Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Hello, again, everyone!

         As I promised, I'm back to continue my September overview! I was planning on posting this earlier, but, alas, I got sick (like every fall). So, here we are! After returning home from the Amalfi Coast, and by "after", I mean literally two days after, it was time for one of my most anticipated trips of the semester…my week in PARIS. Now, don't get me wrong, I was very excited, but between my lack of sleep and the pressure to pick out outfits up to Parisian standards, I was a little apprehensive, as well. I'm going to be honest, I hadn't heard very good things about the city: it's not as pretty as it's hyped to be, the people are rude, blah blah blah. So, as curious as I was, I didn't want to set my expectations too high. But, let me just say, Paris proved me completely wrong.
         Our trip began with wrangling the hoards of us fashion students through the airports, which is always a fun adventure. And, as is per usual with my life, I was one of the only students to get stuck sitting with random people, and in a middle seat. Now, as I fly to and from school back home, I'm very accustomed to sitting with strange people, so I didn't mind. However, I was trying to use the flight to get some design sketching done for the massive project we had due upon our return, only to discover that the chick next to me really liked to watch me draw. Like, she was in no way subtle about it. And it made me uncomfortable. But I survived.
        Upon our arrival in Paris, we checked into our super awesome hostel, which I would totally recommend to any young traveler on a budget (St. Christopher's…I'm pretty sure they are a sort of chain around Europe, but this one was killer). It was staffed by a young, hip, largely British crowd with a really chill taste in music and interior decoration. And, there's a bar and restaurant downstairs, at which I ate multiple delicious falafel wraps. Once we all checked in, a group of us booked it to see the Eiffel Tower light up. This involved my first experience on a metro, which I would get VERY used to throughout the week. I felt like a new, exciting, easily-navigatable, and sometimes sketchy world had been opened up to me, and it was awesome. Once we got to the Eiffel tower and I saw it light up in person, I cried a little bit. Not like full sobs, but a tear or two in my eyes. It was unbelievable to actually be standing in front of something you've seen in pictures so many times and only dreamed of seeing. And then I ate a Nutella crepe. 
         The next day, we took a morning boat tour around Paris, and then headed to the Champs Elysee (it sounds so sophisticated in French…because it is) for a taste of the world we all dream of working in, but can in no way afford! We spent the day walking through designer stores; Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, YSL, Givenchy, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Dior. It was overwhelming and awe-inspiring, and I loved every minute of it. Seeing stores that epitomize success in the fashion industry gave me such incentive to keep working hard, and was so inspiring to me. Also inspiring to me was the gold-plated Lamborghini parked outside. The amount of wealth I witnessed that day was unlike anything I've ever seen, and I felt SO unbelievably out of my league. Like, if you want to be humbled, take a nice stroll down that street wearing H&M like I did. The only true success I achieved was eating at this super cute cafe and befriending the Chanel door guy. We then saw an exhibition on vintage 40's and 50's Parisian fashion, which I LOVED. The day came to an end with our nightly Eiffel Tower watching and another crepe (I'm watching my figure).
        This is getting pretty long, so I'm going to try to summarize the next days as best I can! The day after our designer shopping extravaganza, we had the incredible privilege of attending Premiere Vision (that has accent marks on it but I don't know how to do it on my computer). Premiere Vision is the world's largest trade show, to which designers, major and small, from all over the world, send their best people to view and purchase fabric for collections. It was AMAZING. I don't think I've ever touched so much fabric. After, we attended a draping demonstration of the Gres technique (as in Madame Gres…also has an accent that I don't know how to put on) at the Paris American Academy, which was an amazing experience.
          Our final full day consisted of the Centre Pompidou, also known as the Musee National d'Art Moderne, a random tattoo history museum, an absolutely awesome trend forecasting presentation at Trend Union, and…my favorite…THE Louvre. Yes, I saw the Mona Lisa, and yes, I took multiple selflies with her. My brain took in so much awesome art that day that I went into Art Nerd Overdrive, and it was great. We ended the day with a sentimental last trip to the Eiffel at night, and popped some champagne in celebration of a great trip. The next day we spent doing some final shopping and wandering before catching the depressing flight back home.
        Overall, this trip to Paris was one of the most memorable and meaningful trips I've taken these past two months. The opportunities we received to learn while there were unbelievable, and I'm so thankful to the school and faculty for allowing us do so. I also learned my first lesson about letting go of preconceived notions of people and cultures while abroad. I came to Paris expecting, rude, stuck up people, but was received with nothing but kindness and the utmost politeness. For me, it really drove home the point that if you make an effort to connect with a person's culture, they will receive you so much better, which is a lesson we learn so much over here. I speak horrible French, and probably butchered everything I attempted to say, but experienced no rudeness in return. Don't get me wrong, there are probably lots of rude people in Paris; there are rude people everywhere. However, I personally think that the people that give Parisians that reputation are the ones making no effort to understand them. I absolutely fell in love with everything about the city: the people, the architecture, the hustle and bustle. I was very sad to leave, but, as one of my professors said casually, "You're working in fashion, this won't be your only time in Paris". I hope more than anything that's true, and I can't wait to return! xoxo

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Amalfi Coast

Hey, again!

      I thought I would start out my summary of my September adventures with the first trip I took, which was a fantastic tour of the Amalfi Coast! This trip was, by far, the most beautiful experience I've had since being in Europe. It was absolutely breathtaking. While words can't do it any type of justice, I'll do my best!
      The trip began with a 6-hour bus ride on Thursday, September 11th, out of Florence to our hostel in Sorrento. Even though it was nighttime while were driving, seeing the mountains lit up by the little towns on the side was super cool. When we arrived in Sorrento, you could see the entire side of the mountain lit up, reflecting out over the sea. It was then that I realized I wasn't in Florence anymore! We arrived at our hostel and checked in; it was a cute outdoorsy place with separate little cabins. We got some sleep there and prepared for the next day!
      In the morning, we took an absolutely stunning bus ride to Positano, perhaps THE poster child for the Amalfi coast. If you're wondering if you've seen it, Google it and I guarantee you'll have seen at least one girl you know share something related to it on social media (for us ladies, it's all over Pinterest). There we spent the day relaxing on the beach, swimming in the Mediterranean, and taking boat rides in the sun. The only down side of my day was mastering the art of running out of the sea before the waves hit the beach, an art that took me a hot minute to figure out. The beaches where made of small rocks, which are sometimes hard to get your balance on in the wavy water. One instance involved me stumbling in knee-deep water just in time for a massive wave to literally flatten me across the rocks. If it hadn't happened to numerous other people already, I would've been embarrassed, but I just owned it and crawled the rest of the way up. I also had a brief case of seasickness on the choppy boat trip, but kept it together and enjoyed the stunning views around me. Then, I ate Pringles and thanked God that the ground beneath me wasn't moving.
     We finished out the first day with the bus trip back to Sorrento, where we showered the salt off our skin (there was literally salt all up in our arm hair) and rallied for a night on the town. On a brief side note, I now know why there are virtually no overweight Italians on the Amalfi Coast…I think I climbed  around 700,000 stairs throughout the course of the weekend. The villages are actually built into the sides of the cliffs. So, if I had any guilt about anything I ate, I sweated it out in matter of the 30 minute walk back to the bus. But no amount of sun-and-stair-related-tiredness could keep us from enjoying our night out in the precious seaside town of Sorrento. We went as a group to an all-you-can-eat dinner for 20 euro at this awesome restaurant overlooking the coast. Let me just say, when Italians tell you "all you can eat", do not question that they mean it (this includes wine). Our meal included salad, bread, pasta, and pizza. The minute we finished one plate of pasta, they brought out another…and another…and another…and then 5 pizzas, and then another bottle of wine. By 11 o'clock, we had gained two pants sizes and were decently tipsy, and happily headed out to a local bar for awhile before crawling into bed.
Here are pics from the day Positano: 
      The next day, it was off to Capri, the birthplace of Capri pants and Capri Sun juice pouches. I stuffed my pasta-bloated body into my high-waisted swimsuit (a lifesaver) and boarded the ferry to the island. Arriving in the harbor was absolutely stunning, and I was instantly ready for another day in the sun. The guides offered the option between some beach time and a boat ride or a hike around the island, so naturally we all opted for the beach time. After exploring for a little and trying to find some sunscreen, we hopped back on two nice boats they had for us. We spent the day circling the island,  stopping to jump in the sea, and even a quick snorkel! I was in absolute heaven. I remember looking around and having one of those moments where you can't believe that what you're looking at is real because it's so beautiful and perfect. I am so thankful to have had those experiences. I finished out the afternoon by getting off the boat and heading to the beach, laying out my towel and just napping in the Mediterranean sun for a few hours before we headed back to Sorrento. That evening, a lot of us were so tired that we stayed in and went to bed early, but not before going to the BEST kabob stand EVER. Here's the link to the website, literally just go gaze at the pics and envision my experience: . Here are some pics from my day in Capri:
       Our final day was one of my favs, being a huge history nerd. Behold, we went to Pompeii!! We boarded a train there with lots of old British people who were equally excited as I was, which made me question my idea of fun a little…but hey, it's POMPEII, guys. We spent the day touring the site, which was mind boggling and awesome. To be in something that old and historically relevant was unbelievably cool, and if you ever have the chance to see it, I would 100% recommend it. We saw everything from residential houses, the forum, bath houses, to casts of people frozen in time exactly how they died in the eruption. I bought a cute little mini urn from a street vendor, ate a sandwich and lemon ice, and caught the train back, where I happened to sit by another girl from Minnesota. She talked my ear off about the Gopher hockey team, so our friendship was short-lived (hometown pride, sorry, sister). Once I arrived back in Sorrento, it was time for all of us to pick our backpacks up from the hostel and return to Florence, with awesome tans. It was a fabulous way to start out the month, and was for sure a trip I will remember as long as I live! Here are some pictures from Pompeii to wrap up the post!

September Overview

Hello, everyone!

         I'm so sorry it's been so long since I've written! September was an absolutely INSANE month for me; I barely had time to sleep, let alone keep up-to-date with social media! Between traveling every single weekend and working on a major project for my studio class (yes, contrary to popular belief, I do still attend school), I felt like I unpacked and repacked every three days. I eventually just began leaving things in my suitcase! However, as October starts, I have three weeks to recollect myself before I leave for a study tour in London! So, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to update everyone on what I've been up to! I'll break it down into separate posts about my major trips: the Amalfi Coast,  Paris, Munich, and Milan! Feel free to read none of them, a few, or all of them if you are interested! They were all absolutely amazing experiences, and I hope you enjoy reading about them as much as I enjoy writing about them!

Thanks guys!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Under the Tuscan Sun

Hello, my friends!

         I apologize for it being so long since my last post, but life has been quite the whirlwind! I completed my first week of classes, yet I am still struggling with snapping myself back into school mode! I am taking an Italian language class (which is MUCH needed), a class on Italian fashion and culture (appropriately named "Italian Fashion and Culture"), a field experience class, and, of course, my studio class! I am very excited begin learning again, but it's hard not to feel restless when you have a beautiful country around you waiting to be explored! This week we had a heavenly four-day weekend, and I find myself feeling like this is the first week of school again after a long break. The pains of studying abroad, right?
        So, what did I do on my four-day weekend, you ask? Aside from hitting up a few nightclubs, eating leftover pasta, and watching cat videos on YouTube, my roommates and I had an AMAZING adventure. We packed our bags with water bottles and threw on our most fashionable hike-able shoes, and headed off to tour the Chianti region of Tuscany for a day full of vineyards and wine tasting. The trip started off on a shaky foot (literally), as I failed to realize that bus rides in Italy are much curvier and hillier than in the States, and did not take anything for motion sickness. Also, trust me when I say that Italians do not slow down when driving around curves (I'm still convinced there are no traffic rules here). That story has a happy ending, though, as I managed to keep it together and eat some pretzels and sit upon our arrival. We also watched some Italian MTV in the resting process.
        Now, if you're wondering if the Tuscan countryside is as beautiful as you see in movies and photographs, it 100% is. I found myself in absolute awe; it is so incredibly breathtaking that I couldn't believe I was actually there. We began our tour in a small medieval village perched on top of one of the hills, made our way down through the vineyards, and then back up. Back up was not as fun as down, and there was lots of sweat involved, but we kept the image of chiseled calf muscles in our minds as motivation. Along the way, we learned about the planting techniques, admired the amazing villas, and sampled grapes fresh off the vine.
        When we finally arrived full circle back at the village (still sweaty), it was time for the traditional Italian meal we were invited to eat at the historic Sassolini Villa, which is over 600 years old. I don't think I have ever been in an estate as beautiful. The dining room was filled with a huge coat of arms, busts, portraits, and a massive fireplace. Apparently, the Sassolini family was involved in an ongoing territorial dispute with the famous Medici family, and had portraits of them hanging in the home to "remind them of their enemies". Sure enough, these portraits were still hanging near the fireplace. 
       We met Lorenzo, the last descendant, and his fiancĂ© (who, we discovered, knows Miuccia Prada), and they showed us wonderful hospitality. Lorenzo explained the different types of wine we sampled and how to drink them, and we were treated to an amazing meal, with what seemed like endless courses. After the delicious meal and glasses of the best wine I've ever tasted, we were allowed to explore the gardens for awhile before we returned home. I wasn't sure if it was rude to take pictures of the inside of the Sassolini villa, so I only managed to snag a few when no one was looking! I took a few more in the gardens, and I hope that they convey the beauty of this home. I also didn't manage to leave without buying a bottle of their wine, which I will be bringing home to my parents! 
        The day ended with us being snapped back out of this fairytale land, and getting on a bus to Florence. We drowned our sorrows in some gelato, and went home to put our sore feet up. To sum it all up, it was a perfect day. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014


Hello, again!

       The past few days have been quite a whirlwind! First off, we have begun our week of orientation to help us get accustomed to the new environment, and to prepare us for the start of our academic school year! We have covered things like important safety issues, medical services, introductions to instructors and advisors, and some basic Italian phrases to help us maneuver the city more efficiently and politely! We also touched on the rules and care of our school building, which happens to be a restored 13th century palazzo! It is gorgeous, and comes complete with a library straight out of Hogwarts. I'll have to take some pictures soon! Our actual classes will begin next week, and I am very excited!
         Aside from orientation, a lot of exploring has been done, both successfully and unsuccessfully. On our first full day, some of my roommates and I decided to go to UniCoop, a large grocery store just out of town, to get some food for the upcoming week. Well, long story short, between the cab service's poor English and our absolutely embarrassing attempts at Italian, we ended up stranded there outside for over an hour before flagging down the only random passing cab with no one in it (cab guy: wherever you are, we are eternally grateful). I'm pretty sure the whole city of Florence saw us there with our 57 shopping bags. Also, we left the grocery store through the wrong door twice, of which one time I set off the fire alarm. So, we aren't going back to UniCoop until we're sure everyone has forgotten us. Day One: success, lots of success. But hey, I have a tub of gelato in my freezer.
       The following days went much smoother, as I have gotten better at communicating and finding my way around the city. The less I stress about remembering which street I'm on, the more I have time to start looking around and noticing things. I'm falling more and more in love with this city and country everyday. As cliche as it may sound, the people and their way of life are beautiful. They have this effortless and relaxed coolness about them that I envy so much, and I think us Americans could definitely take a few leaves out of their book. One of the things I love is their daily afternoon breaks, much like the "siesta" in Hispanic countries. Each day around 1pm, the store vendors pack up their items and close their stores and markets, and go home to put their feet up, eat a meal, maybe nap, and wait out the hottest part of the day. They will re-open their businesses throughout the day, but some places, such as those serving dinner, may not open back up until the evening. My class schedule also allows me to take advantage of these "siestas", and believe me, I will be making full use of them! 
        I also love their eating habits (but, I mean, how could you not?). Just in the past week, it has really hit me just how much Americans stuff their faces, and with how much unnecessary junk we do so. For example, Italians will wake up and have coffee and a pastry, maybe a sandwich or slightly bigger meal for lunch, and dinner with a glass of wine basically anytime between 8-10pm. While these may not be viewed as "health foods" necessarily, they aren't constantly snacking and grazing, overeating, or over-drinking. In addition, there are markets everywhere selling fresh produce to snack on, and their food isn't loaded with preservatives and antibiotics. We don't even have a microwave in our kitchen, because there isn't microwavable food to eat! (Also relating to eating habits, you can buy cheap wine, and by cheap I mean €2. And we definitely aren't talking boxed wine!)
       The city itself is absolutely stunning, but I'll wait to tell you more about it when I can get some good pictures up! We're in the middle of tourist season right now, which really detracts from the beauty. Side note, the Japanese tourists actually bring those poles with cameras attached to take selfies; that is real life. So, as commendable as that effort is, I would like my pictures of these beautiful Renaissance buildings to not have hoards of randos cramping the style. I'm going to wait to really take pictures of the city until the tourist activity has slowly died down! In the meantime, I'm going to photo bomb as many photo ops as possible. Also, don't try to take a pictures of the cute old accordion players, because they will ask for a tip in their jar, and when you only have 30 cents in your pocket, the will get very angry and rapidly become less cute. Just let them do their thing from afar. That's about all the advice I have for today.
Here are a few pictures I snapped from around town:

Monday, August 18, 2014

Officially In Italy!

      Hello, everyone! I have officially arrived in Florence, Italy and settled into my apartment! The journey over was very long and tiring, but completely worth it, if not just for the views flying into Italy! I began my trip with a little flight from Duluth to Minneapolis, caught a connection to Detroit, and from there flew to Amsterdam, where we had about a 4 hour layover. The final leg of the journey was a quick hour-and-half flight into Florence, which seemed like a blink of an eye compared to the rest of the trip over! Between a problem with my boarding passes, a $100 fee for six extra pounds of luggage, and a little bit of motion sickness, the journey wasn't exactly without hitches, but was overall fairly pleasant, so I can't complain too much! It was also awesome having a fun group of people to travel over with and pass the long hours at the airports!

Here is the view form my plane window flying into Florence:

       After arriving at the Florence airport looking very disheveled, we were greeted by our wonderful Italian advisors, who ordered us taxis and distributed our apartment keys to us. Because of the group being split into about four different flights, my friend Lizz and I were the only two of our six roommates to have arrived, so we shared a cab with another student that had an apartment in the same building as us. We all piled our (overweight) luggage into the small Italian car and rode about 20 mins or so into town from the airport. 
       Just in the short drive to our apartment, I was in complete awe of the city. It is truly amazing. Most of the bigger, more modern businesses and industries are located just outside of the city, and the more historical part of Florence is surrounded by a giant ancient wall. We live inside the city, about a 20 minute walk from the main plazas and shopping, where our school building is located! Our apartment is AMAZING and much more spacious than we had anticipated; there are 2 double rooms and 2 single rooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, living room, and an adorable little porch off the back. It's in a cute old building on the 2nd floor, which we quickly were forced to learn actually means the third technical floor to the Italians, as we struggled to pull all of our luggage up multiple flights of steps. But I truly can't complain, because we are so blessed to have such a great place to live! 

Here is the view of the street outside my bedroom window:

        Now that we are settled in, unpacked, and have a few hours of sleep under our belts, we have a day off to explore the city before our orientation starts. I'm not gonna lie, as exciting as it is, I'm a little overwhelmed! It's going to take awhile to find my way around and get accustomed to a new city, and try to communicate in another language. I miss my family lots, and wish they were here to help me figure everything out, but that's part of growing up, I suppose! I look forward to keeping in touch with everyone throughout my trip, as well! I have WiFi in my apartment, so if you text, Facebook, or email me, I should be able to respond as soon as I'm in for the evening, or in the morning! I am also a big fan of Skype and FaceTime, so don't hesitate to contact me! That's about all I have for now; sorry for rambling & thank you for reading! 


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Update On My Life: Spring Semester

     Hello, all! So, I promised myself I was going to update this more often, but it's been a whirlwind getting back into the swing of things this semester! I'm pretty much totally done with my generals, and am busy taking a (very) full schedule of fashion classes...I LOVE IT. I've never been more obsessed with my major than I am right now, and am enjoying this semester much, much more than the last (no more evening classes). I am also looking at picking up a marketing minor with a possible focus in entrepreneurship; I'm very excited!
      As Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is in full swing, I have been incredibly jealous of my friends attending the shows in New York, and have been living vicariously through their Instagrams. In fact, I'm so jealous that I'm considering taking a summer study program to complete my internship there next year. Just an idea/wishful thinking for now, but who knows? In the meantime, I'm beginning my preparations for Italy, which has gotten me incredibly excited and antsy to leave!
     Lastly, I want to thank everyone for all your help promoting my tutorial posts! This blog has almost 10,000 hits, which by no means makes me a celeb blogger, but it's pretty cool to me. It's also crazy seeing my face circulating beauty boards on Pinterest, and I am very flattered! I plan on putting up another one very soon! Thank you again to anyone who actually reads this, you guys are the best.

I'll be posting some of my fashion week favs soon....a.k.a. probably in like 20 mins....

Oh, and here's a little collection I've been drafting. Cheers!
(image/designs property of Anastasia White)