The Sunshine Effect

It is officially that time of year again. Long days and even longer nights. Hot, grainy sand in-between your toes. Melting ice cream cones. The sound of crickets. The little glowing specks of lightening bugs flying through the night sky. And most importantly, the warmth of the sunshine beating down on your skin.

gingham fashion blogger

I am someone who has always been drawn to the sun. Everything about the sun lifts my mood and brightens my day, literally. Its yellow color during the day and pinky orange hues at dusk are always a beautiful reminder to me of the power of life. The warmth is a constant reminder that I am alive and enjoying what life has to offer me. The sun is proof that every day is a new day and that we each have the power to make it special.

sunset fashion blogger

For me summer is when the sun is the most prominent and radiating its full energy. It is in the summer that I find myself constantly laying outside, soaking in the rays. It is in the summer where my favorite activity is grabbing a lobster roll and heading to Cape May Pointe to watch the sun fall over the horizon. It is in the summer where I am full of life and happy from the simplest of things. The sun simply humbles me.

marina fashion blogger

The summer sun is something special. Go outside and observe its glow. Watch the sunset and admire the chemistry behind the colors in the sky. I assure you the sun will set and rise again, each day leaving you with a new appreciation of the life you’ve been given.

Shop my look: Denim Shorts by American Apparel, Gingham Top by Asos, Loafers by Asos, Bracelet by The Comfort Station, Earrings by Lovestylelife on EtsySee more Shoreditch street art and style posts by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

See more life and style posts by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

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The Many Sides of Dubrovnik

Croatia is a country with many different sides… There are beautiful hikes, crystal blue waters, islands galore, and a city whose architecture makes it feel like a fantasy land.

Dubrovnik city center

Dubrovnik cable car

Dubrovnik architecture

The terraces of each building makes for the perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea in the morning or glass of wine at nice.

Croatian coast

The greenery of the coast contrasted with the blueness of the water.

Dubrovnik city center Croatia

Dubrovnik city walls view

Orange roofs speckle the sky up into the mountains.

Croatian coast

painting Croatia

Croatian boat port

Boats float around in the port, moving with the calm waves of the Adriatic Sea.

Dubrovnik Croatia city center

For more information on the places to go while in Dubrovnik check out The Ultimate Guide to Dubrovnik- What to See, Eat, Do. Follow me on Instagram for more photos of my travels.

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

Last month I traveled to Dubrovnik, Croatia for a little spring getaway before my finals began. Croatia is a beauty unlike any other city I’ve visited. The crystal blue waters, marble city floors, brightly colored roses, terracotta roofs, sloping cliffs… The beauty cannot be put into words, or even pictures for that matter.

Dubrovnik is a city I would recommend everyone to visit, even if you aren’t an avid Game of Thrones fan. It has a little bit of everything; from the beaches and hiking to the city life, it is the perfect destination no matter what your typical travel style is.

To See…

Dubrovnik Croatia streets

Walking the stairs that take you around Dubrovnik’s alleys is a must when trying to see the city. This is the way to find the best restaurants and tiny shops. I found a beautiful art shop with the most amazing gold-leafed paintings. The view down the alleys from the top of the stairs, with the colorful laundry blowing in the wind, is like no other.

dead sea lokrum island

Just a 15 minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik is an island called Lokrum. There are no inhabitants on this island except for some beautiful natural wonders and wild animals. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the bunnies hop around and the peacocks spread their feathers. My favorite part of this island was the Dead Sea, which was just a short walk from where the ferry drops you off.

After much, MUCH searching, climbing through bushes, and scaling down rocks, my friend and I were able to find the cave which we came to the island with the purpose of finding. We saw this on a famous travel blogger’s Instagram and had to hunt it down. Little did we know we would have to walk the entire island and its many hills just to find it in the place where we started the adventure.

Lokrum Island Instagram blogger spot

Travel bloggers make finding magical spots like this seem so easy and care-free. I am here to tell you that that was not the case at all. We climbed the rocks and almost fell in the water multiple times just to get the perfect shot. We even almost got stranded on the island and had to hitch a ride from a maintenance man back to the ferry which was leaving for the day in 2 minutes. Maybe I should have sacrificed for the sake of my blog and slept on the island for the night? Regrets…

To Eat…

Croatia is known for its incredibly delicious seafood and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Being the seafood connoisseur that I am, I took full advantage of all the seafood the country had to offer.

Our first stop after landing was, of course, Dubrovnik’s city center for some mussels, octopus and anchovies. This restaurant, Kamenice, was recommended to us by our Airbnb owner as having extremely fresh seafood. There are many different places with similar menus so be sure to pick the places that the locals recommend!

croatian octopus

Dubrovnik food blogger

I love my sushi so any chance I have to get a spicy tuna roll made with the freshest of seafood, I jump on it. These rolls at Shizuku were made of big chunks of fish marinated in soy sauce. While this restaurant is located on the outskirts of the city, it is well worth the Uber ride there.

Dubrovnik sushi

In addition to seafood, Croatia is known for their wine. It is absolutely essential to visit a wine bar and educate yourself (and your palate) on the flavors of the country. I sampled a flight of red wine at D’Vino Wine Bar which was a lovely experience. The waiter even informed us on all the different types of wine that the country grows and the flavors of the grapes from each region. I was surprised to learn that the white Zinfandel, now grown in California, originates in Croatia.

To do…

Dubrovnik Croatia view

Climbing the Dubrovnik City Walls will give you the most impressive views of the city center and the buildings that make it up. It is a beautiful sea of orange. Warning: you will take thousands of pictures of the view (trust me, I learned the hard way). Walk around when the sun isn’t too bright and take in everything that you are seeing without a lense in front of your eye.

Dubrovnik Croatia view

Of all the beaches in Dubrovnik, Banje Beach was by far my favorite. It is so small and intimate, making it the perfect place to lay out and relax. The beach even has a club on it with yummy drinks and lounge chairs that are well worth the money.

banje beach croatia blogger

After visiting the port, follow the cost and you will come to steep stairs leading down to the beach. The beach itself is free so if you are looking to save some money be sure to bring your own towel and/or chair to lounge on.

banje beach dubrovnik

If you love breathtaking views then the Dubrovnik Cable Car is for you. And if you don’t like views (or are scared of heights), it is well worth facing your fear. The cable car scales 778 meters up the mountain, giving you a view of the entire east coast of Croatia.

Croatian cable cars

Not only can you see the entire city of Dubrovnik, but you can see the mountains and countryside surrounding it. I was surprised to see that the other side of Croatia is completely covered in mountains and farmland.

Dubrovnik cable car

After enjoying a cup of hot tea in the restaurant on the mountain we hiked our way down in order to find some beautiful city outlooks. We came across a spot covered with boulders and yellow flowers. I am a firm believer that you need to venture off the typical path in order to find the true gems.

fashion blogger dubrovnik

This smile says it all. Croatia is a country filled with happiness, beauty,and life and that just radiates from within yourself when visiting the country.

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Goals, Dreams, Hopes, Aspirations… Why?

I was sitting on my porch reading the latest issue of Darling Magazine (one of my favorites might I add) when I began thinking about purpose. Life purpose. Our dreams and aspirations. We all have different goals and hopes that we work to reach. However, some of us have bigger and brighter dreams than those around us. Why is this?

Being in my home town for just a few days has me thinking about the dreams of those in suburban Pennsylvania. Has everyone here just dreamed about a white picket fence, a family, and a Golden Retriever? Or did these people have bigger goals at one point? Maybe to travel the world or become the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company in the Big Apple?

brooklyn goals dreams

Everyone has to have something deep down that they’ve always wanted to achieve. Or perhaps maybe not. I know for myself, I have such big dreams that I want to achieve and I can’t even go a day without thinking about them. I can’t imagine anything otherwise. I want to see the world. Live different places. Graduate with a Masters in Data Science. Start my own company. Live in a beautiful Manhattan apartment overlooking the Hudson. Own a Golden Doodle. While some of these dreams are bigger than others, they are still dreams, and they are mine.

Paris goals

So maybe its not that some people have goals and others don’t, but maybe it’s just that people genuinely just really yearn for quite different things. Some people are more career-oriented while others are more family-oriented, causing this difference. Some people don’t need to reach the top of a large company to feel fulfilled in life, while others don’t need to raise children to feel happy. We are all so different in what we seek as our source of happiness. What do you think? What are your biggest goals and aspirations?

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Take Me to Paris

Paris is the city of love and magic. It is a city that I have wanted to visit ever since I was a little girl, obsessed with all things fashion and fairytales. This past week I finally got the chance to see the monuments that make the city so special and experience a little sliver of the Parisian lifestyle.

While my experience definitely was not like what Lana Del Rey sung about in her song Paris, it was just as special. Sorry Lana, no making out in dark restaurants and staying out late when you are on a family vacation where there’s a 6am wake-up call every morning.

fashion blogger eiffel tower

The first thing I wanted to see when I got to Paris was the Eiffel Tower. Cliché, I know, but this is the icon that represents Paris in every non-Parisian’s mind. Once you see this architectural wonder, that is when you know that you have arrived in the most romanic city in the world.

After a long day of traveling I drug my family through the streets of Paris in order to find an unobstructed view of the tower. Even though they complained the entire way, I refused to give up on finding it. Obviously I couldn’t just take the easy way out and order an Uber right to the area. I needed to find that perfect view on my own, only by wondering through the streets. Eventually, after many winding roads, we ended up in a large park with a perfect view of the Eiffel Tower at sunset. I am a firm believer of taking the roads least traveled by; that is when you end up finding the most beautiful undiscovered treasures!

artsy Eiffel Towr shot

While the Eiffel Tower was much smaller than I pictured, it was quite wonderful to see in person. If you have an appreciation for architecture like myself, then you know there really is nothing like it. Sure, it is the symbol of Paris’s beauty, but it is also a work of art in itself. Make sure you pay special attention to the placement of the iron beams when riding the elevator to the top.

louvre

When you think of Paris the second thing that often comes to mind is the Louvre, or perhaps even better known as the museum that houses the Mona Lisa. While I think the Mona Lisa is overrated because of all the tourists it now attracts (but that is another story), the Louvre has a beautiful collection of Greek and Roman sculpture which I have always yearned to see. It still amazes me how these sculptors were able to create movement in their pieces while lacking the advanced tools that we now have.

Notre Dame spring

Did you really travel to Europe if you didn’t visit a cathedral? Nothing compares to the cathedrals in Europe. Nothing. Each one tells a similar story but in a completely different way. The Notre-Dame in Paris is no exception to that. Similar to the Greek and Roman sculptures, it blows my mind to think about how artists of the past were able to sculpt works of art like these. They are so grand that their building process is completely unfathomable to think about.

Notre Dame fashion blogger

And last, but not least, you cannot leave Paris without trying some Ladurée macarons. Believe me, macarons in Paris really do taste better than macaroons anywhere else. They are the perfect treat after traveling to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, which is right around the corner. After climbing 284 steps, you sure earned the right to indulge in some sweet treats!

laduree

Paris is a city that gives you a new experience every time you visit it. Your experience all depends on what you do and who you are with. I hope to someday experience the city with best friends as well as someone I love. I will eat crêpes in the beautiful parks below the Eiffel Tower and socialize at the sidewalk cafés while drinking champagne. I will have a picnic by the Seine with a good book that I bought at a local bookshop. It is amazing how endless the possibilities of exploring a new city are. À la prochaine, Paris!

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Hidden Gem of London: Cafe Miami

A positive, pretty café makes for the perfect work environment. I am a firm believer that your surroundings set your mood and how productive you will be that day. This is why it is so important for me to find the best places to study, read and write in while in London.

I recently stumbled on a little place in Hackney called Café Miami. The glass storefront and pastel colors instantly drew me in. The welcoming staff, attention to detail, and delicious food made this place a new favorite spot of mine.

Cafe Miami London

The interior is everything. Cute quotes, pretty pink tables, powder blue chairs. How can you not love looking at this place?

Cafe Miami London coffee

My favorite part of Café Miami was the fun-shaped sugar cubes. This detail may seem so small but it was the most precious thing! I am a sucker for the little things in life and these cloud and heart-shaped sugar cubes are no exception.

Cafe Miami London

Cafe Miami London waffle

Not only were the sugar cubes in the shape of hearts but so were the waffles and the cinnamon on the top of my latte. Who doesn’t love hearts all over their food!? The hearts simply warm my heart. No pun intended.

Cafe Miami London latte

Cafe Miami London

I ordered the Waffle Burger (minus the chorizo) with avocado, fried egg, and hot sauce. The waffles were made with corn which made it savory and delicious. While it wasn’t a breakfast to fill a starving stomach, it was just what I needed that afternoon.

Cafe Miami London egg

What are you waiting for? Hop on the 55 bus and head to Hackney for the prettiest afternoon you’ve had all spring. You surely won’t be disappointed!

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Too New York for London- A Lookbook

As my 5 month adventure in London comes to a close, I have been thinking, how have I adapted to the European culture? There are some little things that you pick up from being in a new country for so long, like calling eggplant aubergine, or the side that you walk up the stairs, but can a country really change someone’s core?

London street style

London fashion blogger

I am a firm believer that I will always be a New York City girl (sorry London!). While I love London and would never hesitate to move here for a few years, New York City will always have my heart. After all, the city is written all over my outfit choices.

London street style blogger

My style has definitely changed a bit to fit the European persona, but it still remains very “American”. While every girl in London is sporting her culottes and trainers with socks, I continue to wear little flowy dresses and my leather jacket. And, after all, black clothing is a New Yorker’s second skin. I don’t think I will ever stray away from my all-black wardrobe no matter how much I attempt to add some colorful pieces to my closet.

London fashion blogger

While my fashion sense has stayed relatively the same, I have definitely grown into a more mature woman while living in London. I have always considered myself a very independent person, going to events on my own and taking the awkward steps to meet new people. However, since being here, my independence has grown to a new level that I never knew it could. Being away from your friends and family, having absolutely no one familiar, is a scary thing that forces you to step completely out of your comfort zone. Independence is no longer a choice but a way of living.

london fashion blogger

I am excited to bring this newfound independence back with me to the States (and my British lingo begins to show!). I have developed an appreciation for people in my life and just good people in general that I am confident will make me enjoy my life in New York City even more than I had before.

London street style

When I return to New York City at the end of the month, I will always have a piece of London in me. You can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl!

london street style

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Photos by Colton.

The Colors of Portugal

The bright and vibrant colors of Portugal make it the perfect summer travel destination. Patterned tiles cover the buildings lining the narrow city streets, making every walk an experience.

Colorful Alfama buildings

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Alfama, Portugal

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Amsterdam’s Art Scene

When I think of Amsterdam I just think of a cool city with cool people. And naturally, when a city and its people are cool, there is a pretty mind-blowing art scene. Not only are there some amazing, well-known museums, like the Van Gogh Museum, but there are galleries and exhibits that are rarely mentioned in the plethora of guides to Amsterdam that you see on Pinterest.

Amsterdam art galleries

One of my favorite places that we stumbled into was the Home of Art art gallery. I loved this lantern-like exhibit that was displayed in the front of the space. The way the sun shone through the windows was beautiful.

Amsterdam small hidden art galleries

I think I loved this gallery so much because of the people that ran it. They were welcoming, offering us up some wine and snacks, and left us alone to enjoy the art. If you are a frequent gallery-goer than you know that those running it make or break your experience. A lot of people can be stingy, watching your every move, judging you, or simply ignore your presence all together.

Amsterdam Van Gogh museum

Of course we visited the Van Gogh Museum, which was an amazing experience. I learned so much about the artist that I never knew. I loved seeing how his work evolved throughout the different time periods in his life and changed depending on where he moved. The museum does a brilliant job at intertwining Van Gogh’s history with his paintings, explaining his story perfectly through his art.

Amsterdam Moco Museum

Lastly, right next to the Van Gogh Museum, is the Moco Museum, a pleasant surprise for someone who loves street art or impressionism. I had never even heard of this museum before walking by it. It houses an extensive collection of Banksy and Dali, walking the viewer through the meaning of their different pieces. While we did not get the chance to go inside, this will definitely be the first museum I visit the next time I’m in Amsterdam. Remember to hit up all of the museums early in the day so you don’t face the same struggle against the 5pm closing times that we did.

Amsterdam Moco Museum

To learn about more of my favorites spots in Amsterdam, check out my Ultimate Guide to Amsterdam- What to See, Eat, Do, and be sure to follow me on Instagram to see all of my European adventures!

March’s Reads

As I mentioned last month, I have been on a classical literature kick, something very unusual for me. I think the romance and history of London is getting to my head and changing my book preferences! That being said, here are reviews of some classics that have now become favorites of mine. However, towards the end of the month, I went back to my old ways and picked up a book on economics. Now that class is over for me I needed a source for a daily dose of knowledge!

Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood-

If you read my post about the books I read last month then you know I absolutely adored “Madonna in a Fur Coat” (and have been recommending it to everyone that asks for a book suggestion). When I finished reading it and returned to Daunt Books looking for my next few books to read, I asked a worker for books similar to it. She recommend me this book as well as the next one, “Marie”.

The Daunt Books employee told me that this book would give me a deeper insight into the burlesque clubs and war scene of 1930s Berlin that “Madonna in a Fur Coat” touched on briefly; and that it did. The characters in both novels are very similar, which is why I enjoyed this so much. While this classic more so introduces you to an array of intricate characters rather than a dramatic plot, I found it very captivating. If you enjoy Berlin’s history and characters with many different layers, give this one a read.

Marie by Madeleine Bourdouxhe-

This book was recommended to me because the main character, Marie, has a very similar attitude to ___ in “Madonna and a Fur Coat”. Both are women trapped in a lifestyle they don’t necessarily wish to be living. They both possess strong thoughts on men and their particular relationship with them. In this book, Marie struggles between the deep love she has for her husband and her desire to be her own person. Her actions say one thing and her thoughts say another.

Marie Madeleine Bourdouxhe review

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates-

Another classic, this novel tells the story of a couple living together in the suburbs of New York. Unlike most couples in the suburbs, Frank and Gloria never wished to live there or to have a family. They often fight with one another over the plans for the future and their children, both hoping not to sink into the comforts of living a “perfectly normal” life. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel because I can personally relate to the trap that suburbia can put on one’s ambitions. Afterall, I am a girl who loves the city!

Zero to One by Peter Thiel-

This book is quite unlike the others from the month of March. “Zero to One” discusses the evolution of technology and the important roles entrepreneurs play in this future. It analyzes the aspects that make certain companies successful and others unsuccessful. If you have a love for technology, economics or entrepreneurship, you will love this. I personally liked it because its points contradicted the points made by some of my favorite authors in some of my favorite books, one of those authors being Malcolm Gladwell. I always find it interesting when authors argue against the points made by well-known economists.

march 2017 book reviews

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