Taco About a Graduation Fiesta

I graduated from Columbia College Chicago May of 2018. To celebrate my academic accomplishments I threw a graduation fiesta! College truly was pretty much my favorite time to be alive. I went to four schools and had so many amazing experiences. I met some of my best friends and learned more than I ever thought I could. I could think of no better way to celebrate my life than to throw a fun filled fiesta. Here’s a glimpse into curating my graduation party. Of course I went crazy on Pinterest and Etsy and ordered a ton of cute fiesta themed decor. I invited my family and we drank margaritas all afternoon. If you are throwing a graduation fiesta like me, you might need:

#1 Dessert Bar

#2 Cacti Cupcakes From Sprinkles Cupcakes

#3 Margarita Station

#4 Cactus Margarita Glasses

#5 Tissue Paper Pinata Wall

#6 Cookies From Continental Bakery

#7 A Pink Drip Cacti Cake

#8 Pick Your Prick Cacti Party Favor

#9 Fiesta Themed Sugar Cookies

#10 Fun Tassel Wall Hangings & Fiesta Banners

Florence, Italy



I studied abroad in Florence Italy in 2016. Here’s a glimpse of what I ate, drank, walked, enjoyed, explored & what I find so miraculous about this phenomenal city. If your’e smart, you will try to visit these spectacular places & spaces one day. Here is a full proof guide of the best way to enjoy your time in Florence.

Top 20 spots to visit in Florence

#1 Piazza del republica

This is the heart of the city. You can’t miss it because there is a massive architectural archway that you gaze at the minute you walk int he square. This place is the perfect blend of cultural bliss and tourism. This place feels so alive and upbeat. It is smack dab int he middle of the shopping district. You can often find live singers, real artists, street performers and quite a bit of shopping here. I would walk late at night here and watch the beautiful lit up carousel at night. You can grab a drink at the near by restaurants and bars and enjoy the live performers every night of the week if you want. This is the perfect place to go for a great evening. The carousel was often the focal point of many of my photos. I bought three paintings there from a local artist and I cherish them to this day. Someday I hope to go back and buy more paintings from this little old Italian woman.

#2 Piazzale Michelangelo

The view is stunning, particularly as the sun goes down on a sunny day. This is a popular spot with tourists and worth the uphill walk. I swear it is as if I climbed a million steps, so if you are looking for a great and sweaty workout, this is the hike for you. I have climbed it quite a few times but the cab ride is only a couple minutes. The views on the hike up are incredible, but they are nothing compared to what you see once you reach the top. There is a statue double of ‘The David’ created by the famous sculptor Michelangelo, at the top of the square cast in bronze. Due to the weathering of the bronze, similar to the statue of liberty, the statue is mint green. You will find this beautiful statue and the gorgeous skyline of Florence when you reach the top. I highly recommend you grab your favorite bottle of wine and a couple panino’s and go sit on the steps and watch the sunset. Having drinks with my friends at sunset on the steps is one of my favorite memories. You will see killer views, couples kissing on the steps, people getting engaged, tourist taking photo’s, wedding being performed and statue lover’s galore.

#3 The Uffizi Gallery

If you are a history buff, this museum will be your historic paradise. The Uffizi Gallery is definitely worth a visit if you are an art lover too. The collection here is incredible from the statues to the drawings and paintings. You definitely will need to spend several hours here to see the entire collection. This is one of the most important and special museums located in Florence. My favorite thing i learned in the museum was the story of the Medici family and all of their riches. There's no words to describe how amazing this this place is and two hours just isn’t enough to experience it all. Make sure you buy your tickets in advance or get in line early. This museum gets very crowded and busy at all times of the day. You get to view some great renaissance artwork by Da Vinci, Botticelli, Caravaggio, Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo along with many sculptures. There is a beautiful square right outside the museum where you can enjoy street performers and breathtaking views of the Gothic architecture.

#4 Museo Gucci

The Museo Gucci is a bite sized history of the iconic brand. Museum is great for fashionistas and lovers of all and anything Gucci. This museum is a high level, inspiring overview of the brand and focusing on key moments and designs. . Everybody that works there clearly loves their job and are very welcoming and informative. It’s truly beautiful. The store is a Gucci masterpiece and the curation is very eye catching with specific Firenze designed pieces. Prints and patterns from the original luggage. I loved it and my jaw was on the floor 99% of the time. So many iconic moments throughout fashion were created by Gucci. Many of the fashion statement pieces, vintage luggage and even a Gucci car is on display at this museum. I was particularly fond of on specific dress from that was covered in beautiful vintage floral fabric. The museum also has a small cafe and store where they make the most incredible cappuccino’s. I swear that you will have one of the best cappuccino’s of your life here. Plus they have the cutest little Gucci sugar’s to add into your coffee. You might want to try brunch here as well. The savory crepes are to die for!

#5 Galleria academia

You should buy your tickets to the meusam in advance ebcause you will wait for over an hour to get in. Galleria Academia is home to one of the world’s most famous works of art. An infamous sculptor named Michelangelo sculpted a marble statue called “The David” and it is one of the greatest pieces of art I have ever had the pleasure of seeing in person. Seeing The David was unforgettable. All of the phenomenal detail can only be appreciated seeing this statue in person. There are also 6 large marble sculptures Michelangelo started and did not complete that are equally as impressive. This gave me more of an appreciation of his remarkable talent when seeing the process. The energy hits you as soon as you walk into the room. This museum is simply magnificent. Don't miss out on this experience.

#6 Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

This is the greatest architectural beauty of Florence. You truly can’t miss it, I first noticed it’s beauty when I glanced out my airplane window. Florence's cathedral stands tall over the city with its magnificent Renaissance dome designed by Filippo Brunelleschi. You can also find the Baptistery right across the street. This magnificent dome acted as my marker. I always knew where I was whenever I looked up in the sky and found the Duomo. You can climb the Duomo, the view is amazing but beware it’s over 400 steps up narrow staircases the bell tower is similar to the dome same view and same tough climb. The baptistery is not much to look at but the museum and crypt are worth a visit. You can also attend church while you are in town and listen to the incredible choir echo throughout this majestic space.

#7 Ponte Vecchio

The Ponte Vecchio is known as the oldest bridge in Florence. The bridge is wonderful, it is known to be the jeweler’s row in Florence. Everyday is different, there is always a boat load of people but each view changes throughout the day. You should visit the Ponte Vecchio both during the day and at night. You can find musicians, singers and pavement artist’s. It is a great place to take a photo and take in the lovely views of the Arnno. It is particularly beautiful at sunset.

#8 Piazza Della Signoria

This is one of my favorite places to rome around in Florence. It is a beautiful little square, where there are many things to see like statues, historical buildings, fountains the Palazzo Vecchio and the restaurants. Many of my favorite restaurants are centered around this square.

#9 Basilica of Santa Croce in Florence

This is the biggest Franciscan church in the world. It is incredible to think it has the tombs of Michelangelo, Galileo, Machiavelli, and others in this one place. It is awesome and beautiful inside and out. It is one of my favorite place’s in the city. I often passed this glorious church on my way to the river. I went to Santa Croce to see Michelangelo's tomb and ended up staring at the floor decorations. You can appreciate every single inch of this place.

#10 The Boboli Gardens & Palazzo Pitti

The gardens serve as public park for the residents of Florence but if you are a tourist, you ahve to pay. The beauty of this garden is all about its architecture, since it was built in the 15th century by the Medici family. This is one f the most impressive gardens i have ever seen. It is the perfect mix of nature with architecture. There are statues and fountains and pathways all around, perfectly cut bushes, the Palace and the city as a beautiful backdrop. 10/10 you must go!

#11 Giotto's Bell Tower

The architecture and style of these buildings around the duomo is amazing. Take time to look and take in the surroundings, they are beautiful. It is quite a climb up old twisting stairs, so this journey is not for the faint hearted. This climb is so worth the effort when you get to the top, the views over the city are stunning and the hills across the river are simply glorious.

#12 Basilica of Santa Maria Novella

This church is stunning. The exterior of the church has beautiful murals and archways. You can also Giotto's crucifix, it is superb to see in person. I truly loved the elegant architecture. There is a beautiful open space with benches that has a lovely view of the Gothic architecture of the church. With a small charge of 7.50 Euro per adult, this place is a must see. you get to see many historical paintings and sculptures as well as many monuments and graves. I suggest popping in if you have time between trains because it is near to the station

#13 Arno

The Arno is the river that runs through Florence. The River is a peaceful place for walks, with many interesting bridges to discover. I walked along here several times and each time was just as relaxing as the last one. It made for a nice and quiet stroll away from the mass of tourists. If you are looking for some peace and quiet, a walk along the river will be the perfect escape.

#14 Giardino Bardini

If you want a quiet time away from the crowds then this garden is for you. It's in the Oltramo and is smaller and less formal than the Boboli Gardens. It specializes in azaleas, roses, hydrangeas but is worth a visit whatever the season. You get splendid views over the city and beyond. This garden is on a hill side, there is some climbing to do but there's a choice of steps or wide zigzag tracks through shady trees. It gets better the higher you go. It’s only 5 Euro to visit the garden. I spent about 3 hours there relaxing one afternoon.

#15 Museo Galileo

This museum is a museum about the history behind scientific instruments including Gallileo. It is well worth the visit as you adventure through Florence. Lots of people downloaded the app which provides you with more details as you walk through. They do have the middle finger of Gallileo on display which was interesting. The various ancient globes and maps are all over the museum. You can earn so much more about the genius, Galileo than what we all learned in school or read in text books. This museum does an excellent job of presenting scientific history via dozens of ancient telescopes, globes and other instruments. If you are a huge since buff than I highly recommend you stop by for a visit.

#16 Artemio Franchi Stadium

This is one of my favorite memories in Florence. Soccer or futbol is my favorite sport next to hockey and american football. I gabbed a couple of my friends and headed over to a Fiorentia vs Palermo game at the stadium. We all drank beers on the way to the stadium and bought scarves and hats to show our support for Florence. Even though it rained, we had a blast. Visiting this stadium and watching a real Italian futbol match was incredible.

#17 Leather Market

I’ll admit that I have an addiction to shoes and purses, so traveling in Italy is almost always dangerous for me and not to mention my bank account. Keep an eye on your stuff. Markets like this, especially when they’re busy and crowded, are perfect places for pickpockets.  Make more than two laps up and down Via dell’Ariento and you’ll be wondering whether you’ve passed the same leather stall four times. Sure, there’s a wide variety of merchandise to offer, but not as much as it appears. Many of the stalls have the exact same stuff as some other stalls, because they’re representing the same leather shops.  Although you’ll likely see the same leather bags and goods in several stalls, there are enough differences between the stalls that it doesn’t hurt to ask the price of a similar item in a few places before you start thinking about handing over money. It also can’t hurt to bargain. Be prepared to pay for almost everything you buy with cash. Also look out for fake designer bags, there are quite a few rip off’s floating around the market. one of my favorite leather stalls to go to is Massio Leather. That is where i spent most of my money and the shop owner was very kind and gave me some great deals. I ended up buying two leather back packs, a duffel, four purses, a couple journals and a wallet. Oh and of course I bought some leather jacket’s. How could I not?

#18 Piazza Santo Spirito

In front of the last masterpiece of Brunelleschi, the Basilica of Santo Spirito, this square is lively and colorful. There are numerous shops and places to eat and drink. Luckily they are all populated by locals so you know your in the best spot in flroence. This piazza is on the opposite side of historic center and hidden between the buildings so there are less crowds. It also attracts young locals especially after the darkness falls. There are coffee corners and restaurants at the square so you should gran your friends, grab a drink and relax. Basilica Santo Spirito is the main attraction in the square so you can also have a look inside and spend some time at the stairs. At first glance it doesn’t look like much but I found myself here more often than not throughout my week. You would be surprised how often you pass this great little spot.

#19 Castello Di Poppiano Guicciardini Winery

This castle/ winery is everything you could wish for in an Italian experience. I signed up for a bike by Tuscany experience. I went with a huge group of friends and had a blast riding through the Tuscan hills on a bike. It was a killer workout. At the end of the bike ride we were all relived we had made it to the castle. It was so interesting to learn the history of this beautiful castle and to have the wine making and oil production explained in so much detail. At the end of the tour we got to sample some wine and the host taught the entire group how to taste wine correctly. the group also got to taste the amazing olive oil from the castle. It was so good, I brought a bottle back home with me. Although my butt was forever numb after that two hour bike ride, (that turned into a four hour bike ride), I at least can now say I have journeyed throughout the Tuscan hills and drank wine inside a true Tuscan castle.

#20 Via De’ Tornabuoni

This is one fo the most famous streets in flroence, it is knwn as the shopping district. Personally, I never miss a chance to stroll along Via De’ Tornabuoni when I have free time. Many of my favorite italian deisgners can be found here. Deisgners like Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Valentino, Emilio Pucci and so many more high end designers. Plus the jewelry stores of Damiani, Bulgari and Buccellati. It was so much fun to walk down the street and gaze into the windows of these fine shops. I personally was obsessed witht he Dolce & Gabbana windows. IT is also fun to people watch all of the well dressed Italian natives who stroll that street everyday.


Eat & drink your heart out at my favorite spots in Florence

#1 Gusta Pizza

If you are looking for authentic pizza in Florence, then look no further. Gusta Pizza is not only famous for their delicious taste but their heart shaped pizza. You might have to wait in a line for a while but it is well worthy he wait. I swear this is the only good pizza you will have in Florence. This is a family place and the owner’s might just be the nicest and most kind people in Florence.

#2 Coquinarius

This is my personal favorite restaurant in Florence. It is so damn good. They have a special pear ravioli dish that is to die for. The menu is excellent. You have to make a reservation earlier in the day but it's 100% worth it. Enjoy some wine and any of the amazing pasta dishes on the menu!

#3 Osteria Santo Spirito

This restaurant is a hike across the Arno but is is such a fantastic place to dine in with your friends. I highly recommend you try the truffled gnocchi, spinach balls, zucchini risotto, and bissteca alla florentina. The ambiance is quaint and fun, plus the service is wonderful. They have massive beautiful dinner plates that serve huge portions of food. You will eat like a queen when you are here. Everything is so decadent and delicious. I promise you will be back here asking for the same dish over and over again because IT’S THAT GOOD! This restaurant is 5 stars and I swear you will leave with a full tummy and a smile on your face.

#4 Hosteria Ganino

Get the pistachio steak with honey, I promise you won’t regret it. The flavor combinations of this place are out of this world. Another great dish is the truffle oil ravioli. This a great place to grab a carafe of wine and hang out with friends. I really enjoyed this place, maybe it's because my soft spot for truffle’s or pistachio’s but this place is pretty dang great. Their pasta was very hot when it was delivered and I have always been served well here! They tend to serve locals faster than tourists.

#5 Trattoria Giovanni

This a great lunch spot. You should try the bruschetta as an antipasti. I lived the truffle pasta, the polpettone which is a special type of meat and the pasta with meat sauce was to die for. Their roasted potatoes are out of this world good. You 100% need to try the tiramisu. The service was kind and the menu is reasonably priced.

#6 The Oil Shoppe

This was my go-to lunch spot whenever I was on the go and needed a quick bite. You can order practically anything. You must order a scrumptious panino. They have some food from america, I found myself grabbing a burger or a salad from here every now and then. The people who work their are beyond kind and truly care about the locals. All ingredients are also very fresh and delicious. This place is a great little hole in the wall, It’s worth a bite.

#7 All'antico Vinaio

Very tasty and great quality panini’s. There is always a line there and you will have to wait a little but it’s absolutely delicious and totally worth it. I have waited over 35 minutes for a panino. They are that good! I often grabbed a panino to go, bring a bottle of wine and walk up to Piazzale Michelangelo to watch the sun set. All’anrico Vinaio has the best panino’s in Florence, HANDS DOWN.

#8 Aqua Al 2

This restaurant is a spectacular place to have dinner. The blueberry steak is life changing. It is quite literally the best steak I've ever eaten in my entire life. The balsamic steak is a close second and the truffle ravioli is a close third. The tiramisu and chocolate torta are also amazing. This restaurants is so quaint and Italian and I just loved it. It is a little pricey but equally as delicious.

#9 La Prosciutteria Firenze

This a classical little spot with a real authentic Italian taste . The prosciutto was perfectly prepared, the cheese was the perfect accompaniment, the balsamic vinegar was just the sweetness inside the panino I ate. Plus the house wine is absolutely divine. They have phenomenal charcuterie boards and amazing wine. I have had so many great times here. Grab your friends and drink the night away. I have never eaten better meat and cheese in my life.

#10 Mercato Centrale

You can find all sorts of food to buy and enjoy. There are quite a bit of local foods, cheeses, meats, wine and desserts available. Mercato Centrale is like a giant fancy food court. Downstairs is all the fresh food, plus a few touristy focused ones with their souvenirs. Take your time, grab a coffee, a pastry, and then fill your shopping bag with fresh ingredients and produce. Upstairs you can taste a variety of different dishes. There is a lot to choose from, so I recommend you take lap or two before you decide to eat. You choose your restaurant and order something, grab a table and someone will come get your drinks order. This is a great lunch spot. There is an amazing variety of high standard, well cooked food for all tastes. The food is very diverse from vegan dishes to cuisines from all over the world.   I promise it won’t disappointing your taste buds.

#11 The Golden O

The view is to die for, overlooking the Ponte Vecchio  and the rest of the Arno River. The wine crafe is my favorite part of this restaurant, you must have a bottle or two. The food is delightful and the service is wonderful. I highly recommend you have dinner at sunset. They have a really cool wine dispenser that is poured table side. I still cna’t stop thinking about the incredible gnocchi I ate here.

#12 La Giostra

My old apartment was down the street from La Giostra and I frequently dinned here. Atmosphere is filled with dim lighting, candles lit all around and twinkling lights strung from the ceiling and it's fixtures I often stopped by for aperitivo and dinner with my gal pals. This restaurant is very small but the food is spectacular. You will start with a complimentary glass of champagne whenever you arrive because this place truly cares about the customer. There isn't a bad thing on the menu -- everything's fantastic. I swear i had the most delicious pasta i have ever had in my life. You must try the pear ravioli or the boat tagatalle. I also highly recommend the brie ravioli, the burrata ravioli, the balsamic steak, the lamb chops. The servers are super knowledgeable when it comes to wine and will help you find exactly what best suits your palette.

#13 Off The Hook

If you truly just cant embrace eating pizza and pasta for three meals a day, 7 days a week and you just need a break; Off The Hook is the spot for you. As an american who loves cheese and bacon, I was a frequent flyer at this spot. The bar truly reminded me of a sports bar back home. I often watched soccer games and grabbed a beer here. The staff is attentive and hilarious. Plus the burgers are absolutely amazing. The fries are phenomenal.

#14 1950’s American Diner

French fries are the only two words that matter at this diner. After not having one of my favorite foods for a couple months, I was so glad to stumble upon this great little joint. You are instantly transported to a 1950’s diner. The servers take your order on roller skates and you dine in vintage red diner booths. The food was pretty good and it is a really great spot to hang out with friends.

# 15 News Cafe

New’s Cafe might just have the coolest cappuccino in all of Florence. A barista named Marco will instantly greet you when you walk in. He might just be the most talented barista I have ever met. He makes the most intricate designs in coffee. I have no clue how he manages to fit the Florence skyline into a small cappuccino but he does it perfectly every time. This a wonderful little coffee stop in Florence. You must go and enjoy a delicious cup of coffee asap!

#16 Shake Cafe

Shake Cafe was one of my favorite places to grab a smoothie. This a great health option for a quick smoothie or a nice lunch. My absolute favorite thing on the menu was an acai bowl. They have the best and most fresh ingredients around. Everything you order will taste amazing. I often ran across Florence and ended my workout here. Shake cafe is not too far from the train station, so I would grab a smoothie to go when I was leaving for my next adventure. i’m also a huge fan of the banana bread and the iced chai latte they serve.

#17 La Menagiere

This restaurant/ cafe is a breath of fresh air. The ambiance is absolutely beautiful and filled with fresh flowers. This place is a great spot for a cup of coffee or an early morning brunch. I took my mother and grandmother here after church one day and their jaw’s were on the floor. Everything is so classy and open. The restaurant side is very modern but also very beautiful. There is a real flower shop inside the restaurant. I loved popping over to the cafe area to grab a pastry and coffee while I got my work done.

#18 La Milkeria

This place is the answer to your sweet tooth. You can always stop by for a quick pastry or coffee but you should try for a crepe or a waffle. I love every inch of this place from the tile tables to the cute brick mural on the wall. I loved grabbing a nutella-banana crepe on my way to work. You could also try a waffle with fresh fruit. This place might be small but the food is fabulous and the mugs are ever better. This is definitely a little hole in the wall that you must try while your in town.

#19 Ditta Artigianale

Ditta Artigianale is my favorite cafe in all of Florence. They have the best bacon and eggs in the entire city. The barista’s are so lovely and I spent most of my morning and afternoons here. Ditta Artigianale knows good coffee and you can actually get something other than the classic breakfast cappuccino or espresso! You'll find Italians having a quick stand up espresso and a pastry, people who've visited Florence many times having business meetings and tourists, people seeking a healthier breakfast option than just pastries! The menu is great - avocado toast, scrambled eggs, poached eggs and all sorts of yummy sides.The pastries are baked in house and the coffee is simply the best. They also have a great hot tea collection. I had my little corner over by the window where I would journal and get some work done on my computer. The menu is perfect and I highly recommend you pop over for a cappuccino and some breakfast. I was particularly fond of their cupcakes and quaint little ambiance. Oh and I really loved how you write down what you want on a piece of paper and hand it to the staff behind the counter - it's a nice quirk. The staff were really friendly and the scrambled eggs I had almost twice a week are forever yummy and really flavorsome. 100/100 would recommend.

#20 Le Vespe

This is a cute and tiny but really cool hole in the wall place to grab a bite. They have delicious breakfast and even better brunch. The roasted potatoes alone are literally amazing. This place is always packed but its worth the wait. Grab your friends and enjoy a killer breakfast or chill out and enjoy a drink or two. The pancakes are fluffy and the eggs and bacon are fantastic.

#21 La Carraria

This is my #1 gelateria in all of Florence. I made it my personal mission to try almost every gelateria in the city until I found the best one. I 100% must say that this is the best gelato you will ever taste. The pistachio gelato alone is reason enough to visit this place. The gelato is creamy, fruity, fluffy, sweet and most importantly- delicious. The owner gives generous scoops and you will leave with a smile on your face every time. I always cured my sweet tooth here and I highly recommend you do too! The owner is very kind and you’ll pay a fair price for the best gelato in all of Florence. Pro tip: avoid anything tertiary or neon because it’s artificial and gross. DO NOT TRUST NEON GELATO EVER! You definitely wont find any here!

#22 Venchi

This might be one of the more famous gelato spots in Florence. Not many locals go here but they do have some pretty great gealto. How can you not love a gelateria with a giant chocolate waterfall inside the place? You should try Venchi becaue the gelato is yummy but the prices are a little expensive. I will say that they do carry other options than just gelato here. you will also find a pretty great chocolate selection too. My favorite chocolates from here are called cremino’s and they are so damn good. They have three layers of chocolate and usually have a hazelnut filling. They are little drops of heaven. Their crepe’s aren’t that bad either.

#23 Magnum Firenze

If you enjoy a good ice-cream bar, you must try this! For 5 Euro you get to choose the ice cream base, dipping chocolate, toppings, and sauce! You make your own magnum bar. This a huge tourist trap but its pretty fun to watch and experience. I swear this was the best magnum I have ever had. Your ice cream bar is custom made to your own taste.From the choice of ice cream to the chocolate coating and the design you pick. You make a beautiful creation every time you visit.

#24 Don Nino

Don Nino is located right int he center of Florence. You walk up to a very cute vintage shop where you will find pastries, coffee, canoli’s and most importantly gelato. Don Nino is an Italian gelato chain located right next to the Duomo. There are cute white bicyles filled with flowers and adorablelittle cafe seating. You'll pay a premium expense compared to neighborhood gelateria’s that draw fewer tourists. Don Nion is the definition of a tourist trap. However Don Nino gives out massive scoops of gelato in huge cones and cups. To be honest the gelato at Don Nino does taste very good but it is so over priced. I won’t lie, I did buy a massive cone and I did it for the gram. Anything you buy from here will look cute as heck. It is a nice place to sit down and enjoy a treat in the middle of the day too.

#25 Amalo

This is one of my favorite little gelato chop’s int he city. They have a very cute little ambiance with photos of gelato everywhere and cute pink neon sign. This might just be the most delicious and fair priced gelateria in Florence. I loved popping by for a crepe and a couple scoops of gelato. their flavors were always yummy and they have a wonderful selection every week. Amalo also comes up with new and inventive daily specials to try.



#26 Gelateria My Sugar

This is another great spot in flroence. The rose gelato is so good, you must stop by and try it. The gelato is homemade, creamy and absolutely yummy. There are many gelato places in Florence but this little place is one of the better tasting ones. You can't go wrong with any of the flavors. This place is off the beaten path but well-worth seeking out. They only take cash here, so do not come empty handed.

#27 Gelateria Dei Neri

This is my #2 gelateria in Flroence. Gelateria Dei Neri is phenomenal. I often got the pistachio, fragola and stratiacella flavors on a weekly basis. I always get the biggest cup, for €6. you typically get to choose 5 flavors and the cup is well filled. There are plenty of chairs to hang out with friends and enjoy some quality gelato. . The quality of the gelato is evident in both the flavors and the fact they have the perfect texture. This place is quite busy at all hours of the day. There is great people watching and excellent gelato tasting to be had. Their coffee is pretty great too. 100% worth a walk over to grab some gelato and stroll on the Arno in the afternoon.

#28 San Tea House

San Tea House is located pretty close to the Ponte Vecchio however it is hidden down the street. They have plenty of Japanese and Chinese tea choices and they serve the tea in big teapots or mugs with refreshing herbs and spices. It is a small cozy place, I often took a break from life and came here to relax. Sometimes you just need a break from coffee. If you are a fan of bubble tea, i would highly recommend you try this place. Their chai tea is unbeatable.

#29 St Regis High Tea

Having high tea at the St. Regis is a magical experience. I choose to bring my mother and grandmother here for a relaxing afternoon of tea, cakes, pastries and conversation. You will enjoy tea in a beautiful ball room with flowers on every table and stunning chandeliers hanging from the vaulted ceilings. We each had our own pot of tea and choose form a wonderful selection of high end tea’s. We received a three tiered platter filled with cakes, tarts, macrons, fruit, cookies with salmon and cucumber sandwiches. I had a pot of the emperor jasmine pearl while my mother and grandmother enjoyed a pot of chamomile and the rose tea. If your looking for a classy afternoon, then look no further. Enjoy the sweet sounds of classical music whole sipping on some of Firenze’s best tea selections with great company.

#30 The Wesitn Excelsior Rooftop

You must go to the rooftop bar at the Westin Excelsior. The hotel is beautiful but the bar itself is gorgeous. The view is amazing, which is really why people come; but the drinks are very yummy. I not only snapped some great photos of Florence but had a great time with my friends too. Having drinks in the afternoon with your friends is simply the best. You can either grab drinks on the rooftop or grab a bite to eat for lunch. Lunch on the outdoor patio at the Westin is amazing. The view alone is worth the trip. You overlook the entire city and the river. If you dine in, try the saffron risotto and the veal shank and I promise you will have an outstanding meal.

#31 Tijuana

Margarita’s are always a great idea. Tijuana is a Mexican restaurant in Florence that has some killer margarita’s. Going to this restaurant is like travelling to Mexico. The decor is really fun and colorful. The service is great and the staff is very attentive. The food is so delicious, you have to get some taco’s or a quesadilla. The ambiance and the music were really pleasant and this is just a great place to chat and drink with friends. I swear the margaritas are bigger than your face. You should definitely try the frozen strawberry or mango margarita’s!

#32 I'Margaritaio Cantina Messicana

In case you don’t know me, I love margarita’s. I constantly bounced between Tijuana and I'Margaritaio. This place by far has the best happy hour. My friends showed me this hidden bar. Walking by, you possibly could miss this underground bar. You walk down a staircase into a very dark but fun atmosphere with neon lights everywhere. My friends and I would come here for margarita Mondays. The drinks are only 5 Euro and the frozen margarita’s have huge portions. You can also opt out for a margarita on the rocks too if you aren’t a frozen marg fan. Any flavor you get is delicious but I especially enjoyed the mixed berry. Definitely try it out if you want some decent chips and guac and a bunch of great margs.

#33 La Via Del Tè

This place is such a beautiful tea store. What a gem. There are so many different kinds of tea to smell and enjoy. It’s a great spot for a tea lover like me or to grab a souvenir for your loved ones back home. There is an amazing selection of tea, I spent over an hour buying tea for myself and smelling all of the amazing combinations the shop owner had to offer. You can also just ask for the tea list, I swear it is impossible not to find something you like. You can always ask the very knowledgeable people working there who always help you find the right flavor and have you smell each one you wish. You can also find tea cups, very cute tea bowls, tea pots and pretty much anything you could ever need to brew tea. The place is beautiful with this endless library of tea boxes and tins. I adore the tea I bought and I cherish the tea tin it came in. My favorite tea’s that I tried are the Sakura, Bancha Fiorito, Love Story, Sencha Special Fine and the Tisana Body and Spirit. Also try the infusions which are very good. This is the best place to buy tea in Florence. They have a tea room by the Mercato di Sant'Ambrogio where you can order tea to drink and buy as well .

#34 Circus Ristorante

This place is a must try if you are in Florence. I experienced my favorite dish in all of Florence here. The pumpkin butter sage gnocchi is out of this world amazing. I am salivating just thinking about it. The menu has so many great choices. You could also try the carbonara, ham & cheese calzone, caprese salad, tomatoes and burrata cheese, any of the pizza’s, the bistecca alla fiorentina or the pear gnocchi.  YOu can dine indoors or outdoors. They have a large selection of wines and top notch food.

#35 Borgo San Jacopo

The food at Borgo San Jacopo is inventive and delicious, and the staff are second to none. The atmosphere is modern and classic. Attached to the beautiful Lungarno hotel, the Borgo San Jacopo was such a great choice for dinner. You cannot go wrong with any of the seafood, pasta or meat dishes. I personally was obsessed with the veal cheek braised with brunello and the pici with wild boar. They also have some phenomenal desserts like the coconut mouse, banana split, truffles or chestnut cake. I had a delightful pot of tea with my desserts. Prices are high but justified for a restaurant of this standard. Staff were attentive and happy to explain in detail anything about the dishes. Words cannot describe how artfully presented and beautifully crafted the food was. If you have a fancy occasion or something exciting to celebrate, this Michelin Star restaurant is perfect. You will definitely have an evening to remember.

Chic Chicago Chick

If you know me, you know my wardrobe is practically all black and white. I would like to think of my style as "classy with a side of sassy" and a little sprinkle of chic. No matter what the weather is or even if its after memorial day, you will still find me strutting around Chicago in black and white.

Some of my favorite staple pieces in my closet include:

#1 Levi's Sherpa Jacket 

#2 Plaid Blanket Scarf 

#3 Gingham Fringe Dress 

#4 Black Leather Jacket 

#5 Striped Sweater, T-Shirts & Blouses

#6 Black & White Eyelet Dress  

#7 White linen tops with black embroidery

#8 Adidas trefoil t-shirt

#9 Black and white shoes

#10 Plaid pants

bean me.jpg
alex Seattle.jpg
god #3.jpg
heritage #20.jpg
black and white #1.jpg
black and white #2.jpg
black and white alex.jpg
Shoes #1.jpg
black and white #3.jpg
Windy Alex.jpg
seattle #2.jpg
19984517_444453445941663_6851555413691727872_n(1).jpg
summer House #14.jpg
bar siena #13.jpg
Seattle #1.jpg

Glossier

glossier #11.jpg
Glossier #13.jpg
glossier #16.jpg
glossier #10.jpg
glossier #1.jpg
Glossier #18.jpg
glossier #6.jpg
glossier #7.jpg

Glossier had a pop-up shop in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago. Glossier is known for their simplistic chic style museums/pop-up shops around the country. They have had these mini store in New York City and Los Angeles. This time it was Chicago’s turn. Glossier is a cruelty free natural make up brand. Some of their key products include Boy Brow, Balm Dotcom, Cloud Paint and their Milk Jelly Cleanser . Glossier embraces natural beauty as a brand and their products help you elevate your beautiful features. .

Their products are meant to make your skin feel and look flawless, your lips look luscious and enhance our long beautiful lashes just as they are. Many of the Glossier campaigns feature bare, young-faced women sporting their latest make up. One of the newer and more popular products is called Lid Star. It is a liquid shimmery eye shadow that comes in two shades. What sets Glossier part from other make up brand is that they are asking you to change your lifestyle. This brand wants you to embrace their make up and skin care lines in your everyday life.

I had never tried or even been to a Glossier before. When I heard there was a Glossier pop-up in Chicago , I knew I had to go. When I walked up to the pop-up in the West Loop, I loved every inch of the entrance. It was located in an old, abandoned garage. The aesthetic alone killed me. I was greeted immediately by friendly faced Glossier associate. The associates all wore light pink jumpsuits. This pop-up shop was beautiful inside and out. Everyone was so kind and sweet. I tried all of the best products and ended up leaving with some pretty great ones.

The walls were covered in beautiful portraits of bare face and beautiful women. There were sound bubbles hanging form the ceiling so when you walked under one, different sounds would echo down on to you. The coolest sounds were the raindrops and bird sounds. There was even guest book you could sign after you visited the pop-up shop. There were small white statues and pink flowers scattered throughout the place. There were kind messages written on the walls and on mirrors. This pop-up was both minimal and chic.

The first product I purchased was the Balm Dotcom in Cherry. I always love a good red pigment and this cherry lip balm was perfect. I almost chose to buy the Birthday Cake Balm Dotcom but the cherry was my personal favorite. It tastes so good and I truly loved the packaging.

The second product I had to have was the Glossier Lash Stick. Almost all of the associates were wearing Glossier’s new mascara and their lashes all looked phenomenal. I myself took off my make up and tried it out. I loved how long the mascara wand was and how thin the brush was. This mascara is the perfect “natural” looking mascara a girl could ever need. My lashes were longer than the great wall of China. I’m telling you, with this mascara and a lash curler, your eye lashes will look gorgeous.

The last product I purchased was Boy Brow. This product is an eye brow gel that keeps your bushy eyebrows in place. I chose to get the brown tinted Boy Brow because my eyebrows are brown. I tend to have a little patchiness in the front of each of my eyebrows and Boy Brow does an amazing job of making them look effortless and natural. Plus the gel keeps my eyebrow hairs in place. I do like to pair it withe little brown powder to get a crisp nice line at the base of my eyebrows. 10/10 would recommend.

Of the three products I purchased I have to say the lash stick mascara is my favorite. I use it everyday and I adore how my eye lashes look. The Boy Brow is a close second. After trying all the products in the pop-up shop I can honestly say that I love this brand. Glossier empowers women and makes almost anyone’s natural beauty look and feel great. I absolutely loved the cute pink packaging I received in my goodie bag. My bag was light pink and clear. I received a free mini perfume and a sticker set along with my three purchases in a cute little pink bag. The hot pink bubble wrap bag is Glossier’s most iconic giveaway. Whenever you order form Glossier you receive this cute little pouch. I truly had a lovely time and I will definitely be purchasing from this brand again.

glossier #4.jpg
glossier #19.jpg
glossier #5.jpg
glossier #14.jpg
glossier #22.jpg

Fall Favorites

Autumn is no joke to me. I blow up my Instagram with so many fall festivities every year. Fall is my second favorite season, sorry but winter will forever be my #1. Although that might be true, I am 100% obsessed with all and anything pumpkin. From pumpkin spice latte’s to pumpkin pop tarts, I am absolutely and utterly in love with pumpkins! I truly love watching the leaves change every year and attempting to wear almost all of the cozy sweaters in my closet. I have a few fun fall activities I love to do every October and November. I highly recommend you grab your nearest gal pal or family member and check off a few numbers on my list. Here’s a glimpse of some of my fall favorites.

#1 Visiting pumpkin patches

#2 Apple picking

#3 Strolling through Millennium Park

#4 Drinking a pumpkin spice latte

#5 Layering fall jackets

#6 Eating apple cider donuts

#7 Drinking hot spiced apple cider

#8 Wearing sweater weather fashion

#9 Dressing up for Halloween

#10 Drinking seasonal cocktails

#11 Eating pumpkin flavored everything

#12 Decorating for Halloween

#13 Creating some fall makeup looks

#14 Smelling fall scented candles

#15 Snagging some sprinkles cupcakes

#16 Baking pies

#17 Indulging in a charcoal latte or two

#18 Watching Hocus Pocus, Harry Potter & The Nightmare Before Christmas

#19 Eating fresh kettle corn

#20 Strutting around in my fall boots


The Wizarding World of Harry Potter

I have been a Harry Potter fan since I was a little kid. I have read all of the books front to back so many times. I was at every movie theater premier when I was a tween. The magical world that J.K. Rowling created will forever have a special place in my heart.

This has been my favorite world since I was 10 years old, I feel right at home here. The minute I found out that The Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened in Orlando, I nearly had a heart attack. On March 17th, 2017 I had to privilege of visiting this magical place. My heart was filled with so much joy on this day.

Here are 10 of my favorite things I experienced at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios:

#1 Visit Diagon Alley

The moment I walked into Diagon Alley, my jaw was on the floor. My cheeks hurt so much from smiling so hard. The detail and hard work that was put into this park is truly incredible. Every single inch of this park has so much character and detail. You can visit The Leaky Culdron, The Fountain of Fair Fortune, Knockturn Alley , The Three Broomsticks, Madam Malkin's Robes for All Occasions, Eternelle's Elixir of Refreshment, The Hopping Pot, Sugarplum's Sweetshop, Weasleys' Wizard Wheezes, Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour , Gringotts Wizarding Bank and so much more. I swear you won’t be disappointed.

#2 Grab a pint of the ButterBeer

Of course I had to try a pint of ButterBeer. It is one of the creamiest and sweetest treats you will ever taste. You can order your ButterBeer traditional, frozen or hot. I tried all three and I have to say I am a huge fan of the hot ButterBeer. There’s nothing a little ButterBeer and fire whiskey can’t fix on a cold theme park night.

#3 Get yourself a wand!

You 100% need to buy a wand. Olivander’s Wand Shop is located smack, dab in the middle of Diagon Alley. You can experience picking your wand first hand. I chose Herminoe’s wand because she will forever be one of my favorite character’s. I was very close to snagging Sirius Black’s wand but, I knew Hermione’s wand was the one for me.

When you enter this magical shop, all you see are hundreds of wand boxes stacked from floor to ceiling. Every hour one lucky witch or wizard gets chosen to be Olivander’s assistant and choose there wand. I highly recommend you choose and interactive wand because you can cast spells and create magical experiences all throughout the park.

#4 Ride Harry Potter and The Escape from Gringotts

Seeing Gringotts Bank in person is simply breath taking. The dragon is so massive and it is the very first thing you see when you walk into Diagon Alley. Every 30 minutes the dragon breathes fire into the sky. When you walk into the ride, your mind is instantly blown. From the animatronic goblins to the gorgeous dazzling chandeliers hanging form the ceiling, this place is everything your could have dreamed of and more. This ride exceeded my expectations and then some. The line moved very quickly and the ride was pure insanity. 10/10 you must take a spin inside this topsy-turvey ride.

#5 Hogwarts Express

You may or may not know this, but Digaon Alley and Hogsmeade are very far apart. Luckily there is this little old train called The Hogwarts Express to get you from place to place. You get to experience what it is like to travel through King’s Cross Station and arrive at Platform 9 ¾ to board the Hogwarts Express. The conductors are so sweet and nice. The lines move very quickly and you get your very own seat in a cabin on the train. So grab your luggage and pop and squat because you are in for a treat!

Pro tip: ride the train both to and from Diagon Alley/Hogsmeade because they are both completely magical and unique. You might see a friendly face or not so friendly face on each ride to and from the parks.

#6 Visit Hogsmeade

I am a little biased to Diagon Alley but Hogsmeade is pretty great too. You have a chnace to visit Hogwarts itself and see the castle in it’s full glory. You can visit Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, eat at Hog's Head, Three Broomsticks, Ollivander’s Wand Shop, Dervish and Banges, Filch’s Emporium of Confiscated Goods, The Dragon Challenge and Honeydukes while your in Hogsmeade.

#7 Ride Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey

My favorite ride at the park is Harry Potter and The Forbidden Journey. You get to wait in line inside Hogwarts.. You get to walk through places like Dumbledore's office, the Defence Against the Dark Arts classroom, the iconic Gryffindor common room, the Room of Requirement, and so many more great spots. This ride will make your inner child scream with glee. This ride is one thrilling adventure, you get to become face to face with some of your favorite characters and magical creatures. I must have rode this ride 3 times in a row. IT is th ebets thing you can experience at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

#8 Honeydukes

If you need a sugar fix, then look no further. Honeydukes has every magical treat you have ever dreamt of. I indulged and bought a chocolate frog, Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans and Fizzing Wizbee’s. there are so many amazing treats to choose from.

#9 The Dragon Challenge

This ride is the roller coaster of all roller coasters. You get to choose your dragon, red or blue to ride. There are hidden gems all throughout his ride. The walk to the ride leads you through a hidden forest. There are Goblet of Fire signs posted everywhere. R.I.P. Cedric Diggory. You will also find a misplaced car hidden in the forest if you know where to look. I’m pretty sure that a flying ford anglia has been spotted by more than a few muggels on there way to The Dragon Challenge. You might also find a hidden golden egg or too. This roller coaster surely won’t disappoint.

#10 Grab your souvenirs

You cannot even begin to remember your magical day without your house scarf and your wand. If you don’t already know your house, feel free to take the sort hat quiz on pottermore.com to find out what colors you should be flashing while you frolic around Hogsmeade. I have taken so many quizzes and for some reason I am always a Slytherin or a Gryffindor. I’d like to think I am a perfect mix of the two.

Of course purchased my house scarves. One Slytherin and one Gryffindor. I alternated the two every other day while I was at Universal Studios. I also purchased Hermione’s wand. The Slytherin in me demanded that i buy a death eater tattoo, which I promptly placed on my left arm. Move over Bellatrix, there’s a new Deatheater in town.

One of my favorite things I brought home with me was my deathly hallows pin. It permanently lives on my Levi’s denim jacket. I could not have asked for a better souvenir.





Dorm Room Delight

You might have not known this about me but I attended four schools! I started my educational journey at The College of Lake County. I knocked out some gen-ed’s and I needed more from my education. I was very jealous of all of my peers from WHS and I deiced to apply to Northern Illinois University. I had friends waiting for me and I was beyond excited to be attending a state school. NIU is very famous for their incredible football and education programs. I met some of my best friends at NIU and made a lot of amazing memories. I was a communications major at NIU but I never truly realized my passion until I left NIU.

I decided I needed a break state school and I choose to attend Florence University of the Arts in Italy. The program was three months long but I deiced to stay a little longer. I lived in Florence or Firenze, Italy for half a year. I loved traveling, working at my internship and eating incredible food.

When I came back I knew that drinking in corn fields and watching football was not enough for me. I hungered for more. I decided to apply where my mom went to college. I was accepted to Columbia College Chicago and my life changed for the better. I truly learned who I was, what I liked and disliked, I found my passion for fashion and realized I was a city girl. 

When I attended Columbia College Chicago, I lived in two different apartment style dorms. One was called The Dwight and the other was called The Arc At Old Colony. My dorm not only reflected me but it showcased my style. These two buildings hold a lot of sentimental memories for me and I am so glad I attended four schools. Each school shaped me into the person I am today and for that, I and truly grateful. Here’s a little look into my college dorm rooms and how I left my creative stamp at Columbia College Chicago and Northern Illinois University.

clothing #1.jpg
dorm #11.jpg
dorm room #21.jpg
dorm Room #12.jpg
dorm room #13.jpg
dorm room #10.jpg
dorm room #9.jpg
dorm room #26.jpg
dorm room #24.jpg
dorm room #23.jpg
dorm room #19.jpg
Dorm room #2.jpg
dorm Room #5.jpg
Columbia.jpg
Dorm Room #3.jpg
dorm room #22.jpg
dorm room #15.jpg
dorm room #14.jpg
dorm room #20.jpg

Seattle, Washington

Seattle was an absolute dream! I decided to surprise my mom for her 50th birthday and take her to Seattle. It has always been on her bucket list and I am happy to say I got to check this rainy city off my list too! Here is a glimpse of some of my favorite food and fun adventures I had while I was visiting Seattle. If you ever find yourself in Seattle, make sure you stop by some of my favorite places!

#1. Pikes Place Market

Pikes Place Market has it all. I traveled to the market at least 5 times while I was in Seattle, sometimes twice a day. Everyday I would snag some fresh fruit or a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I highly recommend sticking around the fish market. When the local fish market companies sell a large fish or a crab, they yell 1,2,3 and send the sea food flying through the air. You cant miss it! Plus this farmer's market has some of the most unique and amazing produce you will ever eat! Everyone is extremely friendly and sweet there too! 

#2 Chihuly Garden and Glass

David Chihuly is a very famous artist who specializes in glass art work. You may have seen his work in Las Vegas in the Bellagio Casino and Hotel. There is a gorgeous museum dedicated to his talent. I loved walking through this incredible museum. There is a stunning outdoor garden as well that sits right under the space needle! These glass sculptures are no joke. Each room is more beautiful than the next. 10/10 must go! 

#3 MPOP

The Museum of Pop Culture was a sight to see. The tickets are a little pricey but very worth it. I truly enjoyed the Star Trek exhibit, the hall of fame, the fantasy worlds of myth and magic and the Hendrix: wild blue angle exhibits. Not the mention the museum itself is and architectural beauty. A little photo shoot cant hurt. 

#4 General Porpoise

General Porpoise is a coffee and donut shop in Seattle. I am a sucker for anything whale themed because they are my favorite animal. The ambiance of the coffee shop is so damn cute. The service was beyond friendly and I truly enjoyed my chai tea latte. The coffee mugs and to-go cups were adorable. My favorite thing about this spot was the delicious fresh donuts. They have wacky flavors from strawberry rhubarb to chocolate marshmallow! You have to stop in early because the donuts go pretty fast. 

#5 Frankie and Jo's

Frankie and Jo's is an amazing little ice cream shop in Seattle. It is all vegan ice cream. When you walk in the shop, the smell of sweet cinnamon waffle cones intoxicates you nose. My favorite flavor was the vanilla charcoal ice cream. The walls are covered in green leaves with cute pink decor accents all over the place. If you need a killer aesthetic for your Instagram or a vegan friendly sweet treat, Frankie and Jo's is the place for you! Total plant magic.

#6 Seattle Ferry

The Seattle ferry boats are an absolute must! I needed to fulfill my Grey's Anatomy dream of riding the ferry to Bainbridge Island (a.k.a where Meredith and Derek live) to take in its full beauty. There is nothing better than inhaling a fresh ocean breeze and the insanely pretty skyline views of Seattle. You can see mountains, whales, beautiful homes and more from the ferry boats. 

#7 Bar Melusine

Bar Melusine is a posh oyster bar with a killer aesthetic. The floor is composed of white and sea foam green tiles. The bar stools are teal green with accents of oyster baskets and white/green decor everywhere. The drinks and mixology were excellent. I am not much of a seafood gal but if you love fish or oysters, this will be your go-to joint. Definitely stop in for a drink or two! 

#8 Kerry Park  

One thing I will NOT RECOMMEND is visiting the Seattle Space Needle. To save some cash, I would 100% recommend a trip to Kerry Park. This park is a pretty far walk but an easy Uber drive away! You will have incredible photos and breathtaking views of the Seattle skyline. 

#9 The Gum Wall

This may be a tourist trap but it sure is fun. The Seattle Gum Wall is a must visit spot. Make sure you buy your gum ahead of time because almost all of the local shops with in a mile of the Gum Wall are sold out. You can leave a sticky reminder of your visit to Seattle in an alley filled with gum. Make sure you get a cute bubble photo of you standing in front of the Gum Wall! 

#10 Le Panier

Le Panier is a French cafe not too fare from Pikes Place Market. I popped in for some macrons, tea and crumpets. This little hole in the wall is the perfect spot for some rainy day coffee. The pastries are very good!

#11 Beechers Hand Made Cheese

Beechers is a very famous cheese company located across the street from Pikes Place Market. You must stop in and grab a cup of their famous mac and cheese. Their bread sticks are no joke either. You can even see the workers creating the cheese from scratch through the factory windows. This place is cheese curd heaven. 

#12 Starbucks Roastery

The Starbucks Roastery was one of my favorite places to visit. I practically went every single day while I was in Seattle. This is not you average Starbucks location. This Satrbucks Roastery is a elite and high class version of Starbucks. You won't find you typical frappechino or ice coffee here. This Starbucks is in a league of its own with plants everywhere, a full bakery, sandwich shop, cocktail bar and lounge area. The coffee bar has rose gold pipes the bring the coffee beans straight from the factory to the baristas from the ceiling. The bakery smells incredible. I loved being able to snag fresh pizza, focaccia or a panino or two for a snack while I was there. There is fresh bread baked daily. All of the meats and cheeses are imported from Milan, Italy. You can even order an espresso flight. Each espresso is customized from coffee beans that are acquired from all over the world. I almost overdosed on the amount of matcha lattes I consumed. This place is gorgeous from the moment you walk in. 10/10 you must go and experience this high level of class from  the Starbucks Roastery. We should be getting one in Chicago in the next 2 years! I cannot wait!

#13 Molly's Moons

Molly Moon's is a sweet little ice cream shop located in Capital Hill neighborhood of Seattle. This area has the cutest coffee shops and stores but Molly Moon's reigns the queen bee of Capital Hill. You can try all of the amazing wacky flavors they have to offer. Not to mention they are dog friendly! Don't forget to get to get your ice cream to go and take a stroll on the pride filled rainbow cross walks.

#14 Pier 55

The piers of Seattle contain some of the best adventures you can go on in Seattle. There is great food, fun shops, boat tours, the Seattle aquarium, beaches, street performers and more on the pier. My favorite pier was filled with candy shops, pirate themed restaurants, gorgeous outdoor patios and the perfect location for an afternoon stroll. You get a fresh breeze and a relaxing evening view no matter where you are on the pier. 

#15 Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square is famous for an amazing native american culture impact in this neighborhood.  There are totem polls and native american murals all over the place. The shops have a lot of intricate character and quirks. Each street is completely different form the next. There are antique and vintage shops on every block. It is a great place to wonder around and enjoy the local beauty.

#16 Cherry Street Public House

This little gem is located in the heart of Pioneer Square. There is a huge courtyard filled with cute coffee shops and restaurants. Cherry Street Public house is a coffee shop by day and restaurant by night. I heard their brunch was amazing, I stopped by for a chai latte or two. The baked goods were excellent. I will say, the avocado toast was pretty damn delicious. This modern and polished coffee shop is the best place to enjoy a beautiful court yard view or get some work done. 

#17 The Crumpet Shop

The Crumpet Shop is located right outside Pikes Place Market. This hole in the wall is covered in Alice and Wonderland memorabilia. The crumpets are very famous and very delicious. This is a perfect stop for a quick bite on the go or an afternoon spot of tea. There is also a little patio and this is a prime spot to people watch.  

#18 Rachel's Ginger Beer

Rachel's Ginger Beer is a Seattle staple. If you in the mood to take a break from this coffee filled city, Rachel's Ginger Beer is the spot for you. There have a huge selection of refreshing ginger or citrus flavored drinks and cocktails. This is the perfect place for an afternoon pick me up. 

#19 Il Corvo

One of my favorite hidden gem restaurants (only open for lunch) was located smack dab in the middle of Pioneer Square. It is called Il Corvo. The chef only makes three dishes a day and there is always a huge line wrapping around the corner. No one ever knows what's on the menu and yet this place is jam packed with locals. The bread is phenomenal, the pasta is insanely tasty and the wine was on the house! Pioneer Square is a pretty cool neighborhood. 

#20 The Original Starbucks

The last a final spot to visit in Seattle is The Original Starbucks. In case you didn't already know, Starbucks is a Seattle based company. There is a Starbucks located on almost every other block in this city. This little architectural wonder is located 2 blocks away from Pikes Place Market. You can spot it from a mile away because it is the only shop with a line of 80 people outside the door. I was a little underwhelming to see but I was able to feed my mug obsession and appreciate Starbucks for once.  It might be worth a visit. 

29 Rooms Chicago

29 rooms #5.jpg
29 rooms #7.jpg
29 rooms #1.jpg
29 rooms #6.jpg
29 rooms #4.jpg
29 rooms #22.jpg
29 rooms #12.jpg
29 rooms #16.jpg
29 rooms #15.jpg
29 rooms #13.jpg
29 rooms #3.jpg
29 rooms #27.jpg

29 Rooms is an Instagram lover's heaven. 29 Rooms is a one weekend only pop up located in a warehouse in the West Loop neighborhood of Chicago. Refinery 29 is a digital media company that is the  creative genius behind the phenomenal 29 Rooms. 

This pop-up art gallery was one of the coolest and most amazing places I have ever been. Each room had a unique and immersive concept.

My Columbia College Chicago babe and blogger goddess Bree Quiachon came with me to frolic in all 29 rooms.  

Some of my favorites were the rainbow filled "love is love" room. The "hear our voice" room in celebration of the woman's march. The "shred it" room where you can write down all the things that are holding you back in life and shred away the bullshit. 

Another great room was "the future is female" room where you got to throw on boxing gloves and embrace your inner feminist. 

My absolute favorite room by far was the "become the masterpiece" exhibit. Artist Alexa  Meade or @alexameadeart on Instagram created two rooms. Both rooms are full of beautiful brushstrokes. One room was black and white while the other was an explosion of color. These two rooms were my favorite because you become apart of the fun. You get to throw on fun and wacky clothes and props while you become art yourself. 

29 Rooms is a wildly amazing experience and totally worth the money. So far 29 Rooms  has visited San Francisco and Chicago, next up... New York. Snag you tickets while you can! 

 

29 Rooms #2.jpg
29 rooms #18.jpg
29 rooms #23.jpg
29 rooms #14.jpg
29 rooms #10.jpg
29 rooms #11.jpg
29 rooms #17.jpg
29 rooms #25.jpg

Summer Romper

romper #2.jpg
romper #6.jpg
romper #4.jpg
romper #7.jpg

Rompers are the secret to a cute summer outfit. Whether you are going to brunch or out on the town with your girlfriends, a romper can transform your style. 

This romper is from Anthropologie and it truly elevated my style this summer. The flounce sleeve mixed with the striped pattern was reason enough for me to splurge.  As a tall person, I wasn't too excited to try on a romper. Normally I would never try anything like this on, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone and give it a whirl. 

You never know what you are going to like until you try it on! This striped eyelet romper form Anthropologie was $128. This romper is so soft and relaxed. The fabric is flattering and it’s loose in the places that it needs to be. This romper is so amazing because it looks good on both thin and curvy girls. 

Finding the right romper can be an impossible task, but you cant help but smile when you find the right one! 

 

romper #5.jpg
romper #3.jpg

The Tassel Was Worth The Hassel

I graduated College... CAN YOU BELIEVE?!?!?!

Gradation is a special time to show off your greatest educational accomplishments. I did not have the easiest college journey. I attended four colleges. I accomplished some general education courses at the College of Lake County. I then transferred to Northern Illinois University  where i declared a communications degree. After two years at NIU, I choose to study abroad an attend fashion classes at Florence University of The Arts. Finally, I attended my last college, Columbia College Chicago. 

I received a Degree in Fashion business with a minor in visual merchandising and display.  Here are a few snapshots from my big day. I had so much fun designing and creating my graduation cap. My shoes, earrings and jumpsuit are by Anthropologie. Special shout out to Revlon for having the  best matte lipsticks ever. 

Special Thank you to Kalya Larocca for letting my borrow her beautiful Italian flag stole. This garment truly made my graduation look perfect. 

As if graduating was not amazing enough, I posted a lovely little Instagram photo and had a very special surprise in the comments. Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye on Netflix commented on my graduation photo. 

grad #2.jpg
grad #7.png
grad #3.jpg
grad #1.jpg
grad #4.png