The Colors of Portugal

The bright and vibrant colors of Portugal make it the perfect summer travel destination. Patterned tiles cover the buildings lining the narrow city streets, making every walk an experience.

Colorful Alfama buildings

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Alfama, Portugal

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Finding Happiness in Simplicity

I think we can all agree that our fondest memories are always those shared with the people we love most in life. These memories can range from a family vacation to a day at the beach to one’s favorite holiday. I often find that my most treasured memories do not have to be in a special place or at a special time but with someone special. When you are with a person that simply makes you happy just with their presence, the world of possibility to make an unforgettable memory automatically opens up.

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My cousin, and my best friend, recently visited me for a Saturday while I was living in the city. I often find that I don’t have to plan out concrete things for us to do in order to have an amazing time, especially in New York, because, lets be honest, everything is pretty amazing.

Naturally, we ate our way through the day, walking our way to different neighborhoods. We began with Good Enough to Eat in the Upper West Side, a block down from where I was living. This has been on my list of restaurants to try for quite some time now, especially after walking past long lines of people every weekend morning. We didn’t even have to wait in the line since I volunteered my butt to be burned on the metal chairs that were heating up in the hot summer sun. The things I will do when I am hungry! Needless to say, you can never go wrong with a biscuit and a well-cooked omelette (one with white cheddar and granny smith apples in this case!).

After browsing through a few book stores, riding the Subway downtown, stopping at Mount Sinai for band-aids for Natasha’s feet and sipping on drinks in the East Village, we managed to end up in the Lower East Side/Soho area. While I often pass this quaint blue building, seeing people chomping down on corn, I had not tried it for myself before this weekend. Natasha and I always joke that you can only eat corn on the cob around the person you feel most comfortable with. Let me tell you ladies, not a pretty sight! This has to be a given, but if I boy wants to take you to Cafe Habana on a date, run the other direction. Or maybe just suggest another restaurant.

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Sprinkled with cheese and zested with lime, this corn is a delicious summer treat to share with your best friend. We ate ours out on the street, taking in the buzzing environment, but there is also a sit-down part of the restaurant right next door.

Since we were in the area I stopped at Sunrise Mart, a convenient store carrying all kinds of Japanese goodies, to buy my favorite lychee gummies. Natasha and I may or may not have eaten an entire bag each while watching the sunset… They really are that good!

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My favorite summer activity is watching the sunset. It may seem so simple but it always gives me an extreme wave of happiness and love for life. It is crazy to think that everyone in this world sees the same sun every day and watches it come and go at different points in time. The sun and each day is something we are all guilty of taking advantage of. How often do you stop to appreciate the sun rising and the opportunity to start a new day? Or watch the sun setting and reflect on the day that just passed?

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As I sat in Hudson River Park, with my favorite city of skyscrapers and bustling lives behind me, I watched the sun fall over the horizon, closing the wonderful day I had just spent with my cousin. Life can get hectic. We all have jobs. We all have needs. We all have goals. I get it, it’s hard to balance all of these in one 24-hour day. In order to appreciate and enjoy these days, however, we need to stop and take in the natural beauty of what is happening in the world we live in.

A Modernistic Feminist

The word feminist. What does this mean to you? Do you think of a raging hippy woman wearing a white t-shirt where her nipples peak through? Or do you think of a well-polished woman like Sheryl Sandberg, taking over the tech industry one idea at a time? The word feminist often has more negative associations to its name than positive ones. I know I have argued with my mother over exactly what this word means. She instantly thinks of the first example I named while the second comes to mind for me and many other women of the younger generation (or at least I hope).

I am a huge supporter of feminism and everything that it stands for. I am always trying to explain to people, like my mother, what exactly feminism means nowadays, or what it should mean. The exact definition of feminism according to Google is “someone who supports the advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of political, social and economic equality to men.” Don’t we all want to be treated, respected and paid equally to the male gender? So why doesn’t every woman want to call herself a feminist?

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It is ashame that women automatically think of the radical feminists that were at a peak in the 60s and 70s, for it is the modern age and that is simply not what should come to mind anymore. We should be thinking of women like Sophia Amoruso, Jessica Alba, Emma Watson and Malala Yousafzai. These women have all broken the stereotypes of women by creating multimillion dollar companies, sharing their opinions on inequality with younger generations, and breaking cultural expectations.

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While I believe everyone should be a feminist and that many more women are opening themselves up to the idea of embracing the title, Google Analytics has shown that the talk of feminism was at an all-time high in 1998 (also the year Time released its famous cover with the title “Is Feminism Dead?”) and has been declining ever since. Why do you think this is? Are we third-wave and fourth-wave feminists digressing in the feminist movement or are we simply tackling the issue in different ways?

I personally believe the way we women dress is a huge part of feminism, not only on a large scale but on a personal scale. Today’s society makes it a difficult choice in deciding to wear what you want or wearing what others will take you seriously in. I often have found that I am degraded and turned into an object when I go out in something as simple as denim shorts or a crop top.

This is still a huge issue in today’s society; men often blame women’s attire for the reason they are cat called or sexually assaulted. I should be able to wear what I want without being degraded or blamed for encouraging this behavior.

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Fashion is a large aspect of the feminist movement whether you realize it or not. Do I wear clothes that people will take me seriously in, even if that isn’t expressing who I am? Or do I wear an outfit that I feel good in and showcases my artistic views? Fashion is an artistic expression and the struggle with feminism in today’s society often restricts that.

In this look I incorporate pieces that are sophisticated and timeless with trendier pieces that show off my playful personality. Something as simple as the slits in the side of this sweater are a way of showing a little skin while still remaining conservative. Aritzia is one of my favorite places to shop for just this reason; they combine business-like pieces with trendier, sexier items that allow you to show off certain parts of your body.

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Accessories are always the perfect way to show off your personality through what you are wearing. I have been loving the Fendi Monster trend, and while I can’t afford the actual monsters, I have been able to find ones similar to it at small vendors like those in China Town and at flea markets.

I am currently reading a classic novel, The Second Sex, written by Simone de Beauvoir, which discusses the history of the female race and how the sex came to be viewed as inferior to men. At one point she says, “The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project.” What we put on our body expresses who we are and leaves our mark on the world. It is so important that we wear what we want and the feminism movement is progressing in a way that just might allow us to be able to do this without being devalued or judged in a certain way.