eat-a-city, Uncategorized

stockholm

My weekend in Stockholm was quaint AF, though since it’s pretty pricy, there wasn’t a whole lot of gourmet dining. Our cottage-style Airbnb was stocked with muesli, milk and coffee, so that’s what I ate for breakfast everyday. On our first day of wandering, we stopped into a pub-style restaurant for lunch, where I had fish and chips, on special for the equivalent of $10 or something. Side note: I probably ate more French fries during my semester abroad than I ever have in my life.

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On the second day in Sweden, we went to Skansen, this super adorable Plymouth Plantation-esque attraction. It’s an open-air museum and zoo, set up in historical Swedish style, with employees dressed in 16th century Swedish garb, and lots of replica farm houses and bakeries are open to wander through. Here, I had some kind of cinnamon roll hot from the oven, and a rye bread sandwich topped with cheese and vegetables.

Sweden is one of three countries I visited that had Dunkin Donuts. We stumbled upon one at a modern mall amidst an ATM card crisis, and there was a massive line for doughnuts. Any New Englander knows that our regional obsession for Dunks is with the coffee–I can count the number of times I’ve eaten an actual doughnut from DD on one hand (not worth the calories). I was sooo happy to get my caramel swirl iced coffee, even though it wasn’t as good as back home.

IMG_1426We popped into a local grocery store one night to get snacks–I got my typical bread and cheese, and also a large amount of Swedish gummy candy. I have a major sweet tooth, and the candy selection here was like Ikea on crack. I bought even more when I got to the airport super early, buying these weird candies called Lakerol (unfortunately, I bought the kind in the cutest packaging which turned out to be horribly bitter black licorice), and a ridiculous amount of Anna’s pepparkakor. These ginger-snap cookies are everywhere back home, but souvenir tins of them were on sale at the airport gift shop so I got some to give my mom.

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the latest, Uncategorized

spring cleaning, wallet-style

Spring is finally here! (Knock on wood). It’s almost time to swap out my 8,000 pairs of boots for their open-toe counterparts, swear off hot coffee until October, and retire my (faux) fur coat until next season. Spring is also a great time for…cleaning! Especially cleaning up your finances, now that the holidays are long gone and spring break trips have been paid for. As a college student rapidly approaching graduation, I’ve definitely started feeling pressure to be frugal until I get a job squared away. In the meantime, here are some of my tips for keeping your wallet as full as possible!

1. Turn off auto-reload on your Starbucks card. It sounds brutal, I know, but when things like spending are set to autopilot they become super easy to ignore. Make the most of your Starbucks membership and take advantage of their frequent promotions. My office has a decent coffee machine, so I’ve officially run out of excuses for spending $5 on a latte.

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2. Clean out your closet. Spring is a great time to get rid of shoes, clothes, purses, etc. since you’re probably already swapping winter wear for springtime clothing in your closet. My favorite place to get rid of stuff is eBay, but I’ve heard great things about sites like Tradesy and Poshmark. You can literally post stuff for sale through your iPhone, and drop it in a mailbox once it sells. I’m the laziest person ever and eBay gets my approval for the easiest way to make money.

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3. Cancel any & all magazine subscriptions. As someone who works in the magazine/digital publishing industry, this is a bit painful, but I can’t remember the last time I had a magazine subscription, let alone time to read one. Transition yourself into online content, which is way more fun to read anyway, and take advantage of student access on sites like the New York Times. If you’re a magazine aficionado, or travel a lot and find yourself spending $5 a pop on mags at the airport, definitely look into Texture, an amazing app that has the digital version of (basically) every magazine, every month. It’s $10/month, but could totally be worth it.

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4. Make your credit card work for you. I get the most points back on my credit card for groceries, so that’s primarily what I swipe that baby for. Large credit card companies always have great promotions going on…I know I’ve gotten cash back for registering my Amex in programs like Small Business Saturday and Restaurant Week. If you’re traveling, definitely look into hotel add-on offers, deals on car rentals, and flight promotions. Companies like Credit Card Insider have tons of information on how to get the most out of your credit cards!

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What are your suggestions for financial spring cleaning? I’d love to hear!

All gifs from giphy. 

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the latest, Uncategorized

stages of a monday morning

As someone who had been lucky enough to have three-day weekends almost every semester of college, having to go to work on Monday is a total downer. I finally know what my mom means when she says the weekend is never long enough…

1. The sound of your alarm.

Pressing snooze. Hearing the alarm again…and repeating this cycle until you muster up the energy to roll out of bed.

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2. Getting ready.

That first look in the mirror? Yeah, probably should have taken off my make up last night. Probably also should’ve picked out an outfit yesterday, when my eyes were fully open.

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3. The breakfast debate.

Do I have time to eat? Oatmeal only takes a minute, but I’m really feelin a bagel. Should I even bother eating? Well, I’ll regret it later when I’m hungry on the train. Whatever, I’ll just have coffee.

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4. The commute.

The icing on the cake that is my Monday commute? The crowded train. Which runs ten minutes late almost every Monday. Major key = remembering your headphones. At least I have the second season of Serial to catch up on.

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5. Getting to the office.

Knock back a few cups of complimentary coffee, answer some emails, and let the day *actually* begin. Hopefully the deli gets my salad order right at lunchtime.

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places

a (broke) american in paris

Is there any place quite as idealistic as Paris? I grew up believing it was the chicest place on earth–convinced the poodles grew cotton candy colored fur and everyone wore fabulous clothing (guess I watched Madeline a few too many times). And while there were many well-dressed Parisians, I didn’t catch a glimpse of any pastel pink pups. More so than other places I’ve traveled this semester, Paris felt very temporary. It didn’t feel like a place you could make a home, and it seemed to me that it would be difficult to assimilate into French culture. People say the Dutch are rude, but I couldn’t wait to get back to Amsterdam after my brief weekend.

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That considered, Paris is full of amazing things. There’s art everywhere, stunning buildings, and crepe stands on every corner. It’s literally a tourists dream, and there was WAY too much to even attempt to do in just one weekend. I’m on a tight budget, so I did what I could to see the things I’d always wanted to while spending as few euros as possible.

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Day 1. Arrived at lunchtime and ate bread and cheese ($5) while strolling along the Champs-ÉlysĂ©es. Visited Notre-Dame (free). Climbed to Sacre Coeur (free) and refueled with a $3 Nutella crepe because ~when in Paris~. Strolled down a flower market, posed for pictures in front of Moulin Rouge (another film that can be blamed for my disillusionment). Visited the Louvre after 6pm when it’s free for under-26 guests, and I saw the legendary Mona Lisa.

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how (not to) assimilate into french culture 101

Day 2. Kinder buenos for breakfast set me back $2, and then the day was spent at Versailles. We tried desperately to convince the ticket desk to let us in for free (there wasn’t even a student discount!) but were unsuccessful and forked over €15…I’d say it was worth it. Luckily, for 3/4 of the days we were here, public transport was free! I don’t speak French so I’m not sure what the reason was, but I’m definitely not complaining.

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the hall of mirrors had me feelin like marie antoinette

Also on this day I walked 13 miles, so the gnocchi I had for dinner (€10+complimentary Pinot Grigio) was devoured without a guilty conscience. We frolicked around the Eiffel Tower after dark, watching it sparkle in awe. Before going to Paris, I thought that the Eiffel Tower was way too hyped up and overdone, when, in fact, it was stunning. It was amazing that something so industrial was so beautiful. Definitely a great spot to pop champagne.

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Day 3. Went to a Flea Market that was super hyped up, but it was really just a less aggressive version of Canal Street. Two new pairs of shoes for less than $20 made me a happy girl, though. Afterwards, we made our way to Pont Neuf and browsed the book and souvenir stands, and I splurged for some Babar the Elephant paraphernalia. My roomie and I put a lock on the Love Lock Bridge, reassuring the lady who took the photo below that we’re friends, not lovers.

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Day 4. The morning before my train left, we went for brunch and crepes and leisurely enjoyed the sunshine.

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pont neuf

When I pictured myself in Paris, I imagined I would sit in a cafe drinking black coffee and smoking a cigarette, perhaps while wearing a beret. While none of those things happened, I still loved my time in the city of light. There are many more things I would love to do in Paris, and I will definitely be back someday, hopefully when my checking account balance is a little less depressing.

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sacre coeur, or the day i climbed a hill in heels

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Uncategorized

21

Well, here it is. Finally. In a few short hours, I will reach 21 years of age, a milestone of young adulthood, yet I feel no different than I did on my twentieth birthday, nor my nineteenth. On my 18th birthday, which is supposed to mark adulthood, I registered to vote and bought a scratch ticket (didn’t win anything, obviously). Last year, I hated turning 20 because my age no longer carried the naivetĂ© of a teenager, yet I still couldn’t legally buy a bottle of champagne. And tomorrow I will be 21, an insignificant birthday here in Amsterdam where the drinking age is 18.

Anyway, I thought I would share with you 21 things I have learned in my humble 21 years of life. There are still many places to travel and countless adventures to be had, but I could not be any more blessed. HBD 2 me.

1. Nobody will ever love you as much as your parents do.

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2. Small talk is a waste of time.

3. So is straightening your hair.

4. When in doubt, have a cup of coffee.

5. People who don’t laugh at your jokes aren’t your friends.

6. Make friends with the bartender.

7. Men’s deodorant > women’s deodorant.

8. The only guy you can trust is your dad. IMG_2562

9. It’s impossible to wash cigarette smoke out of your hair.

10. There’s a reason why three-buck-chuck is only $3.

11. Don’t bleach your hair when you’re 13.

12. Don’t bleach your hair when you’re 20.

13. Money doesn’t make the world go round.

14. ALWAYS have dessert.

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15. Instagram as much as you want.

16. Meditate everyday.

17. Haircuts aren’t worth crying about.

18. Neither are boys.

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19. You can never have enough shoes. (Sorry, mom)

20. Find the right shade of lipstick.

21. There is no better friend than a sister.

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FINALly

My semester from hell is finally coming to an end. In less than two weeks, biology labs, late nights in the darkroom, and hours of online homework will cease to exist. The beginning of this semester, I suffered some sort of mental break and decided to change my course of study. When I registered for classes for the fall semester of my junior year, I originally had a schedule packed with journalism and art history classes, but two weeks before summer break ended, I switched my schedule to follow a pre-med track. This misguided decision has caused me to withdraw from one class (a first), found myself in danger of failing another (another first), and faced more stress than I have ever handled.

The silver lining of this semester is the reassurance it has provided that I’m supposed to be a writer. The struggle I have had for the past three months has driven my desire to become a journalist more than ever before. Failure in one field has made me feel like I am actually capable of achieving my dreams.

Better things are ahead, but in the meantime, I will be at my desk until my exams are over, and have stocked my pantry with plenty of coffee and microwavable meals.

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currently:

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no ragrets

Stress. Not something I’m skilled at handling, and something I avoid at all costs. I meditate daily, eat well, and try not to procrastinate to avoid stressful situations, but this semester of college has been the most trying so far. I was toying with the idea of changing my career path at the beginning of the semester, a decision that has proven detrimental to both my GPA and mental health.

The only time in my life I was super stressed out was my senior year of high school, when I was dealing with college applications and receiving admission decisions–a nerve-wracking process for anyone. And yes, my first two years of college were challenging, but manageable; even in courses I didn’t enjoy, I managed to get a decent grade without pulling all-nighters and/or ingesting large amounts of caffeine.

I have never been a particularly studious or devoted student. I love learning, but am not a fan of routine. Never have been, probably never will be. My life does not revolve 100% around school (sorry, mom and dad), and until this semester I had been able to balance things pretty well. Of course, I do my homework on time and go to class, but I also go to the gym, go to brunch, go to clubs, go on dates….because these are components of having a life. 

The college experience I desire does not contain panicked, 3am phone calls to my mother, getting a new pimple because I’m so stressed out, or feeling guilty for going out with friends instead of studying. College is about the transition from youth to adulthood, and there is nothing I would regret more than spending these sacred four years doing nothing but studying-especially since I get to spend them in the greatest city in the world.

More coffee, please.

More coffee, please.

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