Weekend Getaway: Cambridge, England

This past weekend I escaped rainy London and headed over to (also very rainy) Cambridge! I figured it was time to start exploring the other cities in England. While I am a city girl and absolutely adore being in London, it was nice to change up my atmosphere for a college campus feel. I would love to say it felt just like home, but lets be honest, my school in the United States is nowhere near as pretty as the University of Cambridge.

Fitzbillies Bakery Cambridge

Are you surprised that my first stop in Cambridge was for food? Neither am I! My friend and I dropped into Fitzbillies, a favorite among the locals, for their famous Chelsea bun. And maybe a scone too… I can’t resist a good cup of English Breakfast tea and a yummy scone with jam when I see one on the menu!

Fitzbillies Bakery chelsea bun

The Chelsea bun did not disappoint. It was just as ooey and gooey as I expected. The raisins inside made for an extra touch of deliciousness. This pastry is a must-have if you are traveling to Cambridge!

Cambridge University England

I like to think I have a deep appreciation for classic architecture, so naturally these buildings took my breathe away. I can’t believe students actually attend classes here!

Cambridge University market

Cambridge University canal

Throughout the varying campuses of the University of Cambridge runs a canal. Many people hop on the canal and opt for a tour of all of the colleges via the water. We decided to skip out on this to save some money, but it would be quite beautiful in the spring!

Cambridge market tea

Since we traveled to Cambridge on a Saturday, all of the vendors were out selling their goods at the local markets. There were vendors selling food, books, jewelry, University apparel, and more. I personally loved this tea vendor because of all of the handwritten tags. You could tell he was extremely passionate about his homegrown teas, which is what I love to see from market vendors.

Cambridge University

After walking around and taking in the atmosphere, we made a trip to The Eagle, the pub where Francis Crick and James Watson first announced that DNA carries genetic information. Being the nerd that I am, I had to get a drink here and bathe in the scientific glory that occurred in this pub.

We ended out trip by making our way to the Centre for Computing History. Little did I know this would entail a 45 minute walk across town, to a rather deserted manufacturing area. The museum was hidden behind a tile factory, making it nearly impossible to find. After finally finding it, I had to pay 7 pounds in order to walk through it. This is a lot for a college student on a budget in a foreign country!

Centre of Computing History Cambridge

The museum had almost every computer ever made, explaining when each one was built and the functions it could perform. My favorite part was the wall of game consoles displayed, each one fully functioning. I played Super Mario Brothers from 1983 and Pacman on a vintage arcade machine, reliving my fondest childhood memories of challenging my mom to Pacman tournaments in Jersey Shore arcades. Now I want one of these for my apartment!

Thanks for giving me a nice city escape, Cambridge! Until the next weekend trip…

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Burberry Makers House

This week only, Burberry is holding an exhibit which showcases their February 2017 collection that was shown at London Fashion Week on Monday. The exhibit is named “Henry Moore: Inspiration & Process at Makers House”, brought together in collaboration with the Henry Moore Foundation. The exhibit walks through the artwork, created by Henry Moore himself, and how it inspired this season’s collection.

Burberry cape

In addition to Moore’s artwork and Burberry’s latest collection, Burberry has also displayed their made-to-order couture cape collection. These capes are some of the most beautiful, detailed pieces I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. Each one is created from the most exquisite materials such as shells, feathers, plastic, rope, and beads.

Burberry February 2017

This grey cable knit sweater dress is a favorite of mine from the collection. I can just imagine myself wearing this with some knee-high black boots and a grey trench coat. A girl can dream, right!?

Burberry Makers House 2017

Burberry Makers House production

Being a sewer, I loved experiencing the making of a huge fashion house’s runway collection. The exhibit laid out the fitting and tailoring process of each special piece in the collection. They even had a jacket displayed that still had the pins in it. Many people who aren’t familiar with designing clothes don’t understand all of the math and careful planning involved with each garment. This exhibit gives a deep insight into the process of designing and creating clothing.

Burberry cape

Henry Moore Burberry

This is one of Moore’s bronze sculptures which was the largest source of inspiration for the collection. Each sculpture is meant to represent a sense of security, which can be noticed throughout the clothes in the collection. You can also see how the geometric elements of this sculpture translate directly into the geometric elements of the clothes. This is seen most literally in the shoes paired with each look which have a cut-out round heel.

Burberry Henry Moore

Burberry February 2017

Here is a more literal interpretation of one of Moore’s art pieces. You can see that Christopher Bailey was inspired by the fluidity and design of the light piece when designing this knit sweater.

Burberry cape

We looked at the contradictions in  Moore’s work, between power and gentleness, heaviness and lightness, familiarity and abstraction. Between the hardness of his materials and the fluidity and softness of his forms -(Christopher Bailey)

Burberry February 2017

If you are in London this week then I highly suggest you make a stop at the Makers House. Not only is it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the fashion phanatics, but it’s free! When you’re traveling on a budget there is no better word to hear. You have until February 27th to check it out, so go now! I am definitely making a few more visits before the exhibit closes. If you go be sure to let me know what you thought!

The Power of Being Awake

February is almost over… The month where those New Year’s resolutions you set are no longer so new. And when things are no longer new, they usually are no longer any fun either. Resolutions, your new iPhone, your latest boyfriend… Everything loses its glisten  as January 1st fades into February and February fades into March.

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During these long winter months after the holidays, it is hard not to dig yourself into a funk. It is easy to lose motivation and not want to leave your house or spend those hours studying in the library. Often I need to find something small to motivate me to push towards these goals that I have set (like reading a new book every week).

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One of those little treats that I use to motivate myself is caffeine. I know, not the best choice for my health, but it is the one thing that always gets me going. Luckily I recently discovered the brand Sunup. Sunup is a company based in Brooklyn that sells green coffee. Green coffee tastes like coffee and tea in one- the best of both worlds. Now I don’t have to decide which I would rather drink in the morning!

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Green coffee has the same amount of caffeine as a medium iced coffee but doesn’t leave you with jitters and a bitter after taste. I genuinely look forward to waking up, grabbing my laptop and books, and hitting the library when I have a Sunup in my hand.

Don’t let these long winter months get you down. Find something small that you can look forward to everyday to get you up and ready for the day. Or, better yet, think about all the steps you could be taking towards achieving your wildest dreams. Success doesn’t come easy, it comes with hard work.

What were your New Year’s resolutions, and have you continued along with them into February? Let me know by leaving me a comment!

LOVE YOURSELF

Happy Valentine’s Day! Or maybe you know it as the day everyone in love loves to love and everyone not in love loves to hate. This “holiday” brings with it a lot of pressure from society to find someone to spend this day with. It is almost as if society looks down on you if you are single.

As Justin Bieber once sang, “you should go and love yourself”. And guess what? You should!  Ok, this is definitely not how he meant it in his *now Grammy-winning* song, but he still speaks the truth. We should view Valentine’s Day as a day of love rather than a day to love a significant someone. Who said you can’t be your own Valentine?

self-love Valentine's Day

It is so much more important to love yourself than someone else. Self-love is something that truly deserves to be celebrated. Loving yourself is one of the hardest things to do. Self-love takes courage, acceptance, and a realization that you are an amazing, beautiful person. At the end of the day, you will always have you. You are the one you spend 24 hours a day with, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, an entire lifetime. How can you not love yourself?

Instead of moping around wishing you had someone else to buy chocolate and flowers for, do something that makes you realize why you love the person you are. Take a yoga class. Visit an art museum. Walk your dog. Everyone deserves to feel love on this holiday and the easiest way to do that is to find it from within.

Street Art of Alfama

Art truly is everywhere you look… It just depends what you are looking for. I see art in the the literal sense, through murals and paintings, but also in people and places. Lisbon, as a city, was a work of art in itself.

Aflame street art

Two friends enjoying lunch on a quiet Sunday afternoon. I quickly fell in love with the bicycle, flowers, and painting of the woman with the traditional Portuguese guitar.

Aflame street art

This alley was my favorite discovery I made while wandering the streets of Alfama. It was covered in plants and random colorful collages. There was also a back and white cat sitting on a chair, bathing in the sun. I think he appreciated the artwork just as much as I did!

Aflama street art

The contrast of old and new. Who is to say that one is more beautiful than the other? Although I do wish I knew what the graffiti says.

Aflame street art

A graffitied truck parked in front of an exquisitely built building- the perfect contrast.

pure poetry pura poesia

Pure poetry.

Aflame street mosaic

Aflame street graffiti

Most people choose to just look at the view of the city, I choose to look at the graffiti surrounding it as well.

Aflame street art tile mosaic

Hand-painted tiles on the side of a building that highlight the Portuguese lifestyle in Alfama.

aflama art coffee and red wine

My three favorite things- coffee, wine, and paintings!

I am always mentioning this, but, art is what you make of it. Start opening your eyes to view everything you see as its own work of art. You never know what you will learn to appreciate in the process.

Follow me on Instagram for more photos of street art seen around Europe.

 

Lisbon, Portugal- What to See, Eat, Do

This past weekend I headed to Lisbon, Portugal for my first weekend trip of my study abroad adventure. Portugal wasn’t even a place I considered visiting until my friend asked me if I wanted to join him. I can definitely say I am happy that I said yes and had the opportunity to experience such a beautiful city.

Lisbon is a city that is best seen by wandering the streets aimlessly. My friends and I had no specific plans but to walk around and take in whatever sights we could find.

To See…

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The Jerónimos Monastery happened to be only a 15 minute walk from the Airbnb we were staying in. It took my breathe away the moment I saw it. The details of the carvings of the stone are something a picture cannot even capture. The construction began in 1501 and was completed in 1601. The beauty is priceless, both literally and figuratively, making it a must-see!

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We decided to walk up a bunch of tiny alleyways in Aflama which somehow led us to this gorgeous view. From here you could see the entire city, including the 25 de Abril Bridge. Did you know this bridge was built by the American Bridge Company, the same company who built the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (hint the resemblance)? Explore the city streets and let them lead you to magical spots like this one.

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To Eat…

Portugal is known for their traditional pastry called the pastel de nada, a creamy custard egg tart. They are traditionally eaten in the mornings with coffee, and that is just what we did. Every morning of the trip, actually. I recommend Pastéis de Belém, a pastry shop with an endless selection of sweets and a buzzing environment.

pastel de nata

Being a seafood connoisseur, of course I was most excited to try the fish of Portugal, specifically the ceviché. Ever since I went to Puerto Rico I have not been able to find ceviché that compares to theirs. While Portugal’s still comes in second, it was nearly as delicious. I recommend trying the grouper ceviché and prawn tapas at Mesón Andaluz, a hidden gem just off the popular pink street. One of the things I loved most about Lisbon was the incredibly generous, kind people. You definitely don’t find those in London or New York City! The manager of the restaurant was making jokes and slipping me free food. How could I not love this place?

Portugal octopus ceviche

While I usually head to a certain restaurant for its trendy atmosphere, there was something special about eating in the quaint restaurants owned by the local people. The food was authentic and never disappointed. You can find many cafés with outdoor seating along the streets of Alfama, all with spectacular views of the colorful buildings and city streets.

To Do…

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After realizing a tuk tuk was the same price as an Uber, we quickly embarked on an adventure in one driven by a local, from Belém to Alfama. The fresh air in our faces was liberating and the experience was like no other. Our driver was extremely friendly and told us all the best places to see.

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Lesson learned: say yes to everything. Well, almost everything. Say yes to life, say yes to exploring, say yes to new cities. Life has a funny way of working itself out. I am sure glad I said yes to Portugal.