My 5 Favorite Winter Shoes

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White Docs

Oh boy, I fell in love with these shoes this past fall. My white Jadon Dr. Martens are literally my everything and I can’t stop wearing them. Even though I got major blisters trying to break them in I still love them! I’m a sucker for white shoes and these boots were something I had to add to my collection. White Docs are a perfect statement shoe without being too in your face. They go with EVERYTHING and add a cool edge to any outfit. No matter if you’re going for a cozy vibe, edgy street style or sophisticated look, these shoes will complete any outfit.

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Baby Uggs

My baby, baby, Uggs. They’re so cute and tiny, yet perfect for the winter. These little booties keep my feet warm and have withstood many years of wear and tear. I think I’m going on 9 years with them. They have awful salt stains now, but personally I love them. I think it adds character where character is needed, especially being as old as they are. 

My Uggs have been perfect when I want a cozy outfit and I’m just trying to stay warm in Michigan’s frigid temperatures. Since they’re shorter than most Uggs they don’t overwhelm your feet. The Classic Mini Ugg acts like a comfy little bootie that keeps your feet warm and outfit still on point. Pair them with mom jeans and a knit sweater and you have a perfect yet simple outfit for this chilly season.

Stan Smiths

I don’t think I’ll ever get over my Adidas Stan Smiths. They are the perfect street style sneaker, and once you break them in you won’t want to take them off. Again, I’m talking about white shoes. There is something about them that just screams sleek, put together, and sophisticated (as long as you keep them clean). Honestly, any white sneaker will work. If I’m going for a more athleisure look I’ll slip on my white U_Path Adidas or white Nike Huraches. Any really work. 

Black Booties

Black booties will forever be a shoe you want to have in your closet. Pointed toe, rounded toe, square toe, whatever it is, they’ll go with anything. I got mine from DSW years ago. They are a Franco Sarto bootie, but unfortunately I can’t find them anywhere anymore. These Vagabond Marja black boots or the ALDO Kaicien low rise boot would be great alternatives.

I like to pair my black booties with my black washed jeans to make my legs look longer. Since I’m sticking with one color for my legs and feet I’m able to create a long line which I don’t usual get from being 5’0. They make me look taller without a heel and are super comfy. You can dress these shoes down or dress them up for any event this winter season.

Snakeskin Boots

Snakeskin boots are just a must! Animal print may be the trend right now, but whenever it leaves for a season it always come back. Keep it classy and simple with these boots since they are already a statement piece. I will wear mine with any pair of light or dark washed jeans for a more casual look or jazz it up with a black dress for a fun night out. They also go well with both gold and silver jewelry which makes them perfect for any occasion.

I’d say I wear these boots at least once a week which is why I couldn’t live without them. Mine are about two years old from Steve Madden and are still in great shape. They took my booties off of their site:( so the Dallas bootie is the closest I could find that resembles them. I’m honestly in love and they are a great shoe to invest in. 

Have fun shoe shopping and good luck trying to find your perfect winter shoe. 

See ya later!

Jacqui M. Green 

Back To Baking

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Jacqui’s Bake Shoppe is back people!! My unofficial break is over and I’m ready to start baking again. My time away from this side hustle was cute and all but to be quite honest with you I missed it. SO…I’m telling you that I am ready for some new amazing cakes and I’m ready to be challenged with all your fun ideas.

Where It All Began

Jacqui’s Bake Shoppe started when I was in high school as a little side job for me to make some money doing something I enjoyed. I loved the idea that one day I could own my own bakery. Facebook and local neighborhood websites helped me grow my business and get clients outside of my family and friends. Everyone around me was so supportive and encouraging with my work. It made me feel on top of the world and I really started to consider doing something like this for the rest of my life.

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College

College came around and I looked at a million schools. Culinary schools, art schools and business schools. I fell in love with Schoolcraft College’s culinary school, but quickly realized that with everything else I had going on in life it wasn’t going to work. Dreams were crushed and I ended up going to another local university to study marketing. 

School is a great thing, however, I don’t believe it’s really my thing. Granted, some things catch my attention, but most of the time I catch myself day dreaming about other things I’d rather be doing. A lot of times I think about what it’d be like if I did go to culinary school. What would I be learning? What would I be able to make? What skills I’d be acquiring to become a pastry chef? I think that would’ve been really cool, but who is to say a different path can’t pave the way for new opportunities and growth.

Unfortunately, college led to less time baking thus less time for Jacqui’s Bake Shoppe. I couldn’t take orders due to school work, and eventually the small business turned into something that seemed obsolete. I kind of dropped the idea of Jacqui’s Bake Shoppe and school became my full-time job. I still baked cakes for family birthdays and anytime a friend asked. They always loved my cakes and I always loved being able to make them when I could. 

Coming Back!

So many people encouraged me to keep up with the business, but I couldn’t manage to make it work. 

Nonetheless, every time I made a post about a new cake I’d receive messages saying I should really consider starting it up again. I debated for a year, whether I’d have time and whether or not I’d be able to give it my full effort. I finally decided I needed to do what I love. So Jacqui’s Bake Shoppe is back!

I revamped my logo, started posting on my Insta page (go follow @jacquisbakeshoppe) and can’t wait to take on some orders. My latest and greatest is my unicorn cake that I made for a birthday. I am just in love with it and truly surprised that I was able to make something like that. These cakes make me so happy and I’m so excited to bring the business back;) 

See ya later!

Jacqui M. Green

Jacqui's Bake Shoppe Blog

48 Hours in NYC

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As a little girl I dreamed of going to New York City. The lights, the buildings, the people, it all amazed me. The constant hustle and bustle on the streets never seems to fall short of excitement, and the idea of just walking and listening to my music is something I could live for everyday. 

Forty-eight hours in New York City was all I needed to confirm my assumptions. My work sent me on a trip to receive an award on behalf of one of our programs and the flight back home didn’t leave until the next day. So, since I had never been, I figured why not make the most out of my day in the city. 

I was in Midtown East Manhattan. Fortunate enough to be located within walking distance from so many different attractions. My goal was to walk everywhere, taking no subways or taxis because quite frankly I wasn’t ready to tackle transportation in New York. The 45 minute Uber to and from the airport was enough for me! So I walked everywhere, and when I say everywhere I mean everywhere. Walking 12 miles in my white booties was not my best decision, but the blisters healed in two days and I got some good pics. So, what’s more important?  

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Ground Central Coffee Company

First thing in the morning I hit a cute little coffee shop called Ground Central Coffee Company. I got the most delicious matcha latte with a chocolate croissant and yogurt parfait. Talk about a great start to the morning! The coffee shop had a little seating area in the back with a selection of books and couches to lounge in comfort. I sat up front next to the cool doodles on the wall. Every bit of me loved taking in the morning hustle and feeling like a city girl with her latte.

Grand Central Station

My adventure began shortly after when I hit Grand Central Station, Rockefeller Center, and Times Square. When I tell you I was in awe entering Grand Central Station that’s an understatement. I felt like I was in a movie with everyone hurrying around me as a stood still and admired. The ceiling is full of constellations, and when my eyes hit the stars I fell in love. Everything about that place exceeded expectations or anything I saw in Gossip Girl.

Magnolia Bakery

Somewhere you have to go is Magnolia Bakery. Their banana pudding is out of this world. I think I died and went to heaven when I took my first bite. I knew before landing in New York it was a bakery I had to stop at. My Instagram feed was full of their posts and I wasn’t leaving the city without at least trying it. I’m happy to say it didn’t fall short of any expectations and every bite was worth running 20 extra minutes on the treadmill. If you have the chance to try it, GO! 

Fifth Avenue

The afternoon consisted of a stroll in Central Park and shopping down 5th Avenue. When I hit the Nike store I was in heaven, let me tell ya. Five floors of everything Nike. I LOVED IT. My Nike girl came out but unfortunately my wallet didn’t…it was all nice to look at though. 

I also went into Aritzia and Lululemon. Aritzia had everything neon and I was just living my best life. They had neon joggers, neon sweatshirts, and neon puffers. Just everything neon, and it was all calling my name. Then Lululemon had this meditation space, also known as the Mindfulosophy space. This space was exactly what I needed. I plopped down on one of their zen pods, put on a pair of headphones and listened to 1 of the 12 self-guided meditations. Definitely a highlight of my day, and really helped with the next series of unfortunate events. So let’s continue…

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I took a plane home that night, exhausted as ever. Just to top it off, the plane was delayed by four hours. Apparently, I don’t have a ton of luck with airports. Nonetheless, I made it home and in bed by three in the morning only to wake up to my alarm at seven. Absolutely no breaks, but the past 48 hours were magical and I couldn’t imagine the trip any other way. 

I know I barely saw the city, but for as little time as I had I think I did a pretty good job. I hit several places that I wanted to see, and somehow did it all in one day. I have no doubt I will be back in the future. Until next time New York…

See ya later!

Jacqui M. Green

A Pescatarian Life

Sushi

Fish are friends not food, right?? Not quite. It’s more like fish are friends AND food. Now, to make things clear I decided to be a pescatarian for reasons pertaining to my health. I have no official knowledge or training in nutrition. I do everything based on how I feel and what I think is best for my body. So, before anyone goes around saying I’m wrong or incorrect I’m here to say that I’m not here to educate you about anything dealing with nutrition. I’m purely here to share my experience with it and what I’ve done to make my body feel the best. 

Now I understand that fish or seafood is not everyones cup of tea. Sometimes it’s the texture that gets to people or just the fact that it’s fish and it “smells”. FYI if it smells it’s most likely a bad cut. Seafood does not have the same shelf life as other meats such as chicken or beef, so please be cautious! However, if you do like seafood it’s a great source of protein and fat.  

Why Be A Pescatarian?

I became a pescatarian mid July of last year. I went through the summer eating the usual barbecue foods such as hotdogs, hamburgers, ribs, grilled chicken, etc. I’m not going to lie I love all those foods, but boy my stomach didn’t love them. I felt like I was walking around with 10 lb weights in my gut. It SUCKED. 

T-shirt dresses and loose fit clothing were my best friends and I was afraid to eat eating that wouldn’t upset my stomach. I had heard about pescatarian lifestyles and knew that fish and seafood can serve as a lower calorie and lighter meal. I wasn’t opposed to trying something new, I was more so ready to try anything to help me feel like a normal functioning human again. 

It wasn’t hard for me to drop meat and only eat fish and seafood. It’s my favorite, and I knew living off of it wouldn’t be a problem. New meals, new food and a cleanse from the typical chicken dinner. Keep in mind that this isn’t the most affordable way of living. Fish and seafood is pricey, and good seafood is very pricey. I mostly stick with salmon, tuna, tilapia, cod and shrimp which doesn’t fully deplete my bank account. 

What To Eat

While being pescatarian I have had cravings for a good burger or a slab of ribs. It’s not like I couldn’t eat it, I’ve just chosen not to. I’ve found alternatives for burgers such as Trader Joe’s veggie burgers which are AMAZING. Pair a slice of munster cheese with the patties and you wouldn’t believe you’re only eating vegetables. I’ve also discovered Tofurkey which isn’t the most amazing alternative, but it’ll do. You eventually get used to it and I’ve actually begun to crave it. Besides that I stick with tuna or salmon for lunch and then dinner can be salmon, shrimp, tilapia, scallops, meatless meatballs, veggie burgers and Costco’s amazing veggie cauliflower pizza. It’s to die for and I could definitely eat the whole thing. However, I wouldn’t recommend it nor would the serving recommendation on the box. 

Sushi

Sushi has also been a great way to keep me on track. I’m not saying eat it everyday, but treat yourself with it. To me sushi can be just as exciting, if not more, than a good burger. Try nigiri and sashimi for healthier options if you don’t want to go all out with all of the different rolls. Nigiri is a slice of raw fish over rice and sashimi is just a slice of raw fish. Personally, nigiri and sashimi are my favorite, and if you put eel in front of me I will love you even more. 

Dairy

I know a lot of you might be wondering if I have also nixed dairy from my diet. The answer is NO. Dairy can cause a lot of stomach problems as well, along with breakouts on your skin which is why many people lean towards cutting it out. I love cheese way too much that I couldn’t even think about going without it. It’s also a good source of protein and fat, while also being low in carbs. I love pairing cheese with my tuna for a tuna melt or again with my veggie burgers. However, I do stay away from regular milk and have switched to almond milk with my lattes. It’s just a lighter alternative for me and I don’t mind the taste.

Carbs

Another great thing I found from being a pescatarian is that carbs have become my best friend!! I used to think they were the enemy, and for years I stayed far, far away from them. I thought that carbs were the culprit when it came to weight gain and if I cut them out I could shave off a few pounds. I’d like to believe that cutting carbs did help, but then again I was also working out more and on a stricter food plan. Overall, there could have been other factors that were helping me stay in the shape I wanted to be. 

After switching to fish and seafood I thought it would be ok to try and add carbs in again to see what would happen. Carbs can be really filling and make you bloat at times too, so when I paired them with heavier meats my stomach once again felt like it was filled with rocks. However, since seafood is lighter I thought maybe the carbs wouldn’t push me over the top. To my surprise it actually worked. I haven’t noticed a significant amount of weight gain from carbs, but rather an easier time for my body to produce muscle and gain more definition while working out. I’ve also been so much happier because I can have toast, rice and potatoes again, which I all love. No more saying no to avocado toast!   

You Do You

Overall, I wouldn’t categorize this as a diet since it’s not temporary. It’s something that your body needs to adjust to and it’ll eventually stay in your routine. If completely cutting out meat is not going to work for you, add a little bit of chicken every now and then. Chicken is a lighter meat that’s a great source of protein. Red meat is often harder for your body to digest, which is why it is not recommended for you to eat everyday!! However, if you can’t stay away remember moderation is key. It’s the key with all foods and will help you remain healthy yet satisfied.

Do what’s right for your body and make a change if you’re feeling stuck. What I did might not work for you, but do your own research and try different ways to make your body feel great.

See ya later!

Jacqui M. Green

Traveling in Stripes

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Keep in mind that high waisted items add a few inches to your stature as well! So if you’re looking for striped bottoms look for something high waisted. They will lengthen your legs while also making your waist look higher on your body. This will prevent the stumpy leg look low rise jeans may give you and give you a curvier look. Pictured below are my high waisted striped shorts from Bird Bee.

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Sedona, Arizona

With all of this stripe talk please keep in mind that these stripes should be vertical rather than horizontal. Horizontal lines can add a few pounds because they are traveling left to right or vice versa on your clothing. This can often make your body look more round and not come off as flattering as you had hoped. Also, remember to try to find fitted stripes, that is clothing that has a nice fit to the body with a striped pattern. This helps to enhance your figure rather than have it get lost in a busy pattern. 

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Kauai, Hawaii

Kauai, Hawaii

Good luck, and have fun shopping for your next vaca;)

See ya later!

Jacqui M. Green

Sedona: Simple and Studded

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For the first time in a long time I didn’t put too much thought into packing my suitcase. This vacation was going to be an opportunity for me to get a little R & R, hike and literally just lay by the pool all day. I was going with my mom and neighbor/second mom (she’d kill me if she read this and I only said neighbor) and I knew it’d be very relaxed. Sedona is a place where you can be carefree. It’s surrounded by the most beautiful scenery while also engulfed in a tranquility that’s mesmerizing. Honestly, a cute pair of jean shorts and tee would do the trick for a week but of course I couldn’t resist at least putting together a few outfits with a red rock sort of desert vibe. 

Color

When I think of Sedona I think of all the vibrant colors, from red to orange and then green to blue. The contrast between the sky and the landscape is breathtaking and every view is quite amazing. I thought about the colors I’d be wanting to wear and the best I could come up with was black, white and blue (for jeans of course). I know…pretty basic but absolutely perfect for this trip. Neutral colors were the way to go and the right pick against the red rock and juniper trees. 

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Accessories

With that being said, since I went with basics I needed to find ways to spruce it up a little. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize. However, make it simple. I’m all into simple and making a statement with less flashy items. Everyone always says a little can go a long way and this too applies with accessories. Whether it’s a belt, hat, sunglasses or jewelry keep it classic and clean. For this trip I stuck to my day-to-day jewelry. This includes my small gold hoop earrings, gold crescent moon necklace, gold horoscope necklace, silver thin stacking ring and my favorite silver hook bracelet from St. Croix. Now when it comes to hats, belts and sunglasses stick with classic looks such as a straw sun hat, slim neutral belts and either Aviators or a round frame for your sunnies.

Studs

Another way to spruce up an outfit is with embellished clothing. Studs are always great on a piece of clothing and make the piece more edgy with extra flair. They up the intensity to an outfit and often resemble a rough/tough appearance tracing back to when they were used in armor. I liked the idea of studded clothing in Sedona because as tranquil as the town is, it still is in a desert. Deserts are rugged, dry and quite frankly, tough. All that lives in the desert must adapt to the scorching temperatures, little precipitation and relentless creatures. Basically, everything is out to kill, even the deadly agave plants. So studs were naturally the most perfect way to bring out the pure essence of the desert and connect with the setting.

Beauty

I pretty much just let everything else fall into place. It was a no makeup week, and as much as I thought I needed to straighten my hair I still left it alone. I was in no way looking for perfection. The simplicity of my beauty routine matched the nature of my style. Simple, classic, clean and straightforward.

See ya later!

Jacqui M. Green

Sedonasitting

What To Wear In Hawaii: Stripes and Ruffles

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Kauai, Hawaii was truly a dream come true. The food was simply amazing, the views were breathtaking and the island mindset was something I definitely could get used to. It was nothing like I would’ve expected; the trip ended up being very fast pace and a little less relaxing. My hopes for a few beach days dwindled down to none, and my tan (or should I say sunburn) came from the sunroof of the Jeep instead of laying in the sand. Always on-the-go, we made the most of our trip and turned it into a vacation of a lifetime. 

With everything to do I never ran out of outfits or occasions to wear all that I had so thoughtfully packed. I knew about this trip for almost a year, and from that point I began to plan what I’d wear. So, here, I’ve gotten together some of my favorite looks from the trip – from day to night, in hopes any of these tropical fits might inspire you. 

Stripes

Of course, I naturally couldn’t travel without stripes. We all know my love for those lines when the warmer weather comes around. Whether it’s summer or just some tropical heat, stripes will forever be my go to. They are so easy to pair with any clothing item, and if done right they add some texture and personality to your outfit. Once again, I am going to emphasize the importance of vertical stripes like I did in Traveling in Stripes. They’re so important with elongating your body!! With that being said I brought several striped tops, a few striped bottoms and a striped dress to top it off.

Ruffles

Ruffles were another must-have for the trip. They feel fun yet dainty and somehow very whimsical. I can’t help myself but stop and stare and most of the time buy any ruffled piece I see. I think they remind me of my dresses that I’d wear when I figure skated, or all the dress up clothes I’d prance around my grandma’s house in. They bring back those moments of nostalgia, and I think that’s why I can’t help but love them the most. For the most part ruffles are seen in high fashion and haute couture, but for this vacation they were better off in the island breeze than the Paris runways. 

In general, things were kept pretty carefree. The makeup and jewelry were kept to a bare minimum, and my hair…well…it was either in a bun, some braids, or had natural beach waves. Pretty carefree as well. I was clearly in that island state of mind, and the state of mind I’d like to be in now. 

See ya later!

Jacqui M. Green    

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Trends That’ll Tropic Like It’s Hot

Hawaiipolkadots

I had been waiting for a tropical vacation for quite sometime now and Hawaii was my perfect excuse. A nice escape from the mainland and a little taste of island life. Of course, I couldn’t go without my favorite pair of Ray-Ban sunnys, or staple black flip-flops. However, I also couldn’t fail to hop on the bandwagon with a few fun trends. Bright colors and funky patterns have come in again, and to be quite honest with you I am beyond excited! These trends were the perfect touch to my vacation wardrobe, and something you might want to add to yours if you decide to tropic like it’s hot. 

Neon

I’ve been obsessed with the neon trend for quite sometime now. When I say obsessed I mean a whole wardrobe full of everything and anything neon. Talk about a walking neon sign (those are cool now). All I can say is, WOW, am I happy that it’s coming back and, WOW, am I not so happy that I got rid of all those clothes, major YIKES. Anyways, now that neon is in again I can’t stop falling more in love with it, especially in a tropical climate. Nothing pops more than some fun neon on a tan. It’s also a great way to add some confidence to an outfit, and will certainly not make you go unnoticed.

Polka Dots

Polka dots are whimsical and fun with a touch of class, especially when the polka dots are black and white. They always add some nice personality to an outfit and definitely spruce up a boring pair of jean shorts. I find it fun to pair my polka dots with almost any color or pattern, which makes them so versatile. Then again, the pure simplicity of them will sometimes just do the trick.

Stars

I saved my favorite for last! Stars, again like polka dots, have a similar pattern on the clothing, being scattered all around. However, unlike polka dots, stars bring another element to the clothing. They’re fascinating, dreamy, and with their eccentric shape, cutting edge. You can feel whimsical wearing stars, and at the same time so on top of the world. They can be perfectly transitioned from a day to night look with the little help of some shoes and accessories, and will certainly add the “out of this world” touch to your wardrobe.

See ya later:)

Jacqui M. Green

5 Ways To Make The Most Out Of Traveling To Europe

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It’s been almost a year since I roamed the streets of Paris and stuffed my face in Italian pasta. Everyday I wish I could transport myself back into the metro stop at Joanic in Barcelona and start all over again. I’m not lying when I tell you I had the time of my life, because really, I had the time of my life. The people I met, the food I tasted, the cities I explored was nothing my year ago self would ever think of embarking upon. I kept most of you updated through Instagram, and made stories of my everyday life through each and every country I went to. So now, I’ll let you in on my little secrets on how I made every thing you saw seem so great, when in reality it was.

1. Oh my Gaudi, let’s talk about those day trips

So many places in Europe can be seen with just a simple purchase of a metro ticket. I’m saying: 10 euros = 10 journeys = 10 BRAND NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO GET OUT THERE AND EXPLORE. Of course, there are other purchasing options and tickets vary between countries but you get my point.

After living in Barcelona for 4 weeks you learn to navigate the metro with your eyes closed. It’s pretty easy, pretty convenient, and pretty awesome. There are no hefty gas price to worry about or those ridiculous bumper stickers, “My other ride is your mom” (I’m not laughing). The metro is basically nonstop. However, check the schedule before you think staying out until 4am is a great idea and no taxis are around.  

My favorite day trips in Europe included:

  • Parc Güell 
  • Montserrat
  • Venice
  • Bergamo 
  • Palace of Versailles 
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I explored Gaudi’s magical masterpiece of mosaic art while embracing the beautiful architecture of the park. It was so much more than the famous salamander at the main entrance. It was an artistic wonderland filled with villas, pathways and history that cannot be explored in only a few short hours.

*Purchase tickets beforehand, they do sell out!!

Montserratview
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I’d say Montserrat takes the prize for best view and most natural beauty. Another trip that involves quite a few different hikes but totally worth it in the end. The church at the top is fascinating and of much religious significance; being home to the black faced Madonna. Highly recommend not wearing sandals like me because things called blisters will appear and haunt you the rest of your trip.

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Most would say that Venice isn’t a day trip, but I made it into one from Milan. I boarded my train at 8:00 and got back on at 20:00 (enjoy the military time you’ll have to get used to it when you do go to Europe). I walked everywhere that day and navigated myself through the island using my handy dandy iPhone. Pretty easy to navigate once you realize streets are basically alleys and the street names are located high on the sides of the building. The color and architecture was amazing and the food didn’t fall short. Highly recommend going on a gondola ride, that’s where I met some friends from Egypt and they also took that pic of me (shown above).

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The Palace of Versailles was a day trip I had been dreaming about since I had decided I’d be going to Paris. Getting off the train and walking up to the palace is like a little kid at Disney World walking up to Cinderella’s Castle, just simply jaw dropping. Extravagant is not even close to describing it. I simply just wandered the grounds and enjoyed my own clueless tour that I gave myself. I was able to soak in the beauty and absorb everything there was to offer. However, the Palace does include an audio tour, which I enjoyed, and it really helped enhance the culture of the environment. 

*Again, purchase tickets beforehand. The lines alone will scare you away and make you question if this really was a day trip or just a line trip to the front of the Palace. 

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Bergamohouses

Bergamo felt like my home away from home. I was staying there for three days, but only took one day to explore the older upper district, Citta Alta. Filled with cobblestone streets, luscious green trees, and church bells, I felt like I was in a summer wonderland where my only worries were the crazy Fiats and motorcycles zooming by. It was another great little town to explore and showed every view from the mountains to the booming Italian cities. 

2. Make new friends, but keep the old 

I came to Barcelona for a study abroad program and expected to meet new people, but never expected to meet best friends. I found people that weren’t just silver, they were gold, PURE SOLID GOLD. They made Europe worthwhile and so much more than I ever could’ve dreamed of. Traveling alone can be scary, but find people that are on the same journey as you and enjoy it together. It makes the food seem better, the adventures more wild, and the smiles so much brighter. 

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3. Click, click, take a pic

When I wasn’t traveling with my fabulous posse I was going solo, and by going solo I didn’t have anyone to take my pictures *insert emoji sad face*. So how was I supposed to make it look like I was living my best life? You ask strangers to take your picture. Yes, I know I said strangers, which of course goes along with the fear of not getting a great pic BUT now it’s up to you. Figure out how you want your pictures to look. Know your poses, show them a picture of how you want it to look and lastly, DO NOT HESITATE TO ASK FOR ANOTHER ONE IF IT ISN’T WHAT YOU WANT. I found people that looked like they wouldn’t mind taking pictures and asked away. I knew what I wanted and ended up with some of my best pictures from the trip. 

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4. Vacation calories don’t count

Eat, eat, eat! Living your best life means enjoying the best food. You’re walking enough that you don’t need to worry about the calories. Worry about your happiness and how food is one of those fuels that fuels your smile, at least it does for me. No one likes a hangry, don’t forget tired because of all that traveling, type of person. Get you some food that’s picture perfect and Instagram worthy. Go to Instagram and search the city to find photos tagged with delicious food. This was my favorite way to find not only cute places but good eats. EAT UP! (don’t mind my insane sweet tooth)

5. Walk like you have no agenda

When I say walk, I mean WALK! Who cares about the blisters or sore feet, YOU ARE IN EUROPE AND YOU WILL SURVIVE. Twenty miles a day of walking will not kill you, only work off all that amazing food. I mean you could always be back in your suburban home, having to get in the car, and hoping to see a deer run across the road for a little excitement, because ya know, that sounds like so much fun. I’m saying just aimlessly walk. You’ll come across little treasures no tour would ever show you, and better yet you can do it on your own time. I found so many cute places that I enjoyed because I discovered them by walking. What a concept! Walking also helps you become more aware of your surroundings and comfortable with the places you’re staying. Just take a walk!

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I’m sure as much as you loved living vicariously through me and my posts, it’s your turn to start living your best life! I’ve given you five ways to make it look like you’re living your best life when you really are living your best life. Give it a shot, and see how you do. You might surprise yourself.  I did a pretty good job of doing just that:) 

See ya later!

Jacqui M. Green 

How I Traveled Europe in 42 Days ALONE​

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I’m not going to tell you it was easy, because it most definitely was not. I’m also not going to tell you that you should never do it, because you most definitely should. However, I am going to let you in on how traveling alone will forever and always be the best decision of your life, whether you’re down and ready to try new experiences or just need a cleanse from your everyday life, traveling alone will give you a sense of clarity and certainty as to why this life is yours and you need to live it your way.

Ok, not going to lie, I balled my eyes out before I boarded my plane. I MEAN STRAIGHT OUT UGLY TEARS, BALLED MY EYES OUT. My mom drove me to Toledo, where my first plane was taking off to Charlotte, and I broke down. I lived up at school for a year in an apartment with friends so I was used to not seeing my family every second of every single day, but man, being across the world by myself for 42 days was getting to me, and I hadn’t even left the country…

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Step 1. Leave The Nest

Traveling alone was hard, I had never flown by myself, LET ALONE OUTSIDE OF THE COUNTRY. I had a lot of growing up to do in a little amount of time. I knew that I could take care of myself, I’m not incompetent, but I’m certainly not the type to ask for help…and BOY, that is the number one rule about traveling. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP. That train is not going to yell at you and say “hey Jacqui, you bought a seat on my train!” when you’re aimlessly looking through the train station, or  “yo Jacqui, apparently we’re on strike today and I will not be able to get you from Milan to Paris, so looks like you’re out of luck”.  

When the random tragedies of traveling strike you, ask for HELP, or if you don’t speak Italian, French or any other language in Europe and you’re v confused (v = very), you ask for HELP. I know, that ego of yours, must really suck to ask for help, but when you’re about to miss your train that’ll then cause you to miss your flight back to America and you’ll be stuck in Europe forever (or at least until you get on another flight) help is not going to make you any less of a man or woman. 

Step 2. Be Aware

Now that I got my HELP rant over with it’s pretty smooth sailing from there. Don’t be an idiot and walk around with your phone in your face, keep all your belongs close, and try to blend in. I didn’t say be one of them, because most likely you are American and the Europeans will be able to sniff you out, no exaggeration, we stick out like sore thumbs. So to make you a little less obvious wear Adidas, stay away from sport caps and do yourself a favor and look at a fashion magazine before you go. No one will ever be as fashionable as the Europeans, but if you can pull off a pair of cute trainers with jeans and some headphones you’ll be just fine. 

Example:

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A nice tight fitted dress with trainers will also do the trick (I added a belt to snatch the waist and add a little extra pizzazz)

Example:

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(Side Note)

I thought this mirror was really cool and the least I could do was grace my presence with it and feature it in my snap story for a nice mirror selfie. Kudos to the hostel for picking a bomb mirror in my room. Also, since we’re on the hostel note, I would highly suggest NOT getting a coed room. Not very relaxing at the end of a long day, after you’ve walked 20 miles, have a bazillion blisters on your feet and just honestly feel like pure CRAP, to then have a guy try to talk to you and ask you to go out. LIKE NO THANK YOU. I think girls just walk into the room and understand that if you don’t talk you probably don’t want to talk and therefore you should not talk. Simple is as simple does. 

So moral of the story when you are traveling alone I HIGHLY suggest staying in either an all female room or an all male room in a hostel, and if you’re thinking…why wouldn’t I just stay in a hotel? Because you’ll quickly realize that you’d rather be spending your money on something else besides a bed that you sleep in for maybe 8 hours and isn’t even as comfortable as your own. You are welcome, this will help you a lot when trying to be smart and wanting to spend your money on something actually worthwhile (food).

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Step 3. DO NOT go out at night ALONE

I’d hope this is pretty self explanatory. As little kids we learn that the dark can be a scary place, and no matter where you are, whether it’s the safest place on the planet STUFF can still happen. Go out with some hostel buddies if you want to go out, but please please PLEASE do not do it alone. 

Step 4. Learn how to eat by yourself

Since you will be ALONE you will be eating ALONE. Don’t pull the..I’m just going to eat gelato for every meal because I don’t want to sit down and look like a loner. Yes, maybe people will think that because you are sitting by yourself but you are also in Europe and it’s not uncommon to see someone doing that. In Europe people take their time to enjoy meals, they don’t run up to a McDonald’s and order a cheeseburger when they’re on the run (well actually some do). 

Enjoy a nice meal to yourself. TREAT YO SELF. I ordered a nice fancy breakfast in Paris after I had a pretty chaotic travel night. It was a three course meal, IN THE MORNING (didn’t eat the rest of the day because I needed to save money lol), and it was the best decision I made that whole trip. The waiters and waitresses were so nice to me and the place was so stinkin’ cute.

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Step. 5  Make friends or meet up with friends

 Yes, I enjoyed traveling alone but I did get a little lonely. When I made friends or called up a friend that I knew would be in Europe, I hung out with them!! It was a breath of fresh air to be able to talk to someone that wasn’t me or not have to people watch for entertainment (even though we all know it’s a lot of fun).

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Step 6. Learn how to love spending time with yourself

I’m not saying talk to yourself out loud and pretend that there is someone else standing next to you, I’m saying get comfortable with being with you and only you. So many people get scared of traveling alone because they think that they will be LONELY. When you become comfortable in your own shoes you become your own best friend, a person that can cheer you up, motivate you and simply enjoy. It’s one of the many things people don’t take into consideration because they feel like they should be spending special moments with special people, BUT YOU ARE A SPECIAL PERSON WHO DESERVES SOMEONE WHO CAN ACKNOWLEDGE THAT aka you:). Your confidence will grow and you will begin to feel on top of the world, free 0f anything holding you back, when you simply learn to enjoy the presence of yourself. 

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Last but certainly not least…

Step. 7 ENJOY

Traveling ALONE meant I could do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to. So if I wanted to go back and relax in the middle of the day I COULD. If I wanted to hit everything from the Louvre, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Champs de Elysees and the Arc de Triomphe all in one day I COULD. The freedom of doing simply whatever you wanted with no instruction besides the ones coming from yourself was one of the many beautiful treasures of traveling by yourself. 

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Don’t let people scare you and put the images of Taken in your head (never phased me because I never watched the movie, so HA). I think traveling by yourself is one of the many things that you HAVE to do in your lifetime. My neighbor said working as a waiter or waitress is another thing you have to do but I’m still a little skeptical with that one. ANYWAYS, do yourself a favor, take a chance, and travel the world ALONE. The opportunities are endless and the thrill of only relying upon yourself is…quite amazing actually. 

Go, grow, prosper.

See ya later!

Jacqui M. Green