Study Abroad Series; Pre-Travel Checklist

8:30:00 AM

I'm the kind of person who has to triple check things before I even walk out of my room. There are only 40 days until I depart for England, and there is a long checklist to get through before I actually leave my house and board the plane. I also worry a lot about whether or not I have locked the door, or left anything behind! It's stressful. 
SimpliSafe home security has a ton of great tips for keeping the home safe while traveling. Their wireless security system was designed with the traveler in mind and is perfect for busy, individuals. After seeing their pre-travel checklist around the house, I wanted to share it with you, along with some of my own tips for leaving before traveling!

Tip: Put sticky notes where you'll see them. I make a list of bathroom products that I need to bring with me onto a little sticky note and tape it to the mirror so I can double check that I have everything I need. 
     What's on that sticky note list? 
Though you can buy a lot of things when you get to wherever you are going, it is still better to cut panic and make sure you have everything in the first place!
Packing for a trip is another story (I haven't even gotten my head around the fact that I have to pack for four months.) 
Tip: Research where you're going. The weather can be the biggest "if" factor in packing stresses. If you're going somewhere where the weather is warm, then pack in those summer dresses and shorts. But also bring a light jean jacket, because the nights can be typically cool. 

Making sure everything is in my backpack that I need while travelling on my own, is definitely going to be my biggest worry while I'm over in England. 
Tip: Pack the backpack the night before. In the morning, you can always check again, but if you pack in a rush, chances that you missed something are pretty high. 

While I make sure i have everything I need (and probably more than I'll need), before we leave the house, there is still a checklist to get through before locking up. SimpliSafe Security sent me their list of things to do to reduce travel stresses and eliminate worrying about my home while away. 
A lot of things can go wrong, but by going through the checklist below, it can all be reduced and you can fully relax on that hiking trip or soaking in the sun on the beach. 

Tip: If you're gone more than a week, have a neighbor or friend mow your lawn for you! 
Tip: There is a smartphone app that lets you watch your house while you're away, and will email you if there is movement! You have to have an ipod, or other device with a camera in order for that to work

While getting your home ready for your absence inside and out, it is also important to use the community around you. 
SimpliSafe has this list of things to do before you leave as well. Luckily, I live near some pretty great neighbors and they watch our house for riffraff while we're gone away. 

Tip: If you don't live near great neighbors, or you're new to town, ask a relative that lives nearby to come and check on your house!

I hope you found these lists and tips helpful! I have really enjoyed writing this series, and hope you enjoyed reading it. 
What kind of lists do you make before you leave for holidays? What is the longest you have been away from home? 


Mushy Thankful post

8:23:00 AM

Thursday November 24th was Thanksgiving here in the United States, and while I got ready to greet all of the guests that would descend upon my home, I thought about what I was thankful for. As a lot of people do every year. I know I have been writing more list-posts than usual, but I hope you don't mind that this one is another!

        Adventures. I am so thankful that I have been able to go on so many adventures this year. Skydiving was probably my favorite thing this year! And I cannot wait to go on more! 


         Family. Duh, that's a given. They're lovely, they really are. 

        My roommate. That's a big difference from last years posts isn't it? Last year, my roommate was awful. But we all have one at some point in our lives. This year, she's just great. One of the nicest people i have ever met. We won't be roommates next year and that makes me extremely sad. But she'll be in France while I'll be in England, and maybe we'll wave across the English Channel or something. 

       England. Because they're letting me study abroad in the country, and I have been wanting to do this since I was in the sixth grade. I am too excited. 

United Kingdom

       Readers. Of course, I'm thankful that people actually come onto this blog, and some even subscribe and keep up on other social medias like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. That is just amazing, also can we appreciate the fact that there are people from all over the world?! That really blows my mind! 

Phil Dunfy

I know not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving, but I thought I would just share my thankful list with you all this year! Christmas is coming up, and while I don't like cold weather I am so excited! It's my favorite holiday! 

Thanks for reading as always! 


Study Abroad Series: The Big Question

8:25:00 AM


There's always that one big question that comes up in the beginning, before applying to study abroad. And that's why? Why should you study abroad,it's going to cost a lot of money. You're going to be away from, home for more than one week. So why should you, or anyone else look into it? Here's why. 

1. Living in a foreign country is different than a holiday. You're living, chatting, and going to shops just like the locals do. Instead of sitting around being 100% touristy. 

2.Make lifelong friends. Being away from home is scary, but you'll also be with 100 other students who are all in the same boat as you. And they'll become you're best friends for four months. 

3.Gain Independence. You will be able to proudly walk through the airports of the future without being overly anxious about whether or not you're in the right terminal. 
I got this

4.Learn more about yourself. Everyone that has studied abroad has told me that they have learned so much about themselves while being in another country than being at home, in their comfy duvets. 

5.An unforgettable experience. One that you can tell your family and friends over and over (and become so annoying they'll probably want you to go back). 
Eye roll Gif

6. Exploring more. You're not limited to staying in just one country, for me, I'm able to fly to different countries like Ireland, Spain and Italy on weekend trips while I'm over in England! 

7. Future employment. You lived for an extended amount of time in another country by yourself, and that will look really impressive to those who may want to hire you in the future!
Tim Gif

8. Experience another culture. I'm going to England, and while the US and Britain both speak English, the way we live is completely different and I cannot wait to see how things are done over there!

9. Bucket List. You can cross so many things off of your bucket list. 

10. You'll learn to appreciate the little things. Like peanut butter. Apparently that's not a thing in England. 
Dog gif

If you have any questions about studying abroad, or ideas for posts let me know in the comments or send me an email! I look forward to hearing from you! I hope you're all having a great November, it's nearly Christmas :) 


Funfetti Cookies

8:30:00 AM

It's holiday season, which means it's time to give in to all those sweets. I hardly baked anything this past summer, and being away at school means I have no access to a proper kitchen Recently, I went home and had the perfect excuse to try out a new cookie recipe! I only hope you'll love it as much as I did!

Cookies for vegans

You may remember that a few months ago, I made this batch of cookies. And similarly I had found a box of funfetti cake mix and wanted to whip it up into a batch of cookies. So, here's what you'll need! 

1. Baking Sheet
2.Funfetti Cake Mix
3.Veggie Oil
4.Vegan frosting (I used dollop) 
5. White Vinegar
6. Baking Soda

First, you can totally un-veganise this recipe by using 2 eggs instead of White Vinegar and Baking soda. The steps are simple to follow and they go like this: 

1. Heat oven to 375 F. 
2. In large bowl combine  cake mix, oil, 2 tablespoons white vinegar and 2 teaspoons baking soda, stir with spoon until thoroughly moistened. If it's a bit crumbly, just add a little bit of water (about 1 tablespoon). 

3. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and place 2 inches apart on ungreased pan or parchment paper
4. Flatten cookies with bottom of cup about 1/4 inch thick
5.Bake about 6-8 minutes (or until golden brown edges) 
Homemade cookies

For the frosting, I used this madagascar vanilla flavor from the Dollop company (which has many more flavors and you should check them out). Being a white cookie, I wanted to spruce up the frosting a bit and added red food coloring! 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, and have fun making it! It's nearly Thanksgiving here in the states, which means I am almost done with this semester of school then I will be heading off across the sea for four months! That's crazy! 
Fresh cookies

Have you tried any new recipes lately? Tell me about yours in the comments! :) x


Study Abroad Series: Money

8:30:00 AM

Let's talk money. 
If you're thinking about going abroad to study, make sure you look at all of your options. 
And then you have to look at your bank account.

Money Down Under

Because, let's face it, studying abroad is expensive.
My program runs at about thirteen-thousand USD, and that's without the extra traveling that I've paid for and am still going to be paying for.


So here are a few tips on saving up that extra cash!

1. Work. A L O T. If you don't "feel" like getting out of bed and clocking in, then just know that the money you're giving up would probably pay for that trip to a magical destination in a far off land.
Werk Gif

2. Half & Half. Put half of your paycheck into a savings account, and keep half of it for spending it on life pre-study abroad.


3. Raise money. Sell cookies to your neighbors, start mowing peoples lawns. They'll all love you for it, and you'll thank them while sipping on a latte outside of a cafe somewhere in Paris.
Cookie Monster
Now I'm craving cookies!! 

4. Apply for Aid. Most schools have scholarships that you can apply for that will give you a nice little chunk of money in your pocket when you need it!

5. Cut down on spending. Know how much you spend each week, while you're at home or at uni and pay attention to what you're spending on. Share rides with friends, you don't need to buy that clothing item because there will probably be one even better overseas (and you can say where it's from once you're back!)


This list is pretty short, I worked a lot this past summer, and will until I leave. It also helps that I do not like spending money. It actually hurt to spend money on a trip to Ireland, but it will be all worth it in the end!
How do you raise money? Any tips and tricks that I missed?
Which countries should I visit while I'm over there?


An afternoon in Savannah

7:00:00 AM

The last of my vacation posts has sadly arrived. You may have read multiple posts about my travels in the southern United States in Charleston, South Carolina, Asheville, North Carolina and now we're going to talk about Savannah Georgia. One of the warmest cities I have been to, I thought it would be perfect to write about and remember on a cold December day. So here we are. 

Savannah, Georgia is not a far drive from Charleston, South Carolina and wanting to add another state to my growing list of places I've been, my family set off on an afternoon trip to the historic city. If you ever have a few hours to spare in the afternoon while in Savannah, then I would highly recommend reading the rest of this list!

1Chippewa Square. While Forrest Gump's bench might not be there (they took it down after the movie had finished filming), it's definitely a must see. Life is Like a box of chocolates ya know? 

Forrest Gump

2. SoHo South Cafe. the food is amazing. I kid you not. Even if you just want to pop in for a drink, you can do that too!. 

3. Wormsloe Plantation. While we didn't go riding down the longest drive way in the states, the trees and views are definitely worth the 20 minute drive from the city. 


4. City Market. A great place if you're looking to do some shopping! Definitely stop in to one of the candy stores, as you get tossed a piece of taffy for just walking in! 

5. Walk the cobblestones down by the river. Escaping from the heat between the buildings, wandering down to the riverside to see more historic buildings, and watch the huge cargo ships pull in. It's pretty cool! 

6. Cemeteries. There are historical figures buried in Savannah if you're a history-loving type. 

There are plenty of tours you can take while you're visiting Savannah as well. All of the stops are in good walking distance from each other, if you're looking to get more information about certain homes, people etc, then definitely book a tour. I really enjoyed my time in Savannah and am so glad the weather was extremely nice for us! 
I hope this warmed you up, if you're somewhere cold! 
Here I am wishing it were summer again! 

What are some of your favorite places to go? 
I hope you're having a great day! 


Study Abroad: 5 Worries

7:30:00 AM

You've recently read THIS post, and with the days getting closer and closer to my flight across the pond, I'm getting really excited, having already written my GOALS post, I thought I would also write up my worries post. Because after all, I am flying across the Atlantic Ocean, to a country I have never been to before, with people I hardly know at all. 
Amanda Gifs

1. What Ifs? I could make this list an entire page of the inevitable "what ifs". Like what flight is cancelled? What if..I get stranded somewhere? What if...I get attacked? I mean, you can't live your life in fear, but
Packing gif

2. Homesickness. I love coming home every other weekend from my university that is only an hour and a half car ride to my town. I'm definitely worried that this might have a damper on the whole trip. But it's also part of the experience. So hopefully, we'll all just save our tears for the pillow. (dancemoms reference anyone?) 

3.Packing. People have been studying abroad for years! But how do they pack for going away for 4 months? How do you plan? Why are there luggage weight limits though? I'm definitely going to have to prioritize which clothes I need to bring. 
melissa gifs

4. Organzation. I am terrified that I will lose something/ leave it somewhere and will never be reunited with it ever again. This actually is a worry that I have while I'm still here. I constantly lose my school ID. *sigh*
Organizing gif

5. Getting Lost. Hello I don't need to reenact the Taken movies. Thanks. As long as I'm in a group of people, I should be fine right??
Funny gif

Yes I know some of these might be silly, They definitely are. Maybe I'll even bump into some bloggers while I'm over there. I am so excited to finally be getting ready to study abroad in England!

What would you worry about if you were going to live overseas? What would you do to combat it?
Make sure to let me know in the comments! 


Shrimp Boil

7:30:00 AM

One thing that I love about family road trips is actually spending time with my family. One thing that we love doing on family trips where we rent a house to stay in, is cooking! Back in 2011 when we took a holiday to the OuterBanks in North Carolina, we had a crab bake. 
This year, being in South Carolina, we set our hearts on a shrimp boil. 

Boiled Shrimp

Luckily, my step-aunt lives in Florida and while visiting us she brought fresh caught shrimp. She and my step-sister teamed up to get the shrimp ready for dinner, while I wetn to the story with my parents for a few last minute meal add-ons! But here are some of the photos they took for this blog post! 

Boiled Shrimp

Boiled Shrimp

South Carolina


All in all, it was a great meal and one of my favorite things to do on holiday with my family. I probably mentioned before, but this entire trip meant a lot to me because I realized this might be one of the last one's we take as a family where my parents pay for it. 

Shrimp Dinner

What are some of your favorite things to do on holiday with family? Have you ever rented a vacation home before? 


Study Abroad Series: Goals

7:30:00 AM

By now you would have read this post and you will have read that I am going to be studying abroad (I leave in 2 months!) and while there is a lot to do until the moment I step onto that airplane, I thought I would start a study abroad series, as I will be there for four months after all. If you have any questions, comments, or things to ask, please feel free to tweet me or send me an email! I want this series to include YOU. So every Wednesday this month, I will post a new study abroad themed post! 
Goals Study Abroad

When I first had my orientation, they asked what some goals were before we set off on our new adventures. And here are my top five goals that I came up with. 

  1. To Be more Independent. at this point, I am definitely not even sure I can fly by myself. I know you just sit on an airplane and don't do anything the entire time, but still. 
  2. To visit as many places as possible. I mean, c'mon this was a given. I already know a few spots i'm headed to and I'm thrilled. 
  3. To come back with more than $20. Because everyone at orientation warned us that we would come back broke. It's all part of the experience right?? 
  4. To really enjoy it. Yes i'll be taking a lot of photos, and that's great I want to remember my time over there but I also want to have moments where I sit back and just soak it all in. It always creates the best memories
  5. To step out of my comfort zone. I'd like to say, I have a medium sized comfort zone, but I really don't and this whole entire trip is pretty much me doing this I would never do. I cannot wait. 

I know this list is short, but in all honesty, it was kind of difficult to write. There are personal goals and also professional goals, like making a great resume, and connecting with different people and creating links to use later on in life. I am so excited to go abroad, but I'm also nervous (which is the post that pretty much wrote itself!) Please make sure to email me, or comment below with questions you might have and goals you would make for yourself if you were spending 4 months abroad! 

I hope you enjoy this series and follow me on my adventure! 

Q: What would be your dream country to visit?