24 Hrs In Miami

Spontaneous trips are 100% the best kinds of trips.

My friend, Chelsea, and I were feeling adventurous and decided to head to Miami for the weekend. This little 4 hr road trip was by far the best one I have ever been on!

Our first stop was West Palm Beach: City Place

City Place is in Downtown West Palm Beach and is a beautiful place to shop and dine.

Our next stop was Subculture Coffee, also downtown.IMG_3606

Subculture Coffee was the most adorable café I have ever been to! I got a delicious cappuccino with lavender syrup and almond milk. Chelsea got an iced coffee and zucchini bread. YUM!

After spending some time in West Palm Beach, we headed one hour south to… Miami!

West Palm Beach is a very beautiful area, but nothing beats Miami!

Our first stop was Wynwood Walls.

 

This a completely free thing to do in Miami and I highly recommend visiting the Walls if you enjoy photography and/or art!

 

They even have fun exhibitions where you can purchase the art!

After a while, we got hungry so we wandered down the street and came across The Wynwood Marketplace.

 

Chelsea and I were offered free Goya tacos and we just couldn’t resist. And I, of course, had to get a fresh agua de coco (coconut water)!

There are so many adorable boutiques and restaurants around the Wynwood area. We stumbled upon this super cute plant shop! It was perfect for an outdoorsy photo op!

 

After walking some more, we decided to get some doughnuts because why not! So we popped into The Salty Doughnut.

They have the most beautiful doughnuts I have ever seen. The line was out the door and wrapping around the building so we knew we had to get one. I had the Guava + Cheese doughnut. It was so good that I ate all of it and forgot to take a picture. LOL

 

The rest of the day was spent at South Beach.

It was definitely not as beautiful as the beaches near Tampa, but nothing beats the city atmosphere of Miami. I even got a nice tan.

 

Before it was time to leave, Chelsea and I stopped at the Design district to visit the famous AMAZONICA where we got a pineapple Oblea.

It is a traditional snack from Mexico, similar to a wafer with pineapple, condensed milk, and whipped cream! It was so good.

 

By the end of the day, we were stuffed and the 4-hour car ride was a struggle, but we made it home safe and sound. It was a weekend we will definitely not forget!

10 Steps To Starting Your Own Blog

Next month will be exactly two years since I started blogging!

I have learned so many things from my blog, so I thought I’d share some tips for anyone who is interested in creating one! One of my favorite things about blogging is that you can be as creative as you want with your website! My blog has served as a creative outlet for me where I can write about whatever comes to mind. It has also created many opportunities for me as an Influencer! Here are my top 10 tips for starting a blog:

     1. Decide on your niche

Before you even decide what you want to call your blog, I think it’s important that you decide what kind of blog you want to have! It can be anything from fashion to travel, or you can even call it a lifestyle blog and write about all aspects of your life. I consider mine to be primarily a travel & language blog, but I don’t limit my site to only these types of posts.

     2.  Pick your name

When deciding your name, the options are endless. I decided to go with my actual name because I didn’t have any other ideas in mind 😉 If you are considering getting a domain name, like mine (amandamaxim.com), do your research on the type of plan you want.

      3. Chose your plan

On WordPress there are 4 plans:

  • Free: with this plan you’ll get a free website and a limited amount of free themes, great for newby bloggers!
  • $4/mo Personal: this plan comes with a free domain name, also great for newby bloggers if you want your own domain name!
  • $8/mo Premium: (this is the plan I have) comes with your own domain name and unlimited premium themes!
  • $25/mo Business: this very advanced plan comes with your own domain name, advanced designs, PlugIns, and much more!

When starting off, I recommend using the free plan until you get the hang of the WordPress settings. Once you’re comfortable creating posts and customizing your site, the rest is up to you!Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.09.25 PM

      4. Set up your Menu

Once you chose your theme, you’ll have to set up a menu to organize the location of your posts. On my blog, I have 5 parts to my menu: Home, Videos, About + Contact, Français, & Destinations. This part will be up to you to decide how you want to organize your blog. What I like about WordPress is that they make it very easy for you to customize the settings on your blog. To change your menu, go to Themes -> Customize -> Menus and then the rest is self-explanitory!Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.11.16 PM

     5. Write your first post

Coming up with your first blog post might take some brainstorming. I remember my first blog post was about me introducing myself to my non-existent readers at the time 😉 Remember to stay consistent with your posts. I try to write a new post once a week. I really like using http://www.trello.com to help me plan and schedule my blog posts.Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.29.30 PM.png

    6. Take quality photos 

This part of blogging is just as important as the actual post you are writing. It’s important to take good quality photos. You readers will be more likely to actually read your posts if you have unique and interesting pictures! This is especially important for the “Feature Image” on your blog which is the photo the reader sees before they click on the post. Most of the time, I use my iPhone to take the photos and videos you see on my blog. This is the most convenient form of photography for me. I also like using http://www.canva.com if I don’t have any pictures for a blog post that I am writing. It’s great for advertising posts.Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.24.23 PM.png

    7. Make videos 

I like creating different content for my blog to keep it exciting. One of the ways I do this is by taking videos of my adventures! The $8 WordPress Plan I have does not allow me to upload videos directly to my blog so I have to download the video on YouTube first, and then paste the link on my blog for it to show up! I use iMovie to edit all of my videos.Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.12.02 PM

     8. Share on other social media platforms

One of the ways I have increased my number of readers is by sharing my blog posts with my friends and family on social media like Instagram and Facebook. I also use BlogLovin’ and Pinterest to share my posts with others around the world. Don’t be afraid to reach out to bloggers (locally or internationally) and ask them for tips or for collaborations! (Collaborations are great if you’re looking to partner up with another blogger or brand that has similar interests as you and co-write posts together).Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 3.12.44 PM

      9. Try out new Settings/ Themes 

I am constantly changing my blog theme and I’m always looking for new ways to display my blog posts. I think learning how to blog is a never-ending learning experience. Pinterest is a great tool to use when looking for tips and tricks on how to update/ change up your blog! There are countless Bloggers that use Pinterest to share their blogging tips!

    10. Have fun!

Especially for newby bloggers, don’t forget to have fun! Don’t stress about the number of views you are getting from the beginning. The most important thing to remember is to create content that you love and the rest will come naturally!

Happy Blogging!

Amanda

 

P.S. Be sure to follow me on Instagram @amandamaxim

5 Things College Has Taught Me

With one month left of the semester, I decided I’d write about my freshman year of college. These past 10 months have without a doubt been the most challenging yet rewarding of my life.

  1. Get Involved! 

Since the start of my fall semester, I have created friendships with people who have inspired and encouraged me to shoot for the stars. I became involved in many organizations on campus:

  • UT Diplomats (Student Ambassador)
  • Student Productions Marketing, Recreation, and Diveristy committees
  • Women Business Professions Association
  • Tennis Club

The people I have met through these clubs have truly impacted my freshman year in a very positive way. I learned that college is much more than staying up all night studying (or partying). I realized that the next 3 years are going to pass by super quick and its up to me to take advantage of the time I have to make a future for myself.

2. Challenge Yourself! 

My first semester was exciting, but my second semester was even more so. I applied to be a Resident Assitant and was offered the position for the 2018-2019 school year. I also applied for Student Productions exec board and will serve as the Special Events Chair for the next year. I will be planning Homecoming for the students at the University of Tampa!!

3. Reach out to those who inspire you

These achievements inspired me to dig even deeper and see what else I could accomplish within the last few months of my freshman year of college, so I reached out to a young female entrepreneur (Natasha from Sol Studio) whose work ethic I admired. I conducted an informational interview and was later on offered an internship for summer! I am so excited for this opportunity! I also got a summer job (my first job!) to keep me busy. 😉

4. Don’t let the hard times get you down

These are some of my favorite accomplishments this year, but I also had some very difficult times. Even though I was constantly being surounded with other students my age, I felt lonely at times. I like to think it was because of my “reverse- culture shock” coming back to the USA from France. That alone was a huge struggle during the first few months of college.

Since then, things started progressively getting better and better! I can already tell my sophomore year is going to exceed the level of fun I’ve had this year. I think the most important lesson I learned during my freshman year is that things will always get better as long as you trust yourself and make an effort. I kept telling myself this through out this roller coaster of a year and it has motivated me to stay positive. I think this method worked really well considering all of the things I have done to get me out of my comfort zone!

5. Set Goals

During this whole time I also managed to maintain a 4.0 GPA! This just goes to show that if you set goals, the sky is the limit!!Processed with VSCO with g3 preset3A554C67-46D3-469D-BEE9-E57615C4EB22818A7943-FF72-4774-8B01-421FEEBFC5CAC104A4D6-258B-473E-BB4B-851654D8E9AE91CE1429-781B-4758-A9F0-24B1412484C902E2687C-844D-4020-905A-6F1A06CDB136P.S. I’d like to thank my parents and grammielicious for keeping me sane during this whole time!!

 

Yogahhh

Hello friends! I have some exciting news to share with you all!

If you didn’t already know, I am a yoga fanatic. I have been practicing for the last 5 years and have completely fallen in love with the fact that you can literally do it anywhere, without any equipment. I truly love practicing yoga and think it’s a super relaxing (yet very challenging) way to calm my mind and body. One of my favorite yoga memories is participating in Wanderlust; a mindful triathlon. This is an all-day event that consists of a 5k run, 1.5 hours of yoga, and 30 minutes of meditation. You can only imagine how sore I was the day after…

 

I have recently partnered up with Cuccio Somatology, a yoga-based business. I have fallen in love with their products! I especially love this brand becuase of their new approach to health and wellness. All of their products are made as natural as possible, so you know you’re only getting the best quality.

I’m really enjoying is their Yogahhh! Muscle Fitness Arnica Balm. This one is great for when you pushed yourself a little too hard and you need a little something to soothe your sore muscles. I really could’ve used this one the day of the yoga festival! This balm feels AMAZING on my back muscles!Cuccio_Somatology_Yogahhh_Muscle_Balm_grande_ad7e815e-619e-4709-84e9-5210a65ada24_grande.jpg

I have also been using their Fitness Equipment Cleansing Wipes. These are super convenient for travel. I take a pack with me to yoga and use it to wipe down my mat after class.White wet wipes package

I also really like their Cooling & Cleansing Active Body Wipes. I think this is such a great idea for yogis who don’t have time to take a shower right after class. I like to use them when I have to run to class after a quick yoga session. Bonus: they also smell really good!White wet wipes package

Thank you Cuccio Somatology for creating these awesome goodies for yogis! I’m looking forward to trying out your other products very soon!

download-1.png Be sure to check them out on Instagram! @CuccioSomatology

For more info: http://www.cucciosomatology.com

#GirlBoss

I recently had the privilege of meeting Sol Studio founder, Natasha Samuels.

Talk about a role model, Natasha is everything I strive to be and more!

Natasha is a Sarasota native and is currently a senior at USF graduating in May majoring in Public Relations. Natasha also owns her own business, Sol Studio!

She has studied abroad (TWICE) during her college career, so we bonded over the fact that study abroad is a life changing experience 😉

Here is what I found out about Natasha:

What is Sol Studio?

Sol Studio is a digital marketing boutique. She works on digital marketing, social media management, and digital content creation to name a few!

As founder of Sol Studio, what do you do on a typical day?

Aside from being a student at USF, Natasha takes client calls, does social scheduling, brain storms content for her blog, responds to emails, and still makes time for a quick gym session!

What was your previous experience that led you to your current position?

Natasha has had 3 internships. Her most inspirational one being digital marketing, it has led to the creation of her current business.

What do you most value about your job?

The freedom and flexibility. Natasha enjoys being able to chose who she works with and when she works. Another bonus is that her company is travel- friendly, allowing her to pick up at a moments notice and travel whenever she wishes.

What is your motivation/ inspiration for success?

Natasha’s motivation is her happiness. She truly enjoys what she does. Her business makes her happy and brings fulfillment to her life. #goals

What advice would you give to someone who aspires to become an entrepreneur?

“Do it!”- Natasha believes in pursuing her dreams. She encourages others to be motivated and passionate about what they want to attain. She also stresses the importance of finding a good mentor and having internships for experience!

What new belief or habit has impacted your life in the last 5 years to create a positive outcome?

Creating “Me time”- Natasha believes it is very important to set aside time during her day completely dedicated to herself. She does this by turning off the notifications on her phone or taking an hour to work out and clear her mind.

What is one of the most worthwhile investments you have made?

Creating a workspace at home motivates Natasha to work hard and has helped her be productive.

If you wrote a book, what would it be called and why?

Study Abroad: The amazing opportunity of living in a foreign country and how it changes your life” and “Entrepreneurship: The journey to success”

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Be sure to follow Sol Studio on Instagram @solstudiomarketing

http://www.solstudiomarketing.com/

 

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I loved getting to know Natasha from Sol Studio! She is a true role model for young, female entrepreneurs! Thank you, Natasha!

Welcome to Tampa, Florida

 

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The famous Tampa Theatre
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Beautiful downtown Tampa at sunset
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Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park
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The Tampa River Walk

Hello friends!

I recently moved to Tampa, Florida where I am studying International business and Marketing at the University of Tampa. I moved in just over 2 weeks ago and am loving every second of my time here. So much change has been happening! I am learning so many things, meeting new people, and exploring all of the opporunities that Tampa has to offer! I feel so lucky to have the opportunity to study on such a beautiful campus. Everyday I am in awe as I walk to class. I ‘m also really enjoying my classes! I am taking Spanish (which is a necessity living in Florida) and an Intro to Global Business course that I find so cool!

I have already explored so much of the Tampa area, from the Straz Center of the Performing Arts, to the bay, to Channelside, to the downtown Tampa area, and the Riverwalk. Tampa has so many fun things to offer its residents and tourists alike!  I also have to mention the new friends I made here!! I’ve only been on campus for 2 weeks and I already feel like I have known my friends for years! This year couldn’t get any better!… until the hurricane came.

By now, I’m sure many people are aware of hurricane Irma and the potential damage it may bring to the state of Florida. Luckily, I have evacuated from the Tampa area and am staying at a friend’s house in Jacksonville, FL. I was just starting to get into the groove of this “college lifestyle” and now a whole week of school is canceled due to the hurricane. Being from Ohio, I have never experienced a hurricane, therefore I have no idea what to expect. I’m just wating and hoping for the best becuase I want to get back to UT as soon as possible! But as they say, “life’s a journey,” so I’m just here for the ride!

I’m wishing the best for eveyone still in Florida, stay safe!

I’ll keep this post updated with news!

UPDATE:

The hurricane has passed and all is good! Actually, Jacksonville got hit a lot wore than Tampa, it was mostly lots of flooding and tornados. But the day after the storm passed was beautiful! Lots of sunshine, so we’re heading back to Tampa 🙂

Xoxo,

Amanda

Oi Brasil: Belo Horizonte, Brazil

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Pastel: a Brazilian fried cheese snack
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Belo Horizonte skyline at sunset
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Açaí bowls

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Fresh coconut water

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Bom dia / Hello!

I recently had the opportunity to travel to Brazil to visit my family. For anyone who doesn’t know, I am half-Brazilian, half-American. My mother was born and raised in Brazil and came to the US when she was 18 as a high school exchange student with Rotary International. I have been to Brazil several times to visit family and friends, but this time was different. I stayed in Minas Gerais for 10 days, visiting family and friends. Along this trip I learned a few things!

  1. South America is nothing like Europe

I had been to Brazil many, many times but it wasn’t until I went back recently and realized how different the lifestyle in Brazil is compared to France and the US! Brazil being a ‘developing country’ is working on economic advancement but currently has a lot of pollution, poverty, and corruption. After talking to my aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc they explained to me that the streets of many beautiful cities such as Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are extremely dangerous. This is because of the favelas, or slums, where gangs fight against each other.

        2. The food is amazing

On a lighter note, Brazilian cuisine is AMAZING! A typical dish includes rice, black beans, a tomato and pepper salad, and meat. Brazilians absolutely love their meat. And desserts are even better! My personal favorite is Passion fruit mousse! And I can’t forget the açaí bowls- this delicious amazon berry smoothie is topped with granola, bananas, strawberries… whatever your heart desires!

        3. The people are friendly

Ok not everysingle person you meet in Brazil is friendly, just like anywhere else in the world however, Brazilians are very welcoming… and they’ll take any excuse to party. It seems like every time I go to Brazil, there’s a party or dinner to go to! It’s a part of Brazilian culture, they love to celebrate life! Most of the parties start very late, around 8pm or ever later and contiue all throughout the night!

I have been very fortunate to have been able to travel to many countries this year, but Brazil will always have a special place in my heart. I hope to spend a semester abroad in Florianopolis during my studies as a student at the University of Tampa.

Any questions about Brazilian culture or future travels to this beautiful country, feel free to leave a question below!

XOXO,

Amanda