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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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!?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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.

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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.

Hidden Gem of London: Daunt Books

Literature has been a major theme of my new year. After all, I did set a resolution to read a new book each week, which I will be filling you in on at the end of each month. Naturally, I am always looking for a new book to pick up and dive into next. 52 books is a lot of books! Can you even name that many books you have read over the course of your life? I’m not sure I even can.

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I stumbled upon Daunt Books one day after venturing off of Marylebone Road where my University’s campus is situated. The surrounding area is bustling with small cafes, boutique shops, and, of course, this fabulous book store.

Best London Bookshop

The first thing I was attracted to was the large window in the back of the store, lined on both sides by upstairs railings. In this room, each bookcase showcases a different country and travel guides to visiting that country. The perfect shelves to browse while planning a European adventure! I must say, the atmosphere is truly unlike any Barnes and Nobles at home (sorry!).

Best London Bookshop

Aside from the unique beauty of the store, each book itself is a true work of art. I was able to find some of my favorite books lining the shelf, all of which had cover art that I had never seen before (Michael Lewis’s books included). Despite popular opinion, I am a firm believer of judging a book by its cover. The outside is an art entirely separate from the words inside the pages, and it deserves to be treated that way.

As an art and book lover, I highly recommend stopping in this shop while venturing through the neighborhood of Marylebone in London. Not only can you find an endless amount of inspiring and well-written literature but also individual works of art in the form of cover pages.

Discover more gems of London with me by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Sculpture Garden in the Heart of NYC

Yes, you read that right. This beautiful sculpture garden is in the middle of downtown Manhattan, hidden away between two quiet streets. If you’ve happened to stumble upon this garden while walking down Elizabeth Street, consider yourself very lucky. It is not everyday that you find a gem like this one in such a busy, evolving city.

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The Elizabeth Street Garden is the perfect place to escape the hustle of the city streets and curl up in a good book. The garden is full of hidden pathways leading to benches and tiny tables with chairs. The giant sculptures and blooming flowers create an atmosphere buzzing with creativity and inspiration. This space is so important in a neighborhood like this one where there is only three feet of open space per resident. Us New Yorkers don’t get the luxury of open space to call our own which is why this garden means so much to so many of us.

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Around since 1903, this garden represents a time in history. It was originally built in partnership with a school, by architect C.B.J. Snyder, and served as a civic and social center for the surrounding residents. In the 1970s the school was torn down but the garden remained.

Sadly, potential developers are looking into destroying this one-of-a-kind space in the city, turning the garden into just another apartment complex. Whether you are a native New Yorker or someone across the world who someday hopes to visit this garden, please take the time to send this electronic letter to those who have the ability to protect the Elizabeth Street Garden.

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It pains me to know that a place full of history, wonder, and a unique perspective of art could be destroyed for more city housing. Everyone deserves to seek the same creative inspiration that I have, from this space. The sculptures, flowers, and even people this space attracts have influenced the way I dress and the lens I view the world by.

The garden has reminded me to dress with a sense of ease that is pleasing to the eye and unique to myself. It has also showed me how to mix classic pieces with more modern ones, like these crepe pants and dark leather jacket. Just like the garden is a reminder of the simple beauty in an ever-changing city, my wardrobe remains classic and refreshing while I continue to grow and change.

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My favorite piece in the garden? The greyhound sculptures, of course. I have been a sucker for greyhounds ever since my family rescued my sweet, three-year-old baby girl, Luna, this past May. Coming to this garden reminds me of her when I am missing her most. And, with the greyhound winning the National Dog Show this November, the statues might just be a lucky charm for the future of the Elizabeth Street Garden.

 

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.

Esabitchin’- A Presentation in Sustainable Fashion

At the close of New York Fashion Week I was invited to a conscious fashion exhibition party called Esabitchin’. Naturally, I jumped at this offer because I love seeing sustainable fashion showcased by up-and-coming designers.

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When we walked in there was a table set up with cards displaying the details of the event. Following the theme of sustainability, these cards were unique in that they could be planted and grown into the flowers pictured on the table.

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The first designer that caught my attention was Lindy Fox. Her collection featured lots of earthy tones and geometric shapes. Fox uses upcycled material in order to create beautiful pieces like the ones featured above. If you are unfamiliar with the word upcycling, this means she reuses fabric that were once used for something else.

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I then found my way to Zero Waste Daniel‘s presentation. His clothes are made from brightly-colored, crazy-patterned fabric scraps. Daniel is aiming to do big things, starting with saving three tons of pre consumer textile waste in 2016 alone. Not only does he make a statement with his designs but also with the purpose and goals behind them.

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Last but not least is Study NY. This collection was definitely my favorite because it embodies my style the most. It is simple but makes a statement with the silhouettes and color-blocking of fabrics. Tara St James, the genius behind this brand, uses sustainable fabrics as well as ethical production methods to make each piece.

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Dying over the sweater vest and denim blouse combination!

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As for me, I of course had to sport my favorite sustainable fashion brand for the night, EILEEN FISHER. I am wearing one of my favorite silk dresses of hers and knee-high, suede boots. Be sure to read about my EILEEN FISHER experience for all the scoop on the brand’s latest sustainability projects.

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A night of fashion wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of art as well. Throughout the event this artist was live painting on a canvas in the outdoor courtyard of the space. She was painting everything from jeans jackets to polaroids.

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Please check out Esa, the company that put together this event, and educate yourself on the importance of sustainable fashion. It is just as easy to create beautiful clothes using ethical practices as it is to create clothing in harmful ways.

 

The Science of Being “Cool”

What exactly does being “cool” mean to you? Does it mean you have the most friends? Does it mean you are always the center of attention at parties? According to Google to be “cool” means to be fashionably attractive or impressive. So, as it turns out, being cool has nothing to do with your social status but everything to do with the way you dress.

I think we can all agree that we all feel our coolest in clothing that we feel is stylish or unique from anyone else’s. Everyone wants to be positively perceived by others and many people often count on their looks to make a radiant first impression on someone. Each kind of style has its own connotations. Of course I believe a person should be judged on their personality rather than what they are wearing, but this just proves how powerful fashion can be.

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While many people consider fashion to be superficial, I see it as a way to shape other’s judgements of you. There are billions of people in the world that will never get the chance to talk to you and understand your emotional depth, so why not try to show this through your clothing? After all, hundreds of people pass by you and eye your look up and down every day, so give them something to look at that sheds light on who you really are.

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The brain actually has a part dedicated to processing what is “cool” and “uncool”, called the medial prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain processes what it sees and connects it to one’s social emotions. So yes, it is true that when we dress our best, we feel our best (Bain, “The neuroscience of ‘cool'”). Cool actually equals confidence.

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We all have those lazy mornings when we would rather skip the makeup and hair styling for ten extra minutes of sleep. I have been guilty of this a lot this summer; waking up at 6am and commuting two hours to work is definitely not an ideal situation. However, I believe it is so important to take care of yourself and step out of your house feeling good about yourself every morning.

This outfit is one of my favorites to throw on when I want to feel and look my best without putting too much thought into it. I often wear a dress, booties, and fun kimono when I am running late or am too sleepy to put together an Instagram-approved look. The mesh floral kimono is a particular favorite of mine because I sewed it myself. Wearing something I made and designed myself brings my confidence to a new level because I am representing my own creativity and expressing my personal brand.

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I used to be guilty of teasing my cousin for spending hours primping herself just to drive to the doctor’s office or to a yoga class. Now I truly understand the difference in perception of my own self when I feel “cool”. I am confident, productive, unstoppable, and friendly when I know I look good and I like what I am wearing. If you can put the best version of yourself out in the world, why wouldn’t you?