5 Best Backpacks for College (Under $100)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: every college student needs a backpack. I swear by my tote bags. I own more black tote bags than most people, but even I have realized the necessity of backpacks in college. If you're heading to school soon and you're still looking for that perfect backpack, here are 5 great options!*

5 Best Backpacks for College

Most of these bags feature what I consider college essentials: laptop sleeves, pockets for your water bottle, and a small pocket for your phone/headphones/wallet. When looking for a bag for college try to find one with all or most of these things. If you don't you'll find yourself wishing you had. 

The Northface 'Classic Borelais' Backpack - $98

This is the bag I've used my whole college career. It's nice, great quality, pockets for everything; but for someone like me who likes to bring a ton of stuff to class (giant agenda, notebooks, laptop, my fridge, small children, etc.) it lacks the ability to expand. 

Danielle Carolan's DC Backpack - $40 [$60]

This backpack was designed by one of my favorite youtubers Danielle Carolan! Honestly, I wasn't considering purchasing it until I watched her What's in my Backpack video and realized that it was the perfect backpack for me (literally designed for my Day Designer) check it out if you haven't! It's a a great option for people who want a quality backpack on a budget! But preorder it before August 15 or the price will go up to $60!

Billabong Home Abroad Backpack - $54.95

Another inexpensive yet spacious backpack for school! 

The North Face 'Recon' Backpack - $99

This is the more spacious version of my Borelais backpack. If you love Northface or want the 'Classic' Northface look but need more space, the Recon is perfect. 

Urban Originals 'Lola' Vegan Leather Backpack - $98

This is probably the least functional of all of the bags (only one without laptop or waterbottle pockets - AKA ESSENTIALS) but if you favor fashion over function, this bag is big enough, while also being a fashionable wardrobe staple. 

*this post is not sponsored, these opinion are my own. 

What I Eat in a Day | Healthy {Summer 2017}

If you've been following along with my summer health journey you'll know that I restarted the BBG program, and along with that came changes to my daily eating habits. 

If you know me personally, I'm the girl who would eat 3 bowls of pasta for dinner then order a pizza and wings for second dinner. I used to drink a 12 pack of diet coke myself once if not twice a week. My breakfast in the morning usually consisted of pancakes and chocolate milk (I'm lactose intolerant), with maybe some cereal and yogurt on the side. 

Last August I decided to try weight watchers for one month to learn more about the food I was putting in to my body. But it wasn't until March that my diet really started to change. I slowly cut out all dairy, started incorporating more veggies and over time the amount of processed extra sugar I was eating was gone and replaced with a more whole, dairy free, diet.

I want to preface this by saying that I am not 100% dairy free, nor do I stick to a strict meal plan. I am in college, I still love food and don't want to not expereince certain things because of dietary resetrictions. And I could never be that person who only eats chicken and brown rice everyday. The only dairy I still eat is cream cheese once in a while because I can't find a vegan cream cheese I like (please comment below with recommendations!) and If my friends are going out for pizza at our favorite local place I have to grab a slice because YOLO guys. Life is all about balance. But here is what I'll typically eat for breakfast and lunch in a normal day. 

Breakfast

I don't know about most people, but in the morning I'm not super hungry right away. For a while I would just not eat until lunch then have a massive lunch of not so great food to compensate. 

This summer to compliment my health journey, I've been trying to finish a small glass of water right when I wake up. I find that it gets me on the right path of drinking water throughout the day, and it gets me feeling hungry a bit faster in the monring so I'm more excited for breakfast. 

On days when I'm still not super hungry, but I know I need to eat, my go-to is chia seed pudding with a little peanut butter and fruit. Recently we've had a ton of raspberries in my house (my favorite) but other days I'll add blueberries or just do it plain. This is probably my quickest and easiest breakfast.

Recipe: 

  • 2Tbsp of Chia Seeds
  • Splash of unsweetend almond milk
  • 1tsp of Peanut Butter or Nut Butter 
  • Berries

Directions: 

Fill small bowl with chia seeds and slmond milk. Let sit until soft, then add toppings. It's so simple and quick! 

I make this breakfast whenever I know I have work in the mornings or I'll be doing my workout earlier in the day. 

 

If I wake up a little more hungry then I'll make a smoothie bowl or a bowl of oatmeal. The recipies for these are always in my Instastories, but if you'd like a healthy breakfast recipies post leave me a comment!

Lunch

Lunch varies day to day depending on what we've had for dinner that week. For lunch I'll take whatever leftovers we have, and combine them in a bowl over lettuce! It's delicious and it never gets boring since it's always changing. 

Lunch this day was:

  • 1 piece of grilled chicken
  • 1/2 cup of jasmine rice
  • 1 cup of chopped sweet potato

Dinner

Living at home for the summer and working in retail doesn't make for the most consistant dinner schedule. I'm often eating at the mall, or coming home late and hoping my family made something yummy that I can heat up. 

If I eat at the mall I'll get a chicken/rice and veggie bowl from my favorite sushi restaurant and at home my family is gluten free so we'll usually have a gluten free pasta dish or some kind of starch and protein. 


I've been documenting my favorite recipies on my Instagram {a potential post is in the making} and have been dabling in tracking them in MyFitnessPal. How do you keep on track in the summer?

xoxo

AME

2017 Back to College Packing List

It's August 1! Which means it's officially time for back-to-school [AKA, my favorite season]. I've always loved buying school supplies, picking out stuff for my dorm, and just prepping for the new year. This year is different though, I'm going into my senior year at college and I couldn't be more sentimental about everything I do. 

The nostalgia is already hitting hard and the year hasn't even started yet. As a rising senior who has lived in a dorm, apartment, and now off-campus house in college, I feel like it was appropriate to use my knowledge to create an ultimate college packing list. 

I've created both a digital image and downloadable PDF (which includes additional notes pages to help you shop!) of the packing list. This list is specifically for moving into a dorm, but the basics apply for an apartment or house as well. And keep in mind going through this list that these are the basics you will need in a dorm, and a few things I've found helpful; there will be other things you may decide you need or want. Use the note pages on the PDF print-out to your advantage! Write down anything extra you think you'll need, make a list of clothing you think you'll need to pack, or even anything you already have! 

There are a few items on my list I feel may need an explanation..

Back to College Packing List

| Duvet Cover | 

I added duvet cover to this because after having a 2 different comforters my freshman year I couldn't handle how gross they got. You can't fit a comforter in the washing machines at [my] school, and getting them to the laundromat is difficult if you don't have a car. A duvet cover is a great solution. I bought a duvet cover my sophomore year and it changed the game. Washing it with my sheets not only made me feel better about how clean my space was, but I also noticed that I got sick less often and my skin cleared up. I still bring my duvet inserts home on breaks to wash them or to a laundromat if I can't get home. 

| Second Laundry Basket |

Theres nothing worse than being lazy and not wanting to fold your clean laundry but more dirty laundry is piling up. Or, wanting to separate loads based on color, or having delicates that can't dry and you want to bring them back upstairs to hang, but you also want to leave your basket in the laundry room for the rest of your clothes. Honestly, the college laundry struggle is real guys. Having a second basket or even a laundry bag (what I used) was just what I needed! 

| Tampons, Pads, Panty Liners |

I added this one for two reasons: 

  1. if you get your period, it may be cheaper to get them at a local surplus store. I live in New England where BJs and Sam's Club are popular places to get things in bulk. 
  2. If you don't experience a period (for medical reasons, or you are on birth control or other medication that may cause you to not experience a period) having a few of these on you will be so helpful! You will be that person in class or on the floor easily making friends because you always have someones back. For my first two years of college I was on birth control and not experiencing a monthly period, but I still kept one of each of these in my backpack and they came in handy numerous times! You can easily purchase a variety pack at Target. 

| Board Game / Cards |

I brought a travel Scrabble and my roommate had a deck of cards and Cards Against Humanity my freshman year. You never know when you're going to want to just do something mindless with some of your new friends on your floor and having one on hand is a lot cheaper than paying $25 at Target for a board game. 

| Printer |

My university, as well as most that I know, provide you with a few dollars to use toward the on-campus printers. Check your schools policy because you may have free printing on your campus! I added a printer to this list though, because even though printing was available on campus for relatively cheap, printing in your room is so much easier and more convienent. I am someone who likes to print out their readings for class to highlight and mark them up, so having a personal printer made more sense for me. 


When is everyone moving back to school?! Are you an incoming freshman, or are you as nostalgic and old as I am?! 

xoxo

AME

White Sneaker Obsession

Something about 2017 has comepletely shifted my taste. I used to be the person who obsessed over black everything, and especially black shoes. But for some reason this year I am obsessed with white! 

It all started second semester (March 6th, to be specific) when my black nike running sneakers were stolen. No idea who took them or where but March 6th was the last day I saw them. I actually put up a "Missing Person, Last Seen on March 6th" sign in my apartment kitchen for them hoping one of my roommates had accidentilly grabbed them and they'd find there way back to me, but I was saddly mistaken. 

Once I accepted my favorite black running snealers were out of my life, I started realizing I'd have to buy a new pair, but that's when I started finding myself wanting white Nikes more than black. Then, before I knew it, I was pining over every white sneaker I saw, Adidas, Vans, even the $15 random ones at Target. I became obsessed. 

I decided to wait and see if it was just a phase before purchasing, and have officially decided it's not a phase. I'm obsessed, and I like it. 

The three sneakers I decided to induldge on are White Adidas Superstars, White Faux Snakeskin Slip on Vans, and White Nike Frees.

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen on my story the $35 all white Adidas NEO sneakers my mom found at Marshall's. (UHM for $35, I'll take it!) They look almost identical to the superstars and they're more than half the price!

I'm heading to my local outlet mall at the end of the month to pick up the Nike's and Vans', but I'm already excited about these new white editions to my wardrobe! Now If only I had some of the items from my Workout Wardrobe Wishlist, I'd have some serious all white outfits going on. 

What color have you been obsessing over this summer?

xoxo

AME

 

 

Lunch with the Little - Cafeteria, Boston

I posted a little while ago on Twitter that I was getting uninspired by what I had been drafting to post on here and I was nervous about some of the stuff I wanted to post. So today' post is the start of a new era. If you aren't following me on Twitter (which you should be), you may know that I follow a ton of bloggers, but I also follow a lot of vloggers and youtubers. I love the content youtubers make and I always feel so inspired by it! I would love to actually produce YouTube content, but I don't have the equipment for good quality videos yet, so I'm sticking to blogging. 

ANYWAY, I love the content of daily and weekly vlogs, I'm uninspired by my usual posts and general blog post topics, so I've decided to make my site a lot more personal and high quality. In the past I've felt like I spent so much time making sure my posts were drafted and edited but I didn't spend a lot of time on photos or even taking time to make sure I liked what I was writing. That's about to change. I take pictures constantly of what I'm doing, who I'm with and things that happen in my daily life and I want to start documenting them. That means a lot more restaurant and cafe reviews, life updates, and even a few fashion posts if I can find local photographer *wink wink my MA friends*. Looking forward, there will be more photos, and more of me in every post! 


Last week I had to go into Boston for an event for school and going into Boston means getting to see my little! She's interning there for the summer so making frequent trips will be a necessity. The event I had to go to was by Copley Square so we decided to stay close to that area by walking around Newbury and Boyalston Street. 

If you're not familiar with Boston this is a pretty touristy area since a lot of major hotels circle this block, but it's also some pretty decent shopping. Being completely broke on Newbury street is no bueno, so my little and I decided that the first cute [see instagrammable] restaurant we saw to avoid spending money in the stores. Luckily we turned the corner and the first place we saw was Cafeteria. 

I've probably walked up and down this street hundereds of times and not once have I ever noticed this place, but aparently it's super popular! And so aesthetically pleasing it hurt. 

Clearly I couldn't stop taking pictures. The entire atmosphere was so calming for the location being so hectic, I honestly didn't want to leave. 

I've probably walked up and down this street hundereds of times and not once have I ever noticed this place, but aparently it's super popular! And so aesthetically pleasing it hurt. Clearly I couldn't stop taking pictures. The entire atmosphere was so calming for the location being so hectic, I honestly didn't want to leave. 

Cue my little looking all cute! She started taking photos of me taking photos because that's what you do when your big's a blogger, right?

Our meal was DELICIOUS. I am one of those people who has a hard time going to a new place and enjoying the food there (I like what I know). But I was obsessed! 

We ordered cheeseburger spring rolls to start, definitely not healthy, but fantastic. Then we both ordered burgers. Little was good and ordered a side salad, but I had to get the fries because they looked too good. I don't know how but even though I'm going to be a senior, and she's going to be a junior, my little is 21 and I'm not, so she ordered one of heir specialty drinks called the Class Clown which had Smirnoff Vanilla, Kahlua, Baileys, Nocello and fresh Espresso. She described it as basically an alchoholic iced coffee. So if your of age and love iced coffee, check it out!


I can't wait to start sharing with you the things that truly inspire me, and I hope you guys are excited too! 

xoxo 

AME

Workout Wardrobe Wishlist

If you haven't read my May Health & Fitness Update, I've been using the Sweat App since mid March and have lost about 20 lbs. Thankfully most of my clothes still fit (they just fit a little better) but I've been eyeing some new workout apparel to splurge on to celebrate hitting the end of my first 12 week cycle. 

Who is your fitness fashion inspiration? Is there anything you've been eyeing lately? The high waisted white leggings from alo are the highest on my list! 

xoxo

AME

Creating an Instagram Aesthetic

One of the most requested posts I've gotten is about how I create my Instagram aesthetic. It makes my heart warm that you guys love my Instagram, but rather than teach you how to get mine, I'm going to show you how I edit my photos and how you can develop your own aesthetic. 

DEVELOPING YOUR AESTHETIC

The worst mistake people make when they try to make a cohesive instagram is they look at someone else's account and decide they want theirs to look like that. It's great to follow accounts for inspiration, and have a specific style you love or even people you love, but you cannot go into building your instagram with the mindset that it's going to look like someone elses. 

Everybody lives different lives and sees the world differently. Your aesthetic should reflect your life, what surrounds it, and how you percieve it. 

The best accounts [in my opinion] are those where you really get to know the person you're following. Let people get to know the real you, both in how you take your photos, what you take them of, and how you edit them. In other words, develop your own style, you're own stamp. 

HOW I EDIT MY PHOTOS

I describe the style of my photos as cluttered minimalism. Certain parts of my life are very type A, while the rest of it is incrediby disorganized, and I feel like my photos represent that. I take 99% of my photos using my iPhone 7 (purchased in Dec. 2016 for reference) and the other 1% are taken using my DSLR. 

I start editing every photo in Facetune. I use facetune to take out unecessary yellow tones in my photo using the 'whitening' tool and I literally rub it over every pixel in the photo, unless there's coffee or anything that would call for it. Then I move the photo into VSCO Cam. 

I use VSCO to both plan out my feed and edit. I use the A6 filter as well as aditional edits. I almost always use the maximum for the filter, then once its applied I will go in and up the brightness, up the contrast, up the saturation and reduce the temperature or warmth of the photo. Once I feel like it fits in with my feed I will usually post it right away, but sometimes I'll have a few ready at once and I'll wait. 

2017-06-10 12.24.40.jpg

BEFORE

AFTER

I personally like my photos a little overexposed, and later on I look back and realize that sometimes I may have upped the brightness too much or not enough on a photo, but thats what's helpful about using VSCO to plan first. 

My biggest piece of advice for building your instagram is take photos that inspire you. You'll never be bored of your feed, and you'll gain relevant, active followers that truly identify with you!

Leave links to your accounts below! I'd love to check them out!

xoxo

AME

Why I Don't Have an Internship this Summer

Every summer since I started college I've held a part-time internship. As a marketing major, I've been dreaming of the internship of my dreams the summer after my junior year (AKA right now). If you asked me in February what my plans were this year I would've said that I was on my way to the perfect internship. 

At the time I was 3 interviews deep for the ideal, paid, full-time brand strategy internship in NYC, and had applications out for a few others with interviews pending. After what felt like 30 interviews I got the emails no one expects or want to get: "After careful consideration we've decided to go with another candidate. Thank you for your time." 

I started scrambling and freaking out. This was THE summer for internships! I was convinced that if I didn't have an internship I was a failure.

I decided to apply for an unpaid PR internship in Boston for a company that I had always followed on social media. I always preached to people never to take an unpaid position becuase their work is valuable, but I convinced myself that the experience would be great and even though PR wasn't something I wanted to do, I could use that knowledge in brand development.. somehow. The internship was descriped in my first interview as being upwards of 45 hours a week, and sometimes requiring travel without being given a stipend. They sad I could take the internship for college credit, but that would cost me an additional $4,000.00 minimum to convert the credits.

I started calculating the costs of the internship: $300 a month for travel into the city, plus food while I'm there, travel expense for any PR events, and because it was a 45 hour a week min I wouldn't be able to hold a job outside of it. I emailed the recruiter after my first interview asking if they would consider reduced hours before I came in for a second interview, I was given the answer that I'd have to committ before they'd consider it. 

Ultimately I decided that it wasn't worth it. I could take the time I was dedicating to this company and dedicate it to my blog, while working. So I applied to a few retail jobs and started creating a content calendar for June. As much as having an internship experience during THIS summer is seen as necessary, I know that I would rather be getting expereince in retil and working on my blog and learning about branding through my own expereinces than dedicating 50+ hours a week to a PR internship that was not relevant to anything other than time management. 

I'm excited getting my blog back to where it belongs, making some money, and taking the summer for me. As amazing as it would have been to have that perfect paid internship in NYC, I'm completely happy with the decisions I've made and know that not having an internship this summer is not the end of the world.

Something people don't talk about enough is what to do when the perfect scenario doesn't happen. What do you do when everything you planned doesn't work out? Should you take any internship just to say you have one? This summer I'm choosing to spend the summer doing something I love, and taking time to learn skills I'll need (take e-courses in adobe software I haven't used yet, video editing software, etc.) and spend my last summer before adulthood enjoying myself. Opportunities to take time for self discovery do not come very often, so if you ever find yourself in a position where the perfect scenario isn't working out, look at it for an opportunity to discover yourself. 

How are you spending your summer? Have you ever wondered what you would do if you didn't get the perfect internship?

xoxo

AME

May Health & Fitness Update

If you know me personally you know that me and health/fitness have never been friends. I love food and I'm far too lazy to have ever cared anough to really get into a health or fitness routine, but I have consistantly attempted to try several things (see post 1, 2, 3, etc.)

BBG 2 month update

HOW I GOT HERE 

While I've always been confident in who I am, this semester I reached a point where I started to avoid mirrors and would avoid being in photos because I was so uncomfortable with where I was. I don't want to share my exact weight to avoid making anyone feel uncomfotable, but I am 5'2 and I had gained 40 lbs since my freshman year of college. For someone so short, that's and incredibly uncomfortable amount of weight to gain in only 3 years.  

When I started my most recent fitness journey, it was about a month after a very emotional breakup from my almost 4 year relationship. I began setting a lot of personal goals and doing a lot of self-reflecting. The first thing I did was look back at each of the previous times I had started the same program or similar ones and looked at why I stopped, why did I not make it a lifestyle change. What I noticed was that I never began the journey for me. 

Each time in the past, I had started the journeys unintentionally trying to get healthy or in shape for my ex, who was a known gym rat. And each time I failed because it wasn't something I was doing for myself. I wasn't motivated. This time was different. I was doing it to get healthy for me, not look better for someone else.

THE PROGRAM I CHOSE

When I decided to start Kayla Itsines, BBG, again I convinced a friend to do it with me (she's currently kicking my butt), and I planned to start over my spring break. I took about 2 weeks before I officially started the program to get in the habit of going to the gym, and starting to devlop my meal plan. I stayed on campus for spring break, and starting the program while I was there (alone on campus with an entire gym to myself) was super beneficial! 

I decided to journal throughout the process and about two weeks in I noticed another reason that I had stopped these programs in the past: whenever I didn't do them absolutely perfect, I wanted to quit. During my second week I skipped one day of LISS so I repeated the entire week and during that week I only half did one of my resistance workouts because of a time constraint and I started to get so discouraged. I ended up skipping a bunch of days and my BBG buddy would send me snaps of her workouts and meals and I felt so annoyed with myself for giving up. 

I did more self reflecting and realized, it's ok to not do it perfectly, as long as I'm still puting everything I can into it. If I have to miss and LISS for a day, or if I can only do half a resistance workout because of time, thats OK, but it's NOT ok to give up. 

MAY PROGRESS

As of Monday, May 29, I am beginning my 8th week using the Sweat App, and my 2nd week on the Body and Mind program (switching after 6 weeks of BBG) and I have officially lost 19 lbs. Going into this program I am not as concerned with losing a certain amount of weight or getting to a goal weight, especially knowing muscle weighs more than fat, but since starting the program in Late March, I've gotten in the habit of weighing myself at the start of every new week on a Monday when I begin the next week on the program. I also try to take progress photos in the app when I remember on these Monday's.  

What I am concerned about is feeling good in my own skin again and feeling like my body is healthy. I've had some stomach issues and struggled with chronic migraine and getting into a fitness regimine has been shown to help with chronic migrane and regulating my diet has been helping my stomach. 

I haven't seen a ton of progress in my arms and chest yet (honestly I was kinda hoping my boobs were gonna shrink) but I've felt significantly less bloated and puffy! Plus my skin has never been better! I don't think I've ever felt more comfortable and confident leaving the house without makeup on. 

DIET AND MEAL PLAN

As for the meal plan, Kayla provides you with an extensive meal plan for each day of the program. Unfortunately, this plan is not made for a students budget and is not the easiest to prepare on a busy schedule. So instead, I read all of the handy educational sections of the app that included food and macro and micro nutrients. Then I created a meal plan based around making sure I ate a balanced diet of protien, carbs, and healthy fats/sugars. (if you'd like to see a post of what I eat in a day or some general recipies let me know!)

Now, I'm going to be honest, there were cheat meals, and if you follow her program exactly as it's layed out the progress would probably be amazing! But I decided that I'll only be young once, and you only have one life. I want to love myself, love my body, and take care of my body, but I also want to enjoy life. I don't want to ever be that person who will say no to a slice of pizza or some wings to avoid gaining 0.02 lbs. I'm living this lifestyle with an 80/20 mindset. If you live a relatively healthy lifestyle 80% of the time, don't be afraid to let yourself enjoy things you enjoy the other 20%. 


Have you used the Sweat App? Have a favorite fun and healthy recipe? I'd love to hear what you guys think or any advice you have!!

xoxo 

AME

Keep Moving Forward

Everyone needs a break sometimes. It's been three months since I last blogged, and the break was needed. I never thought I would take three days off bloging let alone three months, but I was drowning. My course work was getting to me, the annual conference I plan was becoming more time consuming, I stared working full-time over winter break, and blogging began to feel like a chore. 

When I got back to campus for second semester I knew I needed to focus on school, the conference, and myself. I didn't give myself a date or a timeline of when I'd return to blogging, I just gave myself time, time to love it again. 

συνέχισε μπροστά: keep moving forward. I got this tattoo as a reminder that unexpected things happen. Relationships fall apart, friendships end; and sometimes you have no control and soemtimes you may not know why. 

There are things in life that Type A people like me can't plan for. My Day Designer doesn't have a section for dealing with the loss of a friend or relationship. But I can keep moving forward. 

Taking this break from blogging, and taking this time to focus on myself has helped me discover who I am. Keep moving forward, συνέχισε μπροστά, take a break, give yourself what you need for you. 


I'm excited to finally be back to blogging and to be excited about it! I'm also excited and nervous about this new chapter of my life.

How has your new year been?! Do you have a new motto? 

xoxo

AME