January’s Reads

I know, I know. This post is a month delayed… but I promise, I have been keeping true to my New Year’s Resolution! I have happily read a new book every week and am learning something new every day. Here is what I read during the month of January:

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St. Marks is Dead by Aba Calhoun-

We all know I love New York City; that is no secret. As Carry Bradshaw once said, “If you only get one great love, New York may just be mine”. When I first saw this book I was instantly intrigued. Some of my fondest memories from my freshman year of college occurred on St. Marks Place. I wanted to learn the deep history behind a street that meant so much to me. The book walks through the colonization of New York City and how the neighborhood changes throughout the decades. It includes personal stories from residents of the street, making the book personal and real. If you love the history of music, art, or New York City, then I highly recommend picking this book up. It even includes vintage photographs!

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Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil-

Some of you may have just read that title and cringed. Ew, math!? Why would I want to read about math? Personally, I love math, but you do not have to enjoy crunching numbers to appreciate this book. O’Neil dives deep into how today’s algorithms favor the wealthy and hurt the middle class. She touches on subjects like college admission and bank loans, describing how these systems work against the typical American. The book is definitely eye-opening; It makes you think how it is even possible to escape this embedded discrimination.

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb-

This book has to be my least favorite of all I read during January. I have had this book for quite awhile, maybe two years. Every time I reached to read it I ended up returning it to the growing stack of books in my bedroom. Taleb is a philosopher by nature so the entire book is quite lyrical, making it one big tangent and hard to follow. While there were chapters that really made me wonder how the world works, and reflect on my own experiences, I found myself lost for quite a majority of it. Also, I may have been a bit bitter that he kept stating the uselessness of statistics, a subject I quite enjoy!

The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford-

I have a large fascination with robots being that I want to pursue data science in the future. I was initially attracted to this book by the bright, animated cover. Whoever said “don’t judge a book by its cover” clearly never walked around a bookstore filled with the most beautiful books. This book goes into a detailed discussion about how technology is projected to ruin our economical system. Ford dives into each upcoming innovation and how that particular one will destroy opportunities for the middle class. He then provides what he believes to be a solution for the accelerated pace of technology. If you love technology as much as I do, and are amazed by what scientists are creating in the world, give this book a read!

If you have any recommendations on books you think I should read, please leave them below! Look out for February’s Reads, coming soon.

Shoreditch Street Style

Shoreditch is the coolest place in London to live; I will take that statement with me to the grave. Being a fashion and art lover, the environment really spurs so much creativity. Every time you walk down the street you notice a new painting or music poster on the exposed brick buildings. There is constantly something that inspires me with a new idea.

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Maybe it’s just me being crazy, but I think I’ve gotten a lot cooler since moving to Shoreditch. The neighborhood openly accepts the most artsy form of yourself, which I love. I can where whatever I want to wear without being looked at twice (unless your outfit is just so cool it requires a few extra glances). Everyone is always expressing themselves and simply living their lives. If you have a new idea or a creative soul, this is the only place to pursue it.

London street style

Staying true to my own style, I love to take business-like pieces and pair them with more eclectic, hip accessories. I took this rather fancy silk blouse and paired it with my new favorite Topshop jeans and Asos rose gold loafers. The cold and rainy weather clearly hasn’t stopped me from sporting my favorite pair of shoes.

London fashion blogger

I have been wearing a lot more blue since being in London, and I can’t help but think if the weather is what is inspiring this new wardrobe change. It really is as gloomy as everyone says it is (although this was shot on a super sunny day, of course)! Luckily, living in Shoreditch, there is always a colorful art mural just around the corner to brighten my day.

London fashion blogger

Fashion and art are two topics which can be interpreted in many different ways. We all see different things as forms of art and different styles as “fashion-forward”. Living in London has reinforced this viewpoint of mine more than ever. There are so many different parts of the city, each with different kinds of people, restaurants, and architectural styles. There truly is a neighborhood that is meant for everyone.

London street style

I am lucky enough to live in the neighborhood that fits me the best. Shoreditch is for the so-called “hipsters”. Kensington is for the posh museum-goers. Camden is for the eclectic, edgy character. Westminster is for the tourists…

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The next time you are looking for a unique source of inspiration, explore a new area- whether it is a small street just a few minutes from you or a completely unknown neighborhood. You never know what you will find and how it will inspire you.

See more Shoreditch street art and style posts by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Photos by Colton.

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.