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.

Cape May church

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.

Cape May hotel

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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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.

Architecture as Fashion

In the fashion industry designers are inspired by all different mediums in their surroundings, whether it is a painting, a song, an individual’s street style, or a building. Architecture is a prominent inspiration for different types of art because it is an art in itself. I have always had an eye for beautiful buildings, analyzing just how that artist envisioned that structure on paper or the entire process of engineering that went into creating it. It is both a science and an art form.

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When I was exploring Riviera Maya, Mexico I was instantly drawn to the color and style of this church. It may have been because yellow is my favorite color and instantly pulls me back to the walls of my childhood bedroom, but there is something about it that is so visually pleasing, instantly soothing and inspiring the soul. Before I visited Mexico this was exactly what I pictured a traditional building to look like.

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The vibes I got when I was around this building were the same vibes I imagine avid festival-goers feeling at Coachella. They are in the middle of the desert, surrounded by their favorite music and people with the same care-free, fun spirits as themselves. I was in a brand new country, taking in the difference of culture, surrounded by others who were also vacationing to escape the busy reality of their everyday lives.

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For this reason, I am obsessed with anything relating to music festivals. Festivals connect people in the same way vacations and culture do. I stalked every hashtag on all social media sites referencing anything Coachella-related last spring in the hopes that it would feel like I was enjoying the experience with the festival-goers. My favorite singer, Lana Del Rey, performed, so naturally I was inclined to this serious stalk session. It is hard to put my love for Lana Del Rey into words; if you are my friend, you know how much I admire and adore her and her music.

After her performance I began actively searching for the outfit she wore during her set, a 70s-inspired, tropical floral mini dress, similar to the dress she wore in her Shades of Cool music video. I was so desperate to find a dress similar to this that I made my own. I went to my local Goodwill and searched to find the perfect bright, vintage floral print. Of course the dress made out of this fabric was four sizes too big with a long boxy cut and shoulder pads. I created my own dress pattern and used the cut-up scraps of this dress to create my Lana-inspired mini dress.

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Of course, fast forward a few months later, I find this dress at the Forever 21 in Soho. It is the exact same cut as the dress I fell in love with and spent so much time sewing myself. And for a small price tag of $27…The moment I bought it I knew I had to wear it to Mexico.

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I paired the dress with my favorite chunky, wooden heels from Nastygal to make it seem as if I was a model stepping out of a vintage photograph. To make the look more modern, since we obviously are no longer in the 70s, I added this gold, beaded body chain. Pairing this under any shirt or dress that shows skin is instant sex appeal (1970s Fifty Shades of Grey?). There’s nothing sexier than a chain draping over an exposed slice of skin.

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Let the colors of Mexico and vintage floral print inspire your next festival outfits. With whatever you wear, as long as it expresses who you are as a person and inspires you just as the music does, you can’t go wrong. I will hopefully be attending Governor’s Ball this summer in New York City, showing you more indie, bohemian fashion.