Friday, October 28, 2016

Friday Finds!


Wishing you all a very happy Friday!! Can you believe it is already the last weekend in October!? Crazziness. I am super excited to see the weekend as I have quite the plans in store. My birthday is this upcoming Tuesday so some early birthday celebrations are in order! I got to the city last night to visit some friends, and seeing as Manhattan is one of my most favorite places in the world it's not a bad place to kickoff the weekend! I'm heading up to Boston tomorrow to visit some more friends, and can't wait to visit with them and enjoy a good New England fall weekend. I must say that is one of the best parts about living in Connecticut - I can easily get to Boston and New York City. It's a beautiful thing!

Hope you have some amazing plans in store for your weekend! Below are some finds I stumbled upon this past week and loved. Hope you enjoy!


Engagement Shoot // I have followed Mackenzie Horan of Design Darling for quite some time now and was so excited when she got engaged this past Christmas! I love her blog (and her boutique!) so I knew I would love all things related to her wedding. She has been doing a 'Wedding Wednesday' since her engagement and it has been so fun to follow along in the engagement process! I think these engagement photos have been my favorite so far though! You have to check them out - they are beautiful and serious goals.

Grace Not Perfection // "I will hold myself to a standard of grace not perfection." Those words have always been some of my favorites and something that I always try to remind myself of. Having already loved that quote, I was so excited to discover Emily Ley's new book, Grace Not Perfection, which talks about that exact idea. I think it is a book that everyone can gain something from. I quickly added it to my wishlist!

Target Favorites // I always love when Glitter Guide comes out with their favorite Target items each month. Target is literally one of my favorites and I can easily go in for one item and walk out with ten. It seriously happens every time. You just can't help it when stuff is so cute and reasonably priced!   I am obsessed with this marble serving tray, and I love love love this wicker basketpink arm chair, and marble clock. Check out the rest of the finds here!


In Case You Missed It...

xo. G

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Thank You Europe


I thought a lot about how I was going to end my travel posts relating to my trip to Europe, and I knew that it would only be appropriate to write a final post thanking Europe for hands down one of the best months of my life. They aren't lying when they say that travel changes you and teaches you things that you otherwise may not have ever learned. After traveling for a month I can say first hand that I am not the same person I was on August 31st, I am forever changed by this trip, but in the absolute best possible ways.

Throughout the trip, I journaled about every destination I had explored and experienced, so that I will forever be able to look back on my adventure and smile. Bringing a journal, and actually journaling along the way, was one of the best things I did and I am so happy I did it. The journal and all the memories in it is something I will cherish for the rest of my life. I think one of my favorite entries was the one I wrote on the plane during my trip back home from Madrid to New York as it captures so authentically all of the feelings and emotions I felt heading home after a month away. I decided that my final blog post about Europe would be that journal entry I wrote somewhere way above the Atlantic on October 1st. I hope you enjoy it, but more importantly I really do hope it inspires you to go out there and see the world!

MADRID to NEW YORK, NY 
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1

Here I am, thirty days later - I can officially say I made it! I am in disbelief that is is already over and it is oh so bittersweet to write the final chapter of this journey. As I sit here, somewhere over the Atlantic, and reflect on the past month, I can't help but feel a rush of overwhelming emotions. I am of course sad - goodbyes and endings have never been something I've enjoyed (at all), and the goodbyes are that much harder when you've met some of the most incredible people and had the adventure of a lifetime. I will miss every person and each and every moment dearly, but I will hold them close to my heart. I would be lying if I wasn't a little bit excited to be heading home (just a little). I cannot wait to see my family and friends and share the stories and memories I have collected over the past thirty days. I can only hope that I can spark the adventurous spirit and curiosity to explore the world in some of them. If I can inspire anyone to step out of their comfort zone and go see the word, I will be very happy. I am of course looking forward to the comforts of home and the United States - I promise you learn to appreciate the little things you've grown accustomed to when you no longer have them.

Gratitude however is by far the emotion I feel the most. I could not be more thankful for the experience I had - it was more than I could have imagined, dreamed, or expected it to be. I don't even know how to express to the world how grateful I am to have been able to see it's beauty, or to have been submerged in cultures different than my own. My eyes have been opened to so many different things that have forever left a mark on me in the most positive way, and I am forever grateful. I can't even begin to explain how much I have learned and how much knowledge I have acquired, in what truthfully has not been that much time. I have learned more about history, culture, language, customs,  and people in the past thirty days than I ever could have from a textbook. Being thrown into the world is the ultimate way to learn.

As grateful as I am for all of the knowledge I have acquired, I am even more thankful for the lessons I have learned and for what I have learned about myself. When I think about it now, the decision I made to book this trip to multiple foreign countries, all by myself, for thirty days, sounds a bit crazy. But after having completed the journey, I've realized crazy might just be a synonym for brave. I'm honestly not sure I know a lot of people who would have been brave enough to do it, and I am extremely proud of myself for that. I have also learned not only about how independent of a woman I am, but also how important it is to be independent. There were so many times that I would explore on my own, and it was so empowering to go out there and see the world all alone. I was taught the beauty (and again importance) of eating by yourself. I highly recommend giving it a try sometime, you just might pleasantly surprise yourself. Because of this trip I feel like I could wake up tomorrow, pick a destination, buy a plane ticket, and just go. All alone. It is a wonderful feeling knowing you don't need anyone else to see the world.

At the same time, however, I have learned the beauty of sharing experiences with other people and meeting new people. Thirty days ago I met 39 other people, all of which were strangers at the time. Here I am one month later with not only new friends, but new travel companions who I plan on keeping in touch with for years to come. It's amazing how in such a short amount of time strangers become people you feel like you've known your entire life. I am so blessed to have had them to share such an incredible journey with and countless memories. The universe always brings the right people into your life, even if it is just for a short amount of time. I can't forget to mention also the strangers met along the way. There were so many instances over the past month where I talked to strangers, whether other travelers or locals, who really touched me. Our encounters were always short but talking with them and sharing experiences or bonding over travel made for some special moments that I will always remember.

I learned the power of just saying yes. Yes to new people, places, foods, experiences. There was not one time I said yes to something that I ended up regretting. Just the opposite happened actually - I always ended up being pleasantly surprised or loving it more than I could have imagined. This is a lesson I learned traveling, but by no means does it only apply then. If you say yes to new experiences and things in your day to day life, I'm sure positive things will happen.

I think I could keep writing for days, but my flight is about to touchdown in New York, so I will wrap it up here. In the words of my most wonderful tour director, Elena, "We travel to get lost and to find ourselves." It was a line that she said the very first day, the very last day, and everywhere in between. It is a simple sentence that will forever have a place in my heart. Travel might be the best way to find ourselves, and finding yourself by no means implies you were lost to begin with. To me it means to grow as a person, to discover yourself, and keep working on becoming the best, most true version of yourself. I promise you that in getting "lost" and exploring new places, you will change - in the best possible way. I am not the same person I was a month ago, and I am forever grateful for that.

I promise that this is by no means the end of my travels, but only the beginning. If I ever thought that a month in Europe would quench my desire to travel, I couldn't have been more wrong. The wanderlust is at an all time high and I cannot wait to see what else there is to explore. I will be dreaming up my next adventure but until then, stay beautiful world. I cannot wait to see you again.

xo. G


Thank you all again SO much for following along! It means the absolute world to me and I can only hope you have enjoyed and been inspired by my trip to Europe. In case you missed it (or are looking for a little bit of inspiration!) I have linked all my blog posts from Europe below!

London
Paris
Amsterdam
Germany
Switzerland
Italy
French Riviera
Spain


I also cannot thank EF College Break enough for an all around amazing experience!

xo. G

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

NARS Audacious Lipstick










Before I begin this post I need to give credit where credit is due! While in Europe one of the girls I was traveling with, and became good friends with I might add (hi Sammy!), had recently purchased a new NARS lipstick. She is one of the nicest and most selfless people I have ever met, so naturally she let me try out and use this lipstick on multiple occasions over the course of our trip. I loved it and quickly decided it was something I needed to purchase as soon as possible upon my return home. And that is exactly what I did!

Ever since I bought it I just can't get enough! As you can see from the photos above, the shade is Charlotte and it is the most perfect oxblood burgundy. I even think it looks a little darker on than those photos are making it out to be! It's the perfect color for fall and will definitely carry you all the way through winter. Also, the color is universally very flattering, so everyone can confidently rock a beautiful red lip! The great thing about the NARS' Audacious lipstick line is that it is richly pigmented so it provides full coverage in a single stroke and it is super long lasting. Can't complain about that!

This is my first NARS lipstick and I am very impressed. It's a little on the pricier side, but I think it is so worth it. I will definitely be checking out other NARS lip products, and I've already got my eye on their new velvet lip glide in Toy. Anyone that knows me, knows that I love a good red lip especially during the fall and winter months, so I am super excited to be adding this one to my collection. I am planning on doing a post on my favorite reds next month, so stay tuned for that! In the mean time, you can shop my lipstick and look below. Enjoy!

Shop Here....


xo. G

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Spain!

Ahh Spain, this is going to be a fun one to write because, well, you were just that... fun! And a million other things I might add. When I think of Spain I think of life. You had so so so much life to you, and the energy of your cities never let me forget that. I think that if any country knows what it means to be so utterly alive, it is hands down Spain.

Being in Spain, I couldn't help but be happy. Even though Spain represented the end of my journey, and that made me sad, I still felt an overwhelming sense of happiness. Maybe it was because I couldnt' help but be so grateful to be ending my trip in such an amazing country, or maybe it's because you can't help but feel the amazing energy that Barcelona and Madrid give off.  I think it was a little bit of both, and either way, my heart was so very happy.

I'm recapping (for one last time) how I spent my time in the wonderful cities of Barcelona and Madrid.  I hope you not only enjoy this, but I hope you have enjoyed all of my travel posts. Thank you for letting me relive one of the best months of my life. It brought me so much happiness and I hope it did the same for you. Even more importantly, I hope it has inspired you to get out there and see the world. I promise you it is one of the most important, and worthwhile things you can do for yourself, and not to mention it is a hell of a good time. I have one final post coming Thursday that will wrap up my trip to Europe, but for now enjoy my adventure in España. Adiós!


BARCELONA





Barcelona was the kickoff to our week in Spain, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Spain was one of those places I visited that, like London, I was looking forward to exploring, but that I had never been dying to visit, and yet, just like London, completely blew me away. In three short days, I was in love with everything Barcelona had to offer - from the weather, to the vibrant energy, the food, the music, the architecture, the people - I could go on and on.

We arrived in Barcelona in the late afternoon, which gave us just enough time to settle into our hostel before heading out to explore and grab a bite to eat. The hostel was amazing - probably the nicest accommodation we had on our entire trip, and we had quite a few nice ones along the way. It was the first hostel that didn't have bunk beds (yay!), was extremely spacious, had a pretty updated bathroom, and was very well decorated, which I think was my favorite part. It's called the Casa Gracia and is located right on the Passeig de Gràcia - definitely worth checking out if you are ever headed to Barcelona! After we were settled in to the hostel, we took the metro a few stops down to Plaça de Catalunya, where our tour director then showed us around the area. Our timing was just perfect, because it was the last day of the Festival de la Mercè, so we got to walk through the streets as live music played, and people celebrated with dancing. At this point, the weather was a bit stormy and the sky was about to open up, so we headed indoors to grab dinner. We ate at this super yummy tapas restaurant where you got to go up and serve yourself - which is perfect because you can either have one or two tapas or ten if you're really feeling ambitious! We ended the night by sitting outside and sharing a couple bottles of Cava (Spanish champagne) before heading back to the hostel for the night.

The next day we took a guided tour around the city, which showed us the many highlights of Barcelona. We got to walk around parc Güell, which showcased all of Gaudi's famous architecture - a style that can be seen all around Barcelona. The park is set up on a hill that overlooks all of Barcelona, which provided some of the best views of the city. Next we saw Gaudi's cathedral, the Sagrada Família, which still isn't done, but was magnificent and incredible. It will be done in ten years, which sounds like the perfect excuse to book a trip back to Barcelona! To finish up the tour, we drove through the streets of Barcelona, checking out the Passseig de Gràcia, the best shopping in Barcelona. It is basically the Fifth Avenue of the city! We wrapped up the tour by driving through where the 1992 Barcelona took place, which put us near the coast and allowed for picturesque views of both Barcelona and the Mediterranean. We all definitely worked up an appetite touring the city, so we headed to a restaurant right in the Marina for a traditional Spanish meal. It included everything from patatas bravas, seafood paella, pan con tomate, crema catalana (Spanish crème brûlée), and of course pitchers of sangria (!!). It was all SO good - my mouth is watering as I write this. Myself and everyone else was beyond full, and although a nice nap would have been pretty perfect at this point, we decided to shop the rest of the afternoon away. The shopping in Barcelona, and in Spain in general, is amazing. It was hands down the best shopping of the entire trip.

Between the huge meal at lunch and an afternoon full of shopping, a nap was in order before going out for the night. Barcelona's nightlife was something I had heard really good things about and I was super excited to check it out and enjoy one of our last nights out on the trip. We started out by going to a bar called the Dow Jones, where the drink prices fluctuate depending on their demand and what people are ordering. It was a super fun place with a laid back atmosphere, and what made it even better was that almost everyone from our tour was there. We stayed a while before heading out to an Irish pub (ironic, I know), which honestly reminded me more of a college frat party than anything else, but was a really fun time. To end the night (or begin the next day..) we went to a club and literally danced the night away. The clubs in Barcelona (and Madrid) are no joke - they don't open until around midnight and then close at about six am - and we literally danced until about five in the morning. It was a blast. Let's just say that the nightlife in Barcelona did not disappoint one bit!

Needless to say we slept the good majority of the next day away, and after waking up around noon, we decided to head to the beach to check it out. The beach was beautiful, as was the Mediterranean, and it was the perfect afternoon spent relaxing. What amazed me even more though was that the beach was literally right there in a city so alive and bustling. Barcelona is literally the best of both worlds - city and sea - which are two of my most favorite things. Even more reason for me to love Barcelona so much! We ended our last day in Barcelona by going to a traditional tapas bar, called Sol Soler, for dinner, which did not disappoint - so delicious. The cherry on top of the night was getting Nutella filled churros (yup..) on our way back to the hostel. It was perfection, and I went to bed that night so very happy and content (and full).

MADRID






Madrid was the last stop on my thirty day adventure, so it goes without saying that it was very bittersweet to reach this destination. We took the high-speed train from Barcelona to Madrid, which was the nicest train I've ever been on, and arrived to the city around mid-afternoon. Our hostel, called The Hat, was also an amazing hostel, and one I would again recommend if you are in Spain! The first night we hung around the hostel for a while before venturing out to find something for dinner. If I'm being completely honest, I was a little bit disappointed with my first impression of Madrid. In cities prior to Madrid it had been super easy to find good restaurants just by walking through the streets, and my friends and I had a really hard time with this that first night! I think it was our own error and we may have just chose the wrong direction to head in, which resulted in us wandering through not the greatest neighborhoods with no restaurants in sight. Eventually after roaming around for a while we found a cozy little place to eat outside in a square and it ended up being perfect. Finding it was just another adventure! We went to bed that night hoping that in the next two days, Madrid would impress us a little bit more, and I can say now that it certainly did. 

The second day we had a guided bus tour around the city, which showed us the direction we should have headed in the night before for dinner and also all the major attractions of Madrid. It really is a beautiful city like many of the cities on the trip had been. We also had a tour through the Reina Sofia museum, where we got to see many of the famous works of modern art by artists such as Picasso and Dalí. This trip to the museum was so great because having someone explain to you what you were looking at made all the difference! After the museum we grabbed a bite to eat, at the same place we stumbled up the night before, and ate a delicious lunch of patatas bravas and the best sangria. To work off our lunch we decided to again go shopping - it was so hard not to when the shopping was so amazing! As I mentioned before Spain had the best shopping and it was because not only did they have so many amazing stores, but the stores sold the cutest things at prices that didnt' break the bank at all. I told myself the entire trip that I wasn't going to buy anything that I could get back home, aka clothes, but once I got to Spain, I just couldn't resist getting a few things! I bought my new favorite pajamas, the cutest off-the-shoulder top, and another top from Zara that was so me. Not too bad - trust me a whole lot more damage could have been done! 

That night we decided we had to check out the nightlife in Madrid, since in Barcelona it had been so amazing. Madrid's nightlife was pretty amazing too I must say! Spain knows how to have a good time that's for sure. The club we went to in Madrid had seven floors, one of which was rooftop bar, and was the fanciest club I've ever been to. With seven floors to explore it was impossible not to have a good time, and it was the perfect place to have one last night out! 

I must say, my last day in Madrid was not the most eventful by any means, as I spent a good majority of it figuring out how I was going to get all the stuff I brought and all the stuff I bought (including three bottles of wine) home with me without buying another suitcase or going over the weight limit. It was a big challenge to say the least, but I'm happy to report that I successfully got everything home without paying an overweight baggage fee, and more importantly in one piece. Go me!

On my last afternoon in Madrid, a couple girls and I headed over to the Royal Palace of Madrid, which is the official residence of the Spanish Royal Family. It was beautiful! Most definitely the home of royalty. Just like on our first night, when we had a welcome dinner, we also had a farewell dinner on the last night. It was a time for everyone to be together and enjoy each other's company for one last time, and to celebrate what a wonderful month it had been. The food was of course amazing, as all the food in Spain had been, but my favorite part was just being with my friends. It's amazing how in one short month, people who had been strangers had become the greatest of friends. I honestly wouldn't have wanted to experience the trip with anyone else. After the dinner ended, and I wiped my tears away, a few girls and I headed to a rooftop bar for one last celebratory drink. The bar had the most beautiful views of the city, which was lit up in the night, and we just sat and enjoyed each other's company, while of course reminiscing of our many memories. If I had pictured the perfect place to end my trip in Europe, this would have been it. It truly was the perfect end to the perfect adventure. 


xo. G

Monday, October 24, 2016

Blue Stripe Pajama Set





Happy Monday all! I hope this post finds you ready to tackle another week after a fun and hopefully relaxing weekend. I don't know about you all, but Monday mornings always prove to be particularly hard when it comes to getting out of bed in the morning... especially as it gets darker and colder outside. Ugh. On a more positive note, mornings tend to be a little bit easier when cute pajamas are involved! 

Within the last year or so I've become a big fan of pajama sets. Don't get me wrong, I was a longtime wearer of an old t-shirt and sweatpants to bed, and sometimes there still is nothing better than throwing on an oversized tee, but I'm loving the pajama sets. Something about them just makes me feel a little more put together and a bit more like an adult! I don't hate it. Not only that but they are so stinkin cute and even more cozy. I have three pairs already, and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon..oops! 

On my recent trip to Europe I came across the cutest store in Spain called Oysho. It sells a few different product lines including lingerie, sleepwear,  loungewear, and gymwear - everything was adorable. It reminded me of what I would imagine an upscale and sophisticated Aerie would be like. I honestly could have taken one of everything! With my newfound love of pajama sets, I of course got the most adorable pair. When I think of a classic pajama set, it is these pajamas!! I've been loving them ever since I got back - such a great purchase. I also got this bralette because, well, it was just too pretty to pass up!

When I got home, I was really hoping that they would ship to the States, but they unfortunately do not, which is such a bummer! I guess I'll just have to book a trip back to Spain, or anywhere in Europe they have a store for that matter. Since you unfortunately cannot ship my new pajamas to the States, I have rounded up a ton of other great options. I own (and love) the J.Crew plaid flannels and the VS flannels, and I've got my eye on this classic vintage set, and these adorable printed flannels. Check out all of my favorite picks below, I promise you'll be happy you did. I see a lot of lazy Sunday's and peaceful mornings in your future! Enjoy! 

Shop here...
Kate Spade New York Flannel Pajamas
PJ Salvage Print Flannel Pajamas


p.s. Gold monogram mug is Anthropologie from holiday season last year, but the black version is available all year round!

xo. G 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

French Riviera





Currently, as I write this post, it is a gloomy, rainy day here in New England. Although it is the perfect excuse for a lazy and cozy day indoors, I can't help but miss the warmth and sunshine of the southern coast of France. The French Riviera was an absolute dream. It was the perfect mix of seaside charm and that French je ne sais quoi. To say it was beautiful beyond words would be an understatement.

The French Riviera, better known as Côte d'Azur, is made up of several seaside resorts including the well known vacation destinations of Nice, Cannes, Saint-Tropez, and Monaco. We stayed in Antibes, which is located between Nice and Cannes, and it was the perfect spot to spend a day relaxing. At this point in the trip, we were about three weeks in, and after the hustle and bustle of many cities, the French Riviera was a much needed change of pace!

With only one full day in Côte d'Azur, we wanted to take in everything that Antibes had to offer. To start the day we headed into town to check out Le Marché Provençal. It was the biggest (and best) outdoor market that I've ever seen and offered everything from flowers to spices, soaps to fresh produce, and even meats and cheeses. It was amazing. Every morning the Provencal market sets up and is bustling with shoppers picking up fresh local goods - it is a must do if you are ever in Antibes! I picked up some handmade lavender soaps, and the cutest straw market tote (I'm obsessed). A friend and I grabbed some fresh pesto, artichoke, sun-dried tomato, and cheese spreads to bring with us to the beach. Before heading there, we stopped into a local boulangerie to pick up a couple baguettes (the best bread I have ever had..) for the spreads and of course we grabbed a couple bottles of rosé. Safe to say we were ready for the beach!

The beach was a short walk from the town center and was situated just perfectly on a small inlet of the Mediterranean. It was the perfect spot to spend the remainder of the day! We soaked up the sunshine, ate our food and drank (many) bottles of wine, and just enjoyed each other's company. Oh, and I can't forget about taking a dip in the Mediterranean! It was some of the cleanest and warmest water I've ever been in - I seriously could have stayed in it all day. A short walk from the beach was a medieval stone wall that created a landing which offered the most beautiful views of the ocean and of the city of Nice in the distance. It was one of those views that took my breath away, left me speechless, and with a tear in my eye because I was so overwhelmed with gratitude and beauty. I now understand what it feels like to be awestruck. It is a feeling I don't think I had ever experienced until my trip to Europe, and one that I was lucky enough to feel multiple times throughout the month. I can never thank the world enough for being as beautiful as it is.

Looking back on my trip, this day spent on the Mediterranean stands out as one of my favorites. To be able to enjoy exploration, sunshine, great food & wine, and the company of new friends in such a beautiful place is something I will forever be grateful for. Only being there for a day was such a tease! I could have easily spent an entire week exploring the French Riviera, and I am already excited for the day I return. I decided it would be the most perfect honeymoon destination (ha) - hope you don't mind future husband! Thank you Antibes for truly one of the best days ever. It's safe to say this was just the beginning of a long term love affair with the French Riviera. I'll see you again. Until then, stay beautiful!

xo. G

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall Outerwear

For those of you who live in New England, you know that the last few days have been unseasonably warm... hello Indian summer! As far as I'm concerned, it can stay like this for as long as mother nature pleases. I cannot complain one bit as I know that before we know it, it will be as cold as could be and completely bundled up. Until then, I will make the most of these beautiful warm days that have been such a gift!

With that being said, eighty degree weather most certainly does not get you thinking about jackets and outerwear, however I'm sure by the time next week rolls around, we will be back to our quilted vests and denim jackets. I wanted to share some of my favorite fall outerwear selections, all of which I consider to be fall wardrobe staples. Not only are they great pieces for this time of year, but many of them will easily carry you into at least the beginning of winter if not longer. I know that my excursion vests are worn all throughout the winter, and you can simply never go wrong with a leather jacket.

With the temps the way they have been lately I'm sure jackets are the last thing on your mind, but I hope that you now are a couple steps ahead of the game and ready for when these temps do take a dip.  Check them out below and enjoy!




Shop here... 


xo. G 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Italy

Oh Italy, I don't know if it was the food, the wine, or the people, but you had a way of making me feel so at home. You were new and exciting, with so much to see, do, and explore, and yet I felt like I had known you my entire life. The ability to be just that, a new place, and yet so familiar, is quite the special quality to possess, and you had it Italy, oh did you have it.

Italy was a country I was really looking forward to visiting before my trip had even begun. In all honesty I was most excited for the food more than anything else (ha), and although the food was most definitely the best of the entire trip, Italy had some other pleasant surprises waiting for me. Because we were hitting three major cities, Venice, Rome, & Florence, we ended up spending about a full week in Italy. Considering all the places we visited over the month, spending an entire week, out of four, in one country was such a bonus. In doing so, I really felt like I got a feel for the culture, more so than in other countries where we only stayed a few days at most.

All in all, it didn't take me long at all to fall head over heels for Italy. As I said before, it felt like a familiar place I had known my entire life. I think it would be near impossible to not love this wonderful country. I'm not sure my words can even come close to doing Italy justice, but I will give it my best shot! Grab a cup of coffee (or a glass of wine) and get ready for how I spent a week in Italy. Enjoy!


VENICE



Venice was our first destination in Italy, however technically our first stop was in Verona. On our way from Switzerland we stopped for the afternoon to explore the city that was made famous by Shakespeare's 'Romeo & Juliet'. Although our time there was short, we spent it window shopping, wandering the streets, and having the first of what would be many gelatos! 

We stayed a bit outside of Venice, in the seaside town of Lido de Jeselo. Our hotel was literally right on the beach, which was just amazing and allowed for watching the sunrise and possibly a moonlight dip in the Adriatic sans clothing! Checked both of those off my bucket list! My favorite part of the location of our hotel was being able to fall asleep each night to the sound of ocean. I would sit outside on the balcony before I went to sleep and just listen to the waves crashing on the shore. It was one of the many small moments throughout the trip that made my heart so very happy and reminded me how extremely lucky I was. 

Venice itself was incredible - the fact that an entire city exists on small islands separated by canals is just amazing. We had a walking tour around the city and saw all the major landmarks - Piazza San Marco, St. Marks Basilica, and the Grand Canal. After the tour we got a glass blowing demonstration,  as hand blown glass products are a specialty of Venice. Unfortunately the day we spent in Venice was probably the worst weather we had the entire month, and we spent the day trying to stay as dry as we could as it down poured outside. Despite the weather, we made the most of it - you can't complain when you're in a beautiful new city! Of course, when in Venice you have to go on a gondola ride through the canals, so we did just that. It was amazing winding through the canals, and it really gave you a different perspective of Venice. To dry off and then try to stay dry we spent the majority of the rest of the day sitting in a restaurant drinking cappuccinos and wine, and just enjoying each other's company. It was wonderful.

On our last night in Venice, we headed to a family run winery outside of the city for a wine tasting. I was under the assumption that it was going to be just that, a wine tasting, but it was so much more than that. It honestly ended up being one of my favorite nights of the entire trip and left me with memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. Not only did we get to taste many delicious wines, but we got a full home cooked meal, and the father of the vineyard sang Italian opera to us. I felt as if I had been welcomed into their home, and I couldn't help but feel as if I was a part of their family. It was such a wonderful night. I left with a happy heart and three bottles of wine (!) - which miraculously made it home to the States intact!

Venezia, I will be back for you and your mysterious charm, and I can't wait to get lost exploring your streets again. Thank you for the many memories I took away from you - I promise I won't forget any of them!


ROME




     
 



Rome felt like taking a trip back in time, while also having modern luxuries at your fingertips - the best of both worlds if you ask me! I honestly had no expectations out of Rome like I did from other cities on this trip, and I think that made the city that much sweeter to explore. We started off our time in Rome with a moonlight walking tour through the city. Seeing the city lit up at night was even better than during the day - it was just that much more romantic and beautiful. Some highlights of that tour included seeing the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, and the Trevi Fountain. Oh and of course a quick stop for gelato, which was the best I've ever had! After we headed to dinner at a spot recommended by our tour guide and had not only a delicious meal, but a great time. Lets just say that Italians are very generous and down for a good time! Since it was a Saturday night and we were in Rome, we found the most perfect bar to grab a few drinks at afterwords. We met a few locals and spent the remainder of the evening talking to them and then dancing the night away. It was the most perfect way to kick off our stay in Roma.

When in Rome, the Colosseum is a must see, and we started off our second day in the city exploring the inside of it in complete awe. It is absolutely amazing that something so old has stood the test of time, and it's even more amazing that I was able to stand in the same exact structure that the ancient Romans did. Since the Roman Forum was right next door, we headed there after the Colosseum, and once again, I was blown away by the history and the longevity of some of the structures. We were so lucky to have a really great tour guide who explained the history and what it would have been like back in ancient Roman times.

A trip to Vatican City, technically our eighth country of the trip, was planned for our last day in Rome. I had no idea what to expect of the Vatican other than what I had seen on television in the past, and it ended up being so much more than I imagined. We spent a little bit of time in the Vatican museum where our tour guide showed us some of the highlights - it is amazing how many historical artifacts have been preserved and our now on display in hundreds of museums across the world. The rest of our time at the Vatican was spent admiring the Sistine Chapel ceiling and St. Peter's Basilica... both were amazing.

On my last night in Rome, I spent the evening with new and old friends. I enjoyed a delicious pasta dinner with my new friends, followed by gelato, of course! After that, I met up with an old friend and his girlfriend, who had been traveling around Europe for a few weeks as well. It was so amazing to get together with a longtime friend and share stories of each other's travels while enjoying a bottle of wine in such an amazing city. It was the most perfect way to end a perfect three days in Rome.

While at the Trevi Fountain, I threw a coin over my left shoulder, which legend has it ensures my return to Rome. However I have a feeling that I will be back to Rome regardless of that coin. You were truly wonderful Rome, and I will see you again.

FLORENCE



 


Florence was our last stop in Italy before heading to the French Riviera, and after coming from Rome, it had high expectations to meet. And it did! I loved Florence, just as much as I did Rome, and almost every other city I had visited up till this point. One of the best parts about our stay was the location of our hostel. We were literally a ten minute walk straight into the city center, Piazza del Duomo. It was amazing to step outside the doors of the hostel and really feel like you were already in the heart of the city. On our first evening there, we had a guided walking tour of the city, which started at the beautiful Duomo and took us all around Florence. Some highlights of that were getting to go inside the Duomo, seeing the Ponte Vecchio, the amazing shopping (to die for), the replica of Michelangelo's David in Piazza della Signoria, and the famous leather shops. The leather was a big hit, and we all ended up going back after the tour ended to buy some of our own authentic Italian leather goods! We ended the evening having dinner outside in the Piazza del Duomo, where I had views of the Duomo, had my first ever Aperol spritz, and had the best pizza of my entire life. Pretty successful first night in Florence if you ask me! 

On our second day in Florence, a ton of people headed to Cinque Terre, but I was feeling a bit under the weather, so I decided to hang back in Florence and do a little exploring on my own for the day. {Side note: I will be back to visit Cinque Terre - I hear it is a must see.} As sad as I was to be missing Cinque Terre, it did give me another full day to explore Florence, which I wouldn't have had otherwise. I had a nice relaxing morning before starting my day by heading to the Gucci Museo, which for anyone who is interested in fashion is a must do. I loved learning about the history of the company and about how it has progressed over the years. For only seven euros, it is definitely worth checking out and the Gucci cafe and restaurant was super delicious! After a great lunch, I did a bit of exercise and hiked up to Piazzale Michelangelo, which had the absolute most breathtaking views of Florence. It was absolutely beautiful. As I mentioned before, the shopping in Florence is to die for, which is no surprise as Florence is one of the big centers for fashion in Italy. Although no part of me could actually afford to buy anything, it was still so fun to just window shop and pretend. 

To end my time in Florence, I actually met back up with my friend and his girlfriend as they had just arrived in Florence earlier that day. It was an added bonus to see them again and we enjoyed a pitcher or sangria (I was prepping for Spain!) as we sat outside and enjoyed the night. I gave them my own recommendations of things to see and do while they were there before heading home for the night. On my way back to the hostel, I grabbed one last gelato and enjoyed it in total bliss as I thought about not only how wonderful Firenze had been, but how amazing Italy had been. A week in Italy had gone by and I was eternally grateful for every single second I was there. As sad as I was to say goodbye, I knew it was only the beginning and that I would without a doubt be back to Italy someday. In the meantime, ciao bella Italy, I will think of you often and dream of the day I return. 

xo. G

Friday, October 14, 2016

Friday Finds!

Happy Friday! It is so hard to believe that two weeks have already gone by since I returned home from my trip. Where does the time go!? I can't say I'm completely back in the swing of things, but I'm most certainly getting there. I was hoping to have had all my travel updates posted by now, but they are taking me longer than I thought they would. They are coming however, so hang tight! I'm having so much fun writing them - it enables me to relive so many wonderful moments and memories, even if it's just for a minute or two. I hope you're enjoying them as much as I'm enjoying writing them!

Italy is coming Monday (!) - it's a long one so get ready - but for now enjoy some of these finds from this past week. More importantly have a wonderful Friday and an even better weekend! I'm heading up to my Alma mater for alumni weekend, which I couldn't be more thrilled about! Any exciting plans in your Saturday and Sunday?


Closet Organization // Okay. If I were ever asked to design my dream closet this would be it. Serious goals right there. I love everything about it from the layout, to the fixtures, right down to all of the tiny design details. I will most certainly be drawing inspiration from this design for my own future closet someday (a girl can dream right!?). Anyways, the point of the article was not to showcase just the closet. Although it did a great job at doing so, I'm sharing this because it had some tips and tricks that, regardless of your closet size, can be useful when it comes to organizing your wardrobe. The change of seasons is always the perfect time to do a little tidying and organizing while you're swapping out clothing for the current season, and these tips will help get you started.

A Lesson on Endings // Maxie does it again. Honestly one of my favorite articles of hers so far - and that's saying a lot because I think they are all pretty grand. Anyone that knows me knows that I am not a fan of endings, at all. They're just not my thing. Never have been, never will be. However, they are inevitable and most certainly a constant in this life of ours. This article definitely puts into perspective the endings that we choose for ourselves. I will forever thank Maxie for this question... "Are you running? Or are you choosing?"

J.Crew SPORT // Two of my most favorite things in the world, J.Crew and athletic wear, have finally joined forces. Thank God. For those of you that don't know, J.Crew collaborated with New Balance to create a collection that encompasses all things sports related. You name it and they've got it. I'm loving these stripped leggings (and these!), this tanklong-sleeved tee, and hoodie, and of course this headband. J.Crew totally nailed it with the design aspect, and with New Balance on their side, I'm sure the collection is just as functional as it is fashionable. I can't wait to give it a try!

In case you missed it... 

xo. G

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Shopbop Event of the Season!

Guys, if you're looking for a great sale on some even better items head over to Shopbop for their Event of the Season! It's the perfect opportunity to stock up on some items for fall at prices that are hard to find anywhere else. There is so much - I want it all! I rounded up some of my favorites to share with you all. I've linked them all below but be sure to head to Shopbop's Event of the Season to check it out for yourself! The sale ends tomorrow at midnight - get it before it's gone. I promise it's worth it!

Code: MAINEVENT16 
Spend Up To $500, Get 25% Off 
Spend Over $500, Get 30% Off 

Enjoy & happy shopping!


CLOTHING

SHOES

BAGS

ACCESSORIES