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.

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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.

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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)

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

Be sure to follow me on here, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more pictures and posts about my trip to Paris.

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…

See what I am up to in London on a daily basis by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

 

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.

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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.

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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.

Brooklyn (Bridge) Baby

Yeah my boyfriend’s pretty cool, But he’s not as cool as me, Cause I’m a Brooklyn baby, I’m a Brooklyn baby…

If you don’t know those lyrics, you should get familiar with them. I’ve mentioned my love for Lana Del Rey before and I won’t fail to preach my love for her again. And hey, I was in Brooklyn, so the song fits.

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Friday afternoon I ventured over to Brooklyn with my father who has been dying to experience the magic that the Brooklyn Bridge is in person. The Brooklyn Bridge is often something that is overlooked by New Yorkers and people in the surrounding area because of all the tourists it attracts. But this bridge is no Times Square. It may be overly crowded (with over 7,000 people a day might I add) but it definitely deserves to be appreciated for its structural beauty.

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The Brooklyn Bridge began construction in 1869 by John Augustus Roebling but wasn’t opened until 1883. My dad religiously read a book all about the construction of the bridge, so naturally he was spitting out random facts to me along the journey. He explained to me that the reason why the construction took so long was due to the injuries and illnesses Roebling, as well as all of the workers, kept facing throughout the process. Roebling eventually became too sick to finish the bridge so his son took over the project. His son eventually became ill as well and was forced to view the construction of the bridge while bedridden in his little Brooklyn Heights apartment.

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While walking across I was amazed by the fact that these ropes were holding up an entire bridge. Just think of all of the math and engineering behind this structure. The Brooklyn Bridge wasn’t even renovated until just last year, showing how strong the support of the bridge is. It truly is a structural masterpiece.

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As the Brooklyn Bridge’s architecture continues to be viewed and appreciated from people all over the country, including New Yorkers themselves, it is also being used as a way for these people to make their own artistic statements. I love to admire the different quotes people write on the bridge as well as the designs of the stickers posted on the rails. Lovers even began locking locks onto the bridge to symbolize their infinite love for one another, just like they once did on the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, France.  However, more recently, couples have been tying earphones to the bridge as a more affordable option to the locks.

I’m not really sure what this says about love… Love isn’t worth the expense? Or maybe love just never lasts? After all, if thousands of locks are being removed every year, yet they’re supposed to represent infinite love, what is this saying about the fate of relationships in today’s society?

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If you know anything about Brooklyn you know that it is known for its industrial structures, some of which just happen to be reinvented into something new. I stumbled upon this park, St. Ann’s Warehouse, locked away in an open-air warehouse, after reaching DUMBO (the neighborhood located under the bridge).

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This park was full of plants and trees as well as big brick walls with arched alcoves for you to sit on and relax.  As it turns out, the building itself holds artistic performances throughout the year, from plays to concerts to poetry readings. In 1980 it was the National Historic Landmark Church of St. Ann and the Holy Trinity, hint the current name of the warehouse. From the looks of this building, a church was the last thing I would have guessed this to be.

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Brooklyn is a borough that makes a statement. From the architectural structures to the fashion bloggers roaming the streets to the inspiration that covers every corner, Brooklyn never fails to inspire.