Italy and guys, I fell in love with the place. I have been dying to go to Italy for as long as I can remember and it totally surpassed all of my expectations. It was a whirlwind of a trip, as we were there for only two weeks but managed to visit Venice, Florence, Rome, and the Amalfi Coast. Which city was my favorite? Well, I'll just say don't like to play favorites.

The first stop of our trip was the beautiful city of Venice. After a long day of travel, with a layover in Amsterdam, and seeing this flying in, we finally made it. We arrived in Venice with bleary eyes and adrenaline rushing through our veins, so glad to finally be there. We then took a water taxi from the airport to our hotel and felt like we had stepped off the plane into a dream world.
Venice is an extremely beautiful and charming city, but all of those rumors you hear about Venice being extremely touristy are 100% true. But let me tell you everything that it lacks is 100% made up in how beautiful it is. While you have to see places like St Mark's Square, the charm of Venice exists outside the beaten path. We spent 3 nights in Venice, and to be honest we probably could have shaved a day off of our time there.

Things We Did:

Get lost- If you do anything in Venice you must do this, which let me tell you it's not hard to do. Venice is a maze full of narrow windy streets that will leave you gasping at every corner you turn being more beautiful than the last.

Spend the night- I highly recommend spending the night in Venice, which frankly might seem obvious but not everyone does this. Giant cruise ships come in and out of the city on the daily and bring along hoards of tourists, because of this the city generally empties out every night. The combination of the empty city and the windy streets make Venice wonderfully eerie at night.
St Mark's Square- You can't go to Venice and not go to see all of the iconic sights. I recommend trying to visit here early in the morning or later at night, as it is a literal zoo during the day.

Doge's Palace and St Mark's Basilica- Our first full day in Venice we had a guided tour where she took us through the Doge's Palace and St Mark's Basilica. Definitely great things to do if you want to learn more about the history of Venice and Venetian culture.
Ride the vaporetto- The vaporetto is the waterbus in the city and it is not only a convenient way to get around, but it's also a great (and cheaper) way to get a tour of the Grand Canal.

San Giorgio Maggiore- You can go up in the tower of this church and it offers a fantastic bird's eye view of the city.

Visit Murano & Burano- Keep your eyes peeled for a second post that is coming of Murano and Burano! But these are two sister islands of Venice that are just a quick vaporetto ride away. Both islands are just as charming as the wonderful Venice.

Where to Eat:

So the food in Venice is underwhelming, the city is so overridden with tourists that finding really good, authentic Italian is far and few in between. With that being said I do have two places that I recommend.

Birreria Forst- This is a great hole-in-the-wall sandwich place, that always seemed to have a good amount of locals (a rare sight in Venice). It's a great casual stop for lunch and the sandwiches are so good!

Gelatoteca Suso- One word gelato. So good. The Opera is a must if you like chocolate hazelnut (or even if you don't!)


Fun fact: These hands were made in celebration of Venice's biennial! This installment, called Support, was made by artist Lorenzo Quinn. They are a statement to show that Venice needs support as the cities future is threatened by things like climate change and decay.

Thanks for reading!!
xox,
Amanda