Sunday Brunch at The Rusty Scupper

Sunday Brunch at The Rusty Scupper

Hello all! This past week my mom was in town visiting me and we had a great time walking all around the harbor and the city. But my favorite part was when we went to the Rusty Scupper restaurant for their Sunday brunch. Oh. My. Goodness. It was delicious. What makes this brunch special and by far the best brunch I’ve ever been to is that it’s all you can eat, has tons of fresh sea food, unlimited included drinks, a live jazz band, and a gorgeous view of the Baltimore Harbor. If that doesn’t grab your fancy then I don’t know what will. It certainly impressed me and my mom.

They have two seatings for the Sunday brunch buffet: one from 10:30-12:00 and another from 1:00 to 2:30. We went to the 1pm seating because we’re late risers. It’s $45 per person ($16 for children) but that includes the all-you-can-eat buffet and as many drinks as you can (responsibly) handle. If you’re interested, check out the menu here. That may seem like a lot of money for a brunch to some, but, personally, I definitely think it’s worth it.

I ate a ton and could have eaten more if my stomach would have allowed it. For my first round of food, I opted for a breakfast variety since I hadn’t eaten anything yet. I chose scrambled eggs, some bacon, chopped pineapple, a biscuit with strawberry jam, and some asparagus. I ate it all and delighted in it. My mom opted for a made-to-order omelet with cheese, spinach, and crab. It tried it, and it was amazing. We also both got a Bellini, which, surprise! was also fantastic.

Second round, mom and I decided to share since we knew we could not continue to consume so much food at that rate. We picked out a plate full of seafood including lots of oysters, tons of shrimp, and some salmon with a bagel. (We didn’t eat the bagel because it was a little too hard for us, but everything else was wonderful.) There was also a sangria ordered because we heard it was delicious (I tried it: it was).

Third time’s a charm right? Well for our third round, (I know, you’re probably wondering how we could continue to eat. I really don’t know what to tell you other than we had sheer perseverance and a desire to try a little of everything.) we went for the desserts. Luckily they were a nice petite size, otherwise I don’t think I would have managed to try them all. Mom and I opted to try the chocolate chip cookies (a classic), the mini creme brulees in espresso cups (adorable), a couple of fruit tart things (strawberry and lemon), two mini waffles with strawberries and whipped cream, and some more fruit. We ended our brunch experience with a coffee each and a last look at the harbor view, before we headed out to walk along the harbor ourselves.

Overall, I would highly reccommend if you’re ever in Baltimore on a Sunday and you’re looking for a magnificent dining experience, you should try out The Rusty Scupper. I certainly wasn’t disappointed and there’s something for everyone. Now, enjoy the photos if you don’t believe me! 🙂 (sorry there’s no photo of the breakfast foods… I was too hungry and devoured it all before photos could be taken haha)

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The seafood course (w/ bellini)
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The dessert course (w/ sangria)
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Mini waffles and fruit
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I saw a boat go by and thought the view was too good to pass up
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The amazing view from our seats
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Taken on the boat riding away from brunch

Ciao for now!

 

Yellow and Strawberry Cake w/ Cream Cheese frosting

Yellow and Strawberry Cake w/ Cream Cheese frosting

If you saw my Fourth of July post, you’ll know that I made this cake to celebrate Independence Day. But it can be made for pretty much any occasion and it tastes amazing. Plus, you don’t need that many ingredients and it’s super easy. So, without further ado, let’s get started!

Ingredients:

Cake:

Frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk

To Make:

1. Cake

  • Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray then put off to the side.
  • Mix the cake mix according to the instructions on the box, then evenly pour the cake batter into the bundt pan.
  • Once the cake is cooked, let it cool for about 15-20 min.
  • Poke the cooled cake with a fork to create a bunch of tiny holes all over the cake.
  • Set to the side.

2. Jello

  • Pour the jello powder into a bowl and add about 3/4 cup hot water to it and stir.
  • Once that’s mixed, add about 1/3 cup cold water and mix.
  • Pour this jello mixture over the cake trying to get it through the holes you made earlier.
  • Once that’s done, place in the fridge.

3Frosting

  • On medium power, mix together the sugar an cream cheese until fluffy.
  • Add the milk and stir until creamy.
  • Spread over cake.

4. Fruit

  • When your cake is frosted and ready, cut up your fruit and place on frosting on top of cake,
  • Fill the middle hole with fruit.
  • Be creative and enjoy!

5. Extras

  • If you have extra frosting, use kitchen scissors to cut a strawberry in quarters without severing them.
  • Fill the middle of the strawberry with the cream cheese frosting.
  • Top with a blueberry.

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Ciao for now!

Fourth of July Fun

Fourth of July Fun

Yesterday was, of course, the Fourth of July, otherwise known as Independence Day! It’s a day full of patriotism, colors arrayed with red, white, and blue, and tons of fireworks. I had such a fun 4th of July this year because my mom and aunt came to visit me in Baltimore.

We walked around the city shopping, talking, and eating. Eventually, we ended up in Fell’s Point for lunch where we dined at Barcocina on the water. To start, we ordered an appetizer of crab guacamole and it was delicious. For our meals, we decided to order 3 different types of tacos (Korean Beef, Charred Lemon Fish, and Lamb Gyro) to split, because each taco order came with 3 tiny tacos, and we also split the Green Mango Quinoa Salad which I loved because of how refreshing it tasted on a 95 degree day.

By the time we made it back to the apartment, we were hot and ready to rest. But I got to work finishing up my patriotic dessert surprise: a yellow cake filled with spots of strawberry flavor and topped with cream cheese frosting and fruit. It’s an incredibly easy recipe, and I’ll be writing a post on how to make it if you want to try it out. It will be up on Sunday, so be sure to come back and check it out. It’s festive for the Fourth, but it’s good for just about any occasion.

By the time it was dark outside, we were rested and well fed. All that we were waiting for was the fireworks to go on at 9:30 over the Harbor. (What’s better than fireworks on the Fourth of July?) So we played some American jams while we were waiting on the balcony (Springsteen’s Born in the USA , Martina McBride’s Independence Day, and then the classics like the Star Spangled Banner etc.).

Finally we started to hear the thundering and crackling of fireworks, and we sprinted down near the lighthouse with everyone else to get a prime viewing spot. There’s something magical about a fireworks display because it’s as if nobody can be unhappy in the 15-20 minutes they’re bursting. It’s as if time stands still and that moment is an explosion of color and admiration. It was a great Fourth of July, and I want to share it with you all. Enjoy!

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Down at Fell’s Point
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I bought a new hat at Anthropologie… lol
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My patriotic and delicious cake

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I hope you all had a good 4th of July… Ciao for now!

A bit of Baltimore

A bit of Baltimore

Hello everyone! For the past few weeks I have relocated to the beautiful Baltimore, Maryland for my internship at Girl’s Life Magazine. Basically, it’s a magazine aimed at pre-teen and teenaged girls that discusses beauty, fashion, relationships, health, and confidence. I was lucky enough to land the internship for six weeks this summer, and it’s been great so far! I get to do book reviews, pitch article ideas, write articles, and pretty much learn the ins and outs. It’s pretty cool!

One of the main reasons I took the internship (besides the obvious experience part) is because my grandparents live in Baltimore. I figured this would be the perfect opportunity to spend time with them. As an added bonus,I didn’t need to rent a place to stay. Needless to say, the past few weeks have been pretty great, and now I’m on my own (my grandparents split their time between Baltimore and Italy) learning how to be an independent adult.

This past week I’ve discovered that I am capable of cooking delicious meals all by myself, and that I can function on my own. Overall, it’s been a real eye opening experience. I’ve taken a few photos of my surroundings (not many), and I thought I’d share the beauty of this city with all of you. Most of my time is spent in the Harbor area, but hopefully I’ll expand my experiences further outside this soon enough. So, without further ado, enjoy!

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Fell’s Point

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The Marina
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View from the mall
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View of the mall
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Right outside Power Plant Live

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Don’t worry, they’ll be more. Ciao for now!

What’s in my Birchbox- May

What’s in my Birchbox- May

This month I received a bunch of goodies that I have never tried before and found a few new brands that look great. Enjoy the photos and the product descriptions. Without further ado:

May

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The Number 4 Jour d’Automne Sugar Texturizing Spray is actually a perfect size for me even though it is a sample because I already have naturally wavy hair and only need a little bit of a pick me up. I never thought I’d need texturizing spray because my hair has always tended to look pretty full, but since I received this sample I figured I’d give it a try. Well, it did indeed give me soft beachy hair which I really liked. It made my waves more defined, however by the end of the day I found my hair just a bit greasier than normal. Overall though, I’d say it is a good texturizing spray.

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This one here is the Beauty Protector Protect and Oil sample. It has argan oil and protects from UV rays and heat styling which is perfect for keeping hair undamaged. I’m not usually one to use oil on my hair because it is already sensitive to oily products, so I’ve only tried this a couple times. So far, I’ve liked what I’ve seen. It made my hair glossy and got rid of most of my frizziness, making my hair look extra nice.

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I was so excited to try another scent after my last box that I sprayed on TokyoMilk Dark Novacaine Eau de Parfum right on myself. To be quite honest, I didn’t love it. The product itself is nice, and I know other people have liked the scent, it just isn’t my taste. I think there’s a bit too much frankincense in it for my liking. It has “warm notes of spicy Thai pepper and smoky frankincense with velvety vanilla orchid.” For those of you who do like a smokier scent, you might like this scent.

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When I saw this, I got very excited because I love Kiehl’s products. This is a Super Multi-Corrective Cream sample which is essentially a moisturizer to “fight signs of aging.” I am 20 years old, so I don’t exactly need to look any younger, but it is never too early to start lifting and firming skin so that when I am older I still look 20. I have to say it IS really hydrating and once on feels incredibly light. What I like is that it is slightly harder than most moisturizers when putting it on because I think that really shows the quality of the product. It’s something I like using so much that I’m almost out of the sample.

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Out of everything in the May box, I think this is my favorite. It is the Love of Color One and Done Shadow Stick in Heavy Petal. I’ve always wanted to but never have used an eyeshadow stick before, and I have to say this did not disappoint. The application is so easy and smooth, and the color is absolutely beautiful. I usually lean towards pinks and light colors anyways because I have blue eyes, but I especially loved this petal color. It’s almost a rose gold and shimmers in the light. 10/10 would recommend.


Well, there’s another month gone. I really don’t know where the time goes. I’m looking forward to my final Birchbox in June, and I’ll be sharing it all with you guys. Which product are you dying to try?

Ciao for now!

What’s In My Birchbox- A Monthly Look

What’s In My Birchbox- A Monthly Look

At Christmas I was gifted a subscription to Birchbox and recently I’ve been excited to receive my box in the mail, so I thought I would do a few monthly looks at the 5 sample products that come in the box. What’s great about Birchbox is that each box comes with a list of the products, how to use them, and the price for a full size product. The box that these products come in also changes every month, and I look forward to seeing what cute design will be next. I’d like to apologize for the lateness of the post and as such will be beginning with the box from March. So without further ado, here are my Birchbox products for March and April!


March

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These Hydrating Collagen Eye Pads from Wilma Schumann Skin Care were unexpected as I’ve never used collagen eye pads before. I did not think I needed them since I am only 20. But once reading the back, I realized that they are not just for “fine lines and wrinkles” but that they also reduce puffiness, which I definitely have after a late night. I did notice a slight difference once I used them, but nothing major. Nevertheless, I’d probably use them again if I had an event to go to.

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I love Smashbox products (especially their eye shadow palettes) so it was a fun surprise to find this Photo Finish Foundation Primer in my March Box. It goes on nice and smooth, and I’m pretty sure it has a bit of a sparkle to it (which I think is great for Spring/ Summer time).

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This OUAI leave in conditioner is fantastic! It leaves my hair so soft and it smells great. I’m a sucker for anything that smells good! I have now fallen in love with this brand because of how quality its products are.

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Winky Lux Glazed Lip was another product I’ve never tried before and I was not disappointed. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it has a sweet scent to it, almost good enough to eat. This lip gloss was called “Coffee Glaze” and it is a gorgeous pinky brown color in the container. Once on, however it has a beautiful shimmery sheer look. I expected it to be sticky like a gloss, but I was delighted to discover that it goes on like a balm, very light and smooth. Use it over a colorful lipstick or on its own, either way it’s so pretty.

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I’ve never used a Dr. Lipp product before so this balm was my first encounter with the brand. It’s tiny (only 0.1 fl/oz) even for a sample, but it goes a lone way. I didn’t need a lot when I used it. I decided to try it on my lips first since it was a colder season and they were a bit dry. The balm is thick but slides on nicely and definitely moisturized my lips. The only other way I’ve used it is to tame my eyebrows, and it works surprisingly well, if a little bit sticky at first.


April

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I LOVE this shampoo from Davines! It smells absolutely divine and it leaves my hair looking amazing. I was surprised by how much came in the sample, but I’m so glad it did because I have been using it for every wash since I got it. It is enriched with olive oil extract, fatty acids, and Vitamin E so that it smooths frizzy hair. What is also great about this shampoo is that when I brush my wet hair, there are almost no tangles and my brush slides nicely through my hair.

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If I loved the shampoo, I absolutely adore the conditioner! I have never had a conditioner leave my hair feeling softer. I don’t often praise hair care products mainly because I think they all do the same job for my hair, but this conditioner proved me wrong. It smells so lovely, like a light floral scent, and I don’t need to use much. This has probably been one of my favorite products I’ve received in all of my Birchboxes.

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I had never used a setting spray before trying this one so I don’t have much to compare it to, but I have to say I did like it. It has SPF 30 and is the Organic Makeup Setting Spray from COOLA. I didn’t notice too much of a difference to be honest, but my makeup did look a bit better than when I normally end the day. One perk I noticed was the scent was nice, not overpowering or chemically. It has aloe vera extract and cucumber along with hyaluronic which is supposed to “boost hydration.”

 

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As I have previously said, I really like Smashbox products, however I don’t especially love gel eyeliners just because I find that they smudge more easily than others. That was the case for this eyeliner too. I made the best of it though and used it to create a killer smoky eye which it was perfect for. It also stays on incredibly long, almost annoyingly long as I found out when trying to take off my makeup lol. I would definitely recommend the Always On Gel Eye Liner- Fishnet from Smashbox if you’re looking for a good gel liner.

 

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This tiny little sample perfume was everything one could wish for in a scent. It is the Citron Fig Eau de Parfum from CLEAN Reserve and it definitely is a clean scent. It reminds me of freshly dressed lady about to leave for the gala (if that makes sense). I’m pretty particular about scent, as I’m sure we all are, and I prefer lighter notes that don’t make too much of a statement. This parfum hit that perfectly, allowing me to use it as a subtle addition to my person.


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these products as much as I have enjoyed discovering them each month. I’ve never used a subscription service before so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But receiving presents in the mail is always fun, especially when they’re a surprise. I was always excited about what would come each month, especially because I am not particularly aware of all the beauty products out there. As I said before, I am a beauty novice so this is the perfect kind of thing for me because it shows me all the products I never would have known about. Plus, each box comes with a little paper explaining exactly what each product is and how much the full size is on the Birchbox website. All in all, not a bad first subscription. Which month’s products are your favorite- March or April?

Ciao for now!

Brunch and Munch in Boston

Brunch and Munch in Boston

Now that the weather is getting warmer I’ve been venturing into Boston more. A couple weeks ago, I went for a birthday brunch with a friend at this adorable restaurant called The Friendly Toast in Cambridge, MA. The decor was really wacky and retro with cartoons, comics, and old fashioned artwork all over the place.

Even the menu was weird and wild, in the best possible way. It was just my scene! I ordered The Monster Breakfast which comprises “two ‘mini’ pancakes or two French toast, two eggs any style, home fries & your choice of meat.” I chose the French toast with scrambled eggs and sausage. It was so good that I ate too much at the beginning and ended up taking half of it home with me… which was great because that just meant I got two meals for the price of one… exactly what brunch should be!

My friend ordered King Cakes which is described as “two “mini” pancakes with bananas & chocolate chips inside & peanut butter in between, with real whipped cream on top; encircled by a side of bacon (or turkey or vegetarian bacon, but Elvis will roll in his grave).” I got to try a bite of it and man did it taste good! If you’ve ever had a peanut butter and banana sandwich, it’s like that but 5 times better because instead of bread there’s pancakes, and theres chocolate in it too. Basically I wanted to order the whole menu but had to restrain myself.

The waitstaff was fantastic as well. My server, Alex, made sure to check on my table frequently enough that my coffee was refilled before it was empty but long enough that my conversation wasn’t being consistently interrupted. Even though it was packed to capacity, Alex was consistent in her attention to our table, and always had a smile on her face. I noticed similar things from the waiters at the tables next to me. Something I will say though, is that the wait time is super long. Luckily, my friend Jess had placed a reservation on an app on her phone before we arrived, otherwise it would have been over an hour wait.

I love finding new restaurants and this one was perfect for a quirky foodie like myself. If you’re in the mood for a change in scenery or simply want to enjoy a delicious brunch, The Friendly Toast is a must try. I know I’ll definitely be back!

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Ciao for now!

Tampering with Tampa- What To Do If You’re Passing By

Tampering with Tampa- What To Do If You’re Passing By

If you saw my last blog post, you’ll know that I recently went on a cruise out of Tampa, FL and it was fantastic! This post will be dedicated to sharing a couple fun things to do in Tampa if you’re only there for a short time. If you’re waiting for a flight or you’re just passing through, there is a bunch of neat places to visit in Tampa.

The Florida Aquarium 

If you like the water and all things sea life, I suggest checking out the Florida Aquarium. My mom and I went for the morning before our afternoon flight and we spent an enjoyable and informative couple of hours exploring. Here’s a tip: it’s cheaper to buy tickets online than in person. I used my iPhone to go on the aquarium’s website and bought the eTickets online for a few bucks less than if we had bought them at the ticket counter. We arrived right as it was opening since the aquarium is about 100 feet away from where our cruise docked, so the place was pretty empty.

What’s also great and convenient is that they stored our luggage for us so we could walk around unencumbered. We spent the first forty-five minutes looking around the gift shop and watching two 15 minute short 4D films. The first movie was about sea creatures and we were spattered with bubbles and misted with water as we watched. It was pretty cool. There was about 10 minutes in between the films so we sat outside in the sun and just enjoyed the day while we chatted. The second little short film was a sequel-type film to Happy Feet and the little theater was filled with a bunch of mothers and their toddlers. It was cute.

Then we walked around and saw some stingrays, which I got to touch, a seahorse, and other cool sea creatures. They were feeding the sharks and other big fish as we sat down to look in the large tank, and we learned what they all ate, and in which part of the tank their specific feeding area was. Unfortunately, it seemed like it was field trip day for the entire Florida school system and tons of groups of children began flooding the aquarium.

We took that as a sign that 2 hours was enough time to spend at the aquarium, and we scooted on out. It was around lunch time when we left and my mom had looked up a celebrated restaurant for us to try in the historic Ybor city part of Tampa. Even if you’re not hungry, this is a really neat part of Tampa to visit because it is where all the immigrants (mainly Cuban, Spanish, and Italian) went during the early 20th century, and it’s home to many old cigar factories. Mainly, Ybor City is just a really cool place to visit. it has a bunch of bars and restaurants to entertain you for a couple of hours if you’re passing through.

The Columbia Restaurant

We took an Uber from the aquarium to The Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City, and it was as if the restaurant took up the whole block it was such an impressive place. Once inside, I felt like I had entered an aristocratic 20th century house. They, like the aquarium, were good enough to store our suitcases. The waiting area is like a foyer in a beautiful home with dark wood and lovely artwork. The restaurant itself is composed of a number of rooms, each with its own kind of theme. The room we were seated in was large and bright with beautiful chandeliers, old timey artwork, and a loft area above on the side with more seating options. All of the waiters are dressed in fancy dress: black jackets and pants with dark bow ties over crisp white shirts.

It was a wonderful atmosphere and one of the most beautiful restaurants I’ve eaten in. The food was to die for as well! I ordered The Original Cuban sandwich with a cup of  the Spanish Bean Soup. The sandwich was delicious but the soup was my favorite. It was so tasty and flavorful that I wished I had ordered a whole bowl. We ordered empanadas as an appetizer and they were served piping hot and yummy!

For dessert, I ordered hot fruity tea that was filled with flavor, and my mom and I split an order of churros. The churros were so good we ate them all. They came with 3 dipping sauces: chocolate (my favorite), caramel, and berry.  Overall, the meal was amazing, and I would recommend anyone who wants to enjoy a delicious meal in a classy establishment visit the Columbia Restaurant in Ybor City. (They have other locations in Tampa as well, but this is the original.)

To digest our food after that heavenly but hefty meal, mom and I took a walk down the street, reading the history of Ybor City on the signs posted on the street. By the time we reached the end, it was time to head to the airport and end what was a wonderful Spring Break. If we’d had more time, maybe we would have gone to the beach, to the Busch Gardens, to the zoo, or visited one of the many museums that Tampa has to offer. I guess that just means I’ll have to go back!

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Ciao for now!

Cruising through Spring Break

Cruising through Spring Break

 

I have never been on a typical “spring break” during my college career. Granted, I am only a sophomore so this was really only my second Spring Break. Last year, I decided to stay at home with my family in the cold New England weather. It was definitely a nice break from my academic schedule, but I did feel like the cold weather was never-ending. This year, I was lucky enough to go on a cruise to the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico… with my mom. I know you’re probably thinking it’s strange that a college student would want to go on Spring Break with her mom, but I honestly loved it! My mom is so much fun and I love doing things with her. So, I counted down the days until we would set sail on Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas.

By the time March 2 rolled around, I was ready to get on that plane and head to Tampa, FL for a five-day sun-filled vacation. Unfortunately, the weather in the East was not ready to let me go. By the time I got home from school, most of my friends’ flights had been cancelled due to the nor’easter, so my mom and I were crossing our fingers that our flight would leave as scheduled. I guess we didn’t cross them tight enough, though, because our 6:55 flight was canceled at 2:30. Now, we were a little worried because the cruise set sail from Tampa the next day and if we couldn’t fly there, we would miss it.

Luckily, my dad is a fast thinker and a very smart man, and he suggested that since we were only about 30 minutes from the airport we should just drive there to find another flight. This turned out to be the perfect idea because, although my mom had called the airport/airline and was told there was nothing they could do other than refund out ticket, we eventually found another flight to Tampa early the next morning. (Shout out to Miranda at the Southwest terminal at Bradley Airport because you were fantastic and helped us make our cruise!)

*Flying Tip: If your flight is cancelled and you are close to an airport, I suggest you go to that airport and speak with the people at the airline. Face-to-face contact is more likely to get you booked on another flight than simply calling on the phone because they get tons of calls from frantic flyers. Plus, if you are friendly while at the same time asking if there’s “anything at all they can do,” they will be more willing to try to accommodate you.*

Day 1- Travel and Ship Day

So, early Saturday morning my mom and I set off for Tampa and boarded our cruise. It was so amazing to be on board the ship because there was so much to explore and it was so sunny and warm. We started by looking around and centered on the beautiful atrium in the center of the ship. We sat on a beautiful couch at a little bar and just admired all the details of the boat. Then we decided we should take advantage of the sun, so we changed into the swimsuits we packed in our carry-ons (since you don’t get your luggage until after the ship is about to leave), and lay on the deck chairs. After an hour or so, we realized how hungry we were, so we headed to the buffet and gawked at all the options we could choose from. There was so much food that I think we may have over-indulged that first meal. But it was all too good to pass up.

Around 3:00 we decided to rest for a little bit to recover from our travels and to digest all the food we had just consumed. My mom had decided to get us a room with a balcony, which we’d never done before, and when we entered out cabin we immediately knew it would be worth the extra money. Even thought the balcony was small, it made the room seem so much bigger and added a less claustrophobic feel to the room. Plus, it was nice to sit out there and feel the breeze brush through my hair as I watched the water. Since, we were tired, though, we decided to wait to try out the balcony and instead took a nice little nap. We were awoken by the loudspeaker declaring that everyone needed to head to their prescribed deck for the safety practice. This took no more than 20 minutes, and then we walked around exploring the ship some more.

By the time we were ready for our dinner reservation, our hunger had returned. We opted for the sit-down dinner every night because it was nice to get a bit more dressed up and to be in a restaurant environment for our last meal of the day. My mom requested a window table, and the host graciously accommodated us. So as we ate our food, we were able to watch the sun set over the crashing waves. Overall, it was a perfect atmosphere. After we ate, my mom and I went to a show at the ship’s theater. The performer was a stand up comic, and he was pretty funny. By the time the show was over at around 10:30pm, both my mom and I were ready to turn in. This first day was a long and active one. The beds in the cabin are pretty comfortable and I could not really feel the rocking of the ship as I lay down. I would say Day 1 was a success!

Day 2- Ship Day

Sunday was a day at sea and a very relaxing one at that. The day started with my mom bringing me a cup of tea and a banana to eat on the balcony. Not a bad way to wake up! Then we went for a hearty breakfast at the buffet. We brought our food to a table near one of the huge windows and ate while we watched the sea go by. I have to say, this is my new favorite way to enjoy food. Then we walked around and came across a clothing sale the ship was having and picked out some cute T-shirts and an adorable beach cover-up.  Then we decided to take advantage of the sunny day and went to the front of the ship to catch some rays. I was a bit burned from the day before, so I found a chair in the shade.

After a while, we went back to the buffet for lunch, then tried out the adult-only pool area. This area was covered with huge windows above so that it was warmer but also incredibly bright with sunlight. The pool itself was pretty warm surprisingly and not very  crowded- the perfect swimming atmosphere. By the time I dried off a couple hours later, my mom and I decided that it was tea time. Luckily, right there in the adult area was a little cafe where we ordered some pastries and then made ourselves a cup of tea each. We took our afternoon treat over to the little tables and sat facing the sea as we sipped and snacked. Then we retired to the room for a post-tea rest. I ended up on the balcony just watching water and listening to music. It really was a perfect afternoon.

Before we knew it, it was time for dinner: 7:00. That night was fancy night, so we dressed up more than we normally would- dresses, jewelry, and bright lipstick. The food was delicious as usual, and we took our time to fully enjoy the meal. Around 9:00, we went to see another show at the theater; this time it was a cabaret-style musical. The performers were very good and they all had beautiful voices. After the show, we decided to go to bed early because the next day we had to wake up early. We only had from 8:00 am to 3:00pm at Grand Cayman and we wanted to make the most of it.

Day 3- Grand Cayman Island

The day started early as I sat on the balcony enjoying the tea my mother had brought me and watched as the sun rose over the horizon. Then we got a quick buffet breakfast and got ready to disembark into the Cayman Islands. We took a smaller boat to the shore and then found a taxi to take us to the Calico Jack’s at the Seven Mile Beach (which, fun fact, is NOT 7 miles). We then rented 2 beach chairs with umbrellas for $20 and set up our little slice of heaven. I have to say, I have never seen water so clear and so blue before. It was astonishing! So as I dipped my toes into the crystal clear water, my mom set up the mini speaker we had brought and played some chill beach tunes.

After a little while, I ventured into the gorgeous water for a refreshingly cool swim. My mom had gotten us both snorkel gear (from Amazon) before our trip, so I got to try out snorkeling for the first time and I was not disappointed. I saw tiny little fish and lovely sea life. After a while, I went back to the chairs and it was my mom’s turn to venture into the water. By the time noon rolled around, we were ready for food. My mom went to Calico Jack’s and came back with yummy snacks and some margaritas. It was a fantastic lunch not only because of the food and drinks but because of the absolutely amazing atmosphere which we ate in.

When we finished eating, we stayed at the beach for another half an hour and then decided to head back to the main area. We took a taxi from the beach to the town area and walked around all the shops for a bit. On the cruise, we had gone to a jewelry show the day before and Amanda, the shopping cruise director, had given everyone a huge coupon book and flyers for a bunch of free/ discounted jewelry at each location. So, mom and I went to Effie to collect our free necklace, upgraded to a necklace and earrings set for $10, and then went to Diamonds International to claim our free charm bracelet and charms. One of the cool things about cruises is the free stuff you can claim, and I definitely came back laden with more jewelry than I boarded with. We went into other cute touristy stores as well and got a couple of tee shirts and hats. While we were wandering, we came across a rogue rooster just casually walking alongside us. What a strange and comical sight.

At 2:00, we headed back to the ship so we wouldn’t get left behind when the boat left at 3:00. Back on board, we rested until dinner time. I read more of my book from the beach that day (The Help by Kathryn Stockett if anyone is wondering). We had dinner as usual and then frequented another show. There’s a pattern in our nighttime activities, if you’ve noticed haha.

After the show, around 10:15, there was a really entertaining music and dance in the atrium area. It was 70s night so they played a bunch of ABBA songs and 70s music while simultaneously doing old-school dances. Everyone was crowded around the dance floor and up above in the seating areas on every floor overlooking the atrium. Mom and I were on the 8th floor looking down and singing and dancing along. It was such a lively atmosphere that we were pretty sad when it ended. But we were also tired, so we went back to the cabin for a good night’s rest.

Day 4- Cozumel, Mexico

As usual, the day began with a big buffet breakfast, but since we docked a bit later I got to sleep in for a little longer and was able to see as we pulled into the dock. Mom and I had decided the night before that we were going to begin our adventure in Cozumel with the shopping tour headed by Amanda. This allowed us to go with a group in a free taxi to the center of the city where we were dropped off at Diamond’s International. Here, we received another free charm for our bracelets.

Then we again went to Effie and got another free necklace, this time in a different color, and my mom bought herself a nice birthday present from there. What was nice about going with Amanda, though, was that we could purchase nice jewelry, leave it at the store with our name and cabin number, and then Amanda would come and pick up everyone’s jewelry to deliver it safely back aboard ship. This was great because mom and I did not want to bring the nice new jewelry to the beach with us just in case something were to happen to it. Because of this perk, we didn’t have to worry about anything. After the jewelry stores, we went to the typical tourist stores and bought a couple more T-shirts and souvenirs. At Viva Mexico! they had a free tequila tasting which was something fun mom and I tried.

When shopping had tired us out, we decided to take a taxi to Chankanaab, the beach. Once there, we had to pay to get in, and then we went to lunch at one of the restaurants. What’s cool about Chankanaab is that there are so many things to do; you can go swimming with turtles, snorkeling, and so much more. We were pretty boring people so we just went to the beach and snorkeled on our own. Even just doing this was a lot of fun though! I found a hammock to lie in and read while mom went snorkeling and vice versa. At this beach, there were a lot more fish and a much deeper area of water to explore. There were constantly waiters coming around asking if we wanted anything to drink, so at one point we each ordered a local beer. We left after a couple of hours and headed back to the port.

However, there was so much to do at the port that we ended up staying there for another hour. We got a couple of knick knacks at a touristy shop and then, oh and THEN, we came across the most fun place I’ve experienced: Senor Frog’s Cozumel! (From what I hear, they have these in many locations.) Let me tell you, this was an atmosphere fit for college students on Spring Break, which is probably why there were so many college kids there. They had great music playing, wild waiters, and lots of drinks to choose from. Mom and I ended up ordering 2 Bahama Mamas and while we were waiting for them to arrive, a  waitress came around with shots 2 for $5 so of course we indulged.

Then our drinks came… in the tallest thinnest cup I’ve ever seen. We got to keep both the shot glasses and the tall glass as souvenirs. Our table was right next to water and overall, the atmosphere in this place was so much fun! After we went back to the ship, we got ready for dinner, ate, and then went back to the room to watch a movie and call it an early night.

Day 5- Sea Day

Because this was our last full day, mom and I decided to take advantage of some of the amenities on the ship. We woke up late and had a calm and filling breakfast from, you guessed it, the buffet. At 11:00, we had an appointment at the spa. I had never had a massage before, so I was excited. I got the 75 minute full body massage and facial; both were amazing. The spa service on Royal Caribbean was excellent- the people were friendly and the atmosphere was so calming.

By the time we were done, it was almost 1:00, and it had started to rain. This meant we were pretty much confined to inside activities unless we wanted to get soaked. So, instead of laying out in the sun as we had planned, we went for lunch. After, we walked around the ship a bit and happened upon a Billy Joel “impersonator” in the atrium area. I absolutely LOVE Billy Joel so I was eager to stay and listen. I got some water and stood up top on one of the balconies as I listened to this guy play the piano and sing like Billy Joel, and I softly sang along.

When this was over, mom and I met up and we went back to the room to rest, because doing nothing all day really tires a girl out. It stopped raining late in the afternoon, so we went out on the balcony for a bit and enjoyed our last night on the water. Then we went for dinner and I enjoyed every morsel of food. I do have to say the food on board the ship was excellent every time I ate… which was a lot!

When dinner was over, we went to the 7:00 final show at the theater. It was a fun performance, and the end was very much ABBA heavy. The performers dressed up as the iconic group and the band played a bunch of their songs as the singers belted out a mixture of Dancing Queen, Mama Mia, and more. At the end, all of the performers came out on stage, took a bow, and said what country they were from. Then, almost the whole staff of the ship, or representatives from each department, came onstage to applause from the audience to show our gratitude. One thing that’s neat about Royal Caribbean is that its staff are from all over the world. After the show, we packed up and went to bed.

The next, and last, day on the cruise mom and I set out to enjoy the buffet and the sun for one last time. By the time it was our time to disembark, we had taken our last stroll around the ship and said farewell to our Caribbean cruise. It was a wonderful five days that I wish would never end.

Ciao for now!

Snapshot of Summer – Italy 2017

Snapshot of Summer – Italy 2017

As a college student, I love Spring Break! It is a nice respite from all the midterms that pop up and the usual stresses of academic life. Plus it’s always fun to get away and leave the cold winter weather behind. I am currently away on a cruise, floating away in the sun and heat. I’m writing this post in advance because I will not have internet while on the ship, which will be a nice change. Of course I will be writing a blog post on my adventures in the Cayman Islands and Cozumel, but for now I thought I would take a look back on my favorite photos from this past summer when I was in Italy. I know it’s random, but I’ve been thinking about the heat and I just miss Italy a lot, plus I thought some of you might like to take a look at my pics. (If you like these, maybe check out my travel Instagram account!) Without further ado, I present to you: Italy summer 2017.

 

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Milan
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Milan
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Milan
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Milan
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Venice
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Venice
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Venice
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Venice
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Venice
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Venice
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Verona
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Ischia
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Ischia
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Ischia
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Ischia

Hope you enjoyed the photos, ciao for now!