London Days 1 & 2 2017

After getting off the plane in London, I had absolutely no idea where to go. The same girl who I had met on the plane, I asked if I could come along with her & her friends. Coming off a plane at Heathrow airport was more confusing than any other airport I’ve been in. There were so many steps to take.

After finally going through customs & luggage, we made it to a sit down area where the rest of the students were from the flight. We still had to wait for people, so I was probably standing for about 45 minutes to an hour. All I wanted to do was sleep. Sight-seeing in a country you’ve never been in is great and all, but all I wanted to do was take a nap.

Now that it’s three days later writing the rest of this post, I’d rather not do a play-by-play. Only because this post would be way too long, & I can update you guys more  on my orientation in Rome & other things.

Our hotel in London was nice, except for the wifi. I couldn’t get on any app or even my laptop. 

The afternoon arriving in London, a group of girls and I visited Abbey Road, which was very busy & hard to take pictures, & Platform 9 3/4. There was an extremely long wait to take pictures for Platform 9 3/41, but it was so worth it.

London day 2 the program did a bus tour of some main sites of London, including The Buckingham Palace, Changing of the Guards and other places. You know in movies where you see shops all lined up next to each other (i.e. pet store, market, home goods, designer brands, beauty, etc.)? That is what Kensington & the city of London pretty much looks like from my point of view. It’s great though, I love places like that!

After the bus tour, the group of girls and I had gone to a pub to get lunch. I got some traditional fish & chips — 10x better than the American version! Keep in mind that we took the Tube A LOT while in London. We took the the to go see Big Ben & The London Eye which unfortunately was under- construction. Still a great view all around that area! Everything in London is beautiful. Some areas made me feel like I was in The Parent Trap (the one with Lohan).

After taking the tube back to Kensington, we went to this little tea shop called, “The Muffin Man,” and if was just the cutest! REALLY good food and tea as well.

Overall, I would say that I like London. I don’t quite love it. Not everywhere is for everyone. And that’s the best part about traveling: experiencing it. Experience what you can, do your best to enjoy everything around you. If the place isn’t for you, no one is forcing you to go back to it. Keep moving forward.
xx   Jordan

Advertisements

The Reality of Traveling Alone for the First Time

Excitement. Happiness. Homesick. Joy. Fear. Frustration. Confused. Sadness. FOMO. Anxious. EXHAUSTION. All emotions & symptoms, and maybe more that I have gone through within the past five days.

My parents drove me from RI to Boston, MA to the Logan airport on January 20, 2017 at 4pm. Snapchats were sent and received. Carsickness appeared. Teary eyes almost turned into waterfalls…but I blocked the spout with positive words running through my mind, like for example, “You can do this!”

By the time we got to the airport, I thought I was going to throw up. The carsickness really got to me. I was sweating from wearing layers, & I was so distracted that the only thing I had to drink that day was a detox smoothie. I luckily founda water bottle  in the backseat, which I chugged. 

My Dad dropped my Mom and I off so I could check my big suitcase, & to wait for my boyfriend to come. My suitcase ended up being 55 pounds, and the limit is 51 pounds. I thought it was 50, but maybe it’s different for international flights. The lady was nice and let it slide, but reminded me that London is very strict when flying out of there. My backpack & carry-on were both so full that there was no way I could fit anything else in there. You can’t blame me though. Packing for 3 1/2 months is difficult. 

After a little while, my Dad was siting with my Mom and I, and my boyfriend came. It was our three-month anniversary. Imagine that. Leaving the country on your anniversary. It was tough to say the least. I’m tearing up as I’m typing this. I didn’t want to let go of him. I didn’t want to let go of his hands. I didn’t want to let go of his warmth. I did not want to let go of him. But something we would never let go is our relationship. Yes, we’ve only been dating for slightly over three months now, but our relationship is so strong. We’ve known each other for over a year before dating, and we’re definitely not the type of couple to “take a break,” while I’m away for 3 1/2 months…that’s silly. There’s no doubt in my mind that when I come back, we’ll be even stronger. We communicate everyday, and it makes us both very happy. 

My Mom, Dad, & boyfriend walked me to the front of security. They could not go through there with me. This is when the waterworks started happening. I hugged my mom, started feeling it, and tried to hold back the tears. I hugged my Dad, and that’s definitely when I started getting teary-eyes, but once again, tried holding it back. Then I hugged my boyfriend. The waterfall broke through the spout. His response? “You can’t ruin your makeup!” God I love him. That moment was difficult for sure though. Once he said those words I  quickly started wiping my undereyes because I did put makeup on, and I was not about to look like a hot mess walking through the airport while trying to make friends. No no. You could definitely tell that I cried, but thanks to makeup setting spray and setting my concealer, black streaks did not appear on my face. 

I started to walk through security by myself. I had always traveled with family, so I knew what I was doing, but I was alone. 

But in fact, I wasn’t alone. 

God was with me. Everyone was beside me in spirit during the process. My gut was there to trust. There were at least forty other young adults going through the exact same thing, in the exact same airport. And all of those young adults were in my program.
 

I walked through the line to security with a million feelings and emotions, handed the person my info & passport, and headed towards a line of strangers. It was a little after 6:30pm at this point. I got into a line and realized how much I had to take off and take out. I didn’t realize we could keep our jewelry on. I took off the necklace my boyfriend bought me – that felt weird. I didn’t want anyone to steal it. It reminds me all of his love for me, and that he’s always there for me, even in spirit. I took off our distance bracelets, and I basically almost broke a bracelet that one of my best friend’s bought me for my birthday. But it’s all good, it was just tight squeeze, and I had to get it off my wrist quickly. I took out and took off the normal stuff. Lucky me. I had to get my carry-on checked. What in the world did I put in there that made someone take out everything in front of everyone. Surprisingly, I wasn’t embarrassed. The man started looking at my vitamins and my power green powder that basically determines if I have energy or not that day. He really started looking at the powder containers (both unopened). And no, there are no drugs in there, sir. You’re looking at the wrong girl for that one. Can’t a constantly tired & low-energied (is that a word?) girl just get some safe, natural energy around here? Jesus Christ. It was not the power greens powder, it was a tube of toothpaste. I had to go buy a travel-sized one. 

After leaving security and the small shop, I had to go find my gate. Gate 8. I went the opposite direction, because that direction had gates close to the number 8. Naturally, I thought it was over there. Nope. Anxiety & frustration started kicking in. I thought I was going crazy. That direction said gates 9-whatever, and the other direction said gates 1-7, and pardon my language, but I was like, where the fuck is my gate. There was not a sign in sight. I finally had the courage to ask someone because I was ready to lose it…in the middle of an airport. I headed in the direction past security and found my gate. Weird looking gate area, but hey, they had charging stations. I plugged my phone in, and I had to sit at a weird angle with all of my stuff, because my cord was long, but not long enough. After looking around, I realized there weren’t many students in my gate. I texted our Facebook group for the Boston flight, and asked if anyone was in gate 8. Most were in gate 9, which did not make sense to me. A girl from the program replied back saying she was walking towards gate 8, and I saw her, and we started talking. There was a guy that she had previously talked with who was sitting diagonal from me, and I had no idea.

This girl helped my anxieties go away almost immediately, and helped me any questions I had with boarding and the plane. 

It was time to board the plane. There was quite a lot of people on that flight. It was the biggest plane I had ever seen/been on in my life. I had never been out of the country, so it was all new to me. The plane went on forever. My seat was 24E (I may be getting that mixed up with another number from my other flight, so I’ll check on that later). I have no idea why, but I kept thinking my letter was C, even though I was looking for the number, and the letter E the whole time I was walking on the plane. I’m thinking it was one of God’s hints. I sat in the row with the letter C. I met another girl who was also in the same program, and we started making conversation. About 10 minutes later, I was informed that I was in the wrong seat, and I had to move my stuff to the four-seater across, and I was unfortunately not in the aisle seat. I was in the second seat to the left, with no room. My backpack didn’t fit under the seat, so I hid it with my jacket, and I was not getting up again. The plane was so hot and I was sweating just from struggling to put my heavy carry-on in the overhead, and going from one row to the other. I was also stuck in between two men. One in the aisle seat who was older with an accent, and the other one who was probably around my age. He seemed like a nice person, but he was uh, interesting. 

I had never been in an airplane with mini tv screens on the backs of the seats, and your armrest was a remote with a headphone jack. If I remember correctly, I had never been on a red-eye flight. They provided thin-ish pillows that looked like they were made out of paper towels. I gotta be honest with you…sorry British Airways. And also on everyone’s seat was a blanket in wrapping. I had my 2-in-1 blanket and blow up mini pillow with me, and the blanket the plane provided was surpringly extremely warm. They had good movies. Guys, I watched Finding Dory. It couldn’t get any better than that. BA provided meals on on the plane. You choices were either Pasta or Curry Chicken. Can you guess what option I went with? The pasta was actually really good, but I was also starving. There was a mini salad and dressing on the side, a roll with butter, a teacup, a mini container of water, a plastic untensil pouch with salt packets and what not, & a mini dessert item. The dessert had a mix of milk & dark chocolate and it tasted great, until I started tasting cherries, and that was about it for me. Fruity flavors mixed with chocolate & the texture of nuts & chocolate I cannot handle whatsoever. 

Then there comes the late hours of the night, and I started doing that head bobbing thing that I do when I’m falling asleep in public. Yeah, I did that a lot. Thank god the lights were off and the two men were asleep. 

I barely slept on that flight. We were pretty much flying over water the whole time, so the turbulence was keeping me up and scaring me, but I literally told myself to chill every time I felt scared. 

And before I knew it, it was after 7am, and I was five hours ahead in the London time zone. I finished Finding Dory, and started watching Rio. Guys I’m telling you, you gotta get yourself on one of these planes. 

I got my heavy carry-on, backpack, coat, and a new mindset ready to go.

 I will actually be continuing this story in another blog post. A blog post starting from where I left off, to my last day in London. Then Rome, & so on.

The point of this blog post is of course to update everyone, but also because I wanted people to read & understand the true reality of being young, & what it can be like to travel for the first time alone. Everyone’s situation is different. This was my experience. A good & frustrating one. One I won’t ever forget. It was the start of my new journey. No matter what age you are, always remember that you are not alone.
xx   Jordan

Makeup & Skincare Travel Essentials

Well, it’s pretty crazy at my house getting things together and cleaning things out. I am still packing. I packed a huge majority of things like clothing, shoes, underwear, makeup, toiletries, that kinds of stuff. Of course, there are always those little things that you still need to somehow fit somewhere, like vitamins, feminine products, a picture frame that two pictures of my boyfriend and I that he gave me for Christmas to bring along with me when I go off. Definitely packing those three things I mentioned, and more, I just have to figure out what suitcase or bag I am putting it into, and how to fit it. Along with the picture frame, I was planning on printing extra pictures of him and I, as well as friends and family, but I realized that I have hundreds, even thousands of pictures of my laptop of my boyfriend and everyone else. So in my defense, I pretty much have the pictures wherever I go, and I can save money.

With packing a lot of things, like a mentioned in my last post, I’ll be away for 3 1/2 months (January 20th – May 5th), I had to REALLY think about my makeup situation. Skincare wasn’t bad because I use a specific line of products for my acne. But for makeup…man, there’s a lot. I have half travel-sized and half normal sized products, along with brushes, and somehow, I was able to squeeze everything into a Sephora Beauty on the Fly makeup bag (it’s small let me tell you, but can hold a lot), and a Sephora brush pouch (looks like a fancy pencil pouch). I relly don’t know how I did that. I was able to fit a brand new Beauty Blender IN IT’S ROUND PACKAGING IN THE SMALL ASS BAG. Pardon my french, but we gotta be real here. I am actually forgetting that I am bringing about three eyeshadow palettes in a Sephora Makeup Brush bag, but I have two bags and use them both for palettes. They are great for palettes because they will be safe, and they won’t break unless you do something stupid like climb up somehow and drop it off the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but I don’t think anyone is stupid enough to do that….especially because palettes nowadays are over $30.

ANYWAYS, let’s get into what I am bringing for makeup & skincare. Brace yourselves, there’s gonna be a lot of products…maybe grab a snack:

MAKEUP (not in any particular order, all fits in Sephora Beauty on the Fly Bag):

BRUSHES:

SKINCARE:

(^All HOLY GRAIL)

 

If I forgot anything, I will add it later, but that is all of the makeup/skincare I am bringing with me abroad! I hope this helps anyone in any traveling situation!

 

xx Jordan

Packing List for Study Abroad Italy 2017

Oh boy is packing overwhelming. I am not trying to start off this post on a bad note or anything but packing for 3 1/2 months (January 20th, technically the 21st – May 5th) is definitely challenging. I am almost twenty-one, and yes I am into fashion, and yes, I have an excessive amount of clothing…and stuff…but mostly clothing. It’s not like I’m packing summer clothing, but since it is still winter, and although Florence’s cold temperatures won’t make your face feel like it’s falling off, ya still gotta pack those sweaters. In reality, I should be continuously packing right now, but I knew I wanted to get a post out there like this, and I should get it out now.

This post will be all about my packing list for abroad, and if I can find the products online, I will definitely have their links as well. I was going to include my travel essentials, but this would be extremely long so I will write that in a separate post, along with makeup/skincare. My packing list is a list that my program with AIFS put together for the Spring semester, for those chillier days and when it starts to get warmer. Definitely nothing summery, unless I plan to go somewhere warm, or if YOU plan on going somewhere warm. This post should help students who are in my position right now going abroad, and maybe to the same place, anyone who travels regularly and needs inspiration, or a person/student who is thinking about going abroad and wants a sneak-peek into what the packing actually looks like. I have read dozens of articles on what to pack for Florence, and what things women should wear. What I have collected from those articles are that:

  1. Neutrals will help you blend in, and not make you stand out–that’s how the locals will depict on if you are a tourist or not. There are quotes telling you to “stand out from the crowd”…yeah…not in this case. In Florence, locals like to wear neutrals because it comes off as classier, and that is their normal dress code. I read that locals are proud for when themselves or anyone who dresses up. It is not in their dress code to wear sweats, flip flops, and other touristy items if you know what I mean. If you were going to exercise, that’s a different story. Express yourself more that way, but I myself will still keep things slightly neutral when it comes to that point. Standing out with wearing brighter colors is taking a risk for making yourself a target to get pick-pocketed.
  2. Bring one scarf, and bring it everywhere. Some historical and religious areas expect visitors to dress more conservative, and I think you have to pay some sort of fee if you are not dressed appropriately, but I could be wrong. Scarfs can change an outfit instantly, and they provide warmth.
  3. Pack light. But who are we kidding with a fashion-loving, twenty-year-old YouTuber. Although, I think I am doing pretty good. You know the longest trip I’ve ever been was for 2 weeks at a summer camp. And that time I brought more, which is probably hard to believe. Man did I over-pack or what. “I think I’ll need these black and green striped tights because last year we did a dress-up activity with them.” Hell to the no. For the love of God, don’t bring items like that–anywhere you go. Did I use those Halloween witch-esque tights? Probably not. Did it take up some space where I could have easily fit something else in there that I needed like a toothbrush or a hat to keep myself from getting sunburned? Ohhhh yeah. The point is, look through your wardrobe, man or woman, and look at what neutrals you have, decide how many ways you can wear the items, and decide if you’re actually going to wear them.

 

Once again, my packing list may look different than yours, because it is a Spring semester, student-specific packing list. And not everything on that list applied to me, so I skipped over them. Here we go:

Clothing:

Underwear

  • 27 pairs (a mix between boyshorts, cheeksters, & thongs). You’re probably thinking that’s too much, but you know, as a woman, there will come that time of the month, and let me tell you, a woman is gonna need some variations of underwear. And thongs are great for dresses, leggings, jeans, and anything else where you don’t want panty lines to show.

Socks

  • 4 knee-length/slightly under-the-knee socks
  • 4 crew socks
  • 2 fuzzy socks (I may change it to one pair)
  • 5 pairs of no-show Nike socks
  •  9 (may cut that number down) pairs of everyday socks

I will get into what types of shoes later on, and why I need so many socks–mostly because my feet are always cold.

Undershirts/Bras

  • 5 bras
  • 2 Calvin Klein Bralettes (Black & White–I love to sleep in these, and they are great for lounging around without actually having to put on a bra, but still wanting coverage)
  • 4 different colored bralettes (for those shirts that are thinner, or just to have something underneath)
  • 2 camis (beige and white–can’t go wrong with those two colors, neutrals)

Long Sleeve Shirts

  • 3 three-quarter sleeve shirts (casual and dressy)
  • 8 sweaters (neutral colors, but I have a light minty-pastel color in there as well–something has to make my eyes pop, right?)
  • 4 regular long sleeve shirts
  • 2 button down shirts (white & classier, and one is a red & blue plaid shirt–not neutral, but I need a comfort piece from home that I’ve been wearing since high school. It’s still in style, don’t worry 😉 )

Short Sleeve Shirts

  • 8 short sleeve shirts ( I feel like that is a good number. Plus, not only can I wear those out and about, but I can also wear them around the apartment I’ll be staying in, so they can double as lounge wear)
  • 3 dressy sleeveless tops (this is important for when you’re either going out to dinner, for a night out, or something fancier like a show or something. I am bringing 3 classic colors: Black, off-White, and Wintery Red–thicker material)

Sweatshirts

  • 3 Sweatshirts (If you have met me, you would know that this is a big step for me. When I am not working, in class, or exercising, I live in sweatshirts and sweatpants–will get to that later on. I decided to bring my grey half-zip Curry College pullover–gotta rep Curry of course!, a maroon half-zip pullover from Aeropostale-looks like a VV Shep Shirt, but hella cheaper, and will make me blend in more (weird to say, because I like to stand out in my own style), and a slightly cropped grey graphic sweatshirt that says, “RAD” on the front…I can’t NOT bring that abroad. So stylish)

Jeans/Leggings

  • 2 pairs of jeans (Black and Dark Wash–>my holy grail jeggings since high school, sadly not available at American Eagle anymore, the black ones should be still available there)
  • 2 pairs of leggings (Black, and also from American Eagle)

Shorts?

  • not sure on this one yet

Belts

  • 1 everyday gold belt
  • 1 belt that goes with a specific dress

Dresses/Bodysuits:

  • I don’t really wear skirts, so I left that one out and included a bodysuit
  • 4 dresses (range from casual to dressy)
  • 1 bodysuit

Workout Clothing

  • Although it will be cold at first, and I am not at all a runner, I believe I will be doing a lot of walking, hiking, and maybe some in-apartment exercises
  • 1 Black Nike Pro Compression Shorts (or spandex as I like to call them)
  • 2 sports bras (White & a brighter greenish-blue)
  • 1 short sleeve shirt (white multi tye-dye)
  • 1 tank top (neon pink Curry College Fitness tank)
  • (maybe) 2 pairs of shorts–black Curry College shorts and maybe blue shorts
  • 1 long bootcut yoga pant
  • 1 cropped yoga legging

Pajamas

  • my pajamas are sweats–surprise surprise. I could never comfortably sleep in pajama sets and everything.
  • 1 pair of Black VS Pink sweatpants
  • 2 long sleeve shirts (I am always cold, I can use workout clothes to sleep in as well, and I gotta rep once again Curry, and my home state!)

Coats/Jackets

  • 1 Black North Face rain jacket
  • 1 Abercrombie & Fitch (Fall jacket–I was told I do not need a heavy winter coat even during the winter) Navy jacket
  • 1 Warm Black Longer North Face jacket?
  • 1 Black Nordstrom Moto jacket (a key staple in any wardrobe, but especially in Italy)
  • 1 Beige dressy light jacket? (not sure)

Shoes

  • 2 pairs of Steve Madden Troopa Boots in Black and (maybe) Dark Brown (will use these as rain boots, so I don’t have to bring my huge chunky Hunter Boots–unnecessary for this trip)
  • 1 pair of Sam Edelman riding boots
  • 1 pair of ADIDAS Superstar Gold Stripe sneakers (maybe)
  • 1 pair of Black Nike Air Max Sneakers (comfortable walking)
  • 2 pairs of Steve Madden mini gladiator sandals in Black and Gold Metallic

Gloves/Hats/Scarves

  • 1 pair of Red tech gloves
  • still looking at my beanies
  • still looking at my scarves

Swimsuit/Beach Towel

  • 1 VS Pink Black triangle swimsuit top
  • 1 Black plain swimsuit bottoms
  • 1 Hot Pink pain swimsuit bottoms
  • VS Pink Mint Graphic thin beach towel (better for packing)

Toiletries:

Toothbrush/Toothpaste

  • 1 current toothbrush
  • 1 extra toothbrush just in case
  • 1 tube of Colgate toothpaste

Deodorant

  • 1 Secret Gel Deodorant–travel size (I can buy more overseas)

Feminine Products

  • 1 pack of Always 10-hour protection pads (TMI, but these are my holy grail)
  • 1 pack of tampons (once again, these are items that I can obviously buy more overseas)
  • 1 pack of Always panty liners

Brush/Comb

  • 1 Dry Bar Lemon Drop brush (holy grail brush)
  • 1 black wide toothed comb (out-of-the-shower hair)

Shaving Razor

  • I forgot the brand, it may be Gilette, but just your average shaving razor

Shampoo/Conditioner

  • I put these in travel size smart tubes, which I will get into later on
  • Head & Shoulders Classic Clean 2-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner (I have been using this since 8th grade…nuff said)
  • Biolage ….forgetting the name….REALLY GOOD though WOW, just purchased it
  • OGX (I think that’s the brand) Coconut Milk Shampoo (also have been using this since high school)
  • OGX Coconut Milk Conditioner
  • Morocco (at ULTA) Conditioner

Body Wash/Body Lotion

  • B&BW Watermelon Lemonade Shower Gel
  • Soap & Glory Orangeasm body wash (boy does that smell AMAZING)
  • B&BW Hello Beautiful body lotion
  • FabFitFun Sicilian Tangerine Body cream

Perfumes/Body Mists

  • 1 Travel Size of Ralph Lauren Midnight Romance perfume
  • 2 Travel Sizes of VS Night body mists

Makeup/Skincare

  • I am going to write all of that in a separate post because even though I have travel-sized products, and I am not bringing my entire makeup collection, and there is still a good amount of products

Hair Accessories

  • 10 hair ties
  • 5 bobby pins (I don’t use these, but you never know)
  • 1 dressy headband

Nail polish/Nail Clippers

  • about 1 or two nail polish colors
  • nail accessory travel size set

Vitamins/Powder

  • D3 vitamins
  • B12 vitamins
  • Patriot Green Powder (my holy grail for about a week, actually gives me natural energy–something I don’t normally have)

Extras:

Purse/Wallets

  • 2-3 wallets (range from RFID blocked, casual, & fancy)
  • 1 White & Gold quilted chain crossbody clutch (Thanks Gabby!)
  • I am not a purse/pocketbook kind of person, but I found this great, spacious pocketbook that looks like a fancy handbag, but it’s actually from The Container Store! They have a huge travel sale during the summer, so mine was about $99 at the time instead of a little over $100. I got it so I can safely put my camera inside of it when traveling! Unfortunately, it is not RFID blocked

Important Documents

  • I won’t go into detail about these
  • Passport
  • more essentials, I think everyone knows what types of important documents to bring with you

Sunglasses

  • 1 pair of cheap Black plastic sunglasses from Nordstrom BP
  • possibly 1 pair of aviators of American Eagle

Technology/Chargers

  • Apple MacBook Pro 13-in with Retina Display
  • 2 Apple MacBook Pro chargers (1 for backup)
  • 1 Pink Vera Bradley laptop case (suitable for as high as a MacBook Pro 15-in)
  • Apple iPhone 5s of course…don’t ever forget your phone
  • 2 Pac2Go Universal Travel Adapter with dual 2.5A USB charging
  • Hero 5 Session GoPro – USB charger, 64 GB SD card
  • BlackPro GoPro accessory bundle
  • iPhone 5s charger
  • PlugBug World 2-in-1 universal plugs for Apple MacBooks & USB port
  • Sony Alpha a58 DSLR camera with carrying case, charger, and SD card
  • maybe my tripod – I feel like I should, but I know it will take up so much room
  • Apple earphones

Bath Towels

  • I am bringing this velcro strapless towel from Target. Less chunky than a bath towel, smaller, and I also have that beach towel I could use if I needed it

Journal

  • 1 personal journal

Backpack

  • 1 SwissArmy backpack

Suitcase(s)–Duh

  • 1 Large Blue Samsonite Suitcase
  • 1 carry-on suitcase

Travel Guide/Map

  • AAA Italian Dictionary
  • AAA Florence travel guide book

Addresses of friends & family for postcards

  • will get those later

 

There are some items, more in the extras category that I will be talking about in my Travel Essentials post. There are also items in here that I didn’t list at all because they will be mentioned in my next post. I hope that this packing list helped you whatever traveling situation you are in, whether you are a student, family, a solo traveler, photographer, etc.

See you in my next post!

 

xx   Jordan

 

 

 

 

2017 Resolutions

Resolutions are weird, right? Resolutions have people going to the gym or eating healthy for a week, or doing something else that sounds wack. My perspective of it is that people create resolutions of goals that they want to achieve at some point in their life, but they don’t make it realistic enough, and they don’t break their resolutions down. Going to the gym? Great. How many times a week? What are you specifically working on? Eating healthy? Good for you. Are there certain foods you’re cutting out, and some you’re not? Make a list, and put it somewhere on a wall to constantly remind yourself — so just like the gym, you don’t quit after a week, because you “Can’t handle it,” or “It doesn’t fit in my schedule (gym-wise),” or honestly, maybe that method isn’t working for you. Whether you believe in God or not,  I believe that God put us on this earth with great intentions, and he wouldn’t give us anything we can’t handle. If something or someone is really important to you, you will make time in your schedule for it, no matter how busy you are. We’re all busy. I get it.

I created a video last year on my YouTube channel, naming it my, “2016 New Year’s Resolutions.” I had about sixteen or seventeen resolutions. That’s a lot. I wanted to accomplish a lot of those, but I definitely did not complete a majority of them. Why? I didn’t break down my resolutions as much as I should have. I explained them, and how I would approach them, but looking back, I really don’t think I broke them down to the fullest. Reading the bible, for example, I said that I would read it every day, which I did the first month and a half, and then for whatever reason, I gave up. It was like I wanted to read it, but I had other things distracting me. Last year I was single, and I was single from my senior year of high school to this past fall semester in the middle of October (we are juniors in college) when my best friend asked me out, and it’s been amazing since. Because I was single for a few years and including the Spring 2016 semester, I let BOYS get in the way of me reaching out and reading God’s word. Wow. I can’t believe that just came out of my mouth. That doesn’t sound like me. That’s literally throwing out a relationship with someone who created you and put you on this earth, and me saying, “I can’t read the bible right now because I’m texting this guy.” REALLY? Who even was I during that semester. I was going through a weird funk that entire semester, I can tell you that much. But what I am trying to say here is that whether a resolution of yours is reading the bible, or something else, do not make up excuses. Do not let stupid things distract you.

Now I don’t have a specific number count of the resolutions I have. After last year with having sixteen or seventeen resolutions, that felt like too much pressure on me. It stressed me out. “I have to do this every single day or else I’ll become a failure and have to wait until next year to start all over again.” That is something that pretty much went through my head a lot in 2016. Not fun. This year of 2017, I have truly accepted that there will be days that aren’t filled with sunshine all day long, and I’m not talking about the weather. It took me years to finally realize that. I realized that it’s life. “Everything happens for a reason.” The one non-bible verse that I swear by. So we’re currently on the 6th day of the new year, and I’ve already had some interesting experiences. By interesting I mean, I’ve already experienced not-so-great situations. Guess what? I’m accepting it. By accepting it, it is not stressing me out, and even though I have plans of what to do during this month and on, I’m just going with the flow. Yeah, I’ll admit that I’ll think about it at random times during the day, but that’s just how my mind is, and since I can control how I feel, I can get myself to stop thinking about it. I am not going to stress myself out by situations that are currently happening, or happened in the past. It’s ok to let yourself be sad or upset with someone or something in the beginning, but don’t let that ruin you forever. It’s not worth it. They’re not worth it. I have to say that I’ve been better at that, and when I think about something in the past that either I did, someone did to me, whatever it may be, I say to myself, “Jordan, f*****g chill.” And after that, I move on with my life. Yup, I do say that swear. I can be fine with or without the swear, I’ve said it both ways, but I use the swear if my anxiety is making the past or current situation worse, because I am overthinking it. It’s definitely helping a lot.

Alright, enough rambling, now onto my actual resolutions of 2017. I will break down each resolution to you of how I plan to approach them, and what I would do if  I forgot to do it, or whatever reason it may be. I am certainly not going to punish myself for doing so.

2017 Resolutions:

  1. Continue the habit of saying, “I am happy today!” when I wake up in the morning. I have been doing this since last year starting of 2016, and I believe that that has helped me the most with getting through my days. I’m not gonna lie, there were days where I just completely forgot to say it, or I randomly remembered about it during the day –and I still said it. If I completely forgot to say it, it’s because I was with family or friends that day, and I already know that I am feeling happy by being with them, and God knows that too. So yes, in the past I had said, “OMG I can’t believe I forgot to say it!” Then I thought about it and realized that God knows I was happy, and I know that I was happy, so it’s not a big deal. Don’t beat yourself up when it comes to those things.
  2. Every night in a notebook or in the notes app of my phone, write however many things I am grateful for that day. I do this at night, that way anything that happened during the day, I can reflect on that, and really think about how I handled situations, good and bad. Most of the time it takes just one thing or person to make me realize how grateful I am for someone or something else, it depends on the situation though. I can definitely tell you that my boyfriend, Kevin, is always at the top of that list, and family and friends are almost always on there too. I could write blog posts on Kevin, my family, and my friends all separately. (Stay tuned for that in the future maybe)
  3. Eat healthier foods than I normally do, but if I don’t every day, it’s ok, let myself eat what I want. Once I thought about this broken-down resolution, I became more aware of how I eat, but I don’t beat myself up for it. I am a thin young adult, and even in high school, I had always opted for healthier options than others. I am not a chip person, unless they are tortilla chips. Those to me are the healthier chips. I don’t eat fries that often, I opt usually for sweet potato fries. I don’t eat fast food. The other day, I started my day off with a bagel, and then something else after that. Not the healthiest, but I wanted to eat it, and I would say a bagel is healthier than other items like a sugary cereal for example. Bagels fill me up and I love them, so I am going to continue eating them. That same day, I really wanted to eat an apple, and I did. It gave me more energy, like the peppermint tea I drank earlier as well. Please please please do not beat yourself up for the foods you put in your body. Now I can say that putting super junky foods is definitely not the way to a healthier lifestyle, but if you like it, do what you want, it’s your body. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE CARBS…BUT carbs make me have lower energy (Italy should be interesting). I eat more carbs when I am at home more than I do at school. Also, do not deprive yourself from chocolate. That’s a girl’s best friend right there. Chocolate is actually good for you, dark chocolate specifically, but I am not a fan of it. Chocolate has de-stressing purposes, and I will say this does work, if you eat chocolate before any sort of test, you will do better on it. I don’t know about you, but I am going to continue eating what I want to eat, and eat that chocolate from time to time. Also because I got a lot of it in my stocking.
  4. Work on butt and ab exercises every day, it doesn’t matter the time of day. When I do the ab and butt workouts, do 1 set of each exercise only, and for each exercise, do 17 reps (because it’s 2017!). I hope that makes sense. I just figured that doing 17 reps per exercise is enough for me to be satisfied, and I also don’t want to overwork myself. Everyone is different, so be mindful of how everyone chooses to exercise.
  5. I wouldn’t say I am a messy person, I am just a young woman with a lot of stuff aka clothing. With that being said, organize clothing areas when I can, and do not leave stuff lying around. Not just clothing, but organize different areas of my bedroom when I can. I cannot tell you how many times my Mom and I have donated clothing items and non-clothing items that mostly came from my room over the years to Big Brothers & Big Sisters (or Salvation Army). Big Sisters (for short) come pretty often during the year to our house to pick up garbage bags full of stuff. Trust me, I know if I had less, I wouldn’t have the problem of having messy areas. I will obviously keep the clothing, but once in awhile, I go into purge-mode with clothing and non-clothing items. It feels great to donate items to people who need things more than I do. So, I will not get upset with myself if I don’t clean out this certain area by a specific time.

 

Now I don’t think I have any more regular resolutions, but I definitely have travel goals for when I go abroad. I will definitely be posting in the next two weeks a lot of about travel goals, what my packing list looks like, etc. I will also create videos of these ideas on my channel, because I think that can help out anyone who is taking a semester abroad soon, not just to my location, or anyone who likes to travel often and they need inspiration. Stay tuned!

Instead of having sixteen or seventeen resolutions that I know I won’t complete well, I created five broken-down ones, ones that I will actually go through with. I wanted to share these with you to just inspire you and to tell you to create more realistic resolutions that fit  YOU best. Just because a celebrity is doing this thing, doesn’t mean you automatically have to, unless you want to try it out, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself to complete it often. I know this turned out to be a longer post, but I really hope that it helped and inspired you to really look at your resolutions and break them down to the fullest if you didn’t already do so. Remember, you are not a failure if you can’t complete something in a specific time period. Do not beat yourself up for things because that clearly won’t make your resolutions fun anymore, and you’ll become stressed out. To end this on a more positive note, I hope you are having a great year so far, and I hope you have a wonderful day!

 

xx   Jordan

Rainy Tuesday

It’s 2:58 pm as I am writing this, and I am a mix between lazy and just slightly productive. It’s just one of those rainy days. Do I lay in bed, watch YouTube videos, nap, and research traveling? Or do I finish cleaning out my room, finish putting away the tree ornaments (so sad), and polish my boots? Eh, I’ll figure that out, and maybe complete those at like 8 pm. Rainy Days are confusing. I feel like the Universe is testing me on productiveness. Let’s look at what I did today: got out bed (big starter), read my Bible app, skincare routine, ate some food (not the healthiest, but it filled me up), watched Ellen, blasted the Acoustic Pop Spotify Playlist in my living room while taking down tree ornaments, called my work and got some shifts in (early ones, but you gotta make money somehow) ate an apple (okay that’s healthier, we’re getting there), and now I’m back into bed. I have to relax people. Nothing is cozier than laying in blue and gray snowflake FLANNEL (yes, I did say flannel) sheets, a nice comforter, comfy clothes, string lights around the room, and just being able to live in the WARMEST room in the house – AMEN. It all gives off such a nice vibe. It’s so peaceful and quiet in here.

While it’s so peaceful and quiet in my bedroom, it’s giving me a chance to focus and look around. Focus on this blog post, and look around my room. It makes me appreciate of what I have: a closet, a bureau, and a dresser full of clothes (but let’s be honest, I am a girl who is always looking for new clothing items, no matter how much I already have), decor, my Memere’s golden non-digital clock, a BED, light sources, outlets, a ROOF over my head, a great quality speaker, a door that I can close (thank god), precious memories and moments – a picture frame of the first two pictures of Kevin and I on my Instagram (part of my Christmas gift), and the baseball he gave me when he asked me out – two very special items to me, and other memories and items that I store and display all around my room.

It can take the smallest person, place, or thing to make you appreciative of what you have. I always do my best to put myself in other people’s shoes and see their perspectives. You don’t need material items to make you happy, but if you’re like me who wants to become a photographer and loves filming and editing, cameras and a laptop make me pretty happy. Having a loving family, loving friends, what you’re passionate about, and your cat will make you the happiest person ever. It’s up to you to choose happiness. Everyone in the world, even the biggest celebrities have gone through the toughest storms. There is a quote that Taylor Swift wrote that I saw on Pinterest this morning, and it’s a long quote, but I will include this one blurb,

“And you are the person who survived a bunch of rainstorms, and kept walking. I now believe that pain makes you stronger. And I now believe that walking through a bunch of rainstorms gets you clean.”

Great quote, huh? The last sentence very much hit me, because it’s so true. No matter what you’re going through in life, everything always gets better. You can’t just sit around and mope and think, “my life sucks, the worst things always happen to me” and not doing anything about it. Get up, do what you need to do, and figure out your life (harsh reality).

Now this isn’t something that is for everyone because everyone isn’t Christian, but I am. I may not be extremely religious as others, but I do know the difference between good and evil. I have my own morals that I follow, even if they may not match up with yours, but you are you, and I am me. Everyone is different. You can’t expect a Christian girl to be perfect and innocent, with a bow in her hair while licking a lollipop. That is not how I am, and that is certainly not how others are, but there may be a few, and if they are like that, good for them. One thing that at least everyone who does believe in God, does this: read the Bible. Yes, it’s that huge book with a lot of pages and fine print, and uses a specific type of English language that most can’t understand. Those quotes that you happen to see on home decor and on social media for example, “She believed she could so she did,” yeah that’s a bible verse. Luke 1:15 to be exact. That’s my favorite bible verse of all time. I have other favorites, and if you’re interested in finding new, refreshing verses and quotes relating to God, I created this Pinterest board – it get’s me through the day.

So what I am trying to say here is that I really started using my Bible app in the beginning of last January in 2016. I knew that it would help me grow closer to God, and it would bring joy and happiness into my life – and that’s the definite truth. Reading the bible every night for me, I realized that every. single. day. of that month, I was as happy as a dog with a bone, maybe even happier. You could see it on my face, I was just beaming with joy, and pretty much every day was an awesome day for me. I remember there was one day during that month where something didn’t work out as planned, or I had to make a decision, and I didn’t let it ruin my day or my happiness. That’s the key people. Only YOU are in control of your happiness, no one else. For those who are in relationships like myself, my boyfriend has always and will continue to make me the happiest girl alive, and I feel like the luckiest girl alive to be with him. I know that can sound cliche, but I don’t know a better way to explain the love that we have for each other.

The other loves of my life would have to be God and the Bible. I am not forcing you to read the Bible, I am just recommending that you at least try it out. If you’re like me and zone out while reading a physical book in your hand, try the “Holy Bible” app. It’s free, and you can choose what plans you want to read, or you can just dive straight into the Bible. The app will provide you with verses of the day words and images, what you have highlighted in your texts, your plans, etc. It’s a great app. Although if the Bible just isn’t for you, looking up quotes on Pinterest or Google, or just finding what you really love to do, do it. Whatever floats your boat.

Another habit I like to continue with is whenever I wake up, I look upwards and say, “I am happy today!” Even if your day turns out to be crappy, you can at least say that you started with positivity, AND since you’re in control of your happiness, you can decide whether to stay positive or milk the five-minute situation all day.

I guess this kind of turned out like a rant, but it’s more of something that I’ve always wanted to get across to people, and hopefully others will see where I am coming from, and take my advice. Just because it’s rainy and cloudy outside, doesn’t mean you can’t be the sunshine that breaks through.

xx  Jordan

Welcome to my blog // Happy 2017!

Hello! Welcome to my blog, Jordan Du Jour! Here I will write posts about my travels through London, Rome, Florence (where my program is), Siena, Venice, and who knows where else! I cannot wait to use my YouTube channel (JEBeauty) as another platform to show the world my personal perspective of Europe, and use the coolest camera to film – a GoPro. Along with using the GoPro, I take my pictures and film my YouTube videos with a Sony Alpha a58 DSLR camera. The camera takes beautiful pictures and videos and wanting to become a free-lance photographer, I cannot wait to play around with it when it comes to scenery, people, food, etc.

To be quite honest here, I have never been into writing. I hated anything that had to do with writing in high school, but the hatred started to dwindle a bit once I entered college in 2014. I guess taking Academic Writing Process, Writing Workshops 1 & 2, and writing papers up to ten pages really helped my skills develop…I guess. Despite how much I hated writing, I have always wanted to create some sort of blog. A blog that truly expressed my passions and perspectives. A blog that described me well. A blog that someone looked at and would say, “That looks like something Jordan would write,” or “If Jordan was a blog, this would be her,” something like that.

So here we are, January 2, 2017, and I have finally created that blog that I’ve always dreamed of having. I find it easier for me to write blog posts more than essays, because I can write whatever I want, include pictures/videos, and start the post anyway I want. I can skip the overused grade school “hamburger” writing style. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, did you really attend grade school? Blog posts to me are more personal, and I have journals that I write in from time to time that help me dump my brain out on a piece of paper. Not every blog you come across will include the negatives – the reality of things that we all go through in a day. This blog is different. While I write about my happy travels, I will also write about my fears and honestly, what is giving me anxiety the most during the days. That’s just me. I don’t think I could give you sunshine and rainbows through a blog, because I am not all sunshine and rainbows. I am a college student with as much anxiety as the next. A college student that has never been out of the country, and especially has never traveled without her parents.

This blog is designed to update you on my travels, my daily/weekly life living in pizza and pasta heaven – and the real question is, will I get fat? -> I guess we’ll see, I’ll update ya. Not only showing you pictures of hot, cheesy pizza and me drowning in a bowl of pasta, I would also like to create OOTD (Outfit of the Day) posts, fashion tips – apparently Italians who live in Florence dress on the classier side, and don’t wear bright colors…so I guess that rules out 95% of my wardrobe. Makeup posts/videos as well – GUYS I found out they have a Sephora in Florence HALLELUJAH, but also OH CRAP because we all know that will break my bank account. I’m trying to save every penny I can right now. Me? Not spending money? That’s rare.

Anyways, I am excited to start this new journey (traveling and this blog), and take you guys along with me – it’s a little easier than trying to fit everyone in my suitcase.

xx  Jordan