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 Sunshine Effect

It is officially that time of year again. Long days and even longer nights. Hot, grainy sand in-between your toes. Melting ice cream cones. The sound of crickets. The little glowing specks of lightening bugs flying through the night sky. And most importantly, the warmth of the sunshine beating down on your skin.

gingham fashion blogger

I am someone who has always been drawn to the sun. Everything about the sun lifts my mood and brightens my day, literally. Its yellow color during the day and pinky orange hues at dusk are always a beautiful reminder to me of the power of life. The warmth is a constant reminder that I am alive and enjoying what life has to offer me. The sun is proof that every day is a new day and that we each have the power to make it special.

sunset fashion blogger

For me summer is when the sun is the most prominent and radiating its full energy. It is in the summer that I find myself constantly laying outside, soaking in the rays. It is in the summer where my favorite activity is grabbing a lobster roll and heading to Cape May Pointe to watch the sun fall over the horizon. It is in the summer where I am full of life and happy from the simplest of things. The sun simply humbles me.

marina fashion blogger

The summer sun is something special. Go outside and observe its glow. Watch the sunset and admire the chemistry behind the colors in the sky. I assure you the sun will set and rise again, each day leaving you with a new appreciation of the life you’ve been given.

Shop my look: Denim Shorts by American Apparel, Gingham Top by Asos, Loafers by Asos, Bracelet by The Comfort Station, Earrings by Lovestylelife on EtsySee more Shoreditch street art and style posts by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

See more life and style posts by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

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

Last month I traveled to Dubrovnik, Croatia for a little spring getaway before my finals began. Croatia is a beauty unlike any other city I’ve visited. The crystal blue waters, marble city floors, brightly colored roses, terracotta roofs, sloping cliffs… The beauty cannot be put into words, or even pictures for that matter.

Dubrovnik is a city I would recommend everyone to visit, even if you aren’t an avid Game of Thrones fan. It has a little bit of everything; from the beaches and hiking to the city life, it is the perfect destination no matter what your typical travel style is.

To See…

Dubrovnik Croatia streets

Walking the stairs that take you around Dubrovnik’s alleys is a must when trying to see the city. This is the way to find the best restaurants and tiny shops. I found a beautiful art shop with the most amazing gold-leafed paintings. The view down the alleys from the top of the stairs, with the colorful laundry blowing in the wind, is like no other.

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Just a 15 minute ferry ride from Dubrovnik is an island called Lokrum. There are no inhabitants on this island except for some beautiful natural wonders and wild animals. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the bunnies hop around and the peacocks spread their feathers. My favorite part of this island was the Dead Sea, which was just a short walk from where the ferry drops you off.

After much, MUCH searching, climbing through bushes, and scaling down rocks, my friend and I were able to find the cave which we came to the island with the purpose of finding. We saw this on a famous travel blogger’s Instagram and had to hunt it down. Little did we know we would have to walk the entire island and its many hills just to find it in the place where we started the adventure.

Lokrum Island Instagram blogger spot

Travel bloggers make finding magical spots like this seem so easy and care-free. I am here to tell you that that was not the case at all. We climbed the rocks and almost fell in the water multiple times just to get the perfect shot. We even almost got stranded on the island and had to hitch a ride from a maintenance man back to the ferry which was leaving for the day in 2 minutes. Maybe I should have sacrificed for the sake of my blog and slept on the island for the night? Regrets…

To Eat…

Croatia is known for its incredibly delicious seafood and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint. Being the seafood connoisseur that I am, I took full advantage of all the seafood the country had to offer.

Our first stop after landing was, of course, Dubrovnik’s city center for some mussels, octopus and anchovies. This restaurant, Kamenice, was recommended to us by our Airbnb owner as having extremely fresh seafood. There are many different places with similar menus so be sure to pick the places that the locals recommend!

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Dubrovnik food blogger

I love my sushi so any chance I have to get a spicy tuna roll made with the freshest of seafood, I jump on it. These rolls at Shizuku were made of big chunks of fish marinated in soy sauce. While this restaurant is located on the outskirts of the city, it is well worth the Uber ride there.

Dubrovnik sushi

In addition to seafood, Croatia is known for their wine. It is absolutely essential to visit a wine bar and educate yourself (and your palate) on the flavors of the country. I sampled a flight of red wine at D’Vino Wine Bar which was a lovely experience. The waiter even informed us on all the different types of wine that the country grows and the flavors of the grapes from each region. I was surprised to learn that the white Zinfandel, now grown in California, originates in Croatia.

To do…

Dubrovnik Croatia view

Climbing the Dubrovnik City Walls will give you the most impressive views of the city center and the buildings that make it up. It is a beautiful sea of orange. Warning: you will take thousands of pictures of the view (trust me, I learned the hard way). Walk around when the sun isn’t too bright and take in everything that you are seeing without a lense in front of your eye.

Dubrovnik Croatia view

Of all the beaches in Dubrovnik, Banje Beach was by far my favorite. It is so small and intimate, making it the perfect place to lay out and relax. The beach even has a club on it with yummy drinks and lounge chairs that are well worth the money.

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After visiting the port, follow the cost and you will come to steep stairs leading down to the beach. The beach itself is free so if you are looking to save some money be sure to bring your own towel and/or chair to lounge on.

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If you love breathtaking views then the Dubrovnik Cable Car is for you. And if you don’t like views (or are scared of heights), it is well worth facing your fear. The cable car scales 778 meters up the mountain, giving you a view of the entire east coast of Croatia.

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Not only can you see the entire city of Dubrovnik, but you can see the mountains and countryside surrounding it. I was surprised to see that the other side of Croatia is completely covered in mountains and farmland.

Dubrovnik cable car

After enjoying a cup of hot tea in the restaurant on the mountain we hiked our way down in order to find some beautiful city outlooks. We came across a spot covered with boulders and yellow flowers. I am a firm believer that you need to venture off the typical path in order to find the true gems.

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This smile says it all. Croatia is a country filled with happiness, beauty,and life and that just radiates from within yourself when visiting the country.

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Goals, Dreams, Hopes, Aspirations… Why?

I was sitting on my porch reading the latest issue of Darling Magazine (one of my favorites might I add) when I began thinking about purpose. Life purpose. Our dreams and aspirations. We all have different goals and hopes that we work to reach. However, some of us have bigger and brighter dreams than those around us. Why is this?

Being in my home town for just a few days has me thinking about the dreams of those in suburban Pennsylvania. Has everyone here just dreamed about a white picket fence, a family, and a Golden Retriever? Or did these people have bigger goals at one point? Maybe to travel the world or become the CEO of a Fortune 500 Company in the Big Apple?

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Everyone has to have something deep down that they’ve always wanted to achieve. Or perhaps maybe not. I know for myself, I have such big dreams that I want to achieve and I can’t even go a day without thinking about them. I can’t imagine anything otherwise. I want to see the world. Live different places. Graduate with a Masters in Data Science. Start my own company. Live in a beautiful Manhattan apartment overlooking the Hudson. Own a Golden Doodle. While some of these dreams are bigger than others, they are still dreams, and they are mine.

Paris goals

So maybe its not that some people have goals and others don’t, but maybe it’s just that people genuinely just really yearn for quite different things. Some people are more career-oriented while others are more family-oriented, causing this difference. Some people don’t need to reach the top of a large company to feel fulfilled in life, while others don’t need to raise children to feel happy. We are all so different in what we seek as our source of happiness. What do you think? What are your biggest goals and aspirations?

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