Summer Fashion Picks with Nicholas Brown

What fashion moments Nicholas and I are loving this summer.

The first time I met my friend Nicholas the first thing that struck me about him was his unique fashion sense. Nicholas has an effortless way of incorporating his personal style with up and coming trends. He also has a way of flawlessly navigating different styles. When he came over to my house for Christmas dinner he wore an impeccable houndstooth suit jacket with a black turtleneck underneath and gold jewelry. But, I’ve also seen Nicholas in ripped jean cutoffs, high tops, and a simple white t-shirt. He can wear and style virtually anything, somehow making it his own. Nicholas is currently a student at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and I cannot wait to see how he takes the fashion world by storm. To hold you over until that happens, Nicholas and I have collected some of our favorite summer fashion finds to share with you.

Ursula’s Pick

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The New Cold Shoulder

Get the look: Rosie Assoulin Thousand-In-One-Ways Wool-Cotton Sweater

This summer is all about mixing, matching, and combining loungewear comfort with outerwear flare. This sweater is just the right balance of the two that you can wear all year long.

Nicholas’s Pick

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A Classic High Top with a Twist for Adventure

Get the look: Run Star Hike

In 2020, Chuck Taylor by Converse continues to rock the streets with its classic high top silhouette. I say that this is a must-have, but nowadays who would want a plain black pair? The options are endless.

Ursula’s Pick

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A Statement Textured and Colored Arm Candy

Get the look: Jacquemus Le Riviera

This summer, I am loving a textured, colorful bag moment. This new arrival from Jacquemus is a must-have… but so is everything else in their L’ANNEE 97 collection.

Nicholas’s Pick

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A Top That I Couldn’t Leave Earth Without

Get the look: Second Skin Turtleneck Moon Top White

Slowly making its mark in the wave of pop culture is this moon top. Seen on your favorite celebs, this top can be sure to set you apart; putting you in an “it girl” circle.

Ursula’s Pick

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Matching Sets

Get the look: Khaite Indira Pleated Cotton Bra Top

I have found matching sets to be such a fun way to easily look put together. Now, with jacket and pants, tank top and culottes, and crop top and skirt matching options, there is a set for everyone out there.

Nicholas’s Pick

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Everyday Dainty Bling

Get the look: Shami Beloved Angel Necklace

In a time where fast fashion rules the market, it is easy to forget the other aspects of our outfits that keep us fresh besides a new top or jeans. Timeless accessories can easily turn a boring look into something more polished.

Ursula’s Pick

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Everyone’s Favorite Sunglasses, but Grown Up

Get the look: Tazi C1

Everyone loves a great acetate eye look, but some styles teeter on the edge of playing “dress up” and saying “I’m adulting”. These frames make it perfectly clear, we mean business.

Nicholas’s Pick

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Safe, Sassy, & Social Distanced

Get the look: Seamless Face Mask

Regardless of one’s stance on masks, I’d have to admit that finding one in a perfect nude is an easy way to correlate all your looks. No need to worry about that boring blue disposable mask when you can use this one for over 10 washes.

Ursula’s Pick

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Knit Me Everything

Get the look: THE UPSIDE Ezi ribbed cotton-jersey shorts

We want comfortable, we want soft, we want cute, and we want it now. With these knit shorts you can definitely accomplish all of those things for under $100.

Nicholas’s Pick

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Asymmetric Summer Knits

Get the look: Matériel Tbilisi Brown One Shoulder Tank Top

These fun tops have proved to be not only comfortable but pretty chic as well. Coming in my different styles and colors, these summer knits can easily vamp up your look, replacing those overworn graphic tees.

Ursula’s Pick

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Not too Big, Not too Small, Just Right

Get the look: Mejuri Bold Hoops

Gold hoops are everywhere this season but finding a pair that isn’t too big, too gaudy, or too delicate can be tough. This pair should do the trick!

Nicholas’s Pick

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Shady Sleek Side-Eye

Get the look: ASOS DESIGN 90s Rimless Square Glasses in Lilac Lens

This summer’s eyewear took a shady turn as the glossy rimless gradient sunny is a must-have in my wardrobe. The sleek silver hardware paired with the reflective finish and square shape can make anyone feel like they’re in Miami!

All You Need to Know About Investing: Short and Simple with Author Leonardo Timis

Does finance jargon seem like a foreign language? Is investing meant for “other people”? After reading Leonardo’s new book, you might change your mind.

There is no getting around it, investing and finance language can be complicated. Yet, writing a book explaining it sounds nearly impossible! Nevertheless, a fellow Babson classmate of mine and an exchange student from Bocconi University, which ranks 3rd in Europe for Business and Management, has just written a book titled All You Need to Know About Investing Short and Simple. His goal? To help everyone understand investing or, as Leonard refers to it, the “planet” of the confusing and complex.

First off, tell us a little bit about yourself, the author!

Hi Ursula! I was raised in Milan where I studied Finance at Bocconi University. During my last semester, I exchanged at Babson College in the States, now I live in Dublin where I work for Credit Agricole.

What was the inspiration behind writing a book about investing?

Well, I feel the financial world is perceived like another planet from those that are not on it, a planet of suited professionals speaking another language. But if you look closely at this planet, it is not as complex as it seems, at all. I thought that by simplifying the language, I could create a bridge between the real world and the financial world, helping many that might want (or need for investing purposes) to know more about it. That’s why I decided to write this book.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in writing a book aiming to simplify the complex language of finance?

Avoiding the use of sectorial but more precise terms, preferring more common words in order to be understood by more people. Simplicity requires common terms.

What are the core issues people find most confusing about investments and investing?

It links to the previous question, sectorial terms. These terms are a way for financial professionals to express precise ideas, to communicate more efficiently and rapidly among themselves, but sometimes these words are too exaggerated, scaring those that are outside. But again, if you look closer, the ideas under these words are actually easy to understand.

When the market does take a turn, as it had a few months ago, what is your investing perspective and advice?

For long term investors like me, market downturns are a good thing, we actually wait for them to buy. But the last turn was not enough, prices on the stock market are still too high because of ow-interest rates and because of pushing up forces coming from index investing.

What is your view on increasing global debt?

This is a great question. We are at the end of a macro debt cycle, we should see big changes from this point of view over the next years, especially from Central Banks, they have to address this issue.

What advice would you give to young adults to ensure they will have a bright financial future?

Do not think short term, unless you are an insider trader (just kidding, insider trading is not legal). Think long term instead, for three reasons: compounded interest rate effect, inflation and transaction fees cost.

Where you can pick up a copy of Leondardo’s book




Free PDF



The above references an opinion and is for information purposes only. It is not intended to be investment advice. Seek a duly licensed professional for investment advice.

3 Friends Picking their Top 3 Beauty Items

The 3 beauty products 3 of my friends swear by.

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Whenever I look into my makeup bag I am amazed by how many products I have accumulated over the years, having only started wearing makeup just three years ago. When I think about each product I own, it is hard not to think of the friend that recommended it, which is why I never enter a Sephora sans friend in-tow. Some of my best memories in college are from getting ready before a birthday party or night out, when my friends and I shared makeup tips and glittery palettes. Undoubtedly, my favorite beauty finds have been because I had admired a lip gloss on a friend or an eye shadow on another. My friends have been a much-needed window for me into the beauty industry and have taught me almost everything I know about different products and brands, which is why I have recruited some of mine to share their favorites. (Stay tuned next week for three more friends and three more finds!)


Jahnvi Garg


#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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A few different lip glosses

How often you use

Almost every day (although would not recommend wearing it these days since it sticks to your mask)

What you like about the product

I think lip gloss can elevate your whole look- it’s so effortless and it makes your skin look more hydrated! I have different ones for different purposes: the Glossier Lipgloss in Red is perfect for daily wear, it has just the right amount of color and doesn’t feel sticky. The Kiko Milano 3D Hydra Lipgloss in Clear is really good to wear for a night out because it lasts a long time and also kind of makes your lips look more 3D? This shade is also really fun and is super easy to wear. Lastly Tower 28 Beauty ShineOn Lip Jelly in Chill, which is the most soothing and non-sticky lip gloss ever. It’s actually a combination of a lip gloss and a moisturizing lip treatment so it feels amazing on your lips.

How you found it

Mostly through trial and error, these three are the ones I have purchased again and again!

#2 Favorite Beauty Product

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Milk Makeup Eye Pigment

How often you use

Mostly for special occasions, parties, and night outs

What you like about the product

It literally does not move, fade, or smudge off of your eyelids once you have it on and comes off easily with any makeup remover. The shades are also super pigmented and bright which is rare for an eyeshadow. My favorite shade is “rave” because it looks so good on brown eyes! I also love that it’s a cream formula so there’s no fallout to clean up 🙂

How you found it

I randomly bought my sister one of them in the shade “after-party” and she really liked it. She bought “rave” and “sesh” and I loved how they looked.

#3 Favorite Beauty Product

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L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Primer

How often you use it

Really depends on whether or not I’m going to be wearing mascara that day or not. Usually, I use this for a night out, parties, or whenever I want to be a little extra!

What you like about the product

I use it before I apply my mascara- it basically coats your eyelashes so that when you use mascara your eyelashes look 10x thicker! It makes a huge difference and it almost looks like you’re wearing false eyelashes. I also love this product because sometimes I use it as a brow gel. It has a much stronger hold than a lot of other brow gels and is perfect for styling your brows.

How you found it

I was actually trying to buy the L’Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara because I heard that it was a really good dupe for the Too Faced Better than Sex Mascara. I got distracted by something or the other and accidentally put the primer in my cart.

Nadia Kim

#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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Caudalie Vinopure Serum

How often you use it

Almost every day during the summer

What you like about that product

It might sound a bit aggressive but I absolutely HATE SKINCARE that leaves a sticky feeling. I was desperate for a serum that was light and absorbed fast and this serum not only was that but also kept my face clean throughout the summer. Summer is definitely a tricky season when it comes to both makeup and skincare. The heat, humidity, and pollution (if you live in a city) are the perfect combo to enlarge your pores. This product was ideal for before and after a long day of makeup. Light, smells good, and no sticky feeling! Plus this product has salicylic acid and it helped me get rid of my whiteheads. A side note: Sephora sells it but its almost double the price they sell it in Europe. So if you are planning to visit France or other European countries, picking a few up at the duty-free would be ideal!

How you found it

When I was in Paris my skin was not doing well. My makeup looked uneven and had whiteheads. When this happens, instead of reaching for a primer or a physical exfoliator, I reach for a chemical exfoliator. I looked up some pharmacy-beauty brands, this one popped up!

#2 Favorite Beauty Product

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Sabon citron blossom body scrub

How often you use it

Once a week

What you like about the product

I’ve been a fan of Sabon body scrub for about eight years now! I’ve struggled with chicken skin on my legs after shaving but this product was effective yet so gentle. It has dead sea salt with these oils that smell heavenly and is so moisturizing. Rose tea scent was my original favorite but the citrus blossom is my new fav! On a lazy weekend where I want to have a relaxing morning, I’d use this in my shower and I feel like I’m laying in the middle of the orange tree field. (Yes I am exaggerating but that’s how much I like it)

How you found it

I walked by a Sabon shop in Soho eight years ago and it smelled so good I found myself at the counter handing over my credit card.

#3 Favorite Beauty Product

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Anastasia Clear Brow Mascara

How often you use it


What you like about the product

The hold on the product is amazing! So I have my brows micro bladed but I always fill in roughly. But my natural brows are shaped a bit oddly at the ends and are trimmed short. But this product was a game-changer. Few swipes and it help my brows have texture and fuller shape. Korea is super rainy nowadays and since we always wear masks, I just throw on this product, a mascara, tinted lip balm and I’m out the door!

How you found it

Recommendation from a Sephora employee (boy do I miss U.S. Sephora)

Yara El Madalla


#1 Favorite Beauty Product

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Kiehl’s Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado

How often you use it

I use it every day, twice daily (morning and evening) along with my 5-step skincare routine

What you like about the product

Everything, from the texture to the results I’ve seen over the past two years. It’s perfect to moisturize the delicate skin around the eyes and almost immediately hides the fine lines. Over time I’ve noticed my dark circles have become much lighter and less noticeable.

How you found it

I found out about it at Kiehl’s in London about two years ago when I had gone into a store to ask for a whole skincare routine for my skin. The results have been amazing and I’ve been loyal to them ever since!

#2 Favorite Beauty Product

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L’Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream

How often you use it

During the winter months, whenever I can! During the warmer months, I apply it before going out.

What you like about it

It’s perfect for the winter and the summer, it moisturizes really well and penetrates quickly too so that it doesn’t leave the hands feeling greasy after application.

How you found it

One of my colleagues at my first internship used to have it and last year, when I needed to buy a new hand-cream, I decided to try this one!

#3 Favorite Beauty Product

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Tarte Creaseless Under Eye Concealer

How often you use it

I use it whenever I have to go out and put makeup on.

What you like about the product

I think it has great coverage and really brightens my under eyes, furthermore, unlike other concealers I’ve tried, it doesn’t clump and build up in my fine lines – which makes me look older and more tired.

How you found it

I found out about it a year ago in a Sephora store in Paris, one of the beauty consultants recommended it as a change to my previous Laura Mercier one.

Stay tuned for next week’s post where my friends Tanisha Uttamchandani, Sarah Charles, and Hashmita Amineni share their three beauty favorites!

Starting a TikTok Empire with Julian Parra

How Julian Parra racked up over 80,000 followers on TikTok giving career advice.

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My friend Julian Parra has always been one of my go-to people in terms of who I get career advice from. Having worked in the Center for Career Development at our college and having navigated the job circuit to land a position at IBM, Julian has both incredible professional and life experience to draw from. Recently, he created a TikTok channel to share some of his advice, which has accumulated over 80,000 followers. I sat down with Julian to understand a little bit more about how he built a social media empire around his passion for helping others professionally.

So Julian, tell us a little bit about yourself!

Sure thing Ursula! So I was born and raised in Hawthorne, NJ, I’m a recent graduate from Babson College, and I’m currently an Offering Manager at IBM.

How did you first come up with the idea to start a TikTok channel giving professional and personal development advice?

I first found out about TikTok in December 2019, and immediately, I was super interested in how the TikTok algorithm worked. The app is engineered for virality and users who may not have many followers can have videos blow up on the app. At Babson, I was a Peer Career Ambassador at Babson’s Center for Career Development for three years, and in my role, I met with many students a semester to help with resumes, LinkedIn profiles, cover letters, and all things career development. This experience solidified my passion for personal and career development and mentorship, so while I was in quarantine, I decided to combine my two interests in social media content creation and career development and starting posting on TikTok!

How have you worked on growing your following?

I first focused on the career-development niche and consistently posted at least one TikTok a day related to that. I also studied the way the TikTok algorithm works, why it pushes certain content over others, and optimized my future content accordingly.

How do you keep your TikTok followers engaged?

I try to respond to as many comments as I can on my videos and am always open to suggestions as to the content they want to see. It’s been great reading comments and direct messages from people saying that my content has helped them level up in their career development journeys. I hope to go on TikTok Live more consistently and encourage my followers to follow me on my other platforms like Instagram or LinkedIn.

You currently have over 8ok followers on TikTok, was there ever a major turning point for you and your channel?

I had been posting 2 TikToks a day for a month and hadn’t seen much traction. However, in mid-July, I started an “Interviewer-Interviewee” series, in which I gave concrete examples of how I think people should respond to certain questions in interviews to ensure a successful outcome. I received a lot of engagement from those videos and continued to post that type of content. I also uploaded a “How to send work emails like a boss” TikTok that currently has over 1.5m views that helped jumpstart my growth on the platform. Finally, I was incredibly grateful and humbled to have been featured on Buzzfeed’s Facebook and Instagram platforms, which has motivated me to keep providing the best content I can!

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What are three pieces of advice that you would give to anyone currently unemployed?

First, I encourage you to do your research on what companies you’re interested in working for and get clear on what exactly you want. Think about your own strengths and align that with your interests. Knowing what kind of job you see yourself working in will allow you to have a more focused path to getting to your end goal. Second, I encourage you to focus on building out your network. Although slightly cliche, LinkedIn can be a powerful tool if used efficiently. Reach out to someone whose career you would like to emulate, and ask them to hop on a 10-minute call. You never know what can happen. Third, don’t get discouraged. Although easier said than done, be sure to set time aside every day towards your goal of getting a job. This can be applying to this amount of roles, or reaching out to this amount of people. It’s always okay to take a step back, reflect, take a break, and go back to the job search when you’re ready. Celebrate the little successes and reflect on how far you’ve come. This should get you motivated to continue seeking your dream job.

What is the most valuable piece of advice someone has given to you?

One valuable piece of advice that comes to mind is that “whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” As soon as we understand the true power our minds have, we can achieve literally anything. Moreover, I am incredibly appreciative of being surrounded by friends who support my journey and endeavors and push me to continue to reach new heights. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so it’s important for everyone to choose wisely!


Lastly, what about the future excites you?Screen Shot 2020-08-19 at 4.35.00 PM

I am incredibly grateful for my role at IBM, as it’s allowing me to grow professionally and personally, it challenges me intellectually, and my team is very supportive. I’m also super grateful for the platform I’ve developed on social media. I aim to stay consistent and post as much content as I can on TikTok and Instagram, and hope to motivate, inspire, and educate more and more people around the world!

How to find Julian


Business Instagram:

Personal Instagram:


London’s Hidden Gems

Unearthing 15 of London’s best kept local secrets.

The summer between my Freshman and Sophomore year of college I spent two months living in London, England, participating in Arcadia University’s London Summer Internship program. Over the course of those two months, I studied contemporary British politics as well as participated in an internship at a social media marketing start-up called The Apartment Global Limited. My time living in Highgate, along with the other program participants, served as an incredible opportunity for me to learn and grow as a young adult. For the first time, I was living in and exploring a foreign city on my own. Undeniably, at first, I felt uncomfortable doing things by myself. Yet, I knew it would be impossible to convince my friends to be dragged from museum to museum every day. I would have to push myself to become comfortable with being lonely.


Slowly, I learned that saying “table for one” provided an opportunity to fully immerse myself in an experience without other distractions. I soon discovered the joy of researching places that I found interesting and heading right out the door to experience them for myself. At night, I would sit down at my computer to look up interesting events, exhibitions, museums, shows, shops, and restaurants across London. The next day I would set out to conquer the city, absorbing as much as possible around every corner. My exposure to the world around me grew more and more every day, as I encountered new experiences and moments of learning.

Below, find some of my most unexpected favorites from living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world!

1. Victoria and Albert Museum Library


Address: Cromwell Rd, Knightsbridge, London SW7 2RL, United Kingdom

When I first visited the Victoria and Albert Museum it was to see the newly featured Balenciaga exhibition. After I visited the exhibition, I began to tour around the museum a bit more, only to find out that there was a gorgeous public library on level 2 that overlooks the John Madejski Garden. If you are interested in working at the library, make sure to leave your bag in the cloakroom at the main entrance and to dispose of any food or drink.

2. The Wallace Collection


Address: Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN, United Kingdom

The Wallace Collection was one of the last museums that I visited in London, however, it should have been one of the first. The museum houses stunning, colorful rooms filled with unique items that will keep you interested for hours. The Wallace Collection also has a restaurant in the museum’s pastel pink courtyard that features an expansive skylight.

3. The Royal Observatory and Greenwich Park


Address: Blackheath Ave, Greenwich, London SE10 8XJ, United Kingdom

Eager to get out of the city center for a day? Take a trip to Greenwich and explore the beauty of Greenwich Park and The Royal Observatory, which is located on its grounds. The Royal Observatory is the home of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), the Prime Meridian of the world, and London’s Planetarium. To make the day even better, take the ferry boat to get there and enjoy a scenic trip down the River Thames.

4. The Royal Opera House Tour


Address: Bow St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9DD, United Kingdom

I was not completely sure what I was getting myself into when I signed up for The Royal Opera House Tour. Little did I know I would be shown behind the scenes of what makes the Opera House produce some of the most incredible ballet and operas in the world. I got to peek into the ballet rehearsal rooms, costume archives, and even caught a glimpse of an onstage rehearsal while on my tour.

5. Granger and Co.


My favorite location: 237-239 Pavilion Rd, Chelsea, London SW1X 0BP, United Kingdom

Granger and Co. is one restaurant that I frequented the most while in London- I visited every location across the city. The interiors of all of their restaurants are as beautiful, warm, and comforting as the dishes they serve. Order the ricotta hotcakes and you won’t be disappointed.

6. Hampstead Heath’s Bathing Ponds

Address: Parliament Hill Fields, Fields Hampstead Heath, Highgate Rd, London NW5 1QR, United Kingdom

Although Hampstead Heath is one of London’s top parks in terms of both views and popularity, many visitors hike to the top of the hill and neglect to go any further. I have found that some of the most beautiful areas of the park are located a short walk from Hampstead’s peak around its pond areas.

7. Senate House Library


Address: Senate House University of London, Malet St, London WC1E 7HU, United Kingdom

The Senate House Library is the designated library for all Arcadia students in London and one I frequented often. Surprisingly, the building itself is a bit of an attraction because of its art deco architecture and feature in five films, including The Dark Night Rises and Batman Begins. It is definitely worth a quick visit if you’re in the area.

8. Chin Chin Laboratory


Located in Camden Market

Address: 49-50 Camden Lock Pl, Camden Town, London NW1 8AF, United Kingdom

There are very few ice cream experiences that will compare to this one. Chin Chin features a selection of unique ice cream flavors, cookie sandwiches, and even hot chocolate in all of its shops. However, the most innovative aspect of Chin Chin is that they make all of their ice cream using liquid nitrogen. The result is an indulgent delight!

9. Bun House


Address: 26-27 Lisle St, West End, London WC2H 7BA, United Kingdom

When I first walked into the Bun House, right in the center of London’s theatre district, I had no idea what to expect. I had never eaten Chinese buns before, yet they looked so delicious from the photos I viewed online. The woman behind the counter could not have been nicer in recommending buns and side dishes to try. All of the food was so tasty I returned every time I was in the area for my much-needed bun fix.

10. British Library


Address: 96 Euston Rd, London NW1 2DB, United Kingdom

I would often visit the British Library to work on my assignments and papers for class, however, even as a tourist, I would recommend visiting. The library has an immense literary collection that is housed in a glass structure that serves as the library’s visual centerpiece.

11. Farm Girl Cafe


Address: 59A Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London W11 3DB, United Kingdom

Taking a stop at the Farm Girl Cafe is a must if you are in the area shopping on Portobello Road. The cafe sources organic, local ingredients for all of their fresh dishes, making the menu full of good selections. I recommend ordering a rose latte while you review your latest Portobello antique finds.

12. The Royal Academy of Arts


Address: Burlington House, Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 0BD, United Kingdom

The Royal Academy of Arts was one of the most interesting museums that I had a chance to visit during my time in London. Most of the art at the Academy is uniquely featured on large wall spaces in a collage format. The Academy is also the home of Britain’s oldest art school and is amongst the most prestigious in the world.

13. Rooftop Cinema Club


Address: Queen of Hoxton, 1-5 Curtain Rd, Hackney, London EC2A 3JX, United Kingdom

If you are looking for something fun to do late-night, the Rooftop Cinema Club provides an outdoor cinematic experience with incredible views. The Club shows both classic flicks and new releases, so you can’t go wrong with picking a day to go.

14. High Tea at The National Gallery Rooftop


Address: Trafalgar Square, Charing Cross, London WC2N 5DN, United Kingdom

There are many incredible high tea experiences in London, yet for the price, views, delicious selection, and experience, The National Gallery’s is hard to beat. Sip tea and munch on scones while enjoying a spectacular view of the city.

15. Ruby Violet Ice Cream


Address: 118 Fortess Rd, Kentish Town, London NW5 2HL, United Kingdom

Just a few steps outside of the Tufnell Park tube station, Ruby Violet’s ice cream is not to be missed. Make sure to take a picture of your creamy treat in front of their signature, sparkly Ruby Violet sign!

Some of these locations have been temporarily closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak and will re-open in the future.

What I Learned Working in an Artisan Bakery

How working in foodservice changed my perspective, inspired creativity, and instilled gratitude.

Photo was taken from Liv Breads Instagram account

When I came back from being abroad my junior year in college, it was the end of November. I knew I would not be returning to school until late January and the prospect of sitting at home waiting to move back into my dorm drove me crazy. I had just traveled the world and craved more experiences and learning.

I knew about a new bakery that had just opened in my hometown over the summer called Liv Breads. When it first opened I went in to enjoy a coffee and a plethora of samples they offered, tasting their delicious sourdough breads and chocolate babka. I had always thought that it would be an amazing place to work and that thought never left my mind. The bakery was beautiful, with an open floor plan that allowed customers to see the bakers toss giant loaves into the oven, and the owners were always warm and friendly, not being shy to get behind the register and help customers out themselves.

Having remembered the bakery, I decided to go in one day with my resume and simply ask the owners if they needed any help during the busy holiday season. I was extremely nervous walking into Liv but knew that the worst thing that could happen would be that they said they were not hiring. My impromptu “interview” with the owners was quick, as they asked me about my customer service experience- which consisted of a summer working at a pizzeria on an island and my work at the college library front desk- and my culinary skills- which amounted to countless cooking classes and experimentation in my own kitchen. We exchanged numbers and, low and behold, I was offered a job working at the bakery!

When I arrived on my first day, I was handed an apron and placed at a work station in the kitchen. Thinking they would have me work the cash register, I thought to myself:

“Am I actually working in the kitchen here? Am I even qualified to do this?”

After a quick panic, I was shown probably close to 100 cauliflowers and was instructed on how to cut them. I spent close to all morning cutting the cauliflowers while I sipped on a coffee that one of the friendly baristas made for me. (Thanks Dylan!)

While working in the kitchen, I learned invaluable culinary skills, like how to make food in large batches- egg salad, tuna salad, quiches, roasted vegetables, and various dressings- the proper technique of how to cut all different types of vegetables, and how to taste and adjust recipes. I learned how the produce ordering was managed and how the ingredients were purchased. But, I also learned about true grit and hard work. Almost every day for the month and a half of my winter break, I came to the bakery at 6 am to prepare for opening and sometimes stayed until closing, helping to tidy up the front and back-of-house. When the dishwasher could not come in, I helped to wash the greasy pans and used dishes. When the customers came in huge waves, I worked overtime to make sure we had enough cut roasted vegetables, sandwiches, and salads to last until the end of the day. Despite some hard hours and grueling days, I would not change a thing about this experience.

From working at Liv, I tasted halva and pure tahini for the first time. I learned how to make delicious soups, quiches, salads, and savory focaccia from family recipes. I was introduced to Jewish culinary traditions and learned about the dietary laws within Judaism, such as pareve. I became friends with amazing, hard-working people and learned about their journeys in becoming bakers, baristas, dishwashers, and cooks in their own ways. I learned what amazing management looks like and how, if you work hard and are motivated by kindness, you can run a successful business. When I spilled close to a gallon of olive oil on the kitchen floor- which did in fact happen- or accidentally made pesto with sugar instead of salt- which also happened- I was never criticized or made to feel bad about my mistakes. Instead, I was encouraged to problem solve and learn how to fix them. I was asked to try all of my food and to suggest new ideas. I was pushed to be inspired in the kitchen, despite being a novice, and motivated to want to come to work every day to be and do my best.

One of the biggest lessons I learned was how hard people in the foodservice industry work. When I worked at the bakery alongside my co-workers, we spent hours on our feet whether we were working in the kitchen, in the bread baking department, or taking orders at the front of the bakery. It was a surprisingly physical job, which required endurance for making food, consistently sanitizing every surface and piece of equipment, and lifting heavy containers all day. I definitely slept well that winter break!

Since my employment at Liv, whenever I visit a local restaurant or cafe I think about how many actors there are behind the scenes of food production, something I had never considered before. There is so much work that is being undertaken out of the sight of the consumer, it is easy to take advantage of the opportunity to walk into a coffee shop and simply order a coffee. Now I know just how much hard work goes into making small food businesses operate and thrive. Working in food service taught me not to be afraid to get my hands dirty and instilled in me gratitude toward those who work in the industry. I would have never discovered all of this had it not been for some extra time, an idea, some incredible employers, and a chance worth taking.

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Photo was taken from Liv Breads Instagram account

Check out Liv Breads on their website and order a chocolate babka (they ship nationally and trust me you won’t regret it).

If I Got to Re-Write My College Essay, It Would Look Something Like This…

How taking “The Wired Ensemble” at Olin College changed my perspective on music and life.

When I was a senior in high school I struggled with writing my personal essay for the college common application. And when I say “struggled” that is even a vast understatement. I went through many drafts of different concepts, themes, and analogies to communicate who I was to an unknown entity. I specifically remember wanting to answer the given prompt:

“The lessons we take from failure can be fundamental to later success. Recount an incident or time when you experienced failure. How did it affect you, and what did you learn from the experience?”

At this point in my high school career, my most impactful failures revolved around performing. I had taken singing lessons since I was in the third grade, having a love for performing both on stage for an audience and for myself in the comfort of my own shower. The one thing that always inhibited me from performing for others, however, was my crippling perfectionism and stage fright. Nevertheless, despite how powerful these forces were, nothing could keep me from doing what I love: singing. On paper, the articulation of my passion for singing overriding my fear of an on stage failure was a jumbled mess, becoming an analogy about a chrysalis and an emerging butterfly.

It was not until I took a class my senior year called The Wired Ensemble, a freshman elective being taught at Olin College of Engineering- a neighboring college that Babson students are allowed to cross-register at- that my understanding of music and myself changed altogether. The Wired Ensemble is a course where students learn how to compose and perform original works for instruments and voices, develop a “Composer’s Tool Chest,” and learn how to analyze and reflect upon music pieces. I was one of two seniors that took this class and the only student from Babson College.

The pre-requisite for taking this class was a basic knowledge of music and music theory, however this was a massive understatement. I had been in an acapella group and performed in numerous musicals and performances of my own, which I thought was enough to qualify my music knowledge. Creating, writing, and performing music myself would be a completely different story. I remember walking out of many classes close to tears, not being able to understand some of the most basic concepts and consistently receiving far too many edits on my pieces. Every day in that class I felt like a complete embarrassment. Yet, despite the frustrations I felt, there was something incredibly liberating about starting from zero. I could try, make mistakes, learn from them, and slowly improve. If I made a mistake, it would not be the first one I would make nor the last. Failure became normalized for me in this class, it became no big deal. With this revelation, along with a lot of personal growth since that senior year of high school, I was able to write my final paper for this class, a rewrite of my college essay, one that I had dreamed of rewriting for a long time.

Screen Shot 2020-08-17 at 8.51.02 PMIt had been my first big failure. I was an enthusiastic third-grader, ready to take the stage to sing in my church’s talent show. I had been a bit nervous, but felt the anxiety melt away as soon as I stepped into the spotlight; this is where I love to be. My eyes were glued to the lyric prompter on the back wall, a welcome distraction. I had almost made it halfway through my song when the prompter glitched and, in a panic, I forgot the words. I stood in silence for what felt like forever. Once the prompter righted itself, I finished the song and quickly ran off stage. I sat silently crying in my seat until the show was over, embarrassed for how poorly my performance had been. When the lights came up, I rushed into my mother’s arms as she consoled me and insisted that she didn’t even notice the blunder- but that is never our impression as performers, we notice everything that goes wrong, while the audience remains oblivious. But, I knew my mistake and that was enough to make me afraid of another failure.

From that point on, whenever I got onstage, I had debilitating stage fright. I would write lyrics on my hands, have nightmares of standing on stage in silence, and needed to be pushed on stage before every show. I wanted my singing to showcase my talent, preparation, and excellence and every performance seemed like a disappointment if it did not go to plan. The pressure for perfection overwhelmed and began to cripple me. The only reason I was able to pull myself back on stage was for the thrill of performing, my excitement for taking on challenges, and my true passion for music.

In reality, music sets you up for failure, inevitably, every performance will not turn out how you practiced it. Paradoxically, in this way, music sets you free from failure, it should be expected. This became evident with every show I watched following my talent show disaster. Once on opening night, I saw the musical “Hairspray” and was shocked when the actors began laughing hysterically during one of the comical scenes. The laughter became so uncontrollable that after 10 minutes the entire theatre was giggling and clapping along, a genuine moment exhibiting the joy of the unexpected. One performance after another, I began to witness singers forget their lyrics, sing the wrong harmonies, and have their voices crack and they were always O.K.; they walked off stage, they survived failure. Observing this helped me to remember that if I made a mistake on stage again, I would be O.K. too. My performances could have mess-ups and were inevitably going to turn out differently than I had practiced, and that would be alright. Despite the challenge, every performance gradually became easier. There were still doubts, discomfort, and bumps along the way, but I used my reactions to these mistakes to gauge my maturity in accepting these errors.

The unexpected nature of live performances is what makes them worth watching. There’s a certain authenticity and vulnerability in our failures that make our work truly personal, it makes them ours. I realized that it is not really about the product of the performance itself, it’s about sharing what you love with others and the medium just happens to be the music. This idea fully crystallized when I performed at Babson’s Aman show, my first performance in 3 years. I was so worried to have all my peers and close friends see a different, deeply personal side of me for the first time. However, before I entered the stage, I felt an unusual calmness I hadn’t felt since before that horrible day of the talent show. I had practiced and knew my music- I would be singing in both English and Hindi. There was no prompter, just me and the stage. Stepping into the light, I knew that this performance wasn’t for anyone else, it was for the little third grader inside of me and if I was singing for me, everything would be O.K. regardless of the outcome. And it was.

How Committing to “Yes” Changed My Life

How saying “yes” is sometimes the hardest part of starting the adventure of a lifetime.

When I was accepted to Babson there were so many things that intrigued me about the college, their Foundations of Management and Entrepreneurship (FME) course, where students learned how to start their own business, the large undergraduate international population, where I would meet students from all over the world, and the beautiful campus right outside of Boston. However, it was Babson’s unique study abroad program – The BRIC Program – that excited me the most.

I remember when I was just a freshman at Babson prematurely going into the education abroad office in order to meet with the BRIC advisor. I was so eager to be accepted into the program and take part in a once of a lifetime study abroad experience, traveling with a cohort of 23 students to Russia, India, and China over the course of three months, the first semester of junior year.

However, when I got accepted into this highly competitive program, anxiousness quickly overtook excitement. In all honesty, I was in denial about the prospect of spending a semester abroad in three distinct foreign countries with people I knew very little about. When I spoke to friends and acquaintances about the adventure I was about to embark on, the experience felt very isolated from my own life. Looking at the past BRIC student’s photos, applying for my visa, and attending all of the pre-departure sessions did not make BRIC feel anymore real to me. It was not until I was buying travel necessities, a daunting amount of insect repellent, Advil, and mini travel shampoos, days before arriving at Babson, that it hit me that I was preparing for the completely unexpected and unknown.

I felt overwhelmed, wrestling with so many fears: was I going to get sick? Would I make friends with the cohort? Was I going to miss my family? Would I be able to adapt? I was scared of the future- the worst part being that I had done all of this to myself. I had wanted to go on BRIC, filled out the application, got into the program, and accepted the invitation. It was all on me.

Within days of the program’s start, I convinced myself that I did not want to study abroad anymore. Up until this point, I had taken many risks in my life, yet this time I thought I had pushed myself a little bit too far, questioning if I could take on the challenge. Although my mother assured me that I did not have to go if I did not want to, I knew that I could not let my own fears hold me back from an experience of a lifetime.

It is easy to say “yes” by merely showing up when you are supposed to, however immersing yourself fully in an experience is another story- it takes courage to be yourself.

Once our pre-departure sessions started, my anxieties had not dissipated. I remained closed off from the group, afraid of rejection and being vulnerable with the cohort, all of whom I had not known before. After holding back from volunteering to participate in a group bonding activity, which required sharing a personal story, I realized something had to give. In order to get the most out of the BRIC experience, I found that showing up was just half the battle, I had to dedicate action to words. To learn and grow you have to be vulnerable, make mistakes, and be engaged. As soon as I started to embrace opening up to the cohort, letting them get to know me better, I was able to connect on a deeper level both within the group and with the cultures that surrounded me in each location.

It is easy to look at the program and see how the rigorous course load in addition to the challenge of adapting to three vastly different locations could orient an individual towards growth. Yet, I have come to realize that committing to a challenge is oftentimes one of the most significant and overlooked steps within the entire process.

Sometimes life scares us, but it’s important to recognize these pivotal points in our life as opportunities to reflect on how far we have come and to continue to take leaps of faith, plunging ourselves into new experiences. And this all starts with the commitment to a simple, three letter word:

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My Florence Recommendations

My favorite restaurants, markets, and cooking classes in Florence, Italy.

After having spent one month in Florence, Italy studying cooking, I made sure to document all of my favorite places to eat, shop, and learn about food across the city. I hope this guide will be helpful to you on your next trip to this Italian culinary gem.

General Notes on Eating Out

  • Always make a reservation for dinner beforehand. Italians often take hours to eat, therefore tables can be hard to come by, especially on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.
  • While I was in Florence, I utilized Trip Advisor for researching places to eat. For many restaurants, you can make a reservation right online at, which I found extremely helpful.
  • Restaurants usually open for dinner at 7:00 pm.
  • Unlike in the United States, you have to ask for the check when you are ready to leave or else the waiters will not bother your table.
  • A cover charge is often included, denoted as “coperto” on the check. If it is not, you can add a few Euros to the bill or up to 5% for service, but no more.

Best Breakfasts

Every small cafe is good in Italy to stop in for a coffee and croissant, but here are two memorable spots I recommend.

Caffe’ Pasticceria La Loggia Degli Albizi

  • Address: Borgo 37 50122, Borgo degli Albizi, 21, 50122 Firenze, Italy


  • My favorite croissants in the city along with a wide variety of sweets
  • Delicious coffee
  • Outdoor seating (the sparrows make great company)

Ditta Artigianale

  • Address: Via dei Neri 33, 50122, Florence, Italy
  • Located near the Uffizi Gallery


  • Not an Italian breakfast, (it serves croque madames and monsieurs) but it has a delicious breakfast and excellent coffee selection

Best Lunches

Gusta Panino

  • Address: Piazza Santa Spirito | Santa Spirito 1R, 50125, Florence, Italy
  • In the square in front of Santo Spiritu


  • Excellent paninis to-go if you are on the other side of the Arno


  • Address: Piazza San Marco 9/b, 10, 50121, Florence, Italy
  • Right around the corner from the Galleria Academia


  • Great place to get a quick pizza or focaccia
  • You can sit in or take it to go
  • Pay after you order and finish your meal

Enoteca Bar Fuori Porta

  • Address: Via del Monte alle Croci 10r, Florence, Italy
  • A great place to go after visiting Michaelangelo’s Square


  • Excellent crostini, cheese, salad, and wine options
  • Beautiful outdoor seating

Ara: E Sicilia

  • Address: Via Degli Alfani 127 R, 50121, Florence, Italy
  • Very small inside


  • Tasty lunch right near the Duomo
  • Not a formal sit down
  • Serves yummy rice balls (which I highly recommend), stuffed breads, and sweets

Alimentari Uffizi

  • Address: Via Lambertesca 10r, 50100, Florence, Italy
  • Tucked away down a very narrow side street


  • The owner is incredibly nice and all of the prosciutto comes from his son’s farm
  • Excellent paninis made with fresh breads, cheeses, and meats

Best Dinners

Pizzeria Santarpia

  • Address: Largo Pietro Annigoni, 9, 50122 Firenze, Italy
  • It’s hidden behind the Sant’ambrogio Market in a large square


  • Best pizza and calzones in Florence
  • Relaxed, fun, and casual atmosphere

La Ménagère

  • Address: Via de’ Ginori, 8, 50123 Firenze, Italy


  • Modern, unique, and delicious food
  • Beautiful interior
  • Serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner
  • Free Wifi

Konnubio Corso Tintori

  • Address: Via dei Conti 8r, 50123, Florence, Italy
  • There is another Konnubio in Florence, but this location is better


  • Yummy and interesting dishes
  • Comfortable and beautiful atmosphere
  • Excellent service

Olio & Convivium

  • Address: Via di Santo Spirito, 4, 50125 Firenze, Italy


  • I ordered one of the fixed menus and it was delicious
  • Italian food with a unique twist
  • It is also serves as a gourmet shop

Trattoria 4 Leoni

  • Address: 4 Leoni, Via de’ Vellutini, 1r, 50125 Firenze, Italy


  • Tasty authentic Italian food (must order the pear ravioli, which they are famous for)
  • The menu is all in Italian, but do not hesitate to ask the waiter what everything means
  • Outdoor seating in a rustic square

Il Santo Bevitore

  • Address: Via di Santo Spirito, 66r, Florence, Italy


  • Excellent elevated Italian food
  • Best restaurant dessert in Florence
  • Overall very delicious

La Cucina del Garga

  • Address: Via San Zanobi, 33r, 50129, Florence, Italy


  • Beautiful restaurant that practically doubles as an art gallery
  • Amazing authentic cuisine that is packed with flavor

Il Borro Tuscan Bistro

  • Address: Lungarno Acciaiuoli 80r, Florence, Italy
  • The location overlooks the Arno


  • Delicious Italian food with classic flavors
  • If you sit in the back of the restaurant you can watch the chefs at work

Best Sweets

Dolci e Dolcezze

  • Address: Piazza Beccaria 8/r, Florence, Italy
  • Easy to spot because it is bright green on the outside


  • Excellent coffee, cream filled croissants, tarts, and cakes
  • Very pretty atmosphere to sit and have a mid afternoon pick me up

Gelateria La Carraia

  • Address: Piazza Nazario Sauro, 25, 50124, Florence, Italy
  • Two bridges over from the Ponte Vecchio on the other side of the Arno
  • Green on the outside


  • Easily the best gelato in Florence
  • Wide variety of flavors and cones

Best Markets

Mercato Centrale

  • Address: Piazza del Mercato Centrale, 50123, Florence,Italy
  • The first floor hosts all different food stands and vendors, the second floor is an amazing open food market, and the third floor has two restaurants that can be reached through staircases from the second floor on either side of the market (they are hard to find, feel free ask someone who works there if you cannot locate them)

Sant’Ambrogio Market

  • Address: Sant’Ambrogio Market, Piazza Lorenzo Ghiberti, 50122 Firenze FI, Italy
  • Indoor food market boasting family owned, traditional vendors the sell everything from local honey to homemade pastas.

Best Cooking Classes


  1. Giglio Cooking School

    • Best school to learn the delicious basics of Italian cooking.
  2. La Cucina del Garga-Cooking Classes (recently closed)

    • Cooking classes took place in the restaurant’s actual operational kitchen. Really interesting experience to work in a real commercial kitchen and see what the chefs do during normal hours.

  3. Great Tastes of Tuscany Cooking Class

    • Classes take place in a Tuscan villa outside of Florence. Prepare yourself for a full day of delicious cooking (and eating!) in a beautiful setting.
  4. Mama Florence Cooking School

    • High tech kitchen and informative instructors. Best class for the beginners!
  5. Cucina Lorenzo de’ Medici-Cooking School (Mercato Centrale)

    • Every student gets to work on their own state of the art cooking station. Very fast paces, so bring someone along to help out!

Like A Florentine

A cookbook inspired by a culinary Florentine adventure.

Whenever I am ever asked about my favorite book, my mind immediately reaches for one obscure and often opened book, Like a Florentine, a cookbook that I created for my senior study project when I was in high school. This cookbook is not my favorite because of its poetic writing, expert photography, or unparalleled illustrations, but because it reflects a very distinct inflection point in my life.

When beginning to think about what I wanted to do for my senior project, I explored many different options, yet none completely satisfying.

During one brainstorm, my dad finally asked me “if you could do anything, what would you do?”

I quickly responded that I would travel to Florence, Italy to take cooking classes and learn about Florentine cuisine. His simple response “then do it,” would be the surprising faith and confirmation that I needed to pursue this dream. I soon met with a travel agent to help with the planning of the trip. From this meeting, I spent days sitting on the floor of Barnes and Noble, diving into every Italian travel book I could find, and scouring the internet for cooking classes in Florence. I also set up a Kickstarter campaign to help with the financing of the trip. Using Kickstarter, I self-funded the trip in 25 days, raising $6,350 from 39 backers. I used this money to take cooking classes, partake in local market tours, and try various authentic Florentine restaurants over the course of one month.

The culmination of this trip was a 96-page cookbook filled with the recipes, photos, illustrations, anecdotes, and observations from this Florentine focused culinary experience. The self-fulfillment of this dream stands as one of the most impactful events of my life. Although I love to reach for the book in times of nostalgia and when I am hungry for homemade focaccia, I sift through the pages more often to remember the completion of, what seemed to be, such a large feat. I reread Like a Florentine to remind myself to continue to have the courage to take on risky ventures. Completing and documenting this culinary journey gave me the confidence that I could pursue other passions and strive for more challenging dreams. My cookbook serves as a continual reminder to me that I have the grit to take challenges head-on and the ability to overcome any obstacle that comes my way.

To view my Kickstarter page click here!