Breakfast in Amsterdam

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Breakfast in Amsterdam
I went to Amsterdam! If you have been following me on Instagram or Snapchat (@michellealicex), then you'll know that I visited the beautiful city with the girls for a few days and today I'm going to share with you a little outfit post along with this GORGEOUS place we had breakfast on the first day we arrived.
As 6am flights are not fun, we all dragged our suitcases along the streets of Amsterdam dying for some food and coffee and luckily enough, we came across this gem just down from Central Station. It's called Cafe de Paris and was just so pretty. Half an hour into the trip and 5 minutes after sitting down, I couldn't stop taking pictures of the place haha.

The decor was amazing, so Instagrammable!
The girls all got the eggs but I had to get the acai bowl. I've been eating them nearly everyday at home so I jumped at the chance of having another one.

As for my outfit, this is what I wore on the plane. I wanted to wear my warmest and heaviest items so I'd have more room in my case however it worked in my favour because Amsterdam is SO cold at this time of year. My whole outfit is Penney's with a little ASOS, standard for me!

Coat- Penney's
Jumper- Penney's
Jeans- Penney's
Boots- ASOS (sold out)

Stay tuned for my Amsterdam Photo Diary- coming Thursday!

The Type of Bloggers That I Appriciate

Sunday, 22 January 2017

The Type of Bloggers That I Appriciate
Self reflection is key when it comes to growth. Through procrastination before my exams, I recently started scrolling through some of my favourite blogs more than ever. I would end up on these sites spending my time admiring the content and just having a really good experience reading about what they had to say. I was then struck with the thought, I'd love people to have this feeling when reading my blog. I just had the feeling of content and enjoyment while scrolling through their content and I'd love if people had the same experience with mine.

At the end of the day, everyone is different and this is just my opinion, but today I wanted to share with you types of bloggers that I appreciate and aspects of their blog that just make them so good.

A very difficult thing to do if you're a blogger and post quite frequently because sometimes you just don't have all that much to say but there is nothing better than coming away from someones post and having gained something from it. Wether that be learning a little bit more about the person or just hearing their opinion on the topic, it is just so refreshing to gain something from reading a blog, especially if you're a busy bee. Retro Flame and The Little Plum are perfect examples of this!

There is nothing worse than knowing another blogger is only saying that they love every single product when you know they just got sent it all. There is a certain amount of 'sucking up' to brands and PR companies that I see going on and it is so disheartening. I know the product was sent to them, because I too got the press release in my email but non bloggers don't know that. Receiving freebees is a huge part of what we do, but transparency is the key part of it. Let everyone know you got that for free, half the time that might not even impact what you have to say about it, but in my opinion, its just the way to go. It is so refreshing when someone is being 100% honest about a product or an experience and it makes that person so much more trustworthy. 

For me, I'm all about the aesthetics and making sure things look good. I find such joy in looking at a variety of beautifully constructed, bright photographs especially of clothing. I know personally that I have an eye for capturing a good photograph so it is just an interest of mine that I have. In my opinion you don't need a DSLR or the latest Olympus Pen to achieve this, as long as it has a good composition and just works. 

I thought that I'd share this outfit today too, the main focus on the shoes. I debated on whether to get them for ages because I didn't think they would suit me, but I love them! Even better, I got them when ASOS had their 20% off for students. I paired them with these jeans from Penneys, which are so comfortable and this top from Bershka which I got in the sale for just €7.99! My jacket is really old from H&M and my sunglasses are from Penney's, I'm obsessed with them.

I hope you enjoyed this post and have a wonderful day ✨

The Only Pink Lip I'll Ever Wear

Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Only Pink Lip I'll Ever Wear
Pink lipstick was one thing I was always like NOPE. My skin tone is weird, let's just say I'm not the person who can pull off every shade that MAC has to offer but I still love everything on the stand. 

I can't even pull of most nude lipsticks, even MAC's Creme Cup, the nude that suits everyone washes me out but hey, I'm fine with it. As nudes don't even suit me, when the concept of pink lipstick came around I was like nope.. That was until MAC's 'All Fired Up' came into my life.

I picked it up in Gatwick Airport about two years ago and boy am I glad I did. That was back in the day when MAC lipstick's were all the rage and everyone was out to get every shade of every formula. I'm not going to rave about this lipstick and tell you that it's the best formula I have ever tried, because it's not.. It is a retro matte and extremely drying, but it looks pretty and that's all that matters right??

I love a bold lip, but I think this is the only pink lipstick that'll truly have my heart.

Here's a lowdown of what else is on my face..

Primer- Two Faced Hangover Primer
Foundation- MAC Studio Fix Fluid
Concealer- MAC Pro Longwear
Undereye Corrector- Urban Decay Naked Corrector in Peach
Powder- Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder
Bronzer- Too Faced Nudie Eyeshadow
Blush- Milani Baked Blush in Berry Armore
Highlighter- Becca's Champagne Pop
Eyeshadow- Urban Decay Ultimate Naked Basics & Makeup Geek's 'Grandstand' 
Mascara- Covergirl Lash Blast
Lashes- SOSU's 'Katie'
Eyebrows- Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade

So go out, and buy a new lipstick.. You deserve it girl.

Little Changes for 2017

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Little Changes for 2017
Wether it be fitness related or lifestyle, the new year brings so many goals and huge expectations for the year ahead. Even though I love the new year and all the new goals and fresh starts it brings with it, sometimes I get a bit over enthusiastic and end up failing quite quickly. I discussed my blog goals more in my first post of the year, The Dream 2017, but lifestyle wise, I wanted to share some of the little changes that I'm making to my life this year (or for the moment anyway haha) and some things that you should do too.

Stop using the car so much.. 
This is going to be a difficult one. Since getting my drivers licence about a year and a half ago, I've become more and more reliant on driving to get me where I need to go. As I live in Dublin, public transport is everywhere, especially in my area so I have no excuse not to get the train to college or get the bus into town. I want to walk more too, I should really be walking to work as it is so close so thats the number one change I'm making. 

Save every €5 note I receive..
I saw this trick on Facebook a few weeks ago and I thought it was a really good idea. Every time you are given a €5 note, whether that be from change or just from being given it, put it away and save it. I have so many things to save for at the moment so I'm going to implement this and see how well I get on by the time summer rolls around. 

Drink a detox tea..
A few weeks ago I started drinking YO Tea* instead of my regular green tea. Yo Tea is a teatox which aids weight loss, boosts your metabolism and detoxes your body. I really enjoyed it as it tasted just like green tea and it made me feel less bloated. It has all natural ingredients in it too, so it is a great way to start the new year off right and it'll help you if you have started 2017 off with a plan to lose weight!

Make more use of my time.. 
Stop aimlessly scrolling on Facebook and get shit done.. YouTube will be there after you finish up what you're doing! Social media can just suck you in but it is important to prioritise what you're doing.

I hope you enjoyed this post, I can't believe I'm still going strong with my posting schedule!

I'm Over It..

Thursday, 12 January 2017

I'm Over It..
When it comes to clutches, I don't branch out too much. I have my trusty ASOS woven clutch in both black and cream and they go with every outfit that I can imagine. As much as I love them, (especially the black one), sometimes I wish I had something else that would stand out a bit against a more minimalistic outfit. Basically, I'm over my plain clutches and I want to try something new. 

If you follow me on Instagram, Facebook or if you're a regular reader, you'll know that a few weeks ago I attended the opening of the Grafton Street & Other Stories store, the sister store to COS and H&M. I did a whole post about it and shared a few of my favourite pieces that I saw on the day. 

Two pieces that caught my eye were a GORGEOUS pair of pointed ankle boots, which are still on my wish list by the way and this beaut of a clutch.. 

Luckily my mam saw all of the pictures from the day and knew how much I loved it so she sneakily bought it for me for Christmas! Delighted.

Yeah the bag is a bit out there, but I don't know what it is, I just love it. I can think of so many ways to wear it so I'm so excited for all the outfit posts and Instagrams that it'll be featured in! Although I love my ASOS clutches and I'll continue to wear them to death, I think this is the start of me branching out a little bit, bag wise!

A bit of a random one, but thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed!

J1 Tips, Advice & What to Expect

Sunday, 8 January 2017

J1 Tips, Advice & What to Expect
So you're thinking of going on a J1? You have come to the right place. Today I'm going to share with you some of my advice and tips all about the programme.

A little background- So in the summer of 2016 I jetted off to San Diego to spend three months working as a host in a restaurant and to experience life stateside.

Location wise, I'm a bit biased. There are so many places you can go on a J1, practically you can go anywhere in the US. Depending on what you're looking for, different places can be good for different things but in my opinion San Diego is an all rounder. Perfect weather, beaches on your doorstep, a relaxed atmosphere and great nightlife. Plus, so many Irish head there every summer so there is a huge J1 community. My only con would have to be the public transport, it really isn't great as it took us all basically an hour to commute to work but we made it work and it wasn't a very big problem. 

When trying to figure out what company to go with to get your visa can be tough, there are pros and cons to them all.

I did the J1 work and travel summer visa with USIT- they are very expensive but I've heard horror stories about other agencies and USIT seem to come up trumps if there are any issues. My advice- push them. They told us that there was too many people going to San Diego, but we firmly told them that is where we wanted to go and there was no problems. Bargain with them too, tell them you have friends going with other companies who got things for cheaper and they'll bargain with you- I saw that a lot, especially if you need to change flights going home. I am so happy that I went with USIT, they provided me with a sense of security as they helped if your job wasn't working out, with flights and any advice you need. Some other companies just threatened to deport some people when they lost their job or had any sort of complications. Also, buy the insurance plans, you never know when you'll need it!

Overall though, I'd recommend going with USIT, they get the job done and help you tremendously along the way.

Ok now that I have that explained, I'll share some tips and advice..

How much money do you think you need? Bring more. To be honest, you can't have enough money going stateside. So many situations will arise that you never even would have thought of and budgeted for. Even though you will have a job pre-arranged, you need to remember that you may not get paid for a few weeks, you need a security deposit for accommodation and if you're new place comes unfurnished, you need to allow to buy whatever you need to live (air mattresses and a shower curtain, all the essentials haha). How much you bring is up to you, but make sure you don't leave yourself short. 

As hard as it may be ladies, don't overpack. I brought a huge suitcase and a carry on- it was just an inconvenience. Take a long look at all of the clothes you're bringing and make sure you'll get a lot of use out of them all. For me, there was a few pairs of shorts, playsuits and dresses that I gravitated towards and there was plenty of clothes that I could have left at home. 

Quit it if you're not happy. I was quite unlucky in my job where it was quite unreliable with the shifts, I got 2 definite shifts a week and every other day I'd be rostered in for a 'You Call Us' which meant I had to call them at a certain time to see if I'm needed (which I never was) but if I was I would have to be there within an hour. As it took me an hour to get to work I couldn't really make set plans. In hindsight, although it would have been a stress to quit that job and find a new one, I should have done that. As I didn't get many hours, my own money I brought kept me afloat however it meant I had to come home early as I had no money to travel. It wasn't all bad though, I had so much fun exploring San Diego and doing everything I could there so I don't have any regrets. 

Apart from a trip to San Francisco (photo diary is here), the Grand Canyon and a trip to Vegas, I didn't get to do the full, post J1 travelling that everyone seems to do. Don't get me wrong, I'm so glad that I got to do the travel that I did but as I touched on before, I just didn't have the money to do any more. If you learn one thing from this post- save money while you're there to travel, it's a great way to end your few months away!

A bit of a random tip but it makes all of the difference to the beginning of your trip. Unlock your phone long before you leave or buy one over there! USIT gave me an American SIM card before I left so it was very easy experience, until I realised the day before I left that my phone wasn't unlocked and wouldn't accept a new SIM card.. Having to connect to wifi to access the internet can become the biggest pain while trying to source accommodation so save yourself the stress and get your phone unlocked well in advance.. That means if there is any issue you can sort it out in Ireland rather than trying to do it while you're there on a different time zone. 

Although you can do the J1 so many different ways, as accommodation is so expensive, you will probably be living quite minimalistically to say the least. My apartment may have been an exception, I think depending on how much you want to pay will determine what you'll be living like and judging by the amount we paid, it really reflects how we were living. Even though it was a tight squeeze,  and generally just in bits, none of us complained about it and to be honest, when we were living in it, it didn't affect us at all and we actually really enjoyed living there. Just be prepared to live with a lot of people in a small space- don't let that turn you off though, it's a short term situation that you come accustomed to very quickly.. Plus, its great craic!

Now for a few points about finding ACCOMMODATION
Trying to find somewhere to live was truly the most heartbreaking thing but looking back it was a hilarious experience. We messed up big time when it came to this subject so I'm going to leave you with a few points so that you can learn from my mistakes.. 
  • Don't pay money up front: Whether this be if you found accommodation before you go and you want to put a down payment or, like us, when you want a place but haven't signed any paperwork for it yet. You never know who you're giving it to, it's most likely a lot of money on the line so make sure it's going to the right person who will give you a good place to live.
  • Start the search at home: Have a look for places to live before you go, talk to people who have gone before and get recommendations and have an idea of where to start. You'll burn through money staying in motels night by night so get it sorted as soon as you can.
  • Utalise Facebook: Find people to live with before you go.. Unless you're going with a huge group, you're not going to know the people you live with so join a few J1 Facebook groups and get searching. It's a risky one that can go any way, luckily our house all got on so well and we were all on the same page about things but we all met through Facebook! I put up a post in one of the groups that I was looking for someone to take us in and I received a message from one of the lads saying they were looking for somewhere to live too- it started from there!
  • Use Hotwire: Hotwire gives you really cheap temporary accommodation so whether you use it while you're looking for a permanent place to live or you're visiting a new city- it's a very handy website to use! 
All of these accommodation tips will help you save money, which as I mentioned, you can eat through over the first few weeks of being there.

As a twenty year old going on a J1, I have to admit I was worried. With the legal age for drinking being 21 I didn't know what to expect and how much the law would be enforced. Let me tell you- it is heavily enforced with certain exceptions. Due to the fact that pre drinks was always the best part of the night and the fact that we drank at home a lot, it really didn't hinder my experience that much. I think it really could though, I do wish I had have been 21 but I had such a good time that I don't think it was a problem.. However that was just the situation I was in. So my advice, wait until you're 21 but if you want to go on a J1, just go, don't let your age hold you back! 
Side Note: Don't go to Vegas though, you won't get in anywhere hahah.

And my last piece of advice..
If you're reading this post pondering about the idea of going on a J1, do it. The experience was amazing, I had the best summer of my life and have no regrets about it. Don't let numbers hold you back either, you don't need a big group to go. I went with just one person, my best friend Lizzy and we are so glad that we just took the leap of faith and just went for it when nobody else did. 

So there you have it, my tips and advice for your summer of a lifetime! I do wish I knew these things before I went, but looking back on it, I wouldn't change any of it because it was such a laugh along the way.

If you need further advice or want to ask me any particular questions, feel free to reach out to me on all of my social media links below!

Best of luck on your J1!

If Only it was Paris

Thursday, 5 January 2017

If Only it was Paris
So far so good, I'm following my new blog schedule (even though this is only my second post into 2017.. It's crazy what you can do with a bit of planning haha.
I always feel extra spendy around this time of year, I think its all the money I have thanks to working more than usual and then receiving money around Christmas in general. One problem I have though is that I can't deal with sales.. Too many people and a messy shop floor are a duo that I just can't deal. I'm so bad at routing for items so lets just say this time of the year is just not the time for me. The struggle is real at the moment to just wait it out for the new Spring/ Summer gear to hit the shops.

As I wait it out, I decided to share with you a quick outfit with a few pieces which I already had in my wardrobe. To me this outfit looks very Parisian, from the stripes, collar and the trench coat it all ties together to look that way. If only I was in Paris though, I wish! Paris is definitely on my 2017 travel bucket list, I really hope I get there because although I went when I was very young, its a place I really want to go and experience now. 

Well there you have it, my first outfit post of 2017.. Not my favourite but my mam will have to do as a photographer for now until my gal Ailbhe comes home from France next month haha.

Top- Topshop
Coat-  Zara
Lipstick- MAC Russian Red
Jeans- Topshop
Boots- ASOS

The Dream 2017

Sunday, 1 January 2017

The Dream 2017

Happy New Year all! Being the first day of the year and a fresh start, what better way than to start 2017 with a blog post all about my plans for the year and a little reflection. After seeing Retro Flame's post about this last year, I thought I'd do the same- share my goals for Michelle Alice and what I personally want to achieve.

2016 was amazing- for both my blog life and personal life. I had the best semesters in college with all of my friends as well as spending the summer in San Diego- it was a good one!

Blog wise, I couldn't be happier. 2016 marked the year where I stepped up a notch, started sharing my blog on social media, making friends and all in all stepping out of my comfort zone. I never really knew what would come out of sharing my blog on social media. I ditched my second Instagram account and just used my personal one instead. My blog is probably the most 'me' thing I have ever done. All my life I tried out new hobbies, from drama to sport I didn't like any of them. For years I did things to please others *cough* playing camogie for years just because I knew how much my dad loved to be involved *cough*. Although I'm glad I stuck with it, it wasn't something I loved doing for me. The blog opened so many doors for me, getting invites to big events and I even got shortlisted for two awards in the Littlewoods Ireland Blog Awards 2016! Something I never knew to be possible.

Another thing I did was find so many blogging friends over the year. ITWBN is an amazing network and because of them I met so many amazing girls. Events can be daunting, when you look around and see so many people who know each other, going alone can make you feel like a fish out of water.. ITWBN events are a different story however, everyone is so lovely and supportive. Instagram is another amazing platform- its crazy how comfortable you can be with people that you just know through posting posey filtered pictures haha.

So my goals for 2017?
  • Keep growing your Instagram- you'll get to where you want to be with a bit of patience.. Don't be such a perfectionist either, just post more often!
  • Keep up the frequent blog posts- In December I really found my groove so that needs to be kept going!
  • Meet even more likeminded bloggers- There is nothing better than finding people who love documenting everything and taking Instagrams as much as you.
  • Find a perfect blog design that you're 100% happy with.
  • Do more of what scares you.
  • Believe in yourself and don't let anything hold you back from what you want to achieve.

So thats it, again Happy New Year and I wish you all the best in 2017. Thank you for the continued support, it means the world to me that you're on this journey with me. Here's to an amazing year!