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.

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

 

 

 

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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.

Cape May Washington Street

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.

Cape May hotel

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)

#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.

The Strangers Project

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.

 

Summer Bummer

Now that Labor Day has rolled around, it is officially the end of the summer. No more beach days, daily ice cream cones, runs along the ocean, or endless lobster rolls. It is time that reality rolls back into our lives.

While I have spent my summer interning 5 days a week as well as working most nights, summer still felt like a time of relaxation and winding down. Responsibilities seem a little less apparent when the sun is shining bright and the salty breeze is blowing through your hair.

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Being a Gemini, with two very different personalities, my simple side tends to come out in the summer while my hustling city slicker personality tends to shy away for the time being. That being said, my summer involved lots of yoga, reading, and enjoying the beauties that nature had to offer me.

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I am a firm believer that we all need to take some time to step back and re-evaluate our goals and what we are working towards. Summer is the perfect time to do this. It allows you to clear your head of the stress and worries and to focus on what really matters. Clearing your mind allows you to step into the back-to-school season with crystal clear intentions of what you really wish to accomplish in the next year.

Mood fabrics hand sewn kimono

Working this summer taught me exactly what I need out of my future career once I graduate college in the spring. It taught me the type of people, environment, and work itself that I value in a career. However, more importantly, spending the summer with my family by the beach taught me an even more important lesson; life is short.

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Life is very short. Whatever your biggest worry is today, there are much more meaningful things to worry about. Your little worries mean absolutely nothing in the grand scheme of things. If you want to go out with your friends one night when you have work early in the morning, go out. If you want to wear your favorite kimono that is way too dressy for the beach, wear it. If you have to drive 4 hours in one day just to say hi to your grandparents, do it.

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Do what you will end up remembering years from now. The lasting memories that certain choices shape for you are worth the sacrifice. So stop stressing the littlest of worries and easiest of decisions and live your life to its fullest capacity.

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After all, life is short, and so is summer.

What important lesson did you learn this summer? Leave me a comment below! If you enjoyed this post be sure to read my reflection of last summer, And the Summertime Sadness Sets In…. For similar pictures and posts follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Superfood-Fueled Smoothie Bowl Recipe

There is nothing I crave more in the summer than a cold smoothie bowl. Not only are they delicious and refreshing, but they can also be the key to good health. Smoothies are one of the ways I get my daily nutrients and greens I need in order to nourish my body. Here is what you will need:

Green Smoothie:

1 Frozen Banana

1 Handful of Spinach

1 Spoonful of Navitas Organics Acai Powder

Coconut Water as needed

superfood packed acas bowl recipe

Superfoods aren’t just a hype, trust me. They truly do make a difference in the way you feel. If you’re skeptical, just give one a try and see how it goes. They transform any smoothie bowl into a small slice of heaven. Yes, this means they are just as tasty as they are good for you!

Recommended Superfoods:

Navitas Organics Chia Seeds

Navitas Organics Hemp Seeds

Navitas Organics Goji Berries

Navitas Organics Cacao Nibs

What do these superfoods do for your body? More like what don’t they do? Chia and hemp seeds help your body fight off aging by providing antioxidants. They also give your body energy to take on those long work days or strenuous workouts. In addition, hemp seeds strengthen your immune system and chia seeds ward off hunger. You may not expect a lot from these tiny seeds but they are indeed powerful.

I am currently addicted to goji berries. They are chewy and sweet, but also extremely good for you. I eat them on almost everything, but they are my favorite on top of smoothie bowls. Just like chia and hemp seeds, they are a great source of antioxidants. While they have an extensive amount of benefits, they are particularly good for eye and skin health. They also help regulate your cholesterol levels.

You may be questing the health benefits of the last superfood I mentioned, cacao nibs. Well, cacao is actually an ingredient added to chocolate before it is processed. Since it is not yet processed, it is actually very beneficial for your health. It is packed with magnesium and is proven to make you happier. And who doesn’t need a little extra happiness in their lives?

superfood smoothie recipe

If you are interested in more health and wellness posts, leave me a comment below. Be sure to tag me (@maemaddie) on Instagram if you post a picture of this yummy (and pretty) smoothie bowl!

Follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more foodie and wellness pictures. For similar posts check out my Juice Press Rainforest Smoothie Recipe and A Green Smoothie For Those Against Greens.

The Power of a Place

We all know the feeling. The feeling of nostalgia. The feeling of all of your memories flooding back. The feeling as if you never even left. All of these feelings are part of visiting a place that holds such an important place in your memory.

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There are many places that remind me of memories from my childhood. My beach house. The bedroom from my teenage years. My grandparent’s house. All of these places instantly bring me back to when I was 12 years old and running around outside, barefoot, my biggest concern being what flavor of ice cream I would consume that night. Whenever I visit here I quickly forget the responsibilities of adulthood and feel as if I have no worries in the world.

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Why do places have this effect on the human brain? According to Nautilus (my new favorite publication, might I add), we actually seem to replace all of our childhood memories in order to make room for new ones that form during adulthood. However, these scrambled memories are brought into consciousness when stimulated with certain scents, words, or places. So, as it turns out, our favorite places act as a source of stimulation to recover our repressed memories that we may not think about on a daily basis.

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This beautiful lake is where many of my fondest childhood memories were made. Ones that I hope to always cherish and never forget. Being by the lake makes me feel as if just yesterday I was canoeing and catching fish off of the dock with my pop-pop.

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While much has changed since then, including my sense of style, I will always feel like a young, happy preteen by that lake. I am also happy to say that my style has upgraded from those days. My daily uniform back then may or may not have included an old basketball camp t-shirt and colorful, mesh shorts from Limited Too.

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If it’s been awhile since you’ve visited a place that reminds you of all the amazing memories that molded you into the individual you are today, then what are you waiting for? Go out there and relive the happiness a younger you once experienced. Trust me, it will refresh your outlook on how you are living as an adult.

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So tell me, what is your favorite place that brings all of your most cherished memories flooding back? What place is the most powerful to you?

For similar pictures and posts follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook. If you enjoyed this post in particular, check out The Sunshine Effect.

Summer Reading Recommendations

If you have been following my book reviews for quite some time now then you know it’s been awhile since I last posted one of these. While I hate to admit it, yes, I have been slacking on my New Year’s resolution to read a new book every week. Sometimes life simply gets in the way and that is ok.

I think many people become discouraged the moment they realize they break a goal that they promised themselves they’d stick to. Well, here I am telling you that it’s ok to break goals, but only as long as you are still attempting to stick with them. Life has definitely caught up with me the last few months- from moving from London back to New York, to starting a new job, to taking on new students- it has been hectic.

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Lately I have been making sure to take at least 30 minutes to read a chapter or two of my book. It has quickly become an easy way to unwind and relax after a long day of working. Not only am I learning and bettering my mind, but I am deconnecting from my phone and the business of life itself.

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Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant-

Sheryl Sandberg is one of my favorite authors for her ability to relate each topic she writes about to every type of reader. I am a huge fan of her first book, “Lean In”, as well as this book, which is her newest. If you are going through a hard time in your life, this book will make you appreciate your life and help you to live every moment to its fullest. It truly gave me a different perspective on the hardships I have gone through and how to make the best out of it. I highly recommend this book to anyone, whether you are going through a tough time or not.

Birth of a Theorem by Cedric Villani-

I had to include a fail in this reading list because, honestly, who enjoys every single book they read? Being an avid math lover and “amateur mathematician”, I was very excited to read about the process of creating a new mathematical theorem and having it be accepted into the world. However, this book was way out of my league. The first chapter in I felt as if I was reading gibberish. Therefore, unless you have a PhD in Mathematics, steer clear of this book.

Lolita summer reading

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov-

After hearing Lana Del Rey sing hey, Lolita, hey way too many times without quite understanding the reference, I decided to give in and read this classic. While the book was quite disturbing, it was an interesting view point to read up on. If you have a fascination with the term nymphet and where it comes from, or if just want to read a classic piece of literature, give it a try.

The Millstone by Margaret Drabble-

Like many books I choose to read, the cover of this one is what attracted me to this particular book. It was simply too pretty to pass up on having it displayed on my future New York City apartment bookcase. The plot explains the changing life of a single woman in 1960s London who becomes pregnant after a one-night stand. The book walks through her thoughts on her pregnancy and future child and how her life changes after having the baby. I really enjoyed a look inside the mind of an independent woman who goes through a serious life change like having a child.

summer reading list

If you are looking for some more book recommendations be sure to check out March’s Reads, February’s Reads, and January’s Reads. With the end of my summer internship also comes a week long summer vacation and lots of hours spent reading on the beach; so be sure to look out for lots more book reviews coming soon!

Hidden (Vegan) Gem of Edinburgh: Paradise Palms

If you are a vegan then you know how hard it can be to find food to eat while traveling in Europe. Europeans are not nearly as adapt to the new lifestyle choices, such as vegetarianism and veganism, as Americans are. With each city that I visited in Europe I tried to hunt down the local vegan spots to test out. This one in Edinburgh was by far my favorite vegan restaurant that I visited while abroad.

Paradise Palms Edinburgh

Paradise Palms in Edinburgh truly is a one stop shop. You can basically find anything you want to fit all of your hipster needs. Not only do they serve vegan and vegetarian food, but they are also a bar, an event venue, a vinyl store, and a record label. Crazy right!? It is impossible to not have a great time at this place, even when visiting alone, like myself.

Edinburgh Paradise Palms

I’m a firm believer that the environment of a restaurant contributes to your experience there. With an atmosphere as cool as this one how can you not enjoy yourself? The space is filled with records, neon lights, and quirky trinkets hanging from the ceilings. It truly is a space that you will never forget.

Edinburgh vegan nachos

Not being able to eat meat or cheese, I had to order these vegan jackfruit nachos when I saw them on the menu. They were absolutely delicious and worth every bite. The nacho chips were topped with pulled barbecue jackfruit and mango & pineapple salsa. Is your mouth watering? Because mine is just thinking about it once again! And yes, in case you were wondering, I did finish this all by myself. Don’t judge!

Edinburgh vegan hot dog

In addition to the nachos, I had to try the vegan hot dog. Since becoming a vegetarian I have missed a good hot dog with ketchup and mustard. While it definitely tasted like tofu, it filled the hot dog fix I was looking for.

Edinburgh Paradise Palms street art

Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or meat-lover, I highly recommend this one-of-a-kind restaurant in Edinburgh. The atmosphere and energy make it unlike any other restaurant. If I ever return to Scotland I will definitely be making a special stop here to check out the rest of the menu.

Follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more pictures from Edinburgh and to be notified when I post my travel guide on what to see, eat, and do in this beautiful city.

Independence//Dependence

Independence. It is something we all aim to possess and incorporate into our daily life. It is also something each of us interprets differently depending on our own circumstances. For some independence means being able to afford rent without the help from one’s parents, and for others it means being perfectly content in one’s own company. Who are we to judge whether someone should be independent or dependent?

London fashion blogger

I have always been independent in my own interests and style. I pride myself in the fact that I dress the way I want and do what I want without the opinions of other’s affecting me. I mean it is pretty necessary to not care what others think when you are out on the streets of London with a photographer who has a camera with a two-foot-long lens pointing at you…

Although I am very independent in most aspects, I depend on my family and friends for love, support, and some good laughs. Without them I would not have turned into the person I am today.

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It is weird to think about your own style as being independent or dependent, as if it were a person itself. However, one’s style is truly dependent on this concept. You either dress the way you want because YOU like it or you dress that way because SOCIETY likes it. Or in a fashionista’s case, the way the fashion industry likes it.

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Trends like yellow-tinted sunglasses and fishnet tights are completely dependent on the opinions of the fashion industry. Even I can’t admit that I made those style choices simply because I liked the style and wanted to wear it; I tried them because they were on-trend and worn by some of my favorite bloggers.

New York City fashion blogger

Just like our own personalities, I believe it is essential that our individual style is comprised of both independent and dependent pieces. Us humans need to be somewhat dependent on others in order to form meaningful relationships in our lives. We also need these relationships to expand our own outlook on life and grow as individuals. Our style works the same way in that without trying “trends” we don’t know what we like/dislike and what looks good/bad on our bodies.

Kensington fashion blogger

In this look I was inspired by the off-the-shoulder trend currently circulating throughout the fashion world. However, I made it my own by adding my favorite black boots and a jeweled bag I found at a local market in London.

London fashion blogger

Whether it is with your clothes, personal goals, or hobbies, don’t be afraid to look to others for their thoughts and opinions. We often condemn people who depend too much on the opinions of others; but sharing ideas is necessary to grow into your own form of independence.

See more street style posts by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook. If you enjoyed this post, check out Too New York for London- a Lookbook.

Photos by Colton.

Parisian Street Art (the 10th arrondissement)

The 10th district of Paris is abundant with colorful street art and lively characters. It is not what one would expect when thinking of Paris. I personally loved seeing this side of the city, covered in music posters and graffiti, because of its contrast to the classic Parisian architecture.

Paris grafiti art

Paris street art

Paris street art

These graphic stickers of random faces could be found on various corners throughout the district.

Paris street art posters

Along the canal were plenty of pop art posters promoting local events and concerts.

Paris canal

fun Paris street art

Paris canal art

Stickers saying “J’existe”, or “I exist” in English, were stuck all over the canal barriers and street signs.

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This area could easily be considered the Shoreditch or East Village of Paris for those of you familiar with London or New York. If you love street art and exploring the younger scenes of cities, then visiting the 10th district of Paris, by the canal, is a must.

Follow me on Instagram for more photos of the world’s best cities and their street art.