Opposites Attract

We’ve all heard the phrase “opposites attract”. Most likely you’ve heard it while discussing relationships with friends, and you’ve probably even used it to justify dating the boy that you know is no good for you. While I am not a firm believer in this saying, I am also not totally opposed to it. I am constantly attracted to quite the opposite of me… grungy street art. From graffiti to broken windows to torn down posters, I love it all.

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I can’t explain just why I am attracted to these kinds of scenes, but I am. Maybe it’s the bright colors and outrageousness of it all? Or maybe I like how it defines a city in its own unique way? Grungy street art is so different from my own personal style which is sophisticated and put-together. I typically go for clean lines and silhouettes when dressing myself but thrive on the disorder of graffiti.

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When dealing with a creative viewpoint it is safe to say that opposites absolutely do attract. As someone who appreciates art and self-expression, I can say that I enjoy art that is the opposite of me because it pushes me to think of wild ideas that I never would have thought by looking at art that feels familiar. It lets me escape myself for a bit and takes me somewhere new.

New York Fashion Week 2018

I can’t help but wonder the story behind graffiti and other forms of street art. What kinds of people are the ones spraying this graffiti? Or hanging up these posters? Are they doing it in the middle of the night to avoid getting caught? Or in the busy daylight so people can appreciate all of the work that goes into it? Did the artists think long and hard about the mark they are making on the city? Or maybe they decided to be impulsive and take a creative risk?

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We are all attracted to the mysteries behind the person with the opposite personality from ours, or the creative expression that is the opposite of our own. Who doesn’t love solving a good mystery? It allows you to think outside the box and expand the comfort zone of your own mind. You think in ways you’ve never thought before, just trying to understand that person or work of art.

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Similarly to dating the bad boy, you experience a thrill that you’ve never experienced before; just because it feels so new and different! You may not keep him around for awhile or bring him back home to mom and dad, just like you aren’t hunting down a local graffiti artist to spray paint your apartment with bright colors, but you are experiencing life through a different lens.

new york city street style

This blouse is my “George Washington” blouse, as my cousin likes to call it. It is sheer and airy, making it quite the romantic top, opposite from the grungy backdrop. Adding a leather belt and structured bag polishes off the sophisticated-casual look. To add some color I matched my lipstick with my burgundy shoes. As much as I love to wear neutrals, I clearly can’t stray away from color completely.

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So, after all, I guess I actually am a believer that “opposites attract”. However, they attract in ways that depend on the timing and setting. Opposites don’t always stick in our most comfortable environments or long-term life plans, but they are there for us to appreciate and enjoy for a brief time.

new york city blogger

Bag: Mango (similar)        Shoes: Splendid        Blouse: Nasty Gal       Jeans: Topshop

Lipstick: Nars                Earrings: Forever21 (similar)              Belt: Calvin Klein (similar)

What opposite are you attracted to? Leave me a comment down below! If you enjoyed this post be sure to check out The Rise of Jersey City Street Art, Independence//Dependence, and Shoreditch Street Style.

Photography by Christopher Chase

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When was the last time you felt thankful?

When was the last time you felt thankful? Really think about this. Think about the last time you thanked God for all that is in front of you. Think about the last time you felt thankful for someone in your life. Think about the last time you felt thankful to be alive.

Now, was your answer to this question “Thanksgiving Day”, or maybe “Christmas”? I hope not.

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It is hard to be mindful of our surroundings when we are constantly connected to our phones, laptops, and various media sources. We rarely take the time to sit back and really think about what matters in life and to just be present in the moment.

Being present really is the key to being thankful. When you are present you see the things and people in front of you for what they are. You have a clear mind to reflect on how much you appreciate them and how they contribute to your happiness and overall well-being.

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It is easy to get caught up in the go go go, trust me, I am very guilty of this. I often have a hard time stepping back and thinking about how thankful I am until something unfortunate happens. Obviously, this is not the way it should be. If we learn to be thankful for things as they come, rather than as they go, we would be much happier human beings.

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I am thankful for my family and friends. I am thankful for my good health and beating heart. I am thankful for my education and the opportunities given to me. I am thankful for all of the beautiful places I have seen. But, I am also thankful for things like a well-fitting jumpsuit (thanks Zara!) and a beautiful fall landscape reflected in the lake. When we learn to appreciate little things like these, we learn to appreciate every moment of life and its greater picture.

So the next time you see a friend or are celebrating with family, be present. Appreciate the fact that they are right in front of you. Enjoy them. Cherish them. And, most importantly, be thankful for them.

Jumpsuit (similar): Revolve                                                                   Bracelet: Comfort Station

Boots (similar): Bloomingdale’s

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

Follow me on Instagram for more photos of my travels.

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.

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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.

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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.

 

Finding Happiness in Simplicity

I think we can all agree that our fondest memories are always those shared with the people we love most in life. These memories can range from a family vacation to a day at the beach to one’s favorite holiday. I often find that my most treasured memories do not have to be in a special place or at a special time but with someone special. When you are with a person that simply makes you happy just with their presence, the world of possibility to make an unforgettable memory automatically opens up.

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My cousin, and my best friend, recently visited me for a Saturday while I was living in the city. I often find that I don’t have to plan out concrete things for us to do in order to have an amazing time, especially in New York, because, lets be honest, everything is pretty amazing.

Naturally, we ate our way through the day, walking our way to different neighborhoods. We began with Good Enough to Eat in the Upper West Side, a block down from where I was living. This has been on my list of restaurants to try for quite some time now, especially after walking past long lines of people every weekend morning. We didn’t even have to wait in the line since I volunteered my butt to be burned on the metal chairs that were heating up in the hot summer sun. The things I will do when I am hungry! Needless to say, you can never go wrong with a biscuit and a well-cooked omelette (one with white cheddar and granny smith apples in this case!).

After browsing through a few book stores, riding the Subway downtown, stopping at Mount Sinai for band-aids for Natasha’s feet and sipping on drinks in the East Village, we managed to end up in the Lower East Side/Soho area. While I often pass this quaint blue building, seeing people chomping down on corn, I had not tried it for myself before this weekend. Natasha and I always joke that you can only eat corn on the cob around the person you feel most comfortable with. Let me tell you ladies, not a pretty sight! This has to be a given, but if I boy wants to take you to Cafe Habana on a date, run the other direction. Or maybe just suggest another restaurant.

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Sprinkled with cheese and zested with lime, this corn is a delicious summer treat to share with your best friend. We ate ours out on the street, taking in the buzzing environment, but there is also a sit-down part of the restaurant right next door.

Since we were in the area I stopped at Sunrise Mart, a convenient store carrying all kinds of Japanese goodies, to buy my favorite lychee gummies. Natasha and I may or may not have eaten an entire bag each while watching the sunset… They really are that good!

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My favorite summer activity is watching the sunset. It may seem so simple but it always gives me an extreme wave of happiness and love for life. It is crazy to think that everyone in this world sees the same sun every day and watches it come and go at different points in time. The sun and each day is something we are all guilty of taking advantage of. How often do you stop to appreciate the sun rising and the opportunity to start a new day? Or watch the sun setting and reflect on the day that just passed?

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As I sat in Hudson River Park, with my favorite city of skyscrapers and bustling lives behind me, I watched the sun fall over the horizon, closing the wonderful day I had just spent with my cousin. Life can get hectic. We all have jobs. We all have needs. We all have goals. I get it, it’s hard to balance all of these in one 24-hour day. In order to appreciate and enjoy these days, however, we need to stop and take in the natural beauty of what is happening in the world we live in.

Art Unlocks Emotion

Art is all around us. Art inspires. It brightens. It expresses emotions that otherwise cannot be conveyed. Art is simply a beautiful thing.

Many people think art is only found in a museum or a gallery, but this is not the case. Art can be found anywhere and everywhere. Art does not have to be a pretty picture hanging on a crisp white wall. It can be a quote graffitied onto the dirty New York City sidewalk. Or a fashion advertisement plastered on a construction site.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If you learn to recognize that everything is special and creative in its own way, you will see that you are always surrounded by art. Art is supposed to make you feel something whether it is happiness, sadness, or anger. It is meant to move you and make a difference.

The next time you are exploring somewhere new, really take in your surroundings and appreciate them for what they are. If you learn to do this you can unlock a whole new level of emotions that you have never felt before. You are acknowledging the world as a piece of art in itself.