The Rise of Jersey City Street Art

Art. It is all around us but not everyone chooses to see it. Street art was once viewed as a crime thought to be ruining the beauty of a simple neighborhood. However, a lot has changed in the last few years and the whole concept of street art has turned from a negative to a positive.

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Art murals like the ones in this post are now viewed as a way to draw interest to an otherwise ugly space, such as a parking lot. Different colors, patterns, and images are being painted in areas with the purpose of changing the perception of neighborhood elements that have otherwise been thought of as unpleasant to the eye.

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From parking lots to the back entrances of restaurants, murals have turned these places into popular picture spots. Walking around this area of Jersey City I saw multiple photoshoots occurring; not just fashion bloggers like myself, but engagement and couple shoots. Ten years ago these murals would have been viewed as vandalism rather than a place where couples want to share some of the most important pictures of their lives.

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Once the exact opposite, street art can now be viewed as a way to gentrify a neighborhood and attract a new crowd of people. Neighborhoods like Jersey City, Shoreditch, Chelsea, and even my hometown, are embracing this new approach to enliven a neighborhood. So what exactly changed to all of a sudden make street art “cool”?

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Is it the rise of millennials and our culture that are making this a new trend? Maybe. Or maybe it was society’s increasing interest with Banksy, the anonymous British artist known for making political statements with murals popping up on city walls overnight.

We may never really know how society began to accept this form of art that it was so strongly against in the past. However, it is important to consider its importance and how it has changed society for the better. It has given artists a platform where their art is guaranteed to be seen and recognized. It has also introduced the concept of art to many people and has shown them just how powerful it can be.

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Similar to street art, I aim to express myself through what I choose to put on my body each day. The way we dress and what we wear paints a picture of who we are in other’s minds. As cliché as it is, we all judge a book by its cover. It is important to express who you are and what you believe in through what you wear, just like street artists express their views on society through their murals.

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Whether you are a fan of street art or not, the next time you see a mural, stop and try to interpret what the artist was thinking at the time he or she painted it. Art has the power to express meaningful messages if we allow it to. Also consider what message you are projecting to the world when you get dressed tomorrow morning. Clothes, colors, and patterns have the ability to say so much without having to actually say it.

Check out Parisian Street Art (the 10th arrondissement) and Amsterdam’s Art Scene to see some of my favorite street art in Europe.

 

 

 

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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.

London’s Best Restaurants

It is no secret that I like food. Ok… I more than like food; food has become a hobby for me in all aspects. I love hunting down new restaurants, trying new flavors, photographing dishes, and cooking healthy meals for myself. Being a foodie truly is a lifestyle!

While I was in London I had a chance to try many different restaurants all over the city, each a different type of cuisine. Many people say London has poor tasting food; well they clearly weren’t eating at the right places. Here are my absolute favorite restaurants in London, each a favorite for a different reason.

Oka in Primrose Hill

Oka describes itself as a traditional and fusion Japanese restaurant. They offer sashimi, sushi and stir-fry meals. My absolute favorite thing on the menu is the chili edamame, as shown below. It is something so simple yet bursting with spicy flavor.

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Another one of my favorites, and an absolute must-have if you are a sushi lover, is the salmon jalapeño roll. The flavors are fresh and subtle, which is what makes it so good. The wasabi at Oka is even homemade, adding a special touch to every sushi roll.

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Be sure to book this spot in advance if looking to dine here in the evening. Don’t forget to hike to the top of Primrose Hill, first, and enjoy the sunset!

Da Mario in South Kensington

A favorite of Princess Diana, this restaurant is a go-to when looking for yummy Italian food in London. All of the pasta is homemade and the sauce is to die for. Not only do they offer pastas but they make their own pizzas as well. I love how friendly and welcoming the staff is to everyone that walks in. My favorite here has to be the potato gnocchi; the gnocchi is so plump and melts in your mouth!

Sketch in Chelsea

If you are Instagram obsessed like I am then you have definitely seen pictures of Sketch’s decor. As soon as you walk in the door you feel like you have fallen down the rabbit hole and ended up in Wonderland. I was lucky enough to visit during the Chelsea Flower Show when the entire restaurant was covered in pink peonies and roses.

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While the afternoon tea is quite expensive and usually booked months in advance, the breakfast option is usually always available and not nearly as expensive. I enjoyed some porridge and fruit with a few cups of the matcha green tea.

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While the food is certainly delicious, what makes Sketch one of my favorites is the one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Each room is decorated differently; whether you are sitting on pink velvet couches or in a forest of flowers, the experience is magical.

City Best Kebab in Shoreditch

I had to add my favorite post-night-out spot to this list; the perfect spot for a cheap and quick meal. London is filled with falafel shops so it can be quite hard to find the best one. Luckily, this one was right around the corner from my flat and has the best falafel I have ever tasted. You never know what kind of crowd you are going to come across either, which is what makes it so entertaining.

Pacata in Covent Garden

I purposely saved the best for last with this restaurant; ironic since this was also the last meal I ate in London before leaving. Pacata specializes in thai comfort food, making the best tom kha soup and pad thai.

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I know I’m making a big claim here but this may have been one of the best meals I have ever eaten. I am a huge fan of squid ink pasta and order it whenever it is on a restaurant’s menu. Pacata had squid ink pad thai, a combination of two of my favorite things. The flavors were so unique and worked together so well. If you are near Covent Garden you must try this dish!

Stay tuned for more of my favorites in London and other European cities by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

 

 

Too New York for London- A Lookbook

As my 5 month adventure in London comes to a close, I have been thinking, how have I adapted to the European culture? There are some little things that you pick up from being in a new country for so long, like calling eggplant aubergine, or the side that you walk up the stairs, but can a country really change someone’s core?

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I am a firm believer that I will always be a New York City girl (sorry London!). While I love London and would never hesitate to move here for a few years, New York City will always have my heart. After all, the city is written all over my outfit choices.

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My style has definitely changed a bit to fit the European persona, but it still remains very “American”. While every girl in London is sporting her culottes and trainers with socks, I continue to wear little flowy dresses and my leather jacket. And, after all, black clothing is a New Yorker’s second skin. I don’t think I will ever stray away from my all-black wardrobe no matter how much I attempt to add some colorful pieces to my closet.

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While my fashion sense has stayed relatively the same, I have definitely grown into a more mature woman while living in London. I have always considered myself a very independent person, going to events on my own and taking the awkward steps to meet new people. However, since being here, my independence has grown to a new level that I never knew it could. Being away from your friends and family, having absolutely no one familiar, is a scary thing that forces you to step completely out of your comfort zone. Independence is no longer a choice but a way of living.

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I am excited to bring this newfound independence back with me to the States (and my British lingo begins to show!). I have developed an appreciation for people in my life and just good people in general that I am confident will make me enjoy my life in New York City even more than I had before.

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When I return to New York City at the end of the month, I will always have a piece of London in me. You can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl!

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See more Shoreditch street art and style posts by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Photos by Colton.

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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Follow me on Instagram for more photos of London.

Hidden Gem of London: Palm Vaults

I am a sucker for a place with a cute aesthetic and healthy, good-tasting food. Needless to say, Palm Vaults offers both of these, all in the heart of Hackney.

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The café truly is an Instagrammer’s heaven with the green plants hanging from the ceiling, marble tables, velvet couches, and pink accents. Not to mention the takeaway cups which are chic enough to include in your next #ootd post.

Palm Vault Dragonfruit Smoothie

My friend ordered the “Unleash the Dragon” smoothie which is undeniably the prettiest smoothie I have ever seen. It still amazes me how a fruit can produce a color as bright and vibrant as this one.

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Palm Vaults is known for their endless selection of artisan lattes. Tumeric, violet, red velvet, blue moon tea, and charcoal are just a few options included in their menu. I ordered the red velvet latte and was surprised to taste a beet flavor. It turns out the pretty red color is acheived using the natural coloring of beets. While it is definitely an acquired taste, it makes me feel better knowing that I am not consuming artificial chemicals. The beet and mocha flavors surprisingly complement one another very well!

Palm Vault acai bowl

I ordered the “Pataya Bowl”, decorated with raspberries, coconut, blueberries, and goji berries. After seeing pictures of my favorite bloggers eating these bowls on tropical islands such as Hawaii and Australia, I had to have one. This bowl brought a little slice of the warm tropics to London, right before walking outside into the rain of course.

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While I loved being in such a pretty atmosphere, with yummy food, places like this attract certain kinds of people. Of course I am not hating on us bloggers, being I am also that girl that has to rearrange the table to get the perfect picture of what I am about to consume, but it is also important to enjoy the moment you are living in.

Often at times we tend to only do things for the image that it portrays on social media. We all get caught up in capturing that perfect picture with the perfect lighting. While this is ok to do to a certain point, there comes a time when it’s necessary to put the camera or phone down and focus on what’s in front of you. Enjoy your delicious food. Enjoy the atmosphere you’re in. Most importantly, enjoy the time with the company that surrounds you.

The next time you go out to brunch or coffee with friends, spend the first 5 minutes rearranging your food and posting it all over social media. After, put the camera away. Put the phone away. Take the time to really talk to your friends and really taste your food. It is amazing how much more enjoyable life becomes when you shut out the digital world and embrace the present.

Follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more pictures of London and its yummy food.

Shoreditch Street Style

Shoreditch is the coolest place in London to live; I will take that statement with me to the grave. Being a fashion and art lover, the environment really spurs so much creativity. Every time you walk down the street you notice a new painting or music poster on the exposed brick buildings. There is constantly something that inspires me with a new idea.

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Maybe it’s just me being crazy, but I think I’ve gotten a lot cooler since moving to Shoreditch. The neighborhood openly accepts the most artsy form of yourself, which I love. I can where whatever I want to wear without being looked at twice (unless your outfit is just so cool it requires a few extra glances). Everyone is always expressing themselves and simply living their lives. If you have a new idea or a creative soul, this is the only place to pursue it.

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Staying true to my own style, I love to take business-like pieces and pair them with more eclectic, hip accessories. I took this rather fancy silk blouse and paired it with my new favorite Topshop jeans and Asos rose gold loafers. The cold and rainy weather clearly hasn’t stopped me from sporting my favorite pair of shoes.

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I have been wearing a lot more blue since being in London, and I can’t help but think if the weather is what is inspiring this new wardrobe change. It really is as gloomy as everyone says it is (although this was shot on a super sunny day, of course)! Luckily, living in Shoreditch, there is always a colorful art mural just around the corner to brighten my day.

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Fashion and art are two topics which can be interpreted in many different ways. We all see different things as forms of art and different styles as “fashion-forward”. Living in London has reinforced this viewpoint of mine more than ever. There are so many different parts of the city, each with different kinds of people, restaurants, and architectural styles. There truly is a neighborhood that is meant for everyone.

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I am lucky enough to live in the neighborhood that fits me the best. Shoreditch is for the so-called “hipsters”. Kensington is for the posh museum-goers. Camden is for the eclectic, edgy character. Westminster is for the tourists…

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The next time you are looking for a unique source of inspiration, explore a new area- whether it is a small street just a few minutes from you or a completely unknown neighborhood. You never know what you will find and how it will inspire you.

See more Shoreditch street art and style posts by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Photos by Colton.

Burberry Makers House

This week only, Burberry is holding an exhibit which showcases their February 2017 collection that was shown at London Fashion Week on Monday. The exhibit is named “Henry Moore: Inspiration & Process at Makers House”, brought together in collaboration with the Henry Moore Foundation. The exhibit walks through the artwork, created by Henry Moore himself, and how it inspired this season’s collection.

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In addition to Moore’s artwork and Burberry’s latest collection, Burberry has also displayed their made-to-order couture cape collection. These capes are some of the most beautiful, detailed pieces I have ever had the pleasure of viewing. Each one is created from the most exquisite materials such as shells, feathers, plastic, rope, and beads.

Burberry February 2017

This grey cable knit sweater dress is a favorite of mine from the collection. I can just imagine myself wearing this with some knee-high black boots and a grey trench coat. A girl can dream, right!?

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Burberry Makers House production

Being a sewer, I loved experiencing the making of a huge fashion house’s runway collection. The exhibit laid out the fitting and tailoring process of each special piece in the collection. They even had a jacket displayed that still had the pins in it. Many people who aren’t familiar with designing clothes don’t understand all of the math and careful planning involved with each garment. This exhibit gives a deep insight into the process of designing and creating clothing.

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Henry Moore Burberry

This is one of Moore’s bronze sculptures which was the largest source of inspiration for the collection. Each sculpture is meant to represent a sense of security, which can be noticed throughout the clothes in the collection. You can also see how the geometric elements of this sculpture translate directly into the geometric elements of the clothes. This is seen most literally in the shoes paired with each look which have a cut-out round heel.

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Burberry February 2017

Here is a more literal interpretation of one of Moore’s art pieces. You can see that Christopher Bailey was inspired by the fluidity and design of the light piece when designing this knit sweater.

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We looked at the contradictions in  Moore’s work, between power and gentleness, heaviness and lightness, familiarity and abstraction. Between the hardness of his materials and the fluidity and softness of his forms -(Christopher Bailey)

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If you are in London this week then I highly suggest you make a stop at the Makers House. Not only is it a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the fashion phanatics, but it’s free! When you’re traveling on a budget there is no better word to hear. You have until February 27th to check it out, so go now! I am definitely making a few more visits before the exhibit closes. If you go be sure to let me know what you thought!

City Girl… or Farm Girl?

If you are an avid Instagram-scroller and health foodie then you have probably heard of a little place called Farm Girl Cafe in the neighborhood of Knotting Hill in London. After drooling at pictures on my feed for the past few months, I finally had the opportunity to taste the luxe lattes and fresh avocado toast.

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If you visit this restaurant expect a wait… a very long wait. One thing I have noticed in London is that waiters are not rushing around, worrying about each customer’s happiness the way the waiters do in America. Here they make you stand outside in the cold for nearly an hour before finally acknowledging your hangriness and dire need for food.

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The menu is full of options, from vegan and vegetarian to a loaded chicken sandwich, it is a safe place to drag your meat-loving friends. However, don’t expect to escape the endless health and vegan jokes. “That coconut bacon does not deserve to call itself bacon.”

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“This charcoal latte is crunchy. I can feel it in-between my teeth”. I will admit, these jokes are hilarious because quite often I am blinded by how ridiculous these things really are. I love trendy health food but I also appreciate a good laugh at them.

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These drinks have been haunting me from my Instagram feed since the moment I saw them. Rose and charcoal lattes? Definitely not something you find at your typical Starbucks! Unfortunately they do sound and look a lot cooler than they taste. Do it for the picture, though, right?

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I can’t go to brunch without eating some form of avocado, usually avocado toast. There is just nothing that beats it. This avocado toast was decorated with lemon juice, pomegranate seeds, and a poached egg. I ordered coconut bacon and sweet potato fries on the side. Both were delicious but definitely not worth the money. I would stick with the sandwiches which seemed a lot more filling than my £12 slices of bread.

Overall, this place makes for very cute pictures and a lovely place to chat with friends. However, if you are looking for a full on feast and to save some money, you may want to try somewhere else.

Follow me on Instagram for more yummy food pictures.

 

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.

Best London Bookshop

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.

Discover more gems of London with me by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.