September 28, 2015

Edinburgh Instagram Lately

I am so sorry I have been MIA for the last few weeks!  I knew it would be difficult to keep up with posting while I was abroad but who knew how busy I would be.  Now that classes have started up I have gotten into a routine (kind of...) so I feel totally prepared to get back into the swing of blogging.  So far the abroad experience has been amazing, scary, and adventurous all wrapped up in a pretty package.  I can't wait to share so much more with you all but for now I thought I do a quick Instagram round up of some of the photos of my trip so far!

After one crazy day of travel, losing my luggage, getting my luggage returned but soaking wet, I can officially say I am in Edinburgh! Please be prepared for lots of photos of pretty doors, Harry Potter references, and overall gorgeous scenery!
Caption is pretty self explanatory!  Its actually crazy how long ago this day feels though.  Luckily I have fully recovered and am now on the other side - with clean and dry clothes!

the world is too big to leave unexplored
Arthur's seat is an inactive volcano right on the outskirts of the city.  It isn't a very difficult hike from the top but the views are breathtaking.  On the left side of the photo you can see the Edinburgh Castle!

fairy pools
One weekend my friends and I decided to take a last minute trip up to the Isle of Skye.  I have honestly never seen views as spectacular as I have on this little island.  Everything was so green, and lush, yet still mountainous with gorgeous water views.  It was also the first time I had ever seen mountains and the furtherest North I had ever been which was so exciting!  This photo was taken at the "Fair Pools" which was basically just these amazing waterfalls that created small little pools.  There were so many of them along the hike and up until the mountains you see in the photo.  I plan on doing a full Isle of Skye recap with my must see places soon!

Victoria Street aka Diagon Alley
I warned you there would be a lot of Harry Potter references.  This is the famous Victoria Street where J.K. Rowling based the famous Diagon Alley off of.  I am beyond obsessed with the beautiful colors of all the buildings.  I was so mad that there was an ugly yellow truck in front of the mint colored building but oh well!  Also, if you can't tell, like many streets in Edinburgh, Victoria St. has two levels.  Above all the colored buildings there is another street with restaurants and shops on it.

No. 6
As stated in the first photo, I like pretty doors.  And while this door may be nothing special, I absolutely loved the beautiful bright flowers on either side and the white walls. 

Stay tuned for more study abroad posts and more photos of my adventures!

September 1, 2015


This weekend I had the biggest case of FOMO that I think I have ever had in my life.  Seeing social media posts of everyone having fun at parties and getting ready for class was so difficult.  I had a  minor melt down and the insane desire to not study abroad for the semester set in.  All I wanted to do was to hop on a flight back to Boston and start class with all of my friends.  Yesterday was the first day of class for all of my friends at my college.  Yesterday I was still home in Chicago, I ran errands, and did a little shopping.

I leave to go abroad in one week and my level of excitement is on a definite rollercoaster.  One minute I cannot wait before I'm living my life and taking classes in another country.  The next minute I get major anxiety about going to another country where I don't know anyone, where I'm away from all my friends at school who are only growing closer while I'm gone, and I'm away from my family with limited communication.  I know once I get to Scotland I will forget all my fears and anxiety but I know my FOMO will only grow stronger.

I have always been one of those people who gets extremely self conscious when she sees people hanging out together and she wasn't invited.  Now I know while I'm abroad there was an obvious reason why I wasn't invited but it still hurts.  So many questions pass through my mind: Do they even realize I'm not there?  Do they miss me?  What would we be doing if I was there?  What happens when I get back?  Will I feel like I'm missing the jokes and not feel included anymore?

While these thoughts are continuously plaguing me I am trying to stay focused on all the small errands I have to finish and how much fun I am going to have while I'm abroad.  In the meantime I've been trying to think of different ways to help alleviate my insane FOMO and so far the biggest thing I have come up with is to stop relying on social media.  I think when I go abroad I am going to delete my Snapchat and use Facebook way less.  There is no way I could ever put down Instagram but I think the other two are definitely doable.  While it will feel weird to miss out on the funny snaps and all the photos, I think it will be all for the better.  

Its crazy to me how social media is such a strong player in all of our lives.  People always say Facebook is genius because it lets you stay close with people you might have lost touch with along the way.  But maybe it lets you start a little too close.  I don't really care what that gorgeous girl in my Psych 101 class did last weekend yet I feel the desperate need to stalk all of her photos.  I am hoping that when I go abroad,  I can immerse myself more into the Scottish culture.  I will enjoy my time more with the new people I meet instead of worrying so much about what is happening back home.   

If any of you have gone abroad, how did you deal with FOMO?

August 26, 2015


I swear nothing beats a pair of jeans and button down.  I think I wear my Ralph Lauren oxford shirts way too often.  I own then in quite a few colors and quite a few sizes too.  Sometimes you want one that is oversized and comfy and other times you need one that is fitted and more tailored.  These are a hands down staple!  

This is an outfit I wore out to dinner the other day.  You could totally rock this look with converse to make it super casual but I bumped it up just a little bit with some stunning BaubleBar earrings and a very subtle red lip.  Also, I am obsessed with d'Orsay flats.  While these look great on, they sadly aren't the comfiest pair ever so if you have any recommendations of the perfect pair please oh please let me know!

Ralph Lauren Oxford //  JBrand Jeans // Sam & Libby Target Flats (old, similar here) // H&M Belt (old, similar here) // Michael Kors Watch // BaubleBar Necklace // BaubleBar Earrings // Tarte Lip Crayon


August 21, 2015

How I Edit my Instagram Photos

After my recent Ingram roundup, I got quite a few questions about what app and filters I use to edit all my Instagram photos.  I find editing photos for Instagram to be just as fun as taking the photos.  It always amazes me how you can edit one photo so many different ways and make it look like multiple completely different photos.  I also find Instagram trends to be so interesting.  Like why have we gone back to all square photos?  Why did we ever stop using square photos?  Why did we stop adding frames to our photos?

I am always envious of the people who are capable of creating a perfectly curated Instagram theme.  There was a time when I tried to darken my photos like one blogger, grey them out like another, or whiten them like a different one.  There are so many different themes and trends and its important to find one that works with you and your brand.  I learned that I like to take photos of so many different things and that I don't need to stick to a single tone or color.  I can make a theme that fits my feed and my style

However, that being said I do always stick to a routine in the editing process.  I tend to use the app Afterlight and occasionally use the app VSCO Cam.  I first clarify the photo to about 50.  Next is the brightness and contrast and this is totally dependent upon how dimly lit your photo was initially.  I like my photos to be pretty bright but this is totally up to you.  And I only usually up the contrast a little bit, to maybe like 20.  I normally keep the saturation levels at 0 but sometimes will bump it up to about 10-15.  Finally, I up the shadows almost the whole way!  I will usually just stop there but sometimes (if I remember haha!) I will upload the photo to VSCO and add the C1 filter at about a level 6.

And now lastly, the caption.  This is definitely the hardest part of the entire Instagram process.  I never know if I should go serious or funny.  I am an absolute sucker for puns so that is usually my go to.  Or I am completely basic and go with the classic quote / song lyric.  

My only recommendation when taking your Instagram photos is to not feel like you need to fit in a theme.  While looking at themed accounts can definitely be so pleasing and stunning, don't feel like you have to fit in a certain one.  Make your own that fits you!  And lastly, don't feel limited by the lighting or the coloring because you can always edit it.

August 19, 2015

Book Review: The Magicians

Nothing is worse than taking a week off for vacation for it to rain every day.  And while I have yet to take a trip to the lake or the pool, I have gotten some amazing reading done cuddled up with a cup of green tea.  I just finished an amazing series that my brother recommended to me and now I want to share it all with you.

The first book in the trilogy, The Magicians, came out in 2010, the second, The Magician King, in 2012, and the third and final, The Magician's Land, in 2014.  I hadn't heard anything about the series until my brother started reading it and he lent the books to me after he had finished.  It is one of those things though where you have never heard of the word but then start hearing it everywhere.  Because now when I walk around I see this book in every window and shelf.

If I could give the briefest summary of the series I would say it is the perfect combination of Harry Potter meets Narnia.  Basically, just imagine if Harry Potter went to college and then on to Narnia.  It definitely refers to these two series, poking some fun and making jokes, but it never felt uninventive.  Unlike the other two, this series is definitely meant for adults as there are quite a few graphic scenes and intense subject areas.  I thought it would be hard to create something new because when it comes this genre it feels almost "been there, done that" but this series brought a new fresh feel.

Unlike many series (ahem Hunger Games I am looking at you!) this series only got better with each addition.  I would have to say that the first book is probably my least favorite.  That by no means makes it bad because it is still amazing, but it is a necessary means.  You have to make your way through the first book, get the gritty details and learn the basics before you can dive head first into the mysteries and magic that intertwine in the second and third books.  And don't let the character's "jerk-ish" tendencies deter you from reading the next one!  I would recommend reading the series straight through if you can.

I will leave you with the best summary I could find off Amazon for the first book only as I don't want to give anything away: Quentin Coldwater is brilliant but miserable. A high school math genius, he’s secretly fascinated with a series of children’s fantasy novels set in a magical land called Fillory, and real life is disappointing by comparison. When Quentin is unexpectedly admitted to an elite, secret college of magic, it looks like his wildest dreams may have come true. But his newfound powers lead him down a rabbit hole of hedonism and disillusionment, and ultimately to the dark secret behind the story of Fillory. The land of his childhood fantasies turns out to be much darker and more dangerous than he ever could have imagined . . .

When I finished the book everything I had questions about perfectly fell into line and it was totally resolved but I still wanted a fourth book.  I didn't want the story to be over because I had fallen so in love with the characters - the sign of a perfect series!

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