Sewn by Me: Zimmermann-Inspired Floral Mesh Top

Last month I had my final fraternity formal of my college career. Obviously I wanted to make something special to stand out on this night. Nobody wants to have the same dress as someone else so why not assure that doesn’t happen by sewing your own look?

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I am always inspired by the constant Zimmermann looks I see on Instagram. The brand is so girly yet edgy and chic. While I am still not at the point in my life where I can comfortably afford to drop thousands on a sundress, I CAN design my own look with similar design elements.

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I fell in love with this mesh floral fabric at Mood Fabrics as soon as I came across it on its roll in a bin. I thought it was incredibly unique to find a floral print on such a thick mesh. The fabric is even a bit transparent, making for a beautiful look up against the skin.

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I actually used the same pattern I featured in my last sewing post, “Sewn by Me: Cutout Jumpsuit”, to make this top. McCall’s #7626 has truly been the universal pattern of my spring wardrobe. I simply used the bodice pieces of the jumpsuit and disregarded the pant leg pattern pieces. I also decided to make the top strapless and omit using the strap pattern pieces.

I followed the pattern just as I would if making the jumpsuit. I lined the front bodice pieces with black satin fabric and lined the back bodice pieces with the mesh fabric so that the back pieces would still maintain some transparency. I also decided to opt for an exposed metal zipper for design purposes.

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To achieve the “Zimmermann look” I bought thick white mesh trim to add to each seam of the bodice. I used 1 1/2 inch thick trim in the front and 1 inch trim on the side seams. Make sure you sew this onto the bodice before sewing in the lining. This trim was super affordable at Mood and added a really cool element when sewn over the bodice seams.

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Overall, this top was very easy to make. It is the fabric and trim that really makes this top special. It just proves how beautiful fabric can make a huge difference in the things you make. While I wanted to sew a matching skirt for a two-piece look, I think this look still ended up looking chic and beautiful. I paired the top with my favorite chiffon shorts from Aritzia, box bag from Urban Outfitters, and black Aldo heels.

spring fashion blogger

What do you want to see me make next? I am moving onto sewing a lot of pieces for my summer wardrobe so I’m thinking rompers, sundresses, and linen shorts. Let me know in the comments below!

The Ultimate Guide to Iceland- What to See, Eat, Do

When my cousin and I were deciding where to travel for spring break Iceland quickly came to mind. Definitely not the typical spring break destination, but the perfect place for an experience opposite that of drinking on the beach.

Road tripping through Iceland was unlike any adventure I have ever been on. My past trips have consisted of exploring new European cities, learning about a country’s history, or relaxing by the ocean. Never have I driven along the coast of a new country, seeing beaches, mountains, glaciers, and volcanic rock all in a matter of a few hours.

To See…

The first thing that comes to mind for many when thinking of Iceland is its beautiful waterfalls. Seeing their size and all of the power they produced never got old. Just think how all this water is coming from the nearby melting glaciers and how its gaining enough momentum to cause this monstrous fall.

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This waterfall is called Seljalandsfoss. There is a good two hour drive from Reykjavik to here, most of which consists of flat valleys. Then, out of nowhere, you see this expansive mountain with huge waterfalls falling from its edge. We were always amazed at how quickly the landscape of Iceland changed.

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The most popular waterfall, and by far my favorite, is Skógafoss. The main reason this was my favorite was because of the beautiful rainbow projected into the mist of the falls. There is also an awesome outlook where you can climb to the top and see the waterfall from above.

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Just outside of Vík is a steep cliff with a lighthouse and stunning view of the Black Sand Beach. While driving up this cliff is a bit frightening (especially when a New Jersey driver is controlling the car), it is well worth it. You can see the ocean, beach, mountains, and glaciers all in one look from the cliff. On the other side you can also spot a huge rock arch jutting out into the ocean.

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The glacier lagoons we found along our drive were such pleasant surprises. The glaciers melt into a lagoon where pieces of ice break off into these huge chunks of “dead ice”. It’s amazing to see how clear these pieces are and simply how pure the water that forms them is. This spot is just off of Eyjafjallajökull. Try and say that five times in a row.

A little Icelandic language tip- anything that ends in “foss” is a watefall and anything that ends in “jökull” is a glacier! If you can figure this out then you basically have all the Icelandic language knowledge you need for your trip.

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The last site to see is not one carved by Mother Nature, but none the less it is pretty cool. You can find the DC-3 plane wreck on the Sólheimasandur Beach. One thing I never heard mentioned, however, was the 4 km walk just to the crash itself. And that’s just one way… This is fine for the young, adventurous soul like me but be warned if you don’t like walking in extreme weather conditions.

The history behind the plane wreck is the most fascinating part. While it isn’t necessary a “wreck”, it was an unplanned landing by the United States Navy. In 1973 the crew was forced to land on the beach due to extreme weather conditions. Luckily nobody was injured and the plane has been a popular tourist destination ever since. Our Airbnb owner even told us that the beach the plane is on is a private beach owned by a local farmer. The farmer was kind enough to open it up to the public free of charge. This just shows the kindness of the Icelandic people!

To Eat…

The food in Iceland has some of the highest prices you will ever see. Yes, higher than both London and New York City. Because of this I recommend choosing where to eat very wisely. Don’t just venture into some random restaurants because you are hungry and they are convenient!

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One of my favorite little spots was Sægreifinn, a hole-in-the-wall seafood spot by the ocean in Reykjavik. They are known for their lobster soup, which has some of the best lobster I have ever tasted. The Icelandic lobster melts in your mouth and isn’t at all chewy like the lobster here in America, or anywhere else for that matter. I also appreciated how the soup is not thick and creamy but rather thin and flavorful.

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In addition to the lobster soup they have kebabs with fresh pieces of fish caught in the ocean just outside the shop. This is the grilled cod special that they had that day. It was some of the most buttery, fresh fish I have ever tasted.

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The second place worth spending the money to eat at is Friðheimar, a local greenhouse that grows its own tomatoes. Everything on the menu is made from their own tomatoes. They use the “imperfect” ones that can’t be sold to the grocery stores in their dishes, although it tastes anything but imperfect. You can order endless tomato soup and bread so be sure to come hungry. After giving up tomatoes for a month I was able to down four whole bowls of soup. It doesn’t sound like a lot but I basically waddled out of that restaurant.

* Be sure to make lunch reservations in advance!

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Lastly, for those of you traveling all the way to the east in Höfn, Kaffi Hornið is for you. Granted, it is also the only restaurant in the small town, so you don’t really have a choice. It’s a cute little wooden lodge nestled in the heart of the small, dark town (if you can call it that). They serve local lobster dishes which will blow your mind. And your wallet… This being said this was my one splurge meal of the trip. The lobster set me back a good $83 but each bite was truly worth every penny.

To Do…

With a bunch of natural wonders comes lots of adventurous activities. If you are in Iceland for more than a week I highly recommend going on tons of hikes. However, if you only have five days like I did, here are some activities you can’t miss.

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The first and by far the coolest thing we did was snorkel the Silfra fissure in Þingvellir National Park. Although I was a bit nervous to snorkel in 30 degree (Fahrenheit) water, it ended up being much more bearable than I imagined. My cousin almost backed out the night before after reading blog posts calling the experience “the coldest thing I’ve ever done”. However, we were super comfortable and enjoyed the swim the entire time. Our enjoyment was definitely a large part due to our amazing instructor, Zsolt, from Arctic Adventures. If you do this tour be sure to book it with him!

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Another one of my favorite things to do was pet the Icelandic horses. If you don’t take advantage of these friendly creatures, you are missing out. Every time we saw horses standing by the fences we immediately pulled over to pet them. It makes them so happy and it definitely made long stretches of our road trip fly by. Just be careful with your clothing, one almost ate my scarf!

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I definitely don’t need to tell you twice about this destination. The Blue Lagoon is the first thing I see listed on every travel blogger’s to-do list. This spot makes for a relaxing few hours, especially after just getting off a flight. Not pictured is the two hours we slept in a freezing car in the parking lot outside of the spa, waiting for the place to open. Such a glamorous lifestyle I live!

* Also be sure to book at least a month in advance!

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I am always determined to find a local bookstore with lots of character every time I visit a new city. Bókavarðan has a funny story behind it actually. I browsing in one of my local bookstores in New jersey when I came across a book with pretty graphics talking about the author’s favorite bookstores in the world. I opened up the book to find the page be on a bookstore located in Reykjavik, Iceland. This was after I had just booked my trip to Iceland, and being a big believer in the Universe working in mysterious ways, I took this as a sign that I had to visit that same bookstore when I was there. And I did just that! There are books in large stacks all over the shop, mostly used, and all written in the Icelandic language. You need to really search to find the hidden gems but it is well worth it!

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Oh the Northern Lights… I am writing about this phenomenon to save you from the same mistake we made. DO NOT pay for a tour to see the lights. First, the night we went out was absolutely freezing and did not allow us to be outside for more than five minutes at a time. Second, the tours simply take you right outside the city and park you on the side of the road for a few hours. This is fine if you plan on staying in the city your entire trip and did not rent a car, but it was pointless for us. If you are going on a road trip and staying at an Airbnb along the way, like we did, this is a waste of money. Find yourself an Airbnb to stay at in a small town on the south east coast and you will be able to see them right from your backyard. I highly recommend staying here, outside of Höfn, if planning to see the lights. Our Airbnb host gladly woke us up as the lights got brighter and brighter so that we could see them from her backyard. Her and her dog made the stay extremely informative and enjoyable.

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And last, but not least… I need to tell you what NOT to do in Iceland. Unfortunately, I had to learn this lesson the hard way. After reading many blogs, I determined that it was absolutely safe to drink the flowing water in streams around the ring road. Every person wrote about how it was the best water they’ve ever drank. Well, that was not the case for me. The first time my cousin and I both tried the water and it was delicious. By far the best water!

However, the second time was different. Only I drank it this time (thank god) and it resulted in a night spent at the hospital. My stomach must have reacted to something in the water because my body simply rejected it, making me extremely sick. Being that there is only one hospital in the ENTIRE country, my cousin had to put the pedal to the metal to drive the remaining four hours back to Reykjavik. Luckily I am fine now but I would not wish that pain on my worst enemy. So lesson learned kids, don’t drink the glacier water! Also, always buy travel insurance (thanks mom for saving my butt!).

Overall, I hope Iceland is a destination everyone adds to their bucket list. Coming from New York City it is extremely humbling to see people live such a simple life. I now understand why tourists are so amazed when they see skyscrapers and lights as bright as Times Square.

Be sure to check out my Instagram for more photos from my trip and stay tuned for more posts about Iceland!

Sewn by Me: Cutout Jumpsuit

I have been actively seeking out trendy and fashionable sewing bloggers for some time now. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much luck. Most sewing bloggers I find are super conservative in their style and over the age of thirty-five. For someone who is constantly following the latest trends in fashion and is pretty young, this just isn’t the ideal source of inspiration.

This being said, I’ve decided to add to my blog what I’ve found lacking on the internet- a young, trendy approach to sewing. As I make new pieces I will be updating you on the patterns I used, the various adjustments I made on them, and where I found my fabrics.

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You may recognize this jumpsuit from one of my past posts, Not Your Average Housewife. I used the same pattern for this one as I did for that one yet they turned out totally different! This just goes to show that a little bit of adjustments here and there can end in an entirely unique garment.

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I used McCall’s M7626 as a base for both jumpsuits. For the “Not Your Average Housewife” jumpsuit I kept the pattern almost exactly the same as the original. I used the pattern for jumpsuit D but added the straps of jumpsuit C. The only difference is that the one strap pattern uses buckles and the other doesn’t.

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When I used this pattern the second time, to make the jumpsuit pictured, I created a cutout in the front, used an exposed zipper, and tailored the leg seams.

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Getting the cutout just right was a bit difficult. I wanted to make it large enough where I could wear the jumpsuit out to a club and still be sexy but low enough on the top piece that there wasn’t too much underboob (just keeping it real here!). Sounds like a weird issue but it required lots of playing around with the straps and how the fabric would lay when sewn to the pants portion of the jumpsuit.

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The exposed zipper was obviously a lot easier to sew in than the invisible zipper, so I was happy about that. Invisible zippers are probably my least favorite thing to sew. For the pants I simply cut out the original pattern and then tailored the perfect fit to me when I tried the finished ensemble on. I also cuffed the jumpsuit so it would hit just above the ankle and look flattering with all different shoe types.

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I already bought this fabric in a nude color to make another jumpsuit for spring. They are just so easy to wear and a lot of fun to make. Be sure to let me know if you’ve ever used this pattern or if you plan on picking it up. Happy sewing!

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

Hidden (Vegan) Gem of Edinburgh: Paradise Palms

If you are a vegan then you know how hard it can be to find food to eat while traveling in Europe. Europeans are not nearly as adapt to the new lifestyle choices, such as vegetarianism and veganism, as Americans are. With each city that I visited in Europe I tried to hunt down the local vegan spots to test out. This one in Edinburgh was by far my favorite vegan restaurant that I visited while abroad.

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Paradise Palms in Edinburgh truly is a one stop shop. You can basically find anything you want to fit all of your hipster needs. Not only do they serve vegan and vegetarian food, but they are also a bar, an event venue, a vinyl store, and a record label. Crazy right!? It is impossible to not have a great time at this place, even when visiting alone, like myself.

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I’m a firm believer that the environment of a restaurant contributes to your experience there. With an atmosphere as cool as this one how can you not enjoy yourself? The space is filled with records, neon lights, and quirky trinkets hanging from the ceilings. It truly is a space that you will never forget.

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Not being able to eat meat or cheese, I had to order these vegan jackfruit nachos when I saw them on the menu. They were absolutely delicious and worth every bite. The nacho chips were topped with pulled barbecue jackfruit and mango & pineapple salsa. Is your mouth watering? Because mine is just thinking about it once again! And yes, in case you were wondering, I did finish this all by myself. Don’t judge!

Edinburgh vegan hot dog

In addition to the nachos, I had to try the vegan hot dog. Since becoming a vegetarian I have missed a good hot dog with ketchup and mustard. While it definitely tasted like tofu, it filled the hot dog fix I was looking for.

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Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or meat-lover, I highly recommend this one-of-a-kind restaurant in Edinburgh. The atmosphere and energy make it unlike any other restaurant. If I ever return to Scotland I will definitely be making a special stop here to check out the rest of the menu.

Follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more pictures from Edinburgh and to be notified when I post my travel guide on what to see, eat, and do in this beautiful city.

Independence//Dependence

Independence. It is something we all aim to possess and incorporate into our daily life. It is also something each of us interprets differently depending on our own circumstances. For some independence means being able to afford rent without the help from one’s parents, and for others it means being perfectly content in one’s own company. Who are we to judge whether someone should be independent or dependent?

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I have always been independent in my own interests and style. I pride myself in the fact that I dress the way I want and do what I want without the opinions of other’s affecting me. I mean it is pretty necessary to not care what others think when you are out on the streets of London with a photographer who has a camera with a two-foot-long lens pointing at you…

Although I am very independent in most aspects, I depend on my family and friends for love, support, and some good laughs. Without them I would not have turned into the person I am today.

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It is weird to think about your own style as being independent or dependent, as if it were a person itself. However, one’s style is truly dependent on this concept. You either dress the way you want because YOU like it or you dress that way because SOCIETY likes it. Or in a fashionista’s case, the way the fashion industry likes it.

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Trends like yellow-tinted sunglasses and fishnet tights are completely dependent on the opinions of the fashion industry. Even I can’t admit that I made those style choices simply because I liked the style and wanted to wear it; I tried them because they were on-trend and worn by some of my favorite bloggers.

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Just like our own personalities, I believe it is essential that our individual style is comprised of both independent and dependent pieces. Us humans need to be somewhat dependent on others in order to form meaningful relationships in our lives. We also need these relationships to expand our own outlook on life and grow as individuals. Our style works the same way in that without trying “trends” we don’t know what we like/dislike and what looks good/bad on our bodies.

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In this look I was inspired by the off-the-shoulder trend currently circulating throughout the fashion world. However, I made it my own by adding my favorite black boots and a jeweled bag I found at a local market in London.

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Whether it is with your clothes, personal goals, or hobbies, don’t be afraid to look to others for their thoughts and opinions. We often condemn people who depend too much on the opinions of others; but sharing ideas is necessary to grow into your own form of independence.

See more street style posts by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook. If you enjoyed this post, check out Too New York for London- a Lookbook.

Photos by Colton.