Opposites Attract

We’ve all heard the phrase “opposites attract”. Most likely you’ve heard it while discussing relationships with friends, and you’ve probably even used it to justify dating the boy that you know is no good for you. While I am not a firm believer in this saying, I am also not totally opposed to it. I am constantly attracted to quite the opposite of me… grungy street art. From graffiti to broken windows to torn down posters, I love it all.

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I can’t explain just why I am attracted to these kinds of scenes, but I am. Maybe it’s the bright colors and outrageousness of it all? Or maybe I like how it defines a city in its own unique way? Grungy street art is so different from my own personal style which is sophisticated and put-together. I typically go for clean lines and silhouettes when dressing myself but thrive on the disorder of graffiti.

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When dealing with a creative viewpoint it is safe to say that opposites absolutely do attract. As someone who appreciates art and self-expression, I can say that I enjoy art that is the opposite of me because it pushes me to think of wild ideas that I never would have thought by looking at art that feels familiar. It lets me escape myself for a bit and takes me somewhere new.

New York Fashion Week 2018

I can’t help but wonder the story behind graffiti and other forms of street art. What kinds of people are the ones spraying this graffiti? Or hanging up these posters? Are they doing it in the middle of the night to avoid getting caught? Or in the busy daylight so people can appreciate all of the work that goes into it? Did the artists think long and hard about the mark they are making on the city? Or maybe they decided to be impulsive and take a creative risk?

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We are all attracted to the mysteries behind the person with the opposite personality from ours, or the creative expression that is the opposite of our own. Who doesn’t love solving a good mystery? It allows you to think outside the box and expand the comfort zone of your own mind. You think in ways you’ve never thought before, just trying to understand that person or work of art.

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Similarly to dating the bad boy, you experience a thrill that you’ve never experienced before; just because it feels so new and different! You may not keep him around for awhile or bring him back home to mom and dad, just like you aren’t hunting down a local graffiti artist to spray paint your apartment with bright colors, but you are experiencing life through a different lens.

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This blouse is my “George Washington” blouse, as my cousin likes to call it. It is sheer and airy, making it quite the romantic top, opposite from the grungy backdrop. Adding a leather belt and structured bag polishes off the sophisticated-casual look. To add some color I matched my lipstick with my burgundy shoes. As much as I love to wear neutrals, I clearly can’t stray away from color completely.

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So, after all, I guess I actually am a believer that “opposites attract”. However, they attract in ways that depend on the timing and setting. Opposites don’t always stick in our most comfortable environments or long-term life plans, but they are there for us to appreciate and enjoy for a brief time.

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Bag: Mango (similar)        Shoes: Splendid        Blouse: Nasty Gal        Jeans: Topshop

Lipstick: Nars                Earrings: Forever21 (similar)              Belt: Calvin Klein (similar)

What opposite are you attracted to? Leave me a comment down below! If you enjoyed this post be sure to check out The Rise of Jersey City Street Art, Independence//Dependence, and Shoreditch Street Style.

Photography by Christopher Chase

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First Reads of 2018

How many of you set a New Year’s resolution to read more? In my opinion, this is one of the best resolutions you can make. Reading can be educational, teaching you new things every time you pick up a book, or it can be an escape from the stress of everyday life.

If you’ve been reading my blog for awhile then you may remember that I set a goal in 2017 to read a new book each week. While this may have only lasted a few months, I became more aware of how I was spending my free time. I realized that I could be putting the time I spend on my phone or watching Netflix to much better use. That being said, I modified my resolution for 2018 to be to read before bed every night instead of falling sleep to Netflix or Youtube. Not only will this help me better allocate my time to read, but it will improve my quality of sleep. I am excited to see where this resolution takes me.

Here is what I read during the first month of the year:

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The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson-

I am a sucker for a good read on psychopaths. That definitely sounds like something I shouldn’t admit to, but it is strangely fascinating. In this book, Ronson walks through a particular mystery that is brought to him by a professor in London. In the process of uncovering this mystery he becomes fixated on the idea of “madness”. He educates the reader on different studies conducted, people he meets, and psychologists that have studied this phenomenon. Overall, I enjoyed the way Ronson weaved a personal story into the educational material on the topic.

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Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler-

I could not put this book down. Seriously. If you love F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels and his romantic word choice, you will equally love this novel. It tells the story of Zelda Fitzgerald’s life with Scott and how it slowly fell apart. Fowler does an ingenious job at intertwining fact with fiction, basing her story off of actual recorded events in the couple’s life. I particularly enjoyed learning about society’s expectations of housewives during this time period.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney-

I saw this book listed on Daunt Books’ website and was instantly attracted to the black and gold cover. I knew I needed to read it. If you are just as obsessed with New York City as I am, then this is a must-read. Told from the perspective of Lillian Boxfish, she walks the reader through her life in the city and the rich memories she has made there. She recounts how the city has changed during the 60 years that she has lived there.  While telling about the city and its wonderful charm, the novel also discusses the challenges faced by Boxfish as a successful working woman during the 1940s.

Incognito book review

Incognito by David Eagleman-

If you enjoy Malcolm Gladwell or Daniel Kahneman books, then you should add this to your reading list. “Incognito” looks at the unconscious aspects of the brain and how it controls decisions we make and actions we take. It really makes you question why you do the things you do. Eagleman describes different conditions caused by damage to these areas of the brain and how those who have them are completely unaware of them.

Leave a comment below telling me what you are currently reading. I would love to hear! Also, follow me on Instagram to see what I am reading right now.

Not Your Average Housewife

While I am definitely not a housewife (or anywhere close), I couldn’t help but feel like I was playing the role of a fabulously-dressed, nontraditional housewife as I pushed my grocery cart through aisles filled with potato chips and tomato sauce.

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This idea that women are the ones who do the grocery shopping for the family is still pretty prominent, but us millennial women are reshaping this role every day. We are quickly moving from the ones who bring home the groceries to the ones who bring home the dough. Thank god I’m not bringing groceries home anytime soon or my imaginary children would be eating a diet of purely potato chips.

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It ended up being quite ironic that I chose to wear this home-sewn jumpsuit for this photo shoot. Sewing used to be just another chore listed on the “to-do” list of a stereotypical housewife. However, it has now shaped itself into a hobby rather than a chore; a hobby many women unfortunately do not have the skill or desire necessary to learn.

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I have been sewing since I was 8 years old. The moment I picked up a sewing needle I knew it was something I would be hooked on for life. There is something so magical about being able to construct your own clothing and see your own designs come to life. In our modern age, those who know how to sew (like me) are those who are extremely passionate about art and design. It is something that is no longer viewed as a common skill but rather as a talent and an art. Just look at our society’s fascination with the television show “Project Runway”!

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This jumpsuit has quickly become one of my favorite things I have sewn because of its vintage vibes and perfectly tailored fit. I was able to find this ’70s-inspired plaid fabric at my local Jo-Ann Fabric store and the hardware at M&J Trimming in New York City. I modified McCall’s Pattern #7626 to include the buckle and grommet detailing.

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Don’t let gender stereotypes keep you from pursuing a hobby that you love. This is the age of change and breaking out of the gender roles that society assigned to us centuries ago. If you want to grocery shop in the most fabulous jumpsuit you own, who’s stopping you? If you are a man and want to learn to make your own suit jackets, who’s stopping you?

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The only answer to those questions is yourself. We are the only ones that limit ourselves to the roles society wants us to mold into. We are society and we determine the shape of these gender molds. Reshape your own mold. Get out there and break those gender roles.

Lipstick: Nars Pure Matte                                                     Earrings (similar): Forever 21

Jumpsuit: Madison Mae Designs

Similar Jumpsuits: Forever 21, Honey Punch, Banana Republic

My Highlights of 2017 in Photos

2018 is just a few hours away for us Americans… On the other half of the world it is already 2018! Here are my favorite moments of 2017 that I am lucky enough to have captured.

Living in London for 5 months…

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Visiting Lisbon, Edinburgh, and Ireland…

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Traveling to Amsterdam with my cousin…

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Chasing the sun in Croatia…

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Spending my birthday weekend in Paris and my 21st birthday on a champagne tour in Reims…

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Spending summer weekends at the Jersey Shore…

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Being featured for the first time in a magazine…

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Landing my first real job…

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Spending the holidays with family…

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Best of luck to everyone in the new year and here’s to hoping it brings lots more joyous moments into each of our lives!

When was the last time you felt thankful?

When was the last time you felt thankful? Really think about this. Think about the last time you thanked God for all that is in front of you. Think about the last time you felt thankful for someone in your life. Think about the last time you felt thankful to be alive.

Now, was your answer to this question “Thanksgiving Day”, or maybe “Christmas”? I hope not.

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It is hard to be mindful of our surroundings when we are constantly connected to our phones, laptops, and various media sources. We rarely take the time to sit back and really think about what matters in life and to just be present in the moment.

Being present really is the key to being thankful. When you are present you see the things and people in front of you for what they are. You have a clear mind to reflect on how much you appreciate them and how they contribute to your happiness and overall well-being.

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It is easy to get caught up in the go go go, trust me, I am very guilty of this. I often have a hard time stepping back and thinking about how thankful I am until something unfortunate happens. Obviously, this is not the way it should be. If we learn to be thankful for things as they come, rather than as they go, we would be much happier human beings.

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I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for my good health and beating heart. I am thankful for my education and the opportunities given to me. I am thankful for all of the beautiful places I have seen. But, I am also thankful for things like a well-fitting jumpsuit (thanks Zara!) and a beautiful fall landscape reflected in the lake. When we learn to appreciate little things like these, we learn to appreciate every moment of life and its greater picture.

So the next time you see a friend or are celebrating with family, be present. Appreciate the fact that they are right in front of you. Enjoy them. Cherish them. And, most importantly, be thankful for them.

Jumpsuit (similar): Revolve                                                                   Bracelet: Comfort Station

Boots (similar): Bloomingdale’s

London’s Best Coffee Shops

Every day after class I would walk from Old Street Station, past my apartment, and into my favorite coffee shop down the street. Looking back at my time in London, this is by far one of the things I miss most. I loved grabbing a cappuccino and sitting on the big red couch in the store, working on my blog or catching up on reading.

It is easy to say that discovering new coffee shops was one of my favorite activities abroad. That being said, I found a lot of hidden gems that would be a crime not to share. So grab a cub off coffee as I take you through some of the most aesthetically pleasing coffee cup shots.

Bell Boi in Shoreditch

Bellboi Shoreditch

This place was a favorite of mine on Sunday mornings. I would grab a chai tea latte and head to Brick Lane Market which takes place on the streets surrounding the cafe. The shop is super small, making it an ideal stop on your morning commute or on your way to another festivity. Bell Boi also doubles as a small hotel for people passing through the town.

Daisy Green in Marylebone

Daisy Greens London coffee

This was my go-to cafe to kill some time in between classes at University. It is an adorable place offering all kinds of vegan cuisines and smoothies. Their almond milk cappuccino was one of my favorites. A lot of my blog posts were written right at Daisy Green‘s wooden coffee bar!

Fuckoffee in Southwark

https://lashesoflifestyle.co.uk/2017/03/02/coffee-stop-fuckoffee-bermondsey/(photo courtesy of Lashes of Lifestyle)

Different from all of the others on my list, this place has a super fun energy. The inside is decorated with big couches, neon signs, and art prints. It definitely reflects the surrounding neighborhood (and the name is hilarious!). My favorite from here is the banana espresso smoothie, the perfect thing for an extra kick on a warm spring day! If you visit Fuckoffee be sure to stop across the street at White Cube, my favorite art gallery in London.

The Monocle Cafe in Marylebone

Monocle Cafe London

Fair warning: this place does not have wifi. I was a bit surprised to see this when I first walked in, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. When is the last time you went to a coffee shop just to read? Monocle is actually a publishing company which publishes its own magazines and books. The atmosphere encourages you to cozy-up with one of your favorite reads or one of their latest editions. I also really love the piece of chocolate they give you with every cup of coffee!

Pitfield London in Shoreditch

Pitfield London(photo courtesy of Pitfield London)

Being that Pitfield was right outside my London flat, I would often go here throughout the day to meet with friends. The staff is super friendly and accommodating towards students. The cafe shares a space with an antique shop which always made for some interesting fines. My favorite part about Pitfield is their colorful, mosaic china that they use for your food and drinks.

Black Opium in Shoreditch

Black Opium Coffee London

Black Opium coffee London

Of course, I saved the best for last. Black Opium is my all-time favorite coffee shop. Yes, my favorite out of all the coffee shops in London, New York City, Philadelphia, and any other city you can think of. This place is so unique because they have big jars of different flavored coffee beans that you can choose to get your drink made from. They grind your chosen flavor of beans right in front of you and turn it into a delicious drink. My favorite was the orange cappuccino; the flavor is so subtle yet so good. Every day I was greeted by the most friendly staff who always knew my name. I really enjoyed listening to their conversations and talking to them about the books that I was reading.

The next time you are in London you have to visit some of my favorite coffee shops. Each one offers a unique customer experience and the finest quality cappuccino. If you visit one of these be sure to let me know by leaving me a comment!

For more posts on London, check out London’s Best Restaurants, Hidden Gem of London: Palm Vaults, and Hidden Gem of London: Daunt Books.

Ethereal Smog

While I took these pictures in the winter in London, you can barely even tell. London in winter/early spring pretty much looks like the East coast on a rainy, fall day. I thought now would be the perfect time to share these photos for some seasonal outfit inspiration.

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Looking at these pictures brings back the feeling of being new to a city halfway across the world and knowing nobody. At my University’s involvement fair I was able to connect with Londoners based on our common love for fashion and photography. No matter where you are or how different your culture is from other’s, you can always find someone with the same passion as you.

For more London photography check out My Daily Commute in Pictures.

The Rise of Jersey City Street Art

Art. It is all around us but not everyone chooses to see it. Street art was once viewed as a crime thought to be ruining the beauty of a simple neighborhood. However, a lot has changed in the last few years and the whole concept of street art has turned from a negative to a positive.

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Art murals like the ones in this post are now viewed as a way to draw interest to an otherwise ugly space, such as a parking lot. Different colors, patterns, and images are being painted in areas with the purpose of changing the perception of neighborhood elements that have otherwise been thought of as unpleasant to the eye.

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From parking lots to the back entrances of restaurants, murals have turned these places into popular picture spots. Walking around this area of Jersey City I saw multiple photoshoots occurring; not just fashion bloggers like myself, but engagement and couple shoots. Ten years ago these murals would have been viewed as vandalism rather than a place where couples want to share some of the most important pictures of their lives.

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Once the exact opposite, street art can now be viewed as a way to gentrify a neighborhood and attract a new crowd of people. Neighborhoods like Jersey City, Shoreditch, Chelsea, and even my hometown, are embracing this new approach to enliven a neighborhood. So what exactly changed to all of a sudden make street art “cool”?

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Is it the rise of millennials and our culture that are making this a new trend? Maybe. Or maybe it was society’s increasing interest with Banksy, the anonymous British artist known for making political statements with murals popping up on city walls overnight.

We may never really know how society began to accept this form of art that it was so strongly against in the past. However, it is important to consider its importance and how it has changed society for the better. It has given artists a platform where their art is guaranteed to be seen and recognized. It has also introduced the concept of art to many people and has shown them just how powerful it can be.

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Similar to street art, I aim to express myself through what I choose to put on my body each day. The way we dress and what we wear paints a picture of who we are in other’s minds. As cliché as it is, we all judge a book by its cover. It is important to express who you are and what you believe in through what you wear, just like street artists express their views on society through their murals.

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Whether you are a fan of street art or not, the next time you see a mural, stop and try to interpret what the artist was thinking at the time he or she painted it. Art has the power to express meaningful messages if we allow it to. Also consider what message you are projecting to the world when you get dressed tomorrow morning. Clothes, colors, and patterns have the ability to say so much without having to actually say it.

Bag (similar): Bloomingdale’s                                                                Boots (similar): Off 5th

One Shoulder Sweater: ASOS (ON SALE!)

Check out Parisian Street Art (the 10th arrondissement) and Amsterdam’s Art Scene to see some of my favorite street art in Europe.

 

 

 

Every Beauty Has a History

If you have ever been to Cape May then you know just how unique the architecture of the buildings in the area is. Each home has its own personality, painting a different story for every person that walks by it. There are old churches, restaurants, bed and breakfasts, and boutiques- each with no less character than the last.

Cape May church

The colorful homes and intricate gardens of Cape May are just two of the many reasons why it is one of my favorite places. I could wonder the streets for hours and be perfectly content with life. My family knows this for sure; they are often the ones that I am dragging around with me on long walks.

Aritzia fashion blogger

Cape May’s architecture is clearly Victorian. However, it was not always like this. In 1878 a massive fire broke out on the little beach island, destroying 30 blocks of buildings and hotels. The rebuilding of this area surrounding Washington Street was considered the modern style of the day. Now, the style is an old charm like no other, giving everyone that visits it a glimpse into the Victorian era.

Cape May bed and breakfast

Defining features of Victorian architecture include stained glass windows, gingerbread trim, and detailed fencing. Ironic that this little Victorian home is called the Gingerbread House? I think not. The entrance is decorated with this beautiful, twirly white trim that I just can’t get enough of.

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Cape May is actually a National Historic Landmark, which makes sense when you think about all of its rich history. The town was known as the “President’s Playground” because of it being a popular vacation destination for presidents like Abraham Lincoln and James Buchanan.

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However, Cape May was not always a National Historic Landmark. The Victorian buildings were actually threatened in the mid-1900s when many argued that they should be demolished to make room for more modern architecture. Luckily, many more people appreciated these one-of-a-kind buildings and argued for them not to be torn down. Once the town was given its historical title in 1976 the buildings were forever safe from harm.

Cape May New Jersey

Just like timeless architecture, I believe fashion is something that should be preserved for centuries to come. It represents a moment in time that is to be forever cherished. Clothing tells a story just like buildings do. While my style is simple and classic, it shows my youth and drive as a young woman in the business world.

Cape May fashion

As a modern woman walking the streets of Cape May that the great American Presidents once walked, I aim to leave a lasting artistic impression on the world for decades to come. If these buildings can inspire me as much as they do, why can’t I inspire others with my fashion choices?

(Sources: Cape May Times and Cape May Ocean Club Hotel)

Earrings (similar): Forever 21                                                            Cardigan: Urban Outfitters

Dress: Aritzia

#StrangersProject- The Power of Feeling Strangers’ Emotions

We all have those moments when we are overcome with emotion; fear, love, anxiety, nostalgia. It’s sometimes hard to describe these emotions and communicate them. I often find myself having these moments on Sunday nights, like tonight. As I was thoughtlessly clicking through my Snapchat stories I came across a story from the #StrangersProject that someone had shared. It is powerful to hear other people’s stories about what they are feeling. We all go through life thinking about ourselves, often times forgetting the billions of people in the world who are each living their own lives which we know nothing about.

This project is beautiful because it lets you feel things you’ve never felt. It lets you re-experience moments in your life that you went through years ago that others are just now going through. It lets you into someone else’s life, anonymously.

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This is one of the stories submitted to The Strangers Project. As a young person who still has much to experience in life, it amazes me that someone can love a person so much as to write about carrying his wife both physically and mentally through life.

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Different to the last story, this one addresses what it feels like to fall into young, lustful love. This post is just as beautiful to read, but a different kind of beautiful than the last. It talks about the feeling of looking at a person and seeing absolutely no wrong in them. Whether you are young or old, you can remember feeling this way at one point.

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On the opposite end of the spectrum of the feeling of love is the feeling of hate. Stories like this one let people experiencing sadness know that they are not alone. It is crazy what people are willing to share when they know their identity is safe.

The Strangers Project

This story is another story of pain. Nobody can understand exactly what it feels like to go through certain things unless those who have suffered from them speak out about them. This person shares her story of living with Anorexia and how grateful she was to get through it without compromising the relationships between her and her family and friends.

This project is so important because it shares all of the emotions of life. It lets us all relate to one another as human beings. No matter how different we each are, we all experience love, fear, hate, and happiness. This project makes us all feel human.

In conclusion, I ask you, what story would you write on a piece of paper, knowing the World would never know it was you who wrote it?

To learn more about The Strangers Project and read more stories, visit the website here.