Tuesday, April 29, 2014

An Independent Summer

Although I'm not planning to be alone and hanging out with myself this summer, I do need to find activities I can do on my own if my friends are away on vacation. Two things I have already planned on doing: reading books for fun and watching movies I haven't seen. But if I don't feel like sitting in bed on a lonely day, then here's some other fun, independent activities you'll find me doing this summer:
  • Make a nice dinner for your parents - I never had time to do this during the school year, plus I'm going off to college in the next year. And I love cooking so why not do something thoughtful for my parents?
  • Have a one-girl (or guy) photoshoot - If you're like me and have a nice camera and a tripod sitting in the corner of your room waiting to be used, then go take pictures of things or even take self-portraits (not selfies).
  • Go people watching - Sounds sort of creepy, I know, but go read a book in the park and just observe your surroundings. It can be really interesting and you actually never know who you'll meet or talk to.
  • Find a workout or dance class to attend - Workout classes can be a good way to meet new friends as well as tone your body for bikini season!
  • Go to a store or restaurant you've never been to before - You never know what you will find!
  • Bake cookies and give them to family members - This would be so nice. Think about how happy this would make an aunt, uncle, cousin, grandma, grandpa, etc.
  • Shop at vintage stores - Vintage stores can be a gold mine for all things cute. Again: You never know what you will find.
  • Go shopping for gifts - Any upcoming birthdays? Well a lazy day is great for getting those gifts bought and out of the way! Personally I love giving people gifts more than I like receiving them.
  • Volunteer - I've always felt that volunteering is a way to give back but it also gives hope and life to those who volunteer. Whenever I'm sad or lonely I focus on others rather than myself. Doing volunteer work has allowed me to learn about others as well as myself and who I am.
  • Go see a play or musical - Any local or off-Broadway shows you can go see? I won tickets to "Catch Me If You Can" the musical last summer! 
  • Have a spa day - We all need some relaxation! So go visit a spa, or DIY at home. I promise you will feel so much better after.
  • Find a local festival or event - Even if it's some crazy, random festival you've never heard of, you should still go. You never know!
  • Perfect something - Have you always wanted to learn how to fishtail braid? Or perfect winged eyeliner? Well search up some YouTube videos and keep trying until you've got it right!
  • Go to the mall / online shop - Have a pay check you really want to spend? Go ahead, indulge a little. Stop at your favorite stores, buy a cute dress, and then plan a dinner with friends so you have somewhere to wear it! 
  • DIY - Search DIY blogs or Pinterest for some really cool ideas. Here's an idea: if you are going off to college this year make dorm decorations!
  • Visit the local farmer's market - You can always find quality, locally-grown foods and other items there. It's especially peaceful to just walk around on a nice, sunny day.
Before going to see the musical "Catch Me If You Can" last summer with my dad!

Hope you found this list helpful! I love reading comments so let me know what you're planning to do this summer!

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Marina's Style

From the moment I started listening to Marina and the Diamonds, I was hooked. Not only do I love her music, but she has been such an inspiration to me in so many ways. One way: fashion. Marina is her own person, and she's not afraid of showing that to the world through her own style. This is how I like to see it: she doesn't just stick to one genre. That's because she is her own genre, that includes her music and style. Personally, I can really relate. I've never felt like I belonged to one group of people, or liked one kind of fashion (I want to be so many different kind of people, I can't make up my mind!), so she really speaks to me. I went to her concert last May. It was definitely the most incredible concert I've ever been to because I was being engulfed in her lyrics, ones that helped me get through so many very hard times. Fashion has also given me so much strength through all the difficult moments. I have to accredit Marina for helping me break out of my comfort zone and wear what I want, when I want. So thank you Marina; you rock.
I love her outfits in the Primadonna video: check it out. It is also my favorite song!
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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Crazy for Macarons

If you know me, you know I'm obsessed with macarons. The first time I bit into one it was pure paradise. If you have never had one I suggest you stop reading this post now and go on an adventure to find them. A lot of stores, cafes and bakeries are starting to carry them, but if all else fails: Trader Joe's should be your first place to turn. They have packaged, take-home ones there. They look like this: 
Photo from this blog
They also have chocolate and vanilla ones that are pretty tasty as well! But my dream is to be able to make these little tasty treats someday. Once I do, there'll be a blog post about it. I promise. For now, let's just oh and ah over the various types of macarons the baking world has to offer.
Just a few flavors

Such a cool display!

So colorful (and delicious)

So now, here's some macarons I've had (photos are from my Instagram):

There's this really great cafe by my house that has amazing macarons and hot coco. I'm pretty sure that flavor is raspberry. I'm a nut for anything and everything raspberry-flavored.
Champagne and chocolate macarons that I got from the bakery my cousin worked at this summer! Yummy!
Click here for a recipe for chocolate macarons.
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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Great Minds Discuss Ideas (OOTD)

I was pretty disappointed that it was too cold outside for shorts today, but my weariness over the matter quickly diminished when I realized I had some new skinny jeans to break in! Since I was working on homework all morning, I decided to take a break from it to go out to tea with my best friend Maria (you're going to be hearing about her a lot). It was a great way to spend my last day of Spring Break. Here's the outfit I wore:

Check out my Chictopia post for more about this outfit!
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Lots and Lots of Summer Shorts

It's only appropriate to stop at H&M to buy clothes in preparation for warm weather after a very brutal winter. So that's exactly what I did! And boy, did I hit the jacket pot on shorts or what!? Let me just say the sale section at H&M was excellent. 

These are some super cute high waisted shorts! I really don't like the way some high waisted shorts are cut at the bottom, but these are perfect. Just what I was looking for to go with my daisy top.
I also bought some basic white, khaki, and black shorts. Each pair was only $12.95!

Can we take a minute to appreciate that these skirts were only $5 each? I've been really into straight, denim skirts lately. I would've preferred if these were light wash denim, but I'm just so happy I found these for an amazing price!
Last but not least I bought these snake-skin pattern skinny jeans. To be honest, I really don't have a pair of skinny jeans like these. I thought they were really different and fun; perfect for going out on a summer night.
Something I didn't include in this post was a really cool black dress I bought at H&M as well. I couldn't get a decent picture of it, so I promise it'll be in an upcoming OOTD.
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Monday, April 21, 2014

Jillian's Summer 2014 List

Just a little over a month until I'm officially done with my Junior year of high school; it's about time! There's no doubt that this was one of the most stressful, heartbreaking years of my life so far, but occasionally there were good times and I'm of course thankful for those.
Today I received word back about my ACT scores; happy to report they are pretty good! I might retake it again just for the heck of it though. So the good score called for some great summer shopping at H&M (post to come), and also a little summer "bucket list" making. We are so close to summer that I can almost taste the dairy-free froyo! But anyway, since my school-year was kind of lacking in fun, I decided that summer 2014 has to be the best summer yet. Here's my epic summer list:
  • Go kayaking more often
  • Make new friends (my best friend is going to be away for 5 weeks! What am I going to do?)
  • Get a job and/or internship
  • Go to Zumba classes
  • Go out more often
  • Work on my blog
  • Play soccer with friends
  • Go on "photoshoots" and experiment with photography
  • Get modeling jobs
  • Go to Lollapolooza
  • Go to a music festival with my best friend Maria
  • Start college apps
OK, so I guess this isn't super "epic" but I'm really going to work on myself this summer. I really need to since I had such a emotionally draining year. So here's to this summer being about happiness! If you have a Summer List post, comment the link below! I'd love to read it!
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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Photos

Here's just a collection of some photos I took at my aunt's house today!

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Easter Egg (OOTD)

Happy Easter! Today I will be going over to my aunt's house for our annual tradition: a Polish-Italian fest of very yummy foods. I always look forward to having cheesy potatoes, pierogis, and chocolate bunnies (of course), but I have recently developed and allergy to dairy (sad face). I can only have it once in a while and in minimum amounts, so hey: it's Easter, maybe I'll splurge a little today. But enough about food, pictures of that will come in another post later! Here's my outfit of the day. When I went downstairs earlier my mom told me I looked like an "Easter egg" because of all the colors I'm wearing. So props to my mom for the title of this OOTD. Read more on my Chictopia post.

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Friday, April 18, 2014

Great Grandma's Pizzelles

Today I decided it was time to whip out the apron and start baking some cookies. I searched Pinterest high and low for a good Easter-themed recipe, but with no such luck of finding something semi-straightforward, I turned to my Great Grandma's cookbook. After flipping through countless numbers of pages marked with Italian pastas, breads, and everything else, I came upon a recipe for pizzelles: a cookie that was always on the table during family holidays. If you don't know what a pizzelle is, here's my best description of one: a thin, waffle-like cookie...or just look at the pictures below, that works too. Without further ado, here's pictures of my pizzelles and the recipe for my G. Grandma's timeless cookies:

(makes 30 pizzelles)
3 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsps vanilla
1 tsp anise extract
(You also need a pizzelle maker, if you really want to make them though, try a waffle iron. It could work, who knows!)
Beat eggs well. Add sugar and beat until smooth.
Add butter, vanilla, anise extract. Beat for a few minutes more.
Add baking powder and flour. Mix well.
Spray Pizzelle maker with oil and heat it.
Place a tablespoon of batter in center of iron, close it, and bake until light gold and steaming stops. (about 30-45 seconds).
Remove with fork and cool on wire rack. Keep them flat, or roll into a cone while still hot.
Store in airtight container.
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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Shopping in Chicago

So heads up: you're going to hear me talk/blog about Chicago a lot. And no, it's not because I'm from Chicago... It's mostly because I'm looking at colleges there. Because of this, I've been to the city at least 3 times in the past 4 months and as a result, I've of course gone shopping during a couple of those trips! My most recent visit to Chicago was a quick two-day trip that ended yesterday. I bought so many cute things so here's a look at all my finds:
First, I bought these really cute Ralph Lauren wedges. They were on sale so they were only $35! Such a great deal for such amazing shoes!
This is a Lucky Brand bikini and when I tried it on, I instantly fell in love. This was also deeply discounted; only $40 for both pieces!
I found this cute cropped shirt in Marshall's actually. It's brand is Mine and it was only $12! It'll be perfect to pair with high waisted shorts like these.

I love this pink and lacey cropped shirt from Topshop! And guess what? It was in the sale section for only $8. A great deal for such a great shirt!
And here's what I've been obsessing over since I bought it. This beautiful blue Topshop bag is something I've been wanting for a very long time. When I saw it I knew it was a match made in Topshop heaven. I think it was $54, but since I was a student I got it for 20% off!
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