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!

Advertisements

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.

fall6

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.

skogawfilter

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.

blogedit

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.

plane.png

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!

fish1

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!

NorthernLights3.jpg

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.

falllllsss.png

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!

Sewn by Me: Cutout Jumpsuit

I have been actively seeking out trendy and fashionable sewing bloggers for some time now. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck. Most sewing bloggers I find are super conservative in their style and over the age of thirty-five. For someone who is constantly following the latest trends in fashion and is pretty young, this just isn’t the ideal source of inspiration.

This being said, I’ve decided to add to my blog what I’ve found lacking on the internet- a young, trendy approach to sewing. As I make new pieces I will be updating you on the patterns I used, the various adjustments I made on them, and where I found my fabrics.

IMG_4751.JPG

You may recognize this jumpsuit from one of my past posts, Not Your Average Housewife. I used the same pattern for this one as I did for that one yet they turned out totally different! This just goes to show that a little bit of adjustments here and there can end in an entirely unique garment.

IMG_4741.JPG

I used McCall’s M7626 as a base for both jumpsuits. For the “Not Your Average Housewife” jumpsuit I kept the pattern almost exactly the same as the original. I used the pattern for jumpsuit D but added the straps of jumpsuit C. The only difference is that the one strap pattern uses buckles and the other doesn’t.

IMG_4729

When I used this pattern the second time, to make the jumpsuit pictured, I created a cutout in the front, used an exposed zipper, and tailored the leg seams.

IMG_4750

Getting the cutout just right was a bit difficult. I wanted to make it large enough where I could wear the jumpsuit out to a club and still be sexy but low enough on the top piece that there wasn’t too much underboob (just keeping it real here!). Sounds like a weird issue but it required lots of playing around with the straps and how the fabric would lay when sewn to the pants portion of the jumpsuit.

IMG_4743

The exposed zipper was obviously a lot easier to sew in than the invisible zipper, so I was happy about that. Invisible zippers are probably my least favorite thing to sew. For the pants I simply cut out the original pattern and then tailored the perfect fit to me when I tried the finished ensemble on. I also cuffed the jumpsuit so it would hit just above the ankle and look flattering with all different shoe types.

IMG_4727

I already bought this fabric in a nude color to make another jumpsuit for spring. They are just so easy to wear and a lot of fun to make. Be sure to let me know if you’ve ever used this pattern or if you plan on picking it up. Happy sewing!

Hidden Gem of DC: Oki Bowl

I don’t know about you but during the winter all I crave is a warm bowl of soup. There is nothing more comforting than this during the cold months. This being said, when I was visiting Washington D.C. in the 10 degree weather, all I wanted was some authentic japanese ramen. Luckily, I was able to hunt down the perfect place.

Oki ramen georgetown

Oki Bowl caught my attention through Instagram when someone posted a picture of their ramen. Not only did it look delicious, but the atmosphere looked like a one-of-a-kind experience. The ceilings were covered in cool lamps, flowers, and random knick-knacks. The walls had funky, colorful wood panels and floral designs.

Oki Bowl ramen dc

While the dining area of the restaurant is pretty cool, the coolest part of Oki Bowl is by far its bathroom. The bathroom is glowing in neon lights, flowers, and sparkly arrangements. There is even a glow-up tank with jellyfish inside! The bathroom is something pictures cannot even justify; you simply have to experience it for yourself.

best ramen in DC

I ordered the tempura kale ramen with crispy tofu. The broth for this ramen was made from coconut milk and lemongrass, making it soothing and sweet. I had never had tempura kale and was delightfully surprised by its taste and texture. I mean, tempura makes everything delicious, even a leafy green vegetable!

After walking around Georgetown for the day, exploring art galleries and book stores, Oki Bowl made for the perfect place to stop for dinner. I would highly recommend checking it out if you are looking for a warm treat in winter or just some really good ramen!

If you enjoyed this post be sure to also check out Hidden (Vegan) Gem of Edinburgh: Paradise Palms and Hidden Gem of Amsterdam: Toastable.

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.

nyc street style

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.

new york street art

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?

new york city blogger

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.

edit18

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.

new york city street style

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.

grunge outfit details

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.

new york city blogger

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

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:

the psychopath test book review

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.

z: a novel of zelda fitzgerald

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.

17F59073-D124-4660-82E2-684B5FBDA374.JPG

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.

housewife high fashion shoot

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.

DB3FA7E3-49D2-40D2-B392-4379D78F791C.JPG

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”!

649EE96F-9DCA-44CA-96BE-4EB50EF17FF7 (1).JPG

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.

DD61EE23-DF74-4E3B-AAD6-EC091DFBDA71.JPG

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?

96F469FD-796F-42DC-92EB-6220F3123348.JPG

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…

london.jpg

london3.jpg

Visiting Lisbon, Edinburgh, and Ireland…

lisbon2.jpg

ireland.jpg

Traveling to Amsterdam with my cousin…

amster.jpg

amster2.jpg

Chasing the sun in Croatia…

croatia.jpg

croa.jpg

croa2.jpg

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

france3.jpgparis.jpgfrance2.jpg

Spending summer weekends at the Jersey Shore…

19466640_10211923201509632_1416390800650702464_o.jpg

Being featured for the first time in a magazine…

mag.jpg

Landing my first real job…

IMG_9493.jpg

Spending the holidays with family…

24139892_10213182117301740_714734247_o.jpg

23847431_10213166537832263_213289268104945747_o.jpg

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.

24093694_10213181318841779_1563104042_o (1).jpg

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.

24139294_10213181331242089_490142511_o

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.

24115672_10213181327682000_888982643_o (1)

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.