Prague, Czech Republic Day #2

It had never occurred to me that zoos in different parts of the world would hold varying animals. In the United States I had been to zoos in New York and Washington D.C. and the animals they housed did not differ too much. Only when I walked into the Prague Zoo did I realize how eclectic the animal collections were in zoos throughout the world – as well as how different the set up was too!


The Prague Zoo is one of the top 10 zoos in the world. At this point in my study abroad experience, I knew there would only be a few more museums that I could muster the desire to go into. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely a museum person, but going to multiple exhibits every week can definitely be exhausting and draining – especially when there are so many cool things to explore outdoors!


I was especially ecstatic to go to the Prague Zoo because it was home to a baby elephant who had just been born a few weeks prior and anyone who knows me knows how much I adore these trumpeting creatures.


The weather managed to clear up by the time we reached the zoo, on the outskirts of the main city where we were staying, and we walked around looking for the elephants and giraffes. The elephant family was kept inside for some unknown reason, while another elephant roamed the grounds on its own. The baby elephant was so adorable, picking up sticks with its trunk and trying to talk to its parents. It was such perfect timing that we had been able to go see it as an infant.



Later in the day I tried my first “goulash,” a traditional Czech dish full of meat and potatoes. It was absolutely delicious, but super heavy, especially when combined with another mug of beer. It was certainly a carb overload but it was worth it. Dinner was followed by a trdelnik – a typical Czech dessert food made from a cinnamon sugar-coated freshly made donut filled with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. So delicious!


Later that night, with the possibility of missing our 7 a.m. bus to Budapest the next morning, Ben and I decided to make our last night in Prague a relaxed one and explored the bars in the Jewish Quarter of the city.


It wasn’t long before we stumbled across “Anonymous Bar,” a venue inspired by the “Anonymous” organization and the book V for Vendetta. The vibe of the bar was especially cool because of the quirky antique furniture as well as the dark musty lighting, accented with portraits of the “Anonymous” mask in frames on the walls throughout the room.



It reminded me of a 1920’s Gatsby party full of intellectuals and interesting characters drinking creatively mixed, lit on fire and plated cocktails. It was a really cool way to end our way-too-short few days in Prague.

Stay Classy! xx


Chicken Tikka Masala with Coconut Rice and Kontos Naan

Being away from London for a few weeks has already made me nostalgic for the city and its food. I stumbled across a can of Tikka Masala sauce while in the grocery store the other day and decided that paired with Kontos Naan, it would be the closest thing to what I learned to make in London that I could get! The flavor is unfortunately not the same as Brick Lane or my favorite Indian pub, but it was delicious and did remind me of my semester abroad.

You can find pre-made tikka masala sauce in most International Foods sections of the grocery store. Kontos Naan is actually hand-stretched so that it is extra fluffy and it was amazing. You can find it here.


Let’s Get Started:

For the chicken:

3 large chicken breasts, cut into cubes
1 jar chicken tikka masala sauce
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
Plain non-fat yogurt

For the rice:

1 can coconut milk
¼ cup water
1/3 cup white basmati rice

Let’s Get Cookin’:

Cut chicken breasts into cubes and season with salt and pepper. In a medium pot, boil water and coconut milk. When it begins to boil, add rice and stir occasionally for 30 minutes. Place chicken pieces into a pan and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add full jar of tikka masala sauce to chicken and let simmer for 20-25 minutes. Make sure chicken is fully cooked. Take off heat and serve with coconut rice, Naan and yogurt.

Let’s Get Creative:

This recipe can also be made vegetarian – Tofu Tikka Masala! Just follow the instructions above and substitute tofu for chicken. I made this for my youngest sister who is a vegetarian and she loved it.

Get creative with your sides! Coconut string beans would go great with this too. Yum!

Enjoy & Stay Classy! xx

Prague, Czech Republic Day #1

While making a list of tentative places I would travel while abroad in Europe, Prague was always at the top of my list. I had been drawn to visit Prague for a variety of reasons. It was the capital of the Czech Republic, a beautiful country whose name featured the awfully inhibiting “Cz” spelling that no one ever knows how to pronounce. My family on my grandma’s side came from Czechoslovakia and although after the country’s split they associated with Slovakia, I’ve always wanted to visit both sides. Prague seemed like a great option because everyone I know who had gone there had fallen in love with it. It looked beautiful, everything was within walking distance or a short tram ride of each other and the exchange rate was awesome.


One of the most iconic views of Prague is of the Charles Bridge. It stretches across the river in the center of the city and is the walking pathway to the opposite side of the water where the castle is. The bridge is constantly full of tourists, locals and vendors and is known as a hangout for pickpockets.


It is guarded by a series of statues, stationed above the bridge and created of religious figures, saints and important thinkers from years ago. The statues are now covered by a tarnished teal green, which creates an old-city atmosphere that could stand for the decline of the Czech Republic.


Ben and I started the hike – OK maybe not a hike, but definitely a very steep uphill climb that took almost half an hour – up to the entrance of the castle. I was immediately drawn to the lookout point that provided an impressive view of what we had just walked and the beauty of the city. It was here where we met a few more friends from Fordham and went into the exhibits of the main castle.


The castle was gorgeous and even bigger than it looked from a distance. What particularly left an impression on me was how intricately designed and detailed the outside of the cathedral was. Part of the castle was still in use by the Czech parliament, which portrayed a great contrast of the old world and the new world. It was off the balcony of one of the castle rooms where we were able to catch a glimpse of the “Mini Eiffel Tower” in the distance. As it turns out, Prague really is like a smaller version of Paris.


It wasn’t long before the hunger pangs set in and we decided it was time to find a place to eat our first Czech lunch. We came across an adorable restaurant/pub and I ordered gnocchi, beer cheese toast and a beer. These were three things on the menu that I thought I knew what I would be getting… but I was definitely wrong! I am still not sure what happened with the beer cheese toast (below), I don’t know if the bread was soaked in beer or if the cheese was, but my friend and I were unable to eat it for the most part due to a surprisingly bitter and moldy flavor.


The gnocchi, on the other hand, was amazing. It reminded me a lot of my grandma’s pirogues and was served as a plateful of potato dumplings surrounded by onions, garlic and spinach. This in addition to the giant mug of beer I was served was a lot like I had hoped the Czech food would be!


Bellies full, we continued to walk around the Old Town area and passed the famous Prague Astronomical Clock Tower, a medieval astronomical clock that is truly incredible to see. It started to drizzle and my friends decided to go back and nap, so Ben and I continued exploring on our own. As the weather cleared up it seemed like an opportune time to visit the John Lennon Wall.


The Wall looked just as cool in person as it does in pictures. The ambience of the area through which it stretched was so peaceful. A man played old Beatles songs on his guitar in front of the wall and the area was otherwise silent.


Reading all of the inspirational quotes, sayings and words was such a nice end to the afternoon. Much of what was written on the wall are things that we should be reminded of everyday. What is important in life is love and peace and getting along the best we can with what we have and who we have around us. Just reading the layers of inspiration on the Lennon Wall reminds us how simple living a good life can be.


For dinner, we found ourselves at “Dancing House,” one of the coolest and nicest restaurants in Prague. Up at the top of a building famous for its creative architecture, we enjoyed a delicious meal with a 360* panoramic view of the beautiful city surrounding us. It was a great way to wrap up our first night in Prague before going out again to a bar a few hours later.



Nicknamed “The Doghouse” for a very good reason, we went to a local nightlife hot spot to check out the atmosphere and the reason behind the name. The bar was nothing like I expected, it was rustic and filled to almost maximum capacity on its three floors. Before long live music started playing and a fire eater and dancer came out and started to perform. Where we were sitting on the second floor we heard a chorus of “awww’s” and looked over to see the actual biggest dog I’ve ever encountered in my life. It was scruffy and dirty but we found out that it belonged to the owner and loves being around people.


It was certainly an unexpected end to my first night in Prague!

Stay Classy! xx

Dark Chocolate Dipped Orange Wedges

Orange ya glad it’s summer? Finally! Today marks the second official day of the hottest, happiest and most relaxed season. I’ve been focusing eating a balanced diet – meaning sometimes it’s good to make yourself a cheat treat! – and have been creating some super easy recipes that curb my sweet tooth cravings without the calories.

These adorable orange wedges dipped in 85% baking cocoa and sprinkled with an assortment of shaved coconut, sea salt and almonds are so quick and easy to make. They’re the perfect on-the-go snack and so much more revitalizing than my typical go-to granola bars. These aren’t the pastries we have all been craving, but they are definitely a step in the right direction:)

{Prep Time: 5 Minutes    Cook Time: 10 Minutes    Total Time: 15 Minutes   Serves Approx. 8}


Let’s Get Started: 

4 oranges, peeled and separated
1 bar of 85% cocoa baking chocolate
A handful of sliced almonds
A handful of shredded coconut
A handful of sea salt

Let’s Get Cookin’:

Place a piece of parchment paper on a baking sheet. Peel and separate oranges and place spaciously throughout the baking sheet. Break off 1/3 of chocolate bar and microwave for about 1 minute. Stir and reheat if necessary. Dip orange wedge tips into the chocolate and place back on baking sheet. Sprinkle with almonds, coconut and sea salt. Refrigerate for about 10 minutes until chocolate is hardened.

Let’s Get Creative:

Almonds, coconut and sea salt were just ingredients that I happened to have laying around that I think taste delicious with orange wedges! Of course, you can swap these for other ingredients such as raisins, cranberries and other small sweet and salty treats! Personally though, I’m a bit biased to the yummy aftertaste you get from the shredded coconut… mmm:)

Enjoy & Stay Classy! xx

Edinburgh, Scotland Day #1

Going into my study abroad trip, I was under the impression that I would be traveling mainly by train and bus. Once in London though, it wasn’t long before I discovered Skyscanner and the beauty of convenient and cheap flights via Ryan Air and Easy Jet. Most of my travel was by plane, Amsterdam by 12-hour bus and finally, Scotland by train. Train travel ended up being the most expensive, but the trip from King’s Cross to Edinburgh moved at a pace that let me enjoy the scenery I was passing, which made it one of the most beautiful trips I went on.


The lush pastures from the English countryside to the Scottish countryside were bright green and full of adorable families of fluffy sheep. The three and a half hour ride went by quickly because of the peaceful scenery. It was easy to read and daydream out the window, watching the landscape change from green to grey as we approached Edinburgh. As I watched the grey green waves crash onto the shore from the train on top of the cliff, I came to realize that this was what I had expected Scotland to be like – in addition to the brogues and abundance of woolen goods. As we pulled into the main station, it started to rain.


From the top of a City Sightseeing Tour Bus I could see the tops of the endless black and grey steeples and spires. The city was pointy and dreary and gave off creepy vibes. The majority of the buildings looked as if they had been charred in a fire and were thick charcoal colored black with a bit of grey in them. This contrasted with the lush greens of the natural landscape. It wasn’t a scary place and the people were incredibly friendly, but it was clear upon visiting how J.K. Rowling and the author of Game of Thrones had been inspired by the city to create the eerie fantasy lands in their best-selling books.


As I was only in Edinburgh for one day, I cut the City Sightseeing Bus Tour short and hopped out at Edinburgh Castle. It was here that I spent most of the day, taking in some of the best views of the city and exploring the mysteries behind the remains of this uncanny medieval city. The castle was full of small museums, including one of the Scottish Crown Jewels, the prison and the armory. It was a truly impressive structure and fit in with the dark and ghostly aura of the city.


For lunch, Ben, his mom, her friend and I went to a traditional Scottish pub, Deacon Brodies Tavern. It looked a lot like the British pubs I had been to, except the menu included a few new options, such as “ Haggis, Neeps and Tatties,” “Bubble and Squeak” and “Cullen Skink.”


With just a bit under two hours left before our train left for London we continued to explore the small Scottish streets – and yes we passed a bagpipe player wearing a kilt! – and shopped for souvenirs in the authentic shops. I splurged on some beautiful and soft lambs wool scarves that will definitely come in handy this fall! It was a wonderful opportunity to explore another part of the United Kingdom and it is so interesting to me how the atmosphere’s of different city’s can be so truly different even just a few hours from each other. Edinburgh definitely stands out as a place to go back to for fantasy writing inspiration, and apparently the golf courses there are to die for as well.

Stay Classy! xx

Okay Ladies, Now Let’s Get In Formation

If you really want to lose weight and get fit, the most important factor is discipline. It’s crazy to think that every morning you will wake up at 6:30, put on your gym clothes and get your workout in before class and work. Each day will be different, some mornings you will have more energy, other mornings you will think of every excuse to make that day a rest day and stay in bed for an extra hour. Among other things, this motivation is dependent on how much sleep you’re getting, how stressed you are, what you ate the previous day and if you are drinking enough water. In the end, what it comes down to is how badly you want to achieve your goal to be fit and live a healthy lifestyle. If you are willing to accept the fact that you will need to make sacrifices for this higher standard of well-being – yes, eating ice cream every day is not a good idea – then you’re already moving one step in the right direction!

In addition to getting your workouts in, drinking a ton of water is another important key to getting in shape. Many times you will get pangs of what you think is hunger, but instead is just dehydration. Ensuring that you are properly hydrated every day – about half a gallon – will reduce your tendency to snack unhealthily and will give you more energy for workouts and other daily activities!


Another tip I’ve found helpful in disciplining myself to get fit is to plan snacks and meals in advance, and to get creative with my cooking. The past few months of having my own kitchen have been life changing for me because I discovered my love of cooking, baking and creating my own recipes. Two brands that I’ve recently started using have made my life easier because they provide a healthier option for me to use when cooking!


Heavenly Organics‘ raw organic white honey and neem honey are delicious and the perfect sweet treat ingredient to add to my creations – and in my tea instead of sugar! I drizzled some on top of my fruity toasts this morning for breakfast and a little bit of raw sweetness blended nicely with the almonds and nuts. The company creates products that are organic, fair trade, non-GMO, Kosher and made from honey collected from wild bees, which means they are pesticide and antibiotic free. (They also make delicious chocolate honey patties that satisfy my sweet tooth but are still good for me!)


Additionally, I have fallen in love with the Rich & Creamy Melt Organic spread, which is vegan and dairy-free and made from virgin coconut oil, flaxseed and sunflower, palm fruit and canola oils. It is AMAZING. After just a week, my entire family has started reaching for it instead of butter to spread on bread and toast. It tastes better than butter and is actually good for you, so you can eat it guilt-free! It isn’t sold in all food stores, but you can buy it in Wegmans and Target for sure.


Just like the cute and quick breakfast that I had this morning, getting creative with your food really can help you reach your health and fitness goals. Be on the lookout for some new quick and easy healthy recipes coming soon to The Classy Cook section! xx

Stay Classy! xx

Be The Best Version of You #liveLIVELY

These past few months I’ve become way more active and appreciative of the wonderful natural activities (and food!) that the world has to offer. Even if it is just going for a quick walk in the park, working out in my my apartment or taking a pilates class I have put in a conscious effort to increase the physical activity in my life because I’ve realized that it is directly connected to me being the best and happiest version of myself. This being said, as most workout fanatics can relate to, it doesn’t take much to convince me to wear my workout clothes all day – to make sure that I get my workout in at night if my morning is too busy. This passion for being active has also been coupled with a heightened interest and understanding of fashion, which I gained through the Fashion and Philosophy classes I took while in London. My new dilemma became the need to find an active-inspired brand that was both comfortable and fashionable – this is where LIVELY stepped in.


When they first reached out to my about doing a partnership I was unsure of what their philosophy was. They claimed to be an athleisure brand that blurred the lines of lingerie, activewear and swim creating their own term “Leisuree.” After doing a bit of research I began to understand what the brand stood for and who it means to cater to, and I fell in love with it. LIVELY is a brand that is inspired by what makes women sexy – being smart, healthy, active and outgoing. It aspires to inspire and empower women to live life doing what they love, with the people they love. This is definitely something I can get behind.


The brand just launched a few months ago, but it already has awesome products on the market made from the highest quality materials. LIVELY owns its own factory and is able to control the entire process of making their garments, which ensures the quality of the pieces and good conditions of the workers. I love the Birds of Paradise T-Shirt Bra and the Geo-Lace Bralette which is perfect to wear with comfy loungewear or while doing yoga.

Being active makes my quality of life better because I am happier, healthier and more confident. Having a go-to outfit that makes me look great and feel comfortable in, both while working out and relaxing, is something that makes my day easier and contributes to my confidence. It is taking note of little details like this that will help you change your quality of life as well, and when you start to act on them, you will be on your way to being the best version of yourself you can be!

Stay Classy & #liveLIVELY! xx


Barcelona, Spain Day #3

It was not until my trip to Barcelona that I realized the incredible beauty and influence that Antoni Gaudi brought to the city. It is because of him that Barcelona is more than just a lovely Spanish beach town, his contributions to the city – La Sagrada Familia, Gaudi House and Parque Guell – give Barca a different and contemporary character that I had not seen anywhere else in Europe. The city’s essence glows with Gaudi’s personality, from the color choices of the apartments to the quirky trees and shops. To see how much influence one man’s vision brought to this city is impressive and reminds us how one person really can make a difference in the world.

Everyone was ready for an early start on our last day in Barcelona. We walked back to Brunch and Cake with a friend we had made at the hostel. The line this time was much longer but the greeter told us our wait would only be forty five minutes max. It was not long before I started to realize that she was seating people who had come after us and kept tacking on minutes to our wait time. I spoke with her twice about this before understanding that she was seating the locals first – I told her that I wanted my pineapple acai bowl, but not if she was going to discriminate against American tourists. It goes without saying that we were seated in the next five minutes. Out of the nine countries that I visited these past 6 months, this was the rudest instance of tourist discrimination that I encountered.

Although the service left much to be desired, the Pineapple Acai Smoothie Bowl was to die for.


Bellies full and much less grumpy, my group walked to the Metro Station and passed the Gaudi House along the way. If it wasn’t for the herd of tourists snapping photos in from of it, there was a good chance that we would have missed it by not looking up. It was in a busy area of the city and was set up like a regular apartment. Of course, when you actually looked, it had so much detail and typical eccentric Gaudi personality in the shapes of the windows and balcony and the colors of the designs painted all over the structure. It was an art and architectural masterpiece.


Getting into the Metro was a bit more exciting than usual. In every other country you either tap or swipe your Metro or Oyster card on the right hand side and enter on the left. Out of habit, this is what I did getting on the Metro in Barcelona, only to realize that it was the opposite. I had inserted my ticket on the right side and the turnstile to my right had opened. I darted over and got my right leg over just in time, unfortunately meaning that only my right leg had gotten through and my left leg was still on the other side of the barrier. I managed to get out of the trap, but had a horrible and painful black and blue bruise on the inside of my leg for the next few weeks as a souvenir!


As a lover of nature, mosaics and architecture, Parque Guell was a dream come true to visit. We first went into the woods area of the park and did the short hike up to the top of the hill, which brought us to a panoramic view of the city. The main area of the park full of incredible architectural art and mosaics was absolutely stunning and looked like something out of a futuristic society. The main building was eccentrically shaped incorporating curves and colors where you would least expect them. It was also incredibly grand and majestic – looking like a main palatial building straight out of the Hunger Games movies.


The mosaics were by far my favorite part of the park and incorporated so many tiny details that they were intricately beautiful and unique. The main bench of mosaics overlooked the beautiful city of Barcelona and the rest of the gingerbread looking Gaudi buildings in other parts of the park. It looked like an adorable candy land and really celebrates the culture and personality of the city.


My night ended with a typically delicious outing for our last paella and sangria in Spain, tapas and then later out to a Karaoke pub – something my friends and I fallen in love with since the beginning of college. My friend and I managed to get on the list to sing and closed down the pub with a “beautiful” rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer.” Shout out to NJ! We didn’t get back to the hostel until around 2am and we had to leave by 5am for our red eye flight back to London. After a quick nap we were on our way… Hasta luego Barcelona!


P.S. Don’t forget to enter “The Positivity Kit” Giveaway below! The winner will get a free “Positivity Kit” – part coloring book and part diary geared towards stress relief and positive thinking! – delivered to their doorstep. Be sure to enter before this upcoming Friday, June 17th! Good luck!! 🙂

Stay Classy! xx

Boost Your Mood This Summer + Giveaway!

Stress-relieving and meditative coloring books have been a big part of pop culture this past year. Apart from yoga and meditation, this is one of the first widespread mindfulness tactics that a significant part of the public has taken part in – which is awesome! Tapping into a mindfulness practice can sometimes be what helps a person attain a happier sense of self and a more positive outlook on the world. This is what many people aspire to achieve through yoga and meditation and now with coloring books and “positivity kits.”

Lisa Currie, the Australian illustrator of Me, You, Us and The Scribble Diary has come out with a new mindfulness geared book, The Positivity Kit. This book is part coloring book, part doodle journal and part diary. Its pages feature adorable illustrations and prompts that help us tap into the things that make us happy. Doing a page in the book each day is a practice that will result in increased inner peace and happiness.


The Positivity Kit is published under Penguin Random House and retails for $15. You can purchase a copy here OR enter the giveaway below to win a FREE copy delivered right to your doorstep! You can enter starting today until June 15th and the winner will be announced on the 16th! Unfortunately, we can only ship to U.S. residents so the giveaway will be U.S. only.


How To Enter The Giveaway:

You know you want it! And I’m making the giveaway entry requirements SUPER easy – so be sure to enter!

All you need to do is:

  1. Make sure you’re following this site!
  2. Invite 5 Facebook friends to like Class and the City’s Facebook Page
  3. Comment something that makes you happy!

Good Luck & Stay Classy! xx


Go (Coco)nuts for Tropical Hawaiian Hydration


The weather is finally nice out and it’s time to break out the summer clothes. As the sun starts shining brighter and spring turns into summer (in just a few days!) we are going to start spending more time outdoors. Before we know it we’ll be flaunting a springtime glow and a carefree summer attitude. Weekend beach trips and walks in the park never sounded so refreshing! Of course this also means that we will start to feel the impact of the sun on our skin – and it’s never too early to start preparing a hydrating regimen.

It is so important to hydrate during the warmer months, both by drinking a ton of fluids – be on the lookout for an upcoming post on the new water brand I’m obsessed with! – and by using skin moisturizers and exfoliators. Not only will these help you feel good but they will increase your skin’s elasticity and make it look great as well. I’ve always been one to try out a ton of different creams and lotion to find the perfect match and when I came across Ola Tropical Apothecary’s new Summer 2016 collection I realized I had found my perfect match!

Ola Tropical Apothecary is Hawaii’s first natural beauty line, where the products are all-natural and organic, locally sourced and sustainably grown in Hawaii. They are also made and packaged by local artisans and are an authentic part of the Hawaiian tropics that can now be found on my dresser! The summer collection ranges in products from Body Lotion to Bath Rituals and was inspired by ancient Hawaiian wisdom and tradition.

The products come in the following scents: Rainforest, Coconut, Pikake (Hawaiian Jasmine), Plumeria and Passion Fruit.


I tried out the Coconut Body Lotion and Coconut Sugar Body Polish and fell in love with them – nothing reminds me of summer like the amazing scent of coconut oil! When applied in the morning post-shower, the body lotion hydrates my legs for the entire day and I do not need to worry about dry, cracked skin. It is particularly great for post-sun use because the apothecaries blend Aloe Vera juice and Coconut Crème with Avocado, Mango, Passion Fruit and natural oils. The Aloe Vera is especially soothing to sunburnt skin.

The body polish exfoliates the skin all throughout the body and is a great and easy option to use every other day or every three days if you have more sensitive skin.

I love that this collection supports local Hawaiian businesses and that by purchasing these products we can support them as well, while at the same time getting our own little piece of beautiful Hawaii delivered right to our doorstep!

The Coconut Body Lotion retails for $29 for an 8oz bottle and the Coconut Sugar Polish retails for $30 for a 13oz container.

Stay Classy & Happy (Almost) Summer! xx