Thursday, July 31, 2014

10 Things To Do in NYC

Now I'm no New York City expert, but I did recently go on a trip there and had some great experiences and did some really cool things that should be done on every trip to the city!


One//Le Pain Quitodien


Just take an extra second and look at that breakfast. I ate there twice on the trip and it was amazing. The avocado toast is to die for as is, well, everything! The place is so cute and they're scattered all around. The two I went to were on the Upper East Side and right next to the Rockefeller Building. I need them to open one of these near me!

Two//Top of the Rock


I took this picture from the top of the Rockefeller Building. The views are superb! On the other side of the building, you can see an amazing view of Central Park. Just make sure to go on a nice day, because if it's windy, it could get pretty cold up there! (Plus, you could go to Le Pain Quitodien right after!)

Three//Shopping on Madison Ave.


The shops on Madison Avenue are absolutely the best. Lilly Pulitzer, J. Crew Collection- they're all great. I had way too much fun going into all the various stores.

Four//The Flatiron District


Not only is the Flatiron Building really awesome to see, the shopping and dining is quite fabulous, too. It's the perfect little area, and honestly feels like an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. There are cute little boutiques all around, too!

Five//Eataly

via

Eataly. Is. Wonderful. The atmosphere, the food, the food! It's right next to the Flatiron Building and there are a few restaurants inside. I ate at the pizza/pasta restaurant and had the most amazing pasta. I need to go back ASAP. (Bonus tip: there's a Nutella Bakery right next door!)

Six//The Plaza
The Plaza Hotel is gorgeous! Definitely take a step inside and look around or even stay for tea! It's quite a delightful place. There are some fun shops in the surrounding area like the giant underground Apple Store and the humongous toy store called FAO Schwarz. It's a must-see area!

Seven//Washington Square Park


Such. A gorgeous. Area. This is such a fun place and it's right near Greenwich Village! Definitely stop by if you have time.

Eight//Broadway


This one might be obvious, but you absolutely must see a show on Broadway. I've never seen anything quite like it in my life! I saw Aladdin on my last trip, and it was so good. The actors, the lighting, the sets- all amazing.

Nine//Laduree


Laduree macarons are beyond delicious. They're a tiny bit expensive, but extremely worth it. Plus, the shop is super adorable! It's also kind of near another great place to get macarons called Francois Payard.

Ten//Times Square


Times Square is super busy all the time, even at midnight. The giant stores are a must see, as are all the crazy big neon signs! Definitely go at night, too. Also, there are some big red stairs in the middle and you get an awesome view of all of Times Square. (That's how I got the picture above!)

Have you guys ever been to NYC?

xx
Caitlin


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Five Things to Bring on College Tour Trips

Throughout the various college tours I went on, I noticed that there were some things I wished I would have brought, and other things that I brought that I didn't think I would need! Here are my best tips form my experience.



Notebook and Pen
This one might be obvious, but it really helps to take notes during a tour, especially if they have an information session. If you're going on multiple tours in the span of a few days, it's easy for the tours to run together so having notes to look back on is great.

Folder
Once again, this might be obvious, but you'll get a lot of flyers/information packets and you'll need a place to keep them all. You can also keep spare paper to take extra notes on.

Camera/iPhone Camera
Like I said, the tours start to run together, so you'll want pictures to re-start your memory.

Back-Up Battery
These tours tend to run long sometimes, and you'll be taking pictures and maybe even taking notes on your phone. I brought a mini back-up battery that I got from J. Crew, and it seriously saved my life a few times.

Comfortable Shoes
I made the mistake of wearing flats that have no support and I hadn't broken them in yet on a tour. And let me tell you, you do a lot more walking than you would think. Seriously, it's an hour and a half of nothing but walking. I ended up with some pretty bad blisters and some seriously sore feet. You don't have to wear sneakers, but at least where something comfortable-ish.

Look for another post soon on what to do on college tours!

xx
Caitlin

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Three Ways To Pack Light

Admit it, we're all over-packers. It's just way too tempting to bring your entire closet on a trip! Personally, I love to have options. What if I want to wear a skirt? Or a dress? Or shorts and a t-shirt? I have to be able to choose. I also have a hard time not bringing every single pair of shoes I own or every piece of jewelry down to the last earring. Over-packing just makes things too complicated, but then again, it could also be said that trying to pack light makes things even more complicated. 

I've done a fair bit of traveling in my 17 years of life so far, and I've always, always over-packed for every single trip I've been on. I decided I didn't want to over-pack for my college tours/New York trip (read about it here and here), so I came up with some tips on how to pack lighter! Surprisingly enough, they worked! This girl is no longer an over-packer. Hopefully these will help you too!


Make Outfits
This is what helped me the most: pick out an outfit for each day you'll be there. And I don't just mean the clothes. I mean everything: the jewelry, the shoes, even the underwear and socks! If you don't exactly know what you'll be doing each day, make some casual outfits, some fancier ones, and so on. I always pack two or three extra outfits just in case. I find that this helps a ton because haphazardly throwing in clothes is the easiest way to over-pack! Plus, you'll never have to think hard about your outfit since they'll already be made!

Mini Everything
I've always found that bringing giant bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash can be such a hassle! Whenever I go on a trip, I head over to Target and pick up mini bottles of my shampoo and conditioner in the travel section. I also don't pack lotion because the hotel kind always works great! Save space with mini bottles and you'll avoid over-packing and a heavier suitcase for that matter.

Think Twice
Before putting something in your suitcase, ask yourself this question: do I really need to bring it? Then ask yourself the question again because if you're anything like me, you'll justify bringing it with some crazy reason unless you think twice about it. This rule goes for carry-ons too! I definitely always over-pack my carry-ons. I try to pile every book and magazine under the sun into my tiny carry-on when in reality all I need is one good book and my phone.

Do you guys have any packing tips?

xx
Caitlin

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New York City

{I already talked about part one of my college tour/NYC trip here, so check that out if you'd like!}

After spending a few days touring colleges, my mom and I spent a few days at her parents' house! (We toured UPenn and Princeton while staying with them.) We also did a small bit of shopping and I'm happy to say that I am now the proud owner of my first pair of L.L. Bean Boots! Woo!



Then, it was finally time for New York. Once we parked our car at a place where you can leave cars for a while, we headed on to the train for New York! After getting off, we made the horrible decision of walking the full 20 blocks to our hotel with our suitcases and bags. Yes, 20 blocks. A 35 minute, absolutely horrendous and painful, walk. I'm pretty sure we thought it was shorter, but no. Oh, well!
We settled in to our hotel and made it over to Times Square! All over the middle of Times Square were these really cool sculptures made out of fences. Everyone was taking pictures in them so I decided to join in!


So. Many. People.



After a little shopping, my mom and I headed over to the Flatiron District for, well, even more shopping! We also ate in the pizza/pasta restaurant in Eataly, and let me tell you, best. pasta. EVER. Eataly is this super unique Italian market with the tastiest looking things in the world. There are also multiple restaurants that are all to die for.

The Flatiron Building!
If you haven't noticed, I love taking pictures of signs!
 Finally, we decided we needed to go back to the hotel and get some sleep. My feet were absolutely killing me though. I didn't bring any super comfortable shoes so I was kind of dying. Note to self: don't wear Sperrys to walk all over New York.

On the second day, we were going to go to Good Morning America, but it was raining. :(
Anyway, we ended up going to the Museum of Modern Art!
Andy Warhols in real life!
MoMa 


After MoMa, we grabbed some brunch at the fabulous Maison Kayser. I had the most delicious ham-cheese-toast combination ever. It started pouring down while we were in there, so we decided to stay for tea and coffee!


They brought me my own teapot and everything! How adorable is that?

After the rain died down, it turned out that Francois Payard was right by Maison Kayser (#frenchthemedday) so we got some macaron! So. Good. It was actually my mom and I's first time trying macarons so of  course I snapped a picture!


And of course, we went to Laduree, too!


As we were on the Upper East Side, it was only fitting that we do a little shopping! Our first stop was the J. Crew Collection store where I found the most gorgeous tan sweater and some super cute pink chinos! (I might do a clothing haul of what I got in NYC...what do you think?) Our next stop was the Lilly Pultizer store! It was stunning and positively pink inside! And of course, I just so happened to be wearing Lilly that day, ha!



We ended the day with a little poke around Times Square. Times Square at night should definitely be added to every New York trip. The colors and lights are simply gorgeous! See for yourself:

The clothes I got at J. Crew Collection!



How cool is this guy?
It took me forever to get this picture because they kept posing with people!

Our last day in the city started with breakfast at a place called Le Pain Quitodien. I had never had avocado toast before then, but now I want it everyday! It was simply delicious.

After such a hefty breakfast, my mom and I took a stroll through Central Park. We even saw a turtle!

We snacked on ice cream for lunch, (ha!) and then did a bit more shopping. Finally, it was off to the top of the Rockefeller Building! What a marvelous view. I absolutely love that you can see all of Central Park from surrounded by the city! (Bonus tip: there's a J. Crew in the Rockefeller. #win)



We grabbed a sandwich for dinner and then it was time for Aladdin on Broadway! The entire musical was beyond fabulous; the actors, the lighting, the sets, the colors- it was all too great. The guy who played the Genie was so, so good! He had everyone laughing constantly.


It was so hard to leave New York, but it was such a wonderful trip and I know I'll be back soon. (Hopefully!)

Have you guys ever been to New York City?

xx
Caitlin





Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Four Colleges, Five Days

The first leg of my wonderful part-college-tours-part-NYC trip started with, well, college tours! I had already toured a few last summer out in California (Chapman and UCLA) so I had an idea of what to expect. It was still a bit nerve-racking though, as I would be looking at places to potentially spend four or more years of my life. 

UNC Chapel Hill

The clock tower! Absolutely gorgeous.
UNC has quite a gorgeous campus (see another picture here)- we loved it the second we drove in! One of my best friends and her mom came on the tour with my mom and me, which made the whole experience even better! On our first night there, we walked around to get the feel of the town. There are cute little boutiques everywhere and plenty of places to eat. It definitely felt like a college town as a World Cup game was going on, so the sports bars were packed with fans.

The tour was in the morning and it started with a neat little info session about the generics of the school- admissions, statistics, etc. Then there was the actual tour! We had a super nice student show us around. She told us all about her experience and the school, including some of their quirky traditions and what not! The campus seemed a little dead as it is summer and all, but it was still great seeing it all.

We also got to talk to a current student, which was great. She told us a ton of helpful info that we didn't hear on the tour or in the info session. Definitely talk to a student if you go on a tour!

After the tour, my mom and I said bye to my friend and her mom and we headed off to Charlottesville, Virginia!

University of Virginia



Oh. My. Goodness. UVa (yes, the "a" is lower case; not sure why) is absolutely stunning. The campus (or rather the "grounds," as they call it there) is simply beautiful in every single way. Right in the middle of grounds is The Lawn (pictured above). It's gigantic and amazing.

On the first night there, my mom and I walked around grounds and took some pictures. We got a good feel for the campus and then had ice cream for dinner (because why not?). In the morning was an info session and the tour! The tour was perfect, because our tour guide was majoring in what I want to major in, so after the tour, I talked to him for a good bit about his experience. I also got to talk to an admissions officer for a while, which made me feel a bit more secure about the whole application process.


Fun fact: see the "Z" on the steps of this picture? There are a bunch of secret societies around UVa including the Z Society and the 7 Society. They help out, donate money, etc. Wouldn't it be cool to be in one?

After the tour, we headed out to tour Thomas Jefferson's house which was quite appropriate considering he founded UVa.



Thomas Jefferson designed the whole thing himself and then modeled the university after it! They say he used a telescope to monitor the process of the building of UVa from the top of the hill that his house is on.

University of Pennsylvania


After spending a night at my grandparents' house, we headed off to tour UPenn in the morning! What's crazy about UPenn is that it's right smack dab in the middle of Philadelphia, yet it somehow still feels like a campus! The buildings are old and quite picturesque, yet the insides of them are so modern. It's quite funny to walk into a years-old brick building to see the latest Apple technology lining the walls.


I really enjoyed seeing the campus and hearing about all the available programs. They have this really cool class that you take as a freshman in the business school where you get to work with a real business in Philadelphia to help them promote themselves and get their little shop out into the world. I think it's great that they throw students right into the real world like that.

After the tour, my mom and I got gelato at what was apparently rated the best gelato in the entire world! And let me tell you, it was quite delicious.

Princeton

See this picture here too.

The next day, my grandparents took my mom and I to see the Princeton campus. We didn't take an actual tour, but it was still great to see. The campus itself truly feels homey and quite like Hogwarts! I wasn't planning on applying to Princeton before I walked around the campus, but now I feel like I could see myself there next fall. (That is, if I get in...)

I'd say the biggest thing I learned from these college tours in two phrases is this: Work hard on the essays, and touring a campus can change your perspective on a college. (I'm planning more posts on college applications/tours/etc.)

Have you guys toured any campuses or have gone through the application process?

xx
Caitlin




Friday, July 18, 2014

Home again, home again

It feels so good to be back home and especially to be back in front of a computer, ha! I did truly miss blogging on my trip, and now I know next time to bring a computer! (Blogging from a phone is quite difficult, especially when you have to put picutres!) 

Before I get into any details about the trip (and there are so many!), I have a small, but important-ish announcement! I've always had a bit of trouble sticking to a blogging schedule so I've decided to set one. From now on, I'll be posting on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays! This works best with my life and what not and I'm quite excited to get going on this. 

One more thing: as I'm getting deep in the college application process, I've been feeling a little lost and therefore I've done quite a bit of research. I'll be starting a mini series on everything having to do with the application process based on what I've found out and my personal experiences. Let me know if there's a topic you'd want to hear about it and I'll be sure to cover it!

Here's a little peek into my trip! (There are wayyy more pictures to come, promise.)

UNC Chapel Hill with my bestie!
University of Virginia was to die for.
Princeton felt like Hogwarts!

The inside of the Plaza Hotel!


My mom and I atop the Rockefeller Building.

Times Square at night!
Times Square!


Washington Square Park

This picture doesn't even describe the amount of shopping done on this trip- more on that to come!


Like I said, there will definitely be another post or two about my trip! I had such a lovely time and I'm quite sad to be home, but it'll be nice to sleep in my bed again. See you again this Tuesday!

xx
Caitlin