My Daily Commute in Pictures

Every time I walk from Old Street station back to my flat I think how lucky I am to be in London in this beautiful neighborhood. While this may not be everyone’s idea of beauty, especially those used to the more traditional London, beauty is all in one’s own perception. Here is my daily commute through Shoreditch in my eyes:

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Shoreditch building photography

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Shoreditch street art photography

Shoreditch graffiti art

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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.

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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.

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The Rise of Concert Merchandise in Street Style Fashion

Kanye West and Justin Bieber have become just as famous for their stylish concert merchandise as they are their music. Their designs can be seen on some of the most influential fashion bloggers and celebrities as well as everyday people wanting to support their favorite artists. Justin Bieber’s collection is even being sold in Barney’s. Since when did concert merchandise fit in right next to Prada, Gucci, and other designer labels at high-end department stores?

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I have been quietly observing the rise in this trend for awhile now. When these artists first released their designs, fans were buzzing over them simply to support the amazing albums these artists had just released. Fans bought their merchandise as a thank you for a wonderful album. So when did it become the fashion-forward choice to sport this merchandise?

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Every artist represents a certain lifestyle and a specific “coolness” factor. Kanye sings about subjects that are offensive and degrading to women, giving him a bad representation in the world; yet people seem to still love him? Meanwhile, Bieber just seems to be making bad decisions in his daily life, outside of the lyrics he sings. It is clear that Kanye and Bieber represent the “I don’t give a f***” attitude that many millennials aspire to have. Millennials see Kanye and Bieber’s popularity within the world and think, if I act the same way, maybe I can be just as idolized as them. Wearing their apparel is just one way to act just like them without being a complete asshole.

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Not only this, but they both are artistic geniuses. So maybe it’s that celebrities and street style bloggers wanted to support other artists in today’s creative-centric society? Pushing the controversy of his lyrics aside, Kanye is a musical genius, and now a well-respected designer. Bieber has also blown the world away with hit after hit from his latest album Purpose. Many creative people are jumping into all different kinds of sectors of the artistic community. Fashion bloggers have started their own clothing lines, fashion designers have started their own blogs, models are collaborating with brands on creating collections… everyone is dabbling into each and every artistic field. It is almost expected that every creative person does it all.

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All in all, I love this trend of concert merchandise. Not only are you supporting your favorite artist through a trendy t-shirt or bomber jacket, but you are supporting an entire community of budding entrepreneurs. Of course I wouldn’t call Kanye and Bieber entrepreneurs, but they are just the beginning of a world of creative people creating their own clothing lines and changing the fashion industry. Designer labels are becoming less of the “cool” fashion to sport rather than the new designs that bloggers, models, and musicians are creating for us to wear. And, hey, they are way more affordable!

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?