On Iceland

Last week, I traveled to Iceland for the celebratory graduation trip of my dreams with my best friend. I’m not going to lie – I’m not a stranger to international travel, but there were definitely some things that surprised me. I’ll try and share some tips, too, since Becca and I managed to do everything on a college kid’s budget.

We ended up going before tourist season, which starts in April. This was mostly because of Becca’s spring break, since I wanted to go at a time when we could potentially see the northern lights and not in the middle of tourist season. We did see the lights from the plane, and it was incredible! Since it wasn’t tourist season, the car and camping equipment was on the cheaper side – less competition and all that.

We arrived in Iceland early Monday morning. Bec and I rented a car Monday-Thursday and drove from Reykjavik to Hofn. If we would’ve done it straight, it would’ve been about 8 hours driving. Instead, we rented camping equipment and stretched the trip out, stopping to see basically everything we could. We started with the Golden Circle, then moved to the Ring Road. Everything was so brutally gorgeous.


Camping on the off-season was kind of rough, but we managed. The hardest part was setting up the tent in the wind. If you’re camping, I recommend bringing earplugs – that was the only way I could sleep with the wind rustling the fabric of the tent. It wasn’t nearly as cold as I’d expected, though, so that was a plus! We had thermal sleeping bags and synthetic liners, so both of us were toasty overnight.

One thing that I kept hearing that turned out to be true: actually being in Iceland is EXPENSIVE. A meal is usually $25 at the low end. Instead of spending an arm and a leg on food, we rented a camping stove and got a few quick things from the grocery store. This means we ended up mostly eating bread and jelly, but we didn’t spend a ton of money on food! The other huge expense was gas, but it was definitely cheaper to rent the car and pay the gas rather than doing bus tours. We were able to do everything at our own pace, which I appreciated. Driving wasn’t bad, either. I was the driver, and the only spooky parts were the one-lane bridges that we came across periodically.


I can’t even say what my favorite part of the trip was since everything was gorgeous. I was a huge fan of Diamond Beach and all of the waterfalls we stopped at. I have hundreds of pictures, but I’m trying to rein myself in and only share a few of my favorites.

If you’re thinking of traveling to Iceland and have questions about the trip, feel free to DM me on Twitter or Instagram or leave a comment! I’d be happy to share more info about costs and our experience. We used Lotus Car Rental, Iceland Camping Equipment Rentals, WOWAir, and stayed at Hlemmur Square hostel in Reykjavik. I did bring two guidebooks (which were immensely helpful): Iceland’s Ring Road Trips from Lonely Planet and the Frommer’s Easy Guide to Iceland. I couldn’t have asked for a better trip!



On Grad School, Ice Skating, and the Quarter-Life Crisis

Hello to all and welcome! It is another late night when I’m trying to write something effective and good and instead I’m procrastinating by posting here. Whoo!

So first and foremost on this special late-night edition, I want to talk about grad school. If you’ve been following me since day one (there are like 5 of you), then you know about my whole academic thing. I started at BU, went there for a semester, transferred to Pitt, and just graduated in December. Cool. It was always clear to me that I wanted to keep going to school. My mom has her Ph.D. and I think that’s one of the most admirable things ever, especially since 7-year-old me got to go see her defend her dissertation. From that time, I knew I wanted to pursue higher education, but it’s always been about what and how.

I also talked a while back about London. I studied there in the summer of 2016. Before this, I was never one of those people who wanted to live abroad. I was perfectly content to remain planted on American soil. Something shifted when I went overseas. I can’t say exactly what it was, but good God, I fell in love with the city. I absolutely dreaded coming home because it just felt like I was so unfinished in the U.K., like I had a million other things to see and do.

When I came back, I decided that I wanted to pursue my MA in London. A lot of you might be wondering why I’m not pursuing a MFA, and the answer is a little complicated. So eventually, I want to be a professor of English writing and maybe lit. An MFA is a terminal degree, usually a three-year program. Essentially, it doesn’t make sense to do an MFA and a Ph.D. and I really want a Ph.D. The route I’m going is probably not highly recommended, but it’s the way I want. There’s a lot more technical stuff – dissertations and the like – and it’s not all practice-based writing, but that’s what I’m looking for.

So really, I only applied to one school, in the end (and two after the fact but that’s a whole other ordeal that I’m not going into – mild anxiety attack). I applied to and was accepted to study at Royal Holloway, University of London. The creative writing MA is in central London, blocks from the British Museum, and I couldn’t be happier. George Eliot went to RHUL back before it was RHUL, which just feels like a wild coincidence because my main character in the book we’re dealing with now is named after a character from Middlemarch. Also, Jojo Moyes (ME BEFORE YOU) studied writing there, so that’s cool. Basically, I’m extremely happy and I can’t wait to write a book in London. The book is plotted and all, and I’m just waiting to hop on a plane and go write it.

So that’s fun. I’m officially jumping the pond at the end of August. If you happen to live in London or are familiar with the city, drop a comment or a Twitter DM and let me know some places I have to visit!

Now, shifting gears a little bit. There was a lot of excitement with everything going on at the end of the year, but so far, things have been pretty silent around here since January. And since I’m leaving in August, I’m having a hard time figuring out what to do with myself in the meantime. I’m working a lot and still doing an editorial internship and writing, but I’m kind of bored. So I’m trying to learn new things and yada yada yada. The boredom is the quarter-life crisis, which I was going to go into more, but it’s a little too depressing for right now so I’ll write about it when I’m in more of a thinkpiece mood. Tonight is for funny and happy times. Which brings us to our final story.

I don’t tell enough short things about my life, so here goes a pretty, uh, fun thing that happened to me today. If you follow me on Twitter, you already saw.

I want to preface this by saying that I’m obsessed with the Olympics. Winter and summer. So I spent half of February watching people zoom around on ice, thinking, “Huh. That looks fun.” I ice skated as a child, but I never really got the hang of it. So, 21-year-old, college graduate me decided to sign up for ice skating lessons. I signed up for a rink that specifically advertised adult lessons because, you know, that’s sort of what I am.

Those started tonight. I got to the rink, got my skates, and went to the rink the lady sent me to. Yeah. Everyone else with skates on was knee-height. I panicked a bit and asked the instructors, and apparently everyone skates in the same rink but is separated? But I was the only actual adult?

But I paid for this eight-week class and I wasn’t backing down. So I laced up my skates and, uh, took skating class with a bunch of eight-year-olds.

Right. I’m cool. Connecting with America’s youth.

So hopefully more adults show up next week. Or not. In the meantime, I’ll give all of the parents something to laugh about. And I’ll try not to break a hip.

On Updates and the Great Northeastern Roadtrip

Hello, hello, hello! So I disappeared for a hot second there to focus on my writing, complete my finals, and wrap up some other random stuff. I’m working with my agent (I’ll still never get used to saying that, tbh) on revisions before we go on submission for the book. I hope that I’ll be able to share it with all of you eventually!

Oh, I also graduated from college. Casual. I have a lot to talk about regarding grad school, but I’m going to save that for the next post.

Since I’m a free agent for the next few months, I decided to go on a roadtrip from Pittsburgh to New York City to Boston and back home. I was alone for the driving bits, but I stayed with friends in the different cities. I was nervous because there was so much driving, but I had a great trip! So, here were my five favorite things:

1.) The audiobook of Maggie Stiefvater’s The Scorpio Races

I’m not an audiobook girl. Usually, they annoy me. But this audiobook (and The Raven Cycle ones – Maggie just has excellent audiobooks) gets me every time. I 10/10 recommend it. I listened to it twice with all of the driving I did.

2. Muji

I’d never heard of this stationery/random thing shop before, but my friend recommended I go when I was walking around Soho. I’m a bit of a stationery nerd, which shouldn’t be surprising, and I loved it. For less than $15, I bought two gel pens, a notebook, a pen case, and a canvas tote. Especially in NYC, that’s a lot for such a low cost, and it’s all great quality.

3. A Short History of the Girl Next Door by Jared Reck

Guys. GUYS. I’d been wanting to read this book because it’s rep’d by my agency, and I knew it was going to be a gut punch, but oh. My. God. I legitimately sobbed from page 160 to the end. I’m not going to spoil it, but it’s the most heartwrenching book I’ve read in a long, long time. Buy this book. I’m not even kidding. I had been looking for it for weeks and I finally found it at The Strand, but you can get it on Amazon here.

4. La Summa

So this is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant in the North End of Boston. I went to school at BU for a second there, and I’m not even sure how I discovered this restaurant, but I HAVE to go there every time I go to Boston. Everything on the menu is absolutely incredible, and it’s not super expensive. It’s a block away from both Mike’s and Modern Pastry, so you can get dinner before satisfying your cannoli fix.

5. Public Libraries

Of course these are on the list, but just listen for a sec. Free bathrooms. A place to charge your phone. And since I was pretty much on my own during the days while my friends were at work/class, it was a nice way to decompress without spending any money. I’m a huge budget traveler – especially since I have, like, no money – and this is one of my biggest travel hacks. Plus, I love seeing gorgeous libraries, so I always have time to stop for a look.

So, that’s my roadtrip roundup. I like being a transient human being – and we’re going to talk about this more in my grad school post 😉 – so this was a fun time all around.

And now I’m going to focus on watching Mulan with my roommate, so I’m signing off. Read A Short History and let me know what y’all think. Oh, and if you haven’t seen it, The Last Jedi has some of the best villainous development I’ve seen on-screen lately, so I 10/10 recommend that, too. I’ll save my Star Wars rambling for another post.

On Anniversaries and Going Abroad


Well, I’ve taken quite the little hiatus, haven’t I? I was watching a makeup tutorial earlier today and the person was talking about bloggers/YouTubers apologizing for taking so long in between posts. The gist of it was that nobody is hugging their computer screens, waiting for an update, and I’m about 99% certain that that’s the case with all of you. I hope that this post comes as a nice little surprise in your afternoon.

I also got the notification that yesterday was this blog’s second birthday. Yay! Two years of subpar blogging under my belt! I guess that’s something to be proud of, amiright?

So when I last talked to y’all, I was about to leave for Europe. The trip was amazing. We went to Kotor, Montenegro; Corfu, Mykonos, and Santorini, Greece; Dubrovnik, Croatia; and Venice, Italy. It was unreal. I can’t believe places this pretty even exist in real life.

There was a lot more hiking in this trip than anticipated. For Kotor, we took a trail up to the city fortress, which was a crazy-long hike in the heat. The view was worth it. You could see the entire city and the coast and it was just incredible. The old city itself wasn’t big at all, but not in a bad way. And the people there were just so nice. If I could go anywhere else again, I’d probably pick Kotor (or Dubrovnik, but we’ll get there).

We mostly did Corfu as a shopping day, so I won’t bore you with the details. Interestingly, Santorini was a letdown. I was most excited to go there out of all of the destinations since that’s the one you hear about the most. At least, that’s the one I’d heard the most about. The island itself was… depressing, probably due to the recent economic struggles with Greece. Still a beautiful place, of course, but it was sad to see all of the abandoned houses over the island. Mykonos was my favorite destination in Greece, even though it involved more hiking. My family just has this tendency to search for the highest ground possible in every location we visit. We also went beachin’ in Mykonos, which I loved.

Dubrovnik was seriously everything I dreamed of and more. Also, there was a wine tour, so that was cool. The Old City is where they film the King’s Landing scenes in Game of Thrones, and I’m such a GoT geek. I was nerding out the entire time we were there. Croatia also still has its own money, so I just happen to have 50 kuna hanging out in my wallet (it’s like 8 bucks).

We rounded out the trip by spending a few days in Venice. Our apartment there was GORGEOUS. We used booking.com and it was like $300 for the three nights we stayed, which we split between the four of us. Seriously, it was so much better than a hotel. Venice is an interesting city. I liked the lack of cars, but it was nearly impossible to get anywhere since we didn’t know where we were going and there’s no way to go in straight lines with the canals. I’d probably visit there again, but only with someone who knew the city better than I did.

All in all, it was a successful trip. Now we’re back to the grind and I’ll hopefully have more useful things to say.


On London

As I mentioned in my last post, I was fortunate enough to spend six weeks of my summer studying across the pond. I lived in London but outside of the city. I was in zone four, in the borough of Barnet. My classes were in South Kensington and my internship was in Holborn, so I was able to spend my time in a pretty extensive patch of the city. It was a long trip, but I’ll highlight as much as I can in this post and definitely revisit points in others.


If you’ve read some of my other posts, it might be obvious that I’m a bit of a theater buff. London was AMAZING when it came to live performances. I ended up seeing five shows: Phantom of the Opera (twice), Les Miserables, Dr. Faustus, and Romeo and Juliet. The most I paid for a show was the fifty pounds for Dr. Faustus, which was about $70. I was there during Brexit and these tickets were purchased before, so the conversion differs a bit now. For the musicals, I only paid about thirty pounds, which would be about $45 or less, I think. Mind you, these shows are Broadway level, and possibly even better. That is absolutely insane when you think of how much you pay for some Broadway shows! The level of skill in the performances was absolutely incredible and it was unbelievable to see Phantom in the theater where it opened thirty years ago.

There were specific reasons I saw Faustus  and Romeo and Juliet. I’m a huge Game of Thrones fan, and Kit Harrington was Dr. Faustus and Richard Madden was Romeo. In addition, Lily James was Juliet. I was so fortunate to be able to see all of them live, in person, and I waited at the stage door afterwards. I was able to get autographs from Richard and Lily but I wasn’t close enough to Kit. Either way, it was such a great experience to see them live, on stage!

I know that the musicals I went to seem pretty basic but I really wanted to see them as they were originally, in the environment where they originated. I was not disappointed in the slightest. If you have the chance, see Phantom on the West End. Seriously. Ben Forster is the Phantom at the moment. He’s no Ramin Karimloo, but he is amazing. The entire production is absolutely incredible.

The Tube and Getting Around

I’ve been on a handful of public transportation systems and none of them run as smoothly as the Tube. Yes, it isn’t air conditioned and sometimes it feels like the pits of hell. Yes, there are delays. But there are stops pretty much everywhere and if there is an issue, there are ways to take a detour. While the Tube was great, I did prefer walking if it was only three or four stops, depending on where I was going. It took a while longer but I was able to get a better grasp on the city. I’d recommend just picking up a map and trying to navigate the streets, or looking at the maps outside of tube stations instead of using a phone GPS. This way, you’re actually observing your surroundings and in London, you never know what you’re going to see.


As I mentioned, I was in London for Brexit. I arrived on May 17th and I left on July 2nd, so I saw a good deal of the build up and a bit of the aftermath. To me, the entire event was crazy. Most people in London were so certain that the UK would vote to stay. When the vote didn’t go that way, it felt like the entire city was in shock. I went into work that day, and the Tube was dramatically less crowded during rush hour. It was as if people just stayed home. When I got to work, we didn’t do much. Everyone just wanted to talk about this and what it meant for the economy and the future – and it was scary to admit that nobody actually knows what is going to happen. The entire day, it just felt like the city was frozen.


Scotland. Is. Beautiful. I traveled a bit while I was in London, and I spent a long weekend on a trip to Scotland. I went to Edinburgh, Loch Ness, Pitlochry, Inverness, and all over the Highlands. I honestly cannot say enough about how incredible it was. Sadly, I came down with a nasty bout of food poisoning on the first night I was there, so I can’t say much about the food as I didn’t eat any of it.

Our guide was from Edinburgh and was very knowledgeable about the culture and landscape. As an anthro major interested in different cultures, this was great for me. We visited the Clansmen Center in Loch Ness and watched a presentation on Scottish clans. I thought it was fascinating (and that’s not only because I’ve recently become obsessed with Outlander). Scotland might be my new favorite place in the world, and I didn’t even get to eat anything there. That’s saying something.

Basically, studying abroad was the best decision I’ve made so far, and I’ve learned so much in my adventures. I think I’m going to try to go back to London or Scotland for graduate school. Either way, I’m prepared for new adventures in traveling, and this trip has awakened quite a bit of wanderlust.




On 219 Days

Oy. I kinda suck at blogging, but that’s alright. In my last post, I talked about writing, and guess what? I’ve been writing!

Really, I’ve been hiding my time in the most starving novelist way possible: traveling and noveling and editing. I was lucky enough to spend most of this summer in London, where I restarted my novel, took a class on writing, and interned for a small publishing company. In essence, life has been happening and it’s a life that I was always afraid to hope for.

When I transferred schools, I didn’t think I would ever be able to establish myself doing something I love while in college. But here I am, gearing for an interview with another publishing company for an internship during school, writing like crazy, and living happily. I don’t know if anyone is reading or remembers this little blog of mine but if you do, loyal reader, I’m happy to let you know that I’m ecstatic with the life I, living and I’m happy to share it with you again over the next however long I remember to keep writing this blog. You haven’t heard the last of me yet.

Yours in words and heart,