What I Wore from Rent the Runway (October)

If you’ve been wondering how fashion bloggers afford so many new, on-trend, designer pieces, I’m gonna tell you a little secret. Or better yet, give away the secret of all fashion bloggers. We all rent our clothes and accessories from Rent the Runway!

I just recently signed up for an unlimited subscription with Rent the Runway now that I’m earning an adult income. Lets be real, what college student can afford spending $180 a month on rented pieces!? However, as an adult, this is pretty affordable for an unlimited wardrobe filled with pieces for work, date nights, exploring the city, and special occasions.

I figured I should show each piece I rent in a month and share my review of it, how I styled it, and where I wore it. So here it is!

For Work…

Rent the Runway skirt

Here I am wearing a Faux Suede Flare Skirt by Slate & Willow. I ordered a size 4, my typical size, and it fit like a glove. The color was a beautiful rich brown and the length was just perfect on my 5 foot 7 frame. This is perfect with a black top and black accessories, emphasizing the chestnut color. It is the perfect piece if you have a corporate job and want to look professional but still in touch with the fall trends.

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Here I am wearing the Plaid Crop Flare Trousers by Derek Lam. I ordered a size 4 and they fit me to perfection. It amazes me that the pants I find on Rent the Runway fit me better than any of my own pants! You can’t quite see it in the picture, but the bottom of the pants are a bit darker in color than the top, making for a fun detail. Although these pants say flare, I wouldn’t call them that. They fit a bit looser around your calf but don’t necessarily flare in a dramatic way. As you can see in this photo, not only are they great for work, but you can dress them up for a night out.

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Here I am wearing the Unending Wrap Top by C/MEO Collective in a size medium, a size up from my normal size. This was one of my favorite pieces I rented this month because of the statement that it makes. The polka dots are super on trend and the puffy sleeves create some drama. I was able to wear it with some black slacks to work and even make it more casual for a day hanging around the city.

For Date Night…

denim dress- rent the runway

Here I am wearing the Denim Sammy Dress by AMUR in a size 4. This was another one of my favorite pieces I rented this month. I got tons of compliments on this dress because of the unique sleeves and ruffles. I wore this to a concert and it’s surprisingly super comfy. The denim was soft and stretchy, not stiff, which I often fear with denim.

rent the runway sweater

Here I am wearing the Maxwell Sweater by Parker in a size medium. Go a size up! I loved how simple yet flattering the slight v-neck and poofy sleeves were. I wore this to a Washington Capitals game, making me the most stylish fan at the game. I just HAD to rent this for the occasion since the colors matched perfectly!

For Exploring the City…

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Here is that same top by C/MEO Collective. This is the more laid-back look I created using the top. When paired with some sporty pants, sneakers and denim it becomes casual and fun.

Rent the Runway denim

Here I am wearing the Selena Mid Rise Crop Jeans by J Brand. While I did try these on in the New York City Rent the Runway store, I was surprised to find they fit me perfectly. I ordered my normal size, a 27, and they fit just right! I have such a hard time finding jeans that fit me so this was nothing short of a miracle. I kept these jeans for a good 3 weeks, integrating them into my everyday wardrobe.

Rent the Runway sweater

Here I am wearing the Multi Colorblock Sweater by Jil Sander. I sized down to an xs and it fit just right; but if you want an oversized fit order your normal size. This is one of those sweaters that is so ugly it’s cute. I loved the different colors weaved throughout it. It was super warm and the perfect crop for wearing with low-rise jeans. Definitely a good staple for everyday wear!

plaid- rent the runway

Here I am wearing the Plaid Dexter Top by Peterson. I ordered a medium, a size up from my typical size, and I’m happy I did. The waist wasn’t too tight and restricting, a complaint many people had. The flowy sleeves were super fun for a fall day at the pumpkin patch. I like to think this shirt was my version of a fall flannel.

plaid bomber- rent the runway

Here I am wearing a Checked Bomber Jacket by J.O.A. in a size small. I loved the style and pattern of this jacket, perfect for pairing with any basic pieces in your wardrobe. However, I did find this jacket to be very itchy and often uncomfortable. However, it may be fine to wear with long-sleeve tops or turtlenecks where it isn’t touching too much of your skin.

For Special Occasions…

sequin dress- rent the runway

Last but not least is the dress I wore for my Halloween costume. An alien, very original, right? This is the Sequin Sestina Dress by Nanette Lepore in a size 4. I loved the shape of the dress- bell sleeves and an overall loose fit. Sequin dresses are often itchy but this one wasn’t at all! I would highly recommend renting it for New Year’s Eve.

Sold on Rent the Runway? For the fall season you can subscribe to the the Update plan (4 pieces each month) for $69 each month or the Unlimited plan for $99 each month. Sign up here and let me know what you think!

Also be sure to follow me on my Instagram for more outfits featuring my Rent the Runway pieces.

Land A Job You Love Right Out of College.

I’ve been wanting to write about career-related topics for awhile now, but have never made the jump. My career is something that is extremely important to me and drives many of my life choices. I love attending events, networking, and reading more about business and entrepreneurship. I’ve learned a lot in the past few years of college, and even from when I was a teenager and had multiple businesses. So why not share this knowledge I’ve gained?

In this post I want to discuss the proper and improper ways of landing your first job out of college. Or landing a job even if you didn’t attend college! The idea of graduating and moving right into a job can be daunting, and for most people it doesn’t even work out that way. Many people are trying to scrap together interviews months after graduating, hoping some employer will hire them. I’m gonna give you some advice on how to avoid that rat race because I don’t think anyone wants to graduate not knowing where they’re going to be, what they’re going to be doing, or, most importantly, how they are going to be surviving with minimal or no income.

I want to start off by saying something so important. YOU MAKE YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITIES. This is the biggest lesson I have learned throughout college and the beginning of my career. You can’t just wait for people to come to you and hand you what you want. There are few people that are lucky enough to be recruited into companies, but for the most part you need to seek these companies out. By seeking companies out I don’t mean simply hitting “submit” at the end of a job application and attaching your resume. This is the biggest mistake people make when trying to get hired. When you simply submit your resume on LinkedIn or a job-hunting site, your resume is getting lost in hundreds or thousands of applications. Nothing you do can or will stand out. You’re leaving it up to an algorithm to parse through key words on your resume and possibly spit it back to HR, IF you’re lucky. So if you want to have a job when you graduate, DO NOT depend on applying for jobs in this manner. Just don’t do it.

The key to anything in your career is simple. It’s networking. It’s who you know and how you know them. After all, we are all humans and looking to form genuine relationships. For this reason, someone is more likely to hire you when they have a personal relationship with you and can put a face to a name. Your face and personality is more likely to be remembered than some random words squeezed onto a piece of paper. People want to hire people that they like and want to surround themselves with in a work environment. You really can’t pick up on this through words written in Times New Roman font. So even if you submit a resume to a job posting and have everything that employer needs, that employer is more likely to hire someone they’ve met before and know they vibe with rather than someone they only know through a piece of paper.

Auriens Hackathon London

Hopefully you understand what I mean by the importance of forming personal relationships. For this reason, when finding your first job, rather than putting all of your effort into applying to jobs online, go out and make your presence known. Attend local events in the area, job fairs, and even happy hours. I find all of the events that I attend on Eventbrite or Facebook. On Eventbrite you can filter through events by your city, keywords, and the range of dates. Sign up for events you are interested in attending, even if you don’t end up going. You are often added to the email list of the company hosting that event, a way to receive exclusive opportunities that could lead to a job. However, you should make an effort to attend most of these events in order to meet new people and grow your connections. You never know who you will talk to and what they could be looking for. When meeting new people at these events be sure to always follow up with a LinkedIn request and personal message. After forming this important connection, you will automatically come to their mind when they are recommending people for a position or hiring someone new.

So now you may be wondering, well, what if I HATE networking and talking to new people? I hate to tell you, but if you want to be successful in life then this is just something you need to get over. If you hate networking and avoid it at all cost, you are holding yourself back from growing in your career. This could mean never getting hired for a position that you love or never moving up in the company you currently work for. Believe it or not, going into college I also hated networking and introducing myself to new people. I would get so nervous that I’d make myself sick, but I stilled forced myself to do it because I KNEW I had to. 5 years later and it is much less daunting and has given me so many great opportunities (80% of them if we are being honest). Once you keep pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, it will feel normal and become second nature to you. I used to shake and stutter at these events because my nerves would overcome me. But never the less, I persisted in my networking endeavors and look where I am now!

With all great things in life, you need to work hard and push yourself past your points of comfort in order to achieve your goals. Do you think the woman who is CEO of her dream company stays inside, scared to go to industry events? Of course not! She is out pitching her business to investors, meeting top talent all over her city, and sharing her ideas with complete strangers.

Do you think the student who landed his or her perfect internship at a huge technology company earned it by watching Netflix every night? No! These successes take hard work and determination, and often cannot be achieved without putting yourself out there, talking to new people, and learning new skills.

So now for those of you looking for a job, specifically those still in college, start the hunt NOW. So many students wait until the last two months of school to start looking for jobs. This is a terrible move. Programs specifically designed for new graduates are already filled way before this point. The fall before graduation is the most critical time to be accepted into these programs. These post-grad programs are your best shot at landing a more-than-ideal first job. They are designed to slowly transition you into the company culture and expect for you to not yet be accustomed to the 9-5 life, leaving lots of room for you to learn from your mistakes. Not only this, but most programs are a guaranteed two years with many opportunities to network, grow your skills, and gain amazing experiences. Prioritize these programs when applying for jobs! 

Throughout college I had many different internships, ranging from internships in marketing to fashion to information technology. I landed my second internship at a social media company from my cousin’s girlfriend. Networking! I landed my third internship by attending an event hosted by my school’s Career Center and introducing myself to the speakers. Networking! I landed my fourth internship by attending my school’s career fair and introducing myself to the company’s recruiters and then following up by connecting with them on LinkedIn. Networking! See a pattern?

Lastly, I earned my current job as a software engineer in Capital One’s Developer Academy by attending a Women in Tech Demo Days sponsored by Capital One. I signed up for this hackathon on Eventbrite, paying the $10 required fee to participate, and showed up to the event for a few hours. I distinctly remember almost not attending this event because my cousin was also in the city that day and I wanted to meet up with her. However, I still went because I knew it would help me transition to a job in technology after college. Little did I know I would meet a recruiter form Capital One and she would introduce me to CODA, a program designed to train post-graduates with an interest in tech (but no coding background required) to become software engineers for the company. Shortly after meeting her I began the interviewing process and eventually was offered the job. If I had never attended this event and met this recruiter, I would not have the amazing job I do today. I am being paid a full-time salary to learn to code! Does it get any better than that!?

Capital One Developer Academy (CODA)

Not only did I not even know about this program before attending this event, but if I did, my resume would’ve just been sitting in Capital One’s system with thousands of other applicants. If I had not formed this personal relationship with this recruiter, I would’ve been surpassed for the position along with everyone else who simply submitted their resume through LinkedIn. Now I have an engineering job for the next two and a half years with an amazing company, being paid to learn and grow in my technology skills.

If you’ve taken anything away from this post, I hope it’s the importance of networking and forming personal relationships with people. You never know who you can meet until you put yourself out there. Nobody gets anywhere by closing themselves off from all of the endless opportunities available in the world. So go on Eventbrite, find some events that interest you, and take the initiative to go! You never know the opportunities that could come from simply showing up.

Vegan Nights in London

Walking down Brick Lane you see a lot of street art and posters advertising local events. On my first night in London I was lucky enough to stumble upon a flyer advertising an event called “Vegan Nights” taking place in Shoreditch the next night. Being that I love vegan food and anything having to do with Shoreditch, I immediately bought a ticket for £10.

vegan nights

“Vegan Nights” is a monthly event that takes place in Shoreditch, showcasing vegan eats from all across the city. It first came to be in September of 2017 and now happens on the first Thursday of every month. Each month there are different vegan vendors, so you’re never trying the same thing twice. These vendors range from baked goods to nachos to korean-italian fusion. You can seriously find any food you’re looking for in vegan form.

Shoreditch vegan nights

Not only is there amazing tasting vegan food, but there’s awesome music from all different kinds of DJs. My favorite part of the night was watching all of the local hipsters dancing to the tunes and challenging one another to dance-offs. Unlike in America, people have no problem acting a fool with their singing and dancing. Nobody judges one another but rather joins in on all of the fun. American music and dancing has nothing on the English!

vegan biff's jackshack wings

After stalking the event’s Instagram, I knew the first stand I wanted to head to was Biff’s Jack Shack. They use jackfruit to make all different flavors of “chicken wings”. While all the flavors looked delicious, I opted for the “bang” and “jerk mango” flavors. Both were so delicious! I love jackfruit but have never seen wings made from it in the states. I might just have to attempt this creation on my own…

vegan spice box doffles

Still feeling hungry, I headed over to Spice Box for some “doffles”, as they like to call them. These are waffles loaded with some indian-spiced goodness. I ordered the Aloo Gobi Doffle because Aloo Gobi is my favorite indian dish! These doffles were the perfect combination of savory, spicy and sweet.

(Btw if you’re a design or tech nerd like me, be sure to visit their website. All the design and animation elements are so cool! I’d like to pick the mind of whoever designed their website.)

vegan black mylk ice cream

Lastly, I had to end my delicious vegan meal with some dessert. Vegan ice cream, especially one with a good cashew base, is my weakness. There was an ice cream stand called Black Mylk Ice Cream offering different flavored scoops and waffle sundaes. I tried the matcha and cardamon flavors and topped them with caramel popcorn. The cardamon was such a unique and yummy taste. Add it with the caramel flavor and you have a winning combo.

vegan1

In conclusion, if you love vegan food or just food and good music in general, be sure to spend your Thursday at “Vegan Nights”. I went solo and had an amazing time with good food, good music, and people watching. So whether you’re alone or with friends, you’re guaranteed to have a great time and leave with a very full tummy. It’s also a perfect event to attend as a tourist because it really gives you an insight into the local Shoreditch culture, which is unlike that of any other neighborhood in any other city.

For more posts about London be sure to read London’s Best Coffee ShopsLondon’s Best Restaurants, and Hidden Gem of London: Cafe Miami

Sewn by Me: Denim Bustier Top

Have you ever seen a clothing item on Instagram that you absolutely love and want to buy, but don’t necessarily want to drop hundreds of dollars on it? This is the question that spurts most of my creativity with sewing. I love having the ability to see something and make it my own, at a much more affordable price point.

Simplicity #8130

In the beginning of the summer I saw Reformation post a picture of a lace-up denim bustier top. I loved it but knew it wasn’t wearable enough to spend $200 on. What do I do when this happens? I make my own and I make it even better!

I’ve had Simplicity #8130 in my stash for a while and figured I could alter it to mimic the silhouette of the Reformation top. I used view D of the pattern as a base for the top and then added on different features to make it more unique.

sew a bustier top

The first thing I altered in this pattern was the front of the top. Instead of sewing the front seam together, I left the two pieces unattached, but with finished edges. I then added rows of grommets down each side in the center of the front pieces. While grommets are a pain in the butt, they add a really cool detail that retailers really make you shell out the big bucks for. Grommets are only $3 a pack, and other than them themselves, all you need is a hammer and a little bit of elbow grease.

After hammering the grommets onto the front of the top, I created a string to loop through them. I decided to go with a light denim fabric I had laying around my sewing studio in order to add a little contrast. I think it adds a fun little detail that the Reformation top doesn’t have.

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In addition to the grommets, I added 4 lower panels to the crop-top, in order to give it that flared look on the bottom. The top part is very fitted but then the bottom panels flow out, creating a peplum like effect. I simply measured the length of each of the top pieces and widened the bottom edge of each piece. I then made these into trapezoid-shaped pattern pieces. The trapezoid shapes will create the peplum when sewn together.

The top should naturally open up under the grommets due to its shape, exposing the perfect amount of skin.

sewing with denim

Lastly, I added an exposed zipper to the back in order to match the silver metal and light denim lace-up design in the front of the top.

My favorite way to wear this top is with a lighter denim bottom. These shorts match perfectly with the light denim details on the top, creating the coolest look. I also make sure to pair it with silver accessories because of the silver hardware all throughout the top. This look is seriously the most casual-cool summer look for concerts, coffee, or even going out!

trendy young sewer

Similar Looks: Madewell Denim Bustier Top, Cropped Denim Top, Nordstrom Denim Top

Now that summer is coming to an end, I’m beginning to brainstorm ideas of what to sew for the fall season. I already have a few ideas but if you have any suggestions, please leave them down below. Let me know what you think about this top and if you’ve sewn this pattern before.

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to read Sewn by Me: I AM GIA-Inspired OverallsSewn by Me: Zimmermann-Inspired Floral Mesh Top, and Sewn by Me: Cutout Jumpsuit.

My Favorite Summer Adventure

It’s been a hot summer, there’s no denying that. However, it is never too hot for me to get outside and explore the outdoors. Yes, Central Park is considered the “outdoors” of New York City. One of my favorite things to do is bike around the city, stopping for food and sights along the way. First stop? Brunch of course.

upper west side brunch

It’s only natural to start off any adventure with a delicious brunch. New Yorkers just love their brunches and the restaurants here never disappoint with the endless benedicts, avocado toast, and pancakes. My friend and I started by renting Citi bikes and biking along the Hudson River, up the Upper West Side. Today we headed to Good Enough to Eat for the perfect southern-inspired brunch. Each dish comes with homemade biscuits and strawberry butter. This alone is worth the trip!

spring romper

After brunch we walked to Central Park and picked right back up on our Citi bike adventure. Biking through the park makes for some beautiful scenery and some great people watching. The best part about summer is seeing all of the people emerge from their cozy apartments into the bright sunshine to enjoy themselves and just relax in the park.

city bike style

I must say, it is pretty difficult to dress for the heat and lots of physical activity while still trying to look stylish. I opted for my most easy, comfy romper from Target (check out “Is Socioeconomic Status Still Limiting Style?” for a discussion on their clothing). Accessories are truly key with simple looks like this!

straw bag

I added my favorite new straw bag from Forever 21 to lighten up the black romper and make the look more weather-appropriate. I matched the bag with my comfy nude loafers, although they are definitely not the best for biking. Go for sneakers instead! My Raybans were a must because of the sun shining in my eyes. Not only do they make the look but they protect my eyes. And, lastly, I accessorized with a simple silk scarf from Zara. This is my first time ever wearing a scarf as a headband and I really loved it. The look reminds me of women in the 1960s sporting retro swimsuits and vintage scarfs wrapped around their heads.

fashion blogger nyc

If the heat is discouraging you from living your best life, going on adventures and enjoying nature (or the city skyline in my case), just remember fall is right around the corner! Enjoy the bright sunshine while you can.

 

Straw Bag          Silk Scarf Headband            Black Romper            Ray-Bans                 Loafers

The Ultimate Guide to Berlin: What to See, Eat, Do

In the beginning of June I took a two-week long vacation to Europe as a last journey before starting my first full-time job in July. While I was there I spent most of my time in London, but took a weekend getaway to Berlin, Germany. Germany is a country I’ve always wanted to visit since German makes up 50% of my ethnicity. I figured Berlin would be the perfect city to tackle in a weekend.

Here are my recommendations on what to do while in the city for either a weekend, a week, or maybe even a month.

To See…

brandenburg gate

When I think of Berlin the first monument that comes to mind is the Brandenburg Gate. It sits high above the main street of Museum Island, making its presence known. This is where most walking tours start, something I’ll mention in the “To See…” section. I learned that the structure on top is called a quadriga and is a symbol of peace. It was built atop the gate to protect the German city. However, soon after the structure went up, Germany entered into WWII.

Berlin fashion blogger

The East Side Gallery is a must for those artsy Berlin Instagrams that you know you need to post when you visit. I mean, do you see these bright colors!? All jokes aside, while it is a very eye-catching spot, it also tells a lot of very important political messages. I enjoyed looking at each piece of art and interpreting what it meant in the context of Germany and its history.

East Side Gallery

This mural seemed to be a pretty popular one among tourists. I’m pretty proud of this shot I was able to capture of this random couple posing in front of the image. However, it is pretty mind-blowing how ignorant some tourists are to the meaning behind murals like this and other monuments over the city. People don’t quite realize the pain people all across Europe were put through in the 1900s.

East Side Gallery style

To Eat…

As many of you probably already know, food is my ABSOLUTE favorite part of traveling. I love trying new restaurants and cuisines in each city I visit. Honestly, I was a bit nervous for the German food. However, Germany might have had one of the best selections of all the countries I’ve ever been to.

Berlin fal

Berlin is known for having amazing falafel, so this is a food I couldn’t wait to try. Luckily, we happened to stumble upon one of the best falafel shops in Berlin. Fatoush is a simple little cafe with outdoor seating on a beautiful tree-lined street in the East of Berlin. Not only was the falafel itself some of the best I’ve ever had, but the vegetables in my wrap were fresh and delicious.

Fatoush Berlin

My friend tried the haloumi salad which looked so yummy… if only I ate cheese! While I would recommend the falafel since the city is known for it, definitely try the haloumi if you’ve never had it before. For some reason it’s extremely popular in the UK but not in the US. Us Americans are missing out!

My friends and I also couldn’t resist trying the local German drink, Club-Mate. Club-Mate is a carbonated maté tea beverage. It is extremely high in caffeine and got me super wired for the rest of the day, which was actually a good thing since I took a 5am flight there from London.

Bramibals donut

If you didn’t already know, Berlin has a HUGE vegan population. I’m pretty sure there were more vegan restaurants there than restaurants that served meat. We typically think of bratwursts and currywursts when thinking of the country but Berlin natives are actually very progressive in their environmental views.

This being said, I was extremely excited to try all of the yummy vegan food the city had to offer me. When I first decided I was going on this trip I researched a bunch of restaurants and cafés to try. One that instantly caught my eye was Brammibal’s Donuts. They serve coffee and matcha but most importantly all different kinds of vegan donuts. I had such a hard time deciding which one to get but ended up trying the peanut butter and jelly one. Their flavors change everyday and they always have a charity donut where the proceeds are donated to that month’s charity.

vegan currywurst

Germany is most well-known for their currywurst, or pork sausage covered in curry ketchup. Since I don’t eat meat I couldn’t try the original version of this popular dish, but I did try a vegan version. This I found at a stand in Mauerpark flea market, a huge market that happens every Sunday in the summertime. Overall, the sauce was really good. I mean, who doesn’t like curry and ketchup!? However, the “meat” was nothing special- a typical spongy tofu meat replacement. If you don’t eat meat though, give it a go!

One of my favorite vegan restaurants in the city was a Vietnamese place called 1990 Vegan Living. Not only did they have a delicious blood orange cocktail, but each dish was to die for. They had a bunch of small tapas to split between the table as well as entrees. I got a soup that reminded me of pho and I couldn’t get enough of it.

Father Carpenter Coffee Brewer

Last but not least is my favorite little cafe that I found in Berlin. Father Carpenter Coffee Brewers is nestled away in a little courtyard off a main shopping road. It is truly a hidden gem. There is an elaborate fountain surrounded by bushes and a stone patio. The buildings surrounding it are stunning and reminded me of Parisian architecture. Not only is the ambiance the perfect aesthetic, but the coffee and food cannot be beat.

Father Carpenter Coffee Brewer Berlin

It was extremely hard for me to find a coffee place that I enjoyed in Berlin, but thank god I found this one. They have it all! Even iced coffee… which cannot be found anywhere else in the city. I ate their poached eggs with salmon while sipping my latte and reading my book. And let me tell you, it could not have made for a better last few hours in Berlin.

best coffee Berin

One last thing, most of these restaurants ONLY accept cash, so be sure to bring lots of euros with you to Berlin. I unfortunately didn’t do my research and found myself running to the ATM many times too often to withdraw cash. This is something you don’t want to do; all of those fees quickly add up!

To Do…

While most of my time in Berlin consisted of eating and hanging out in the local parks, I did go on a few tours which I highly recommend. I am usually super against guided tours and prefer to see things on my own time, but I really enjoyed the Sandeman Walking Tour (which also happens to be free). I learned a lot of cool facts about Berlin, most related to WWII. My favorite part of the tour was standing in a car parking lot overtop Hitler’s underground war bunker where he committed suicide. It fascinated me how the Germans chose to not highlight it in any way. I wouldn’t have thought twice about the spot unless I had taken this tour.

berlinblog10

The tour walked us to through various historical squares of Berlin and through the Holocaust Memorial. After seeing this memorial on the tour and feeling the emotions it brought out I decided that it was a must to visit the nearby concentration camp.

berlinblog5

The tour was of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, a work camp where they brought prisoners who were prominent figures in the community. This was a longer, half-day tour but something every person needs to see. Nothing can describe what you feel when you are placed in an environment where such terrible things happened.

concentration camp cartoob

I was particularly moved by this cartoon drawn by one of the prisoners in the kitchen of the camp. It shows how frightened the prisoners always were and how they were constantly being judged on whether or not they deserved to live.

Berlin concentration camp

This was the main entrance to the camp. You can see a clock on the top of the tower which supposedly still reads the time the camp was liberated.

If you want to experience Berlin’s nightlife, I recommend going on a pub crawl. They are relatively cheap and will take you to a bunch of different bars and clubs in the city. The tour I went on took us to a ping-pong bar, absinthe bar, and techno club. While I am not much of a partier, these bars were more relaxed and allowed us to socialize with the locals as well as others in our group. And let me tell you, I DOMINATED in ping-pong. Shout-out to high school gym class for teaching me my skills.

Berlin Germany

Overall, Berlin was far from what I expected. The architecture and streets reminded me a lot of Paris. I did not expect the city to be as progressive as it was. Most restaurants are vegan, nobody uses plastic straws, and people clean bottles off of the streets in order to earn some extra money. Berlin is definitely steps ahead of any other large city in the world and it was pretty amazing to experience. While I would probably only go back for the delicious vegan food, I am happy it is a city I can say I’ve experienced.

Let me know if you’ve been to Berlin before and what you enjoyed most about the city.

If you want to check out some more of my travel guides be sure to read The Ultimate Guide to Dubrovnik- What to See, Eat, DoThe Ultimate Guide to Iceland- What to See, Eat, Do, and The Ultimate Guide to Amsterdam- What to See, Eat, Do.

 

Sewn by Me: I AM GIA-Inspired Overalls

Is there anything easier to throw on in the summer heat than a romper? Rompers are my go-to for a cool, cute look that I don’t have to put much thought into. They are also a super easy thing for me to sew. You have probably seen my past sewing posts and know my obsession with jumpsuits for the winter and spring (Sewn by Me: Cutout Jumpsuit and Not Your Average Housewife). Well, rompers have replaced that obsession; I’m already sewing my third one of the season!

romee I AM GIA jumpsuit

As soon as I saw Romee Strijd post an Instagram picture in her I AM GIA jumper, I knew I had to make something similar for summertime. The I AM GIA one is black and gray plaid and features a zipper on the top half of the overalls. I wanted to make mine into a romper and change it to be more summertime-appropriate. This is what I came up with.

pastel overalls

I began by using McCall’s M7547 for the base of the romper. I didn’t change much of the pattern since the silhouette almost matches the I AM GIA one perfectly. The only difference seems to be in the waistband. Hers looks as if it is elastic and this pattern’s is just fabric with an added zipper on the side seam.

sewn overalls

I chose a light pink, white, and mint plaid from JoAnn Fabrics (similar: baby pink and blue checked fabric) to use for this romper. I thought this girly, babyish print would offset the tough hardware used in the straps.

sewing grommet detail

As you can see, the biggest inspiration from the I AM GIA romper came from the grommet and swivel hook detailing on the straps. Instead of simply sewing them on, I added this edgy touch. I was able to find matte white grommets which matched the fabric perfectly. I hammered those onto the bib of the overalls and then sewed a loop around each of the swivel hooks. It was super easy!

sewing grommet detail

You could even play around with this technique and find different kinds of hooks on marketplaces like Etsy to change up the look.

sewing overalls

invisible zipper tutorial

For this romper in particular I added a white invisible zipper because I felt it matched best with the overall look of the piece. However, I have made it with an exposed zipper as well.

sewing pocket detail

I opted for pockets on the butt rather than front pockets. I thought the geometric lines in the plaid fabric complemented the square pockets very well.

summer overall outfit

This make of mine shows that you can take any simple pattern and make it your own by changing small details. Add some hardware, change up the pockets, or use a different kind of zipper. It is easy to make each piece using the same pattern its own!

pastel sumer overall

Similar Looks: Lost + Wonder Gingham Jumper, MAJORELLE Tessa Jumpsuit, Forever21 Halter Romper

Also, shout out to Doo Wop Wildwood for making the perfect backdrop for these pictures! I don’t think I could’ve found a place that would complement this romper better. What do you want to sew me sew next? Leave me a comment below!

Sewn by Me: Zimmermann-Inspired Floral Mesh Top

Last month I had my final fraternity formal of my college career. Obviously I wanted to make something special to stand out on this night. Nobody wants to have the same dress as someone else so why not assure that doesn’t happen by sewing your own look?

sewing trendy summer top

I am always inspired by the constant Zimmermann looks I see on Instagram. The brand is so girly yet edgy and chic. While I am still not at the point in my life where I can comfortably afford to drop thousands on a sundress, I CAN design my own look with similar design elements.

mood fabrics floral mesh

I fell in love with this mesh floral fabric at Mood Fabrics as soon as I came across it on its roll in a bin. I thought it was incredibly unique to find a floral print on such a thick mesh. The fabric is even a bit transparent, making for a beautiful look up against the skin.

sew in zipper top

I actually used the same pattern I featured in my last sewing post, “Sewn by Me: Cutout Jumpsuit”, to make this top. McCall’s #7626 has truly been the universal pattern of my spring wardrobe. I simply used the bodice pieces of the jumpsuit and disregarded the pant leg pattern pieces. I also decided to make the top strapless and omit using the strap pattern pieces.

I followed the pattern just as I would if making the jumpsuit. I lined the front bodice pieces with black satin fabric and lined the back bodice pieces with the mesh fabric so that the back pieces would still maintain some transparency. I also decided to opt for an exposed metal zipper for design purposes.

Mod fabrics zimmerman inspired

To achieve the “Zimmermann look” I bought thick white mesh trim to add to each seam of the bodice. I used 1 1/2 inch thick trim in the front and 1 inch trim on the side seams. Make sure you sew this onto the bodice before sewing in the lining. This trim was super affordable at Mood and added a really cool element when sewn over the bodice seams.

spring box bag look

Overall, this top was very easy to make. It is the fabric and trim that really makes this top special. It just proves how beautiful fabric can make a huge difference in the things you make. While I wanted to sew a matching skirt for a two-piece look, I think this look still ended up looking chic and beautiful. I paired the top with my favorite chiffon shorts from Aritzia, box bag from Urban Outfitters, and black Aldo heels.

spring fashion blogger

What do you want to see me make next? I am moving onto sewing a lot of pieces for my summer wardrobe so I’m thinking rompers, sundresses, and linen shorts. Let me know in the comments below!

Is Socioeconomic Status Still Limiting Style?

Just a few days ago my Fashion Club at school held a “Diversity in Fashion” discussion with people from different cultural organizations on campus. We focused on a few questions that were important to this group of people; one of them being “does your socioeconomic status affect the way you dress?”.

It was unanimously agreed upon within the group that the answer was an absolute yes. However, while this was especially the case 10 or 20 years ago, is the answer to this question beginning to change?

spring floral jumpsuit

Ever since I was young my mom would give me a budget of a few hundred dollars each school year to spend on my seasonal wardrobe. I had to choose carefully which pieces I spent my money on. Did I want to splurge on a pair of jeans I would wear over and over again? Or did I want to head to the fast fashion stores for a few trendy items?

spring fashion blogger

It really was a fun little game to me. Fun until I had spent my entire budget and later found a pair of shoes I loved but were no longer in the budget, that is. It is definitely hard to create a diverse wardrobe with endless outfit opportunities when you can’t afford to shell out the money for every item you love. However, new fashion trends and brands are making this easier and easier.

spring 2018 trends

Macklemore made thrift shopping cool in 2012 and it has been a trendy thing to do ever since. I guess this is one positive thing we can thank modern-day rappers for. Thrift shopping gives us all an opportunity to find trendy, vintage pieces at an affordable price point. It even gives us a chance to find brands we wouldn’t otherwise be able to buy. Before 2012, thrift shopping was viewed as an activity for those who couldn’t afford new clothing. However, current trends in the industry have shaped it into an acceptable and fun way to shop.

fashion blogger look for less

Fast fashion stores are also trendier than ever. Stores have completely re-branded themselves to fit the latest styles showcased on the runways and by celebrities. Target is the perfect example of this. It is a store available to everyone all over the country, whether you are in the city or suburbs. Target has recently launched new brands that focus on trends prominent in the industry today. They have even launched a plus size fashion line with these same fashion-forward pieces.

spring affordable fashion

I was able to find this jumpsuit for $18 on the sale rack at Target. Not only are the prices at these stores more affordable, but they also offer a vast selection of stylish pieces in the sale section. If you are smart about the way you shop, it is absolutely possible to be fashion-forward on a budget. Not to mention my shoes are also from Target! I have been on the hunt for a pair of white mules for awhile now and was able to find the perfect pair for less than $50.

However, anything becoming more affordable always come at some sort of price. In the case of fashion, that cost is ethics. As clothing becomes cheaper, unethical practices in the fashion industry become more prominent. Big corporations are stealing smaller artists’ designs, toxins are being released into the environment, and children are working long hours in factories in Third World countries. The issues are endless. Our struggles in America are causing greater struggles in countries halfway around the world.

target fashion rebrand

So while we may be happier here that we can finally afford to be fashionable, others around the world are suffering because of it. There really is no way to win unless we can find a way to make fashion affordable and ethical.

Do you agree that it is becoming easier to be stylish on a budget? How do you feel about the hidden costs behind this? I would love to hear your thoughts below!

The Ultimate Guide to Iceland- What to See, Eat, Do

When my cousin and I were deciding where to travel for spring break Iceland quickly came to mind. Definitely not the typical spring break destination, but the perfect place for an experience opposite that of drinking on the beach.

Road tripping through Iceland was unlike any adventure I have ever been on. My past trips have consisted of exploring new European cities, learning about a country’s history, or relaxing by the ocean. Never have I driven along the coast of a new country, seeing beaches, mountains, glaciers, and volcanic rock all in a matter of a few hours.

To See…

The first thing that comes to mind for many when thinking of Iceland is its beautiful waterfalls. Seeing their size and all of the power they produced never got old. Just think how all this water is coming from the nearby melting glaciers and how its gaining enough momentum to cause this monstrous fall.

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This waterfall is called Seljalandsfoss. There is a good two hour drive from Reykjavik to here, most of which consists of flat valleys. Then, out of nowhere, you see this expansive mountain with huge waterfalls falling from its edge. We were always amazed at how quickly the landscape of Iceland changed.

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The most popular waterfall, and by far my favorite, is Skógafoss. The main reason this was my favorite was because of the beautiful rainbow projected into the mist of the falls. There is also an awesome outlook where you can climb to the top and see the waterfall from above.

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Just outside of Vík is a steep cliff with a lighthouse and stunning view of the Black Sand Beach. While driving up this cliff is a bit frightening (especially when a New Jersey driver is controlling the car), it is well worth it. You can see the ocean, beach, mountains, and glaciers all in one look from the cliff. On the other side you can also spot a huge rock arch jutting out into the ocean.

glacier

The glacier lagoons we found along our drive were such pleasant surprises. The glaciers melt into a lagoon where pieces of ice break off into these huge chunks of “dead ice”. It’s amazing to see how clear these pieces are and simply how pure the water that forms them is. This spot is just off of Eyjafjallajökull. Try and say that five times in a row.

A little Icelandic language tip- anything that ends in “foss” is a watefall and anything that ends in “jökull” is a glacier! If you can figure this out then you basically have all the Icelandic language knowledge you need for your trip.

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The last site to see is not one carved by Mother Nature, but none the less it is pretty cool. You can find the DC-3 plane wreck on the Sólheimasandur Beach. One thing I never heard mentioned, however, was the 4 km walk just to the crash itself. And that’s just one way… This is fine for the young, adventurous soul like me but be warned if you don’t like walking in extreme weather conditions.

The history behind the plane wreck is the most fascinating part. While it isn’t necessary a “wreck”, it was an unplanned landing by the United States Navy. In 1973 the crew was forced to land on the beach due to extreme weather conditions. Luckily nobody was injured and the plane has been a popular tourist destination ever since. Our Airbnb owner even told us that the beach the plane is on is a private beach owned by a local farmer. The farmer was kind enough to open it up to the public free of charge. This just shows the kindness of the Icelandic people!

To Eat…

The food in Iceland has some of the highest prices you will ever see. Yes, higher than both London and New York City. Because of this I recommend choosing where to eat very wisely. Don’t just venture into some random restaurants because you are hungry and they are convenient!

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One of my favorite little spots was Sægreifinn, a hole-in-the-wall seafood spot by the ocean in Reykjavik. They are known for their lobster soup, which has some of the best lobster I have ever tasted. The Icelandic lobster melts in your mouth and isn’t at all chewy like the lobster here in America, or anywhere else for that matter. I also appreciated how the soup is not thick and creamy but rather thin and flavorful.

fish

In addition to the lobster soup they have kebabs with fresh pieces of fish caught in the ocean just outside the shop. This is the grilled cod special that they had that day. It was some of the most buttery, fresh fish I have ever tasted.

fredheimar

The second place worth spending the money to eat at is Friðheimar, a local greenhouse that grows its own tomatoes. Everything on the menu is made from their own tomatoes. They use the “imperfect” ones that can’t be sold to the grocery stores in their dishes, although it tastes anything but imperfect. You can order endless tomato soup and bread so be sure to come hungry. After giving up tomatoes for a month I was able to down four whole bowls of soup. It doesn’t sound like a lot but I basically waddled out of that restaurant.

* Be sure to make lunch reservations in advance!

lobster

Lastly, for those of you traveling all the way to the east in Höfn, Kaffi Hornið is for you. Granted, it is also the only restaurant in the small town, so you don’t really have a choice. It’s a cute little wooden lodge nestled in the heart of the small, dark town (if you can call it that). They serve local lobster dishes which will blow your mind. And your wallet… This being said this was my one splurge meal of the trip. The lobster set me back a good $83 but each bite was truly worth every penny.

To Do…

With a bunch of natural wonders comes lots of adventurous activities. If you are in Iceland for more than a week I highly recommend going on tons of hikes. However, if you only have five days like I did, here are some activities you can’t miss.

silfra

The first and by far the coolest thing we did was snorkel the Silfra fissure in Þingvellir National Park. Although I was a bit nervous to snorkel in 30 degree (Fahrenheit) water, it ended up being much more bearable than I imagined. My cousin almost backed out the night before after reading blog posts calling the experience “the coldest thing I’ve ever done”. However, we were super comfortable and enjoyed the swim the entire time. Our enjoyment was definitely a large part due to our amazing instructor, Zsolt, from Arctic Adventures. If you do this tour be sure to book it with him!

horse

Another one of my favorite things to do was pet the Icelandic horses. If you don’t take advantage of these friendly creatures, you are missing out. Every time we saw horses standing by the fences we immediately pulled over to pet them. It makes them so happy and it definitely made long stretches of our road trip fly by. Just be careful with your clothing, one almost ate my scarf!

bluelagoon

I definitely don’t need to tell you twice about this destination. The Blue Lagoon is the first thing I see listed on every travel blogger’s to-do list. This spot makes for a relaxing few hours, especially after just getting off a flight. Not pictured is the two hours we slept in a freezing car in the parking lot outside of the spa, waiting for the place to open. Such a glamorous lifestyle I live!

* Also be sure to book at least a month in advance!

book

I am always determined to find a local bookstore with lots of character every time I visit a new city. Bókavarðan has a funny story behind it actually. I browsing in one of my local bookstores in New jersey when I came across a book with pretty graphics talking about the author’s favorite bookstores in the world. I opened up the book to find the page be on a bookstore located in Reykjavik, Iceland. This was after I had just booked my trip to Iceland, and being a big believer in the Universe working in mysterious ways, I took this as a sign that I had to visit that same bookstore when I was there. And I did just that! There are books in large stacks all over the shop, mostly used, and all written in the Icelandic language. You need to really search to find the hidden gems but it is well worth it!

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Oh the Northern Lights… I am writing about this phenomenon to save you from the same mistake we made. DO NOT pay for a tour to see the lights. First, the night we went out was absolutely freezing and did not allow us to be outside for more than five minutes at a time. Second, the tours simply take you right outside the city and park you on the side of the road for a few hours. This is fine if you plan on staying in the city your entire trip and did not rent a car, but it was pointless for us. If you are going on a road trip and staying at an Airbnb along the way, like we did, this is a waste of money. Find yourself an Airbnb to stay at in a small town on the south east coast and you will be able to see them right from your backyard. I highly recommend staying here, outside of Höfn, if planning to see the lights. Our Airbnb host gladly woke us up as the lights got brighter and brighter so that we could see them from her backyard. Her and her dog made the stay extremely informative and enjoyable.

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And last, but not least… I need to tell you what NOT to do in Iceland. Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. After reading many blogs, I determined that it was absolutely safe to drink the flowing water in streams around the ring road. Every person wrote about how it was the best water they’ve ever drank. Well, that was not the case for me. The first time my cousin and I both tried the water and it was delicious. By far the best water!

However, the second time was different. Only I drank it this time (thank god) and it resulted in a night spent at the hospital. My stomach must have reacted to something in the water because my body simply rejected it, making me extremely sick. Being that there is only one hospital in the ENTIRE country, my cousin had to put the pedal to the metal to drive the remaining four hours back to Reykjavik. Luckily I am fine now but I would not wish that pain on my worst enemy. So lesson learned kids, don’t drink the glacier water! Also, always buy travel insurance (thanks mom for saving my butt!).

Overall, I hope Iceland is a destination everyone adds to their bucket list. Coming from New York City it is extremely humbling to see people live such a simple life. I now understand why tourists are so amazed when they see skyscrapers and lights as bright as Times Square.

Be sure to check out my Instagram for more photos from my trip and stay tuned for more posts about Iceland!