Show Your Love for the Earth Through Sustainable Fashion

April 22nd. Do you know what day that is? No, it’s not International Pancake Day or International Wine Day, two “holidays” that millennials are probably more familiar with than this day. April 22nd is Earth Day, a day that is dedicated to caring for our planet and making eco-conscious choices.

I find it ironic how millennials are “Earth-activists” and care about the environment, yet most do absolutely nothing to help it. While yes, part of Earth’s future lies in the hand of our President, it is our decisions in our everyday life that ultimately effect the health of Mother Nature. Being a millennial myself, I admit that I am not the best at recycling or reusing my resources. However, I am also not preaching for everyone else to help the Earth but not help it myself. So this brings me to ask you, how have you planned to help the Earth on this lovely upcoming Saturday?

Eileen Fisher outfit

I think we can all sacrifice a few hours of our day to pick up litter in the neighborhoods surrounding us. I highly recommend organizing a neighborhood clean-up and picking up  litter in your surrounding area. Just imagine if everyone did this; the Earth could be completely clean for a few hours! Growing up, my mom would bring my sister and I to participate in our neighborhood Earth Day clean-ups. I actually ended up always enjoying them, walking away with a sense of accomplishment that the patch of ground was clean because of my efforts. One time I even found an old love letter hiding in the litter alongside the highway. Not only are you helping your community, but you could find your own little treasures!

madison-0253

You may be asking yourself, well how can I make a change that will permanently help the Earth? My answer for that is sustainable fashion. Many people, specifically Earth-activists, do not realize just how detrimental the fashion industry is to Mother Nature. Not only is it the fabric itself that is unethical, but the services of those who are making the clothing, the dying of the clothing, the shipping of the clothing… It is truly unfathomable how much harm fashion does to the environment.

madison-0275

Fast fashion stores like H&M, Forever 21 and Zara are doing nothing but harming the environment with the toxins their factories release into the air, the unsustainable fabrics, and the strenuous practices that they put their workers through. Unless we stop buying from these stores, fast fashion companies will only continue to gain power.

Eilen Fisher fashion blogger

While I know it is hard not to shop at these stores, because lets face it, they are the only thing in our budget, but it is essential that we at least support companies making efforts towards sustainable fashion. My favorite company working towards this goal is EILEEN FISHER. Last summer I worked as a Social Media and Public Relations Intern for them and  experienced first-hand how ethics and safe environmental practices are the core of their company (read more about my experience here). We need to support companies like EILEEN FISHER who are making an effort to change the fashion industry as we know it.

madison-0262

Not only do these two companies design and produce their clothing with the environment in mind, but they make an effort to truly educate consumers. Look on either of their websites and you will see environmental statistics plastered all over. They don’t try to hide how and where they produce their products, which most companies do. Try to find out where fast fashion retailers make their clothes. Hint: you won’t be able to. They don’t easily disclose this information on their website. If this information is found, it is usually in a news article titled “Forever 21 Clothing Made in U.S. Sweatshops for $4 an Hour” or “Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Uniqlo: Who’s Paying for our Cheap Clothes?“.

Eileen Fisher fashion blogger

Earth Day may be April 22nd, but every day should be Earth Day. I know we are all not perfect, but we all can do something a little extra to make the environment a healthier place. I’m not talking fighting legislation or joining the Green Party, but something we can all easily do every day, like make sustainable fashion choices.

Have Bloggers Destroyed the True Purpose of Coachella?

Being an avid Youtube and Instagram user, I have noticed the increased hype over Coachella this year with popular fashion and lifestyle bloggers. Hype may even be putting it lightly… I think the term obsession may be more appropriate. While Coachella has always been viewed as an event to show off the best of festival fashion, it has been taken to a whole new level this year. I keep asking myself, why is this?

My favorite fashion bloggers like Danielle Bernstein of WeWoreWhat and Chiara Ferragni of The Blonde Salad have been documenting their last few months spent preparing for Coachella. Yes, months. There have been constant Instagram stories and snapchats of them receiving packages in the mail from companies as well as their various visits to brand showrooms in preparation for their finest festival-inspired looks. From what I can recall of the past years, there has never been this much obsession over what to wear and what types of statements are to be made.

(pictures via @weworewhat on Instagram)

Being a fashionista myself, I absolutely recognize all of the fun that goes into preparing your looks for music festivals. It gives you a chance to dress in ways you may not typically dress in your everyday life. I mean who doesn’t love the glitter, boho dresses, and cowgirl-themed accessories? Coachella gives you a chance to be someone new and embrace the gypsy fashion while listening to some of your favorite bands in the middle of the desert. However, I can’t help but wonder if Coachella has now become more of a brand investment rather than a fun source of self-expression.

We all know that fashion bloggers get paid by brands to wear their clothing and post pictures of them wearing it. It is also no question that Coachella fashion gets A LOT of attention and A LOT of searches. This makes me wonder if Coachella is just an excuse for fashion bloggers to get increased exposure from social media and magazine articles, which is why bloggers are spending so much time preparing for it. The more preparation, the crazier the looks, the more exposure, the more money bloggers are paid by brands.

(pictures via @chiaraferragni on Instagram)

Not only has this festival turned into a business venture for fashion bloggers, but it has become hard work for all of the brands involved as well. If you work for a popular bohemian fashion brand you can forget about enjoying the music at Coachella. Countless months are spent planning parties, looks, press events, showroom invites, and more. I mean, I thought music festivals were a fun place to enjoy music, but have you once heard a blogger talk about what artists were going to be there or who they couldn’t wait to hear live? I know I haven’t. All the talk is simply about wearing which look which day and getting this shot, in that location. I have mentioned this before, but life should be about enjoying the moment rather than planning it. We don’t want to see posed picture, we want to see people genuinely enjoying themselves.

While I am excited to not only hear the live performances from Coachella this weekend, I am also looking forward to all of the Instagram posts of what everyone is wearing. However, some of the magic for me will be lost. Just knowing all of the business that has gone behind an event that is supposed to be so fun, carefree, and effortless, loses Coachella’s sense of purpose for me. What do you think about the evolution of Coachella and its attendees? Let me know by leaving me a comment!

My Daily Commute in Pictures

Every time I walk from Old Street station back to my flat I think how lucky I am to be in London in this beautiful neighborhood. While this may not be everyone’s idea of beauty, especially those used to the more traditional London, beauty is all in one’s own perception. Here is my daily commute through Shoreditch in my eyes:

Shoreditch photography

Shoreditch building photography

Shoreditch street shot

Shoreditch street art photography

Shoreditch graffiti art

Follow me on Instagram for more photos of London.

Hidden Gem of Amsterdam: Toastable

After strolling through the Bloemenmarkt early in the morning, I needed some coffee to get me through the rest of the day. I was instantly attracted to Toastable because of their cute, cheery sign greeting me at the door.

Amsterdam's cutest cafe

I ordered a cappuccino to-go, although my cousin and I ended up spending quite some time in this quaint cafe. Wood tables, pink peonies in glass bottles, white walls, and a decadent gold-framed mirror. If I lived in Amsterdam I could easily spend hours in this light, airy atmosphere.

best coffee in  Amsterdam

While I only came in here for a cup of coffee, I later found out that they sell all varieties of grilled cheese. I mean who doesn’t love grilled cheese? If you stop here, try the Gorgonzola toastie for me; I couldn’t help but eye up all the delicious options on their menu! I highly recommend stopping in here for a quick bite to eat and a cup of coffee before being on your way to explore the city.

Amsterdam's best coffee

Being a blogger, I can’t leave a place this aesthetically pleasing without having a little photoshoot!

Check out my Amsterdam Guide for more recommendations when visiting this city.

February’s Reads

As you will see, I really branched out from my typical genre of books in the month of February. I have discovered an appreciation for both classic works of literature as well as romances set in the 1920s and 1930s. These books were so captivating that I finished most of them in a matter of a day or two.

Trainwreck: The Women We Love to Hate, Mock, and Fear… And Why by Sady Doyle-

This book analyzes popular female “trainwrecks”, such as Amy Winehouse and Britney Spears, and questions why they are given this label. Doyle discusses how society is the reason for these women’s breakdowns and how we can stop this. She questions why men are idolized for the same actions that women are called crazy for. If you enjoy feminist or thought-provoking literature, give this one a read!

Book Review

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi-

I’m sure many of you have heard lots of reviews about this book. It has become increasingly popular, and for good reason. It accounts the life of a neurosurgeon who falls ill with cancer, taking you through his thoughts of life and death. I believe everyone should read books like this because they give you a deeper appreciation for what really matters. Kalanithi struggles between his illness overcoming him and his love for surgery, which is such a powerful message. Be prepared to cry!

When Breath Becomes Air review

Madonna in a Fur Coat by Sabahattin Ali-

This book was being displayed as a featured book in Daunt Books one day, so naturally I decided to pick it up. This bookstore always gives the best recommendations and has books with the prettiest covers. I’m not gonna lie, the cover is what really got me… and the sales lady’s endless praise for it, too. This book is not a typical read for me, being that I usually head towards business or psychology books, but I quickly fell in love with it. It follows a Turkish man who finds himself in Berlin, captivated by a beautiful woman in a painting. I won’t ruin the magic of the book but the characters do end up meeting. Maria, this woman in the painting, is a character I found a lot of myself within, which is probably why I am so fascinated with her. Her strong, complex character is reason enough to read this novel.

Madonna in a Fur Coat

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald-

A literary classic, I have been yearning to read this novel for awhile now. When I found it for only a few pounds in a bookstore in Old Street station, I knew it was finally time to read it. The first part consisted of the most magical, captivating pages. This part discussed Anthony’s fascination with Gloria and her youthful, free spirit. I have developed a deep love for the character of Gloria in her younger years. The rest of the novel follows the love story of these two characters and the changes in their lives relative to their own fortunes. I personally love the way Fitzgerald writes; there is something so poetic about his descriptions of people and events.

If you have any recommendations on books you think I should read, please leave them below! Check out January’s Reads and be sure to look out for March’s Reads, coming soon.

Hidden Gem of London: Palm Vaults

I am a sucker for a place with a cute aesthetic and healthy, good-tasting food. Needless to say, Palm Vaults offers both of these, all in the heart of Hackney.

palm vault london

The café truly is an Instagrammer’s heaven with the green plants hanging from the ceiling, marble tables, velvet couches, and pink accents. Not to mention the takeaway cups which are chic enough to include in your next #ootd post.

Palm Vault Dragonfruit Smoothie

My friend ordered the “Unleash the Dragon” smoothie which is undeniably the prettiest smoothie I have ever seen. It still amazes me how a fruit can produce a color as bright and vibrant as this one.

Palm Vault London

Palm Vaults is known for their endless selection of artisan lattes. Tumeric, violet, red velvet, blue moon tea, and charcoal are just a few options included in their menu. I ordered the red velvet latte and was surprised to taste a beet flavor. It turns out the pretty red color is acheived using the natural coloring of beets. While it is definitely an acquired taste, it makes me feel better knowing that I am not consuming artificial chemicals. The beet and mocha flavors surprisingly complement one another very well!

Palm Vault acai bowl

I ordered the “Pataya Bowl”, decorated with raspberries, coconut, blueberries, and goji berries. After seeing pictures of my favorite bloggers eating these bowls on tropical islands such as Hawaii and Australia, I had to have one. This bowl brought a little slice of the warm tropics to London, right before walking outside into the rain of course.

palm vault london

While I loved being in such a pretty atmosphere, with yummy food, places like this attract certain kinds of people. Of course I am not hating on us bloggers, being I am also that girl that has to rearrange the table to get the perfect picture of what I am about to consume, but it is also important to enjoy the moment you are living in.

Often at times we tend to only do things for the image that it portrays on social media. We all get caught up in capturing that perfect picture with the perfect lighting. While this is ok to do to a certain point, there comes a time when it’s necessary to put the camera or phone down and focus on what’s in front of you. Enjoy your delicious food. Enjoy the atmosphere you’re in. Most importantly, enjoy the time with the company that surrounds you.

The next time you go out to brunch or coffee with friends, spend the first 5 minutes rearranging your food and posting it all over social media. After, put the camera away. Put the phone away. Take the time to really talk to your friends and really taste your food. It is amazing how much more enjoyable life becomes when you shut out the digital world and embrace the present.

Follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more pictures of London and its yummy food.

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

I can officially say I have found the next European city that I long to live in. Amsterdam, you have my heart.

This past weekend my cousin Natasha and I ventured on a train from London to Amsterdam. When you first exit the station you see the beautiful Amstel river in front of you and a path buzzing with bicycles. Even knowing that it is the most bike-friendly capital in the world, I was still shocked by just how many bikers there really were!

Amsterdam is a fairly small city, making it perfect for only a day and a half long trip. Surprisingly, we were able to do most of the things we wanted to, although I would be happy to aimlessly walk along the canals for days.

To See…

Amsterdam canal

Yes, the canals are just as breathtakingly beautiful in person as they are in the pictures. There is something about each street being lined with water that makes the city like a fairytale land. I know I am happiest when I am by the water, so it makes perfect sense that Amsterdam is the happiest city in the world! I suggest enjoying a cup of coffee or tea and sitting along the edge (or if you’re scared of water, on one of the bridges).

Amsterdam tulip market

If you are a flower lover like myself, you must visit the Bloemenmarkt, a flower market floating on one of the canals. They display the most beautiful blooming tulips you will ever see. While I unfortunately didn’t get the oppurtunity to make it to the Dutch countryside for the tulip fields, this was a great alternative.

Amsterdam flower market

My favorite shop was one of the last ones in the market. The ceiling is adorned with delicate bouquets of pastel-colored flowers. If I live in Amsterdam someday my apartment will always be flourishing with an assortment of flowers from this market.

Iamsterdamn sign

The I amsterdam sign has to be the most Instagrammed spot in the city. While I think the sign is quite touristy and overrated, I still recommend visiting the surrounding area. The sign is located by a bunch of beautiful museums, this stunning fountain, and a luscious green park.

To Eat…

Coming to Amsterdam I was most excited to eat the waffles; and let me tell you, they did not disappoint. The first thing I ate after setting foot in the city was some stroopwafels. These are a traditional Dutch dessert consisting of two thin waffles with a layer of gooey caramel in between. They are addicting, beware!

stroop

While the stroopwafels are an amazing treat, my favorite thing I ate in Amsterdam had to be the Milka chocolate-covered waffle. Milka chocolate alone tastes amazing, so just imagine adding a warm waffle and homemade whipped cream to the mix. I’m surprised I remember it as well as I do being that I devoured it in a matter of minutes. Waffle shops are everywhere in the city, and in my opinion, all equally as yummy.

GG's brunch boat Amsterdam

Hands down my favorite part of the trip (even if you include the part where Natasha spilled an entire mimosa on me), G’s Brunch Boat is a must-do while in Amsterdam. Not only is the food amazing, but you get an extensive 2-hour tour of the canals. My cousin and I were huge fans of the music they played- everything from Rihanna to modern remixes to throwback songs, the playlist was on point.

Amsterdam pancakes

Another traditional Dutch food that I had to try while in the Netherlands was poffertjes, or as I like to call them, mini pancakes. You can order these fluffy pieces of goodness with all sorts of toppings like bananas, strawberries, nutella, or whipped cream. I always opt for the simple cinnamon and sugar. Just like the waffles, you can find Dutch pancake houses all over the city. Be sure to stop in one for a sweet snack!

If you are looking for a nice lunch spot with a stunning view of the canal, check out Schreierstoren (or VOC Café). It is right by the train station, making it a convenient choice for your pre or post travels. I even ate next to an adorable Doodle named Cookie which was a huge bonus in my book!

For dinner be sure to check out A Fusion, a Japanese restaurant conveniently located by the Red Light District. If you are looking for something outside all of the bustle of the city center, try Mexico Boulevard for some yummy mexican food and a great service experience.

To Do…

You can’t go to Amsterdam without exploring some of its deep history. I recommend paying a visit to the Anne Frank House. The stories that have been created in the house are tragic but powerful. Visiting the house and experiencing the exhibit makes you really think about life and what is important. As Otto Frank once said, “To build a future, you have to know the past” (1967). This should be reason enough to pay this piece of history a visit. Be sure to buy your tickets online beforehand so you don’t have to wait in line.

Anne Frank House cafe

The café at the end of the exhibit is a beautiful place to have a cup of coffee or enjoy lunch. Light floods into the all-glass walls, making it a brilliant space to work or enjoy with friends. The far side of the café overlooks the canals, giving you a picture-perfect view.

fashion blogger amsterdam

After touring the Anne Frank House, we headed to the Van Gogh Museum. This is the one museum in Amsterdam that I knew I had to visit. If you didn’t know, Van Gogh was actually born in the Netherlands, and you can see this inspiration in some of his pieces.

I have always admired Van Gogh’s artwork and his passion (or madness) for the work he created. The museum walks you through the story of his life and the different paintings which he made in different periods of his life. It is mind-blowing just how many pieces of his they have and just how different a lot of them are from the typical Van Gogh pieces that we are used to seeing.

Vondelpark Amsterdam spring time

This is Vondelpark, the park located by the Van Gogh Museum and Iamsterdam sign,  which I mentioned earlier. If you are as lucky as we were and are blessed with sunny days, spend an hour or two in the park. The energy of the locals here is contagious; kids are running around and people are playing fetch with their dogs. You could even bring some cheese (which Amsterdam is actually known for!) and champagne to the park and have a small picnic!

I am already counting down the days until I can visit this city again… or move there, if I’m lucky. It is so much more than everyone makes it out to be. Experience it for yourself and let me know what you think! Look out for an Art Guide to Amsterdam, coming soon. Until then, follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more pictures of this beautiful city.