Austrian Adventures

Austria, home of strudel, snitzel and the Sound of Music, has a sense of regality that makes you feel momentarily like royalty.  History seeps into every grand avenue of Vienna, lined with enlightenment era white marble buildings and ornate cafes.  Two days in Vienna allowed me to appreciate the cultural richness of the city from the classical music to the turn of the century art movements that define the golden era of the Habsburg empire.  Across the country, lays Salzburg, in the mountains, where both Mozart and the Von Trap family originated.  I regrettably only spent one night in Salzburg, but that was enough for me to fall in love with the alpine charm and natural beauty of the area.  

Vienna appears surprisingly like a modern busy city from the outskirts in with plenty of energy and vibrance.  City center, however, old town charm is abundant.  The churches show the best of baroque architecture, marked by the massively elaborate St Stephans Cathedral with its intricately colorful mosaic roof and spires.  I happened to walk into a service at the church and got to hear the organ play while taking the elevator up to the rood which was quite an experience (imagine hearing the lords prayer sung in German).  The cathedral boosts wonderful views of the city, along with views of the unique roof.  The famous opera house, where Mozart, Strauss, Beethoven, among others, casually premiered much of their most well known work, is right across from the Sacher Hotel, home to the original Sacher Torte.  I enjoyed the famous chocolate and apricot cake at the Sacher Cafe which was magically upholstered in deep red velvet and magnificent chandlers.  The apple strudel from the cafe is also amazing and the atmosphere itself is worth it, even if you don’t like chocolate cake.  

Schoenbrunn palace is a quick 15 minute subway ride outside of the city center and holds so much history from Austria’s Habsburg glory days.  The giant palace sits on beautiful gardens and is well worth an inside tour since the rooms are perfectly preserved, including the grand ballroom and the big portrait rooms.  From a historical standpoint, the audioguide offered a lot of insight into the palace’s history and the lives of the people that lived there which was extremely fascinating.  

Belvedere palace is actually an art museum, yet looks extremely regal from the outside.  The palace hosts many of Austria’s most famous works such as Klimt’s The Kiss and other works, and the big Napoleon painting that is instantly recognizable.  The museum is really well done with a beautiful neoclassical marble interior and a great collection of art spanning many centuries.  

Beyond desserts, Austrian food is hearty and comforting.  I tried both pork and veal weiner snitzel served traditionally with potato salad, lemon and cranberry sauce.  The breaded and fried meat pairs perfectly with the sweeter garnishes.  It’s disgustingly delicious and definitely a must-try.  Austrian beef-broth soup is also very tasty, served with a big singular dumpling (think matzo-ball soup with beef instead of chicken).  Bratwurst stands can be found all over Vienna and they might seem sketchy, but they serve up the best hot dogs in soft baguettes.  I tried a cheese filled one with mustard and I’ve been dreaming about it ever since.  Cafe Central is a famous belle époque era cafe that mimics a gothic cathedral and has had many famous intellectuals as regulars over the years.  I had apple strudel for breakfast there and have no shame about it.  

Cafe Central in all its glory

Traditional Austrian dinner

Salzburg, at the foot of the alps, is a mountain city, full of both regal and charm.  The Sound of Music tour was the perfect way to see the city and the surrounding area in a short time with unmatched panoramic vistas.  You get to visit all of the filming locations and sing along to the music on the bus.  The town makes Mozart’s presence know, with monuments and squares all over dedicated to him.  Walking around Salzburg at night was surreal, as the hill top castle and other landmarks are lit up, along with the incredible rock face that the town is built into.  

Restaurants:

Cafe Sacher: famous and beautiful

Cafe Central: also famous and beautiful with good breakfast

Weibel’s Wirtshaus: great classic Austrian food in a nice setting

Zum Zirkelwirt: Fun atmosphere and casual Austrian food in Salzburg

København Kool

Copenhagen, or as the Danish say “København” with the emphasis on the vowels, oozes with cool and style. I’m hard thought to think of a trendier city that I’ve visited. The “hipness” finds itself in everything from the fashion (think Ganni and ACNE Studios) and street art to the food and fresh juices. Compared to the cramped streets of Florence, the quaint Copenhagen streets feel reminiscent of fairy tales. The contrast between the old and the modern is very distinct in art and architecture.

Amalienborg Palace with Frederik’s Church in the background, representing the best of regal Denmark

The castles and palaces of Copenhagen are all beautiful and offer insight into the history of the country. Rosenborg Castle looks as if it could easily be out of Disney’s Frozen with its spires and picture perfect carp filled mote. The interior is full of rococo era art and decor and the basement holds the crown jewels of Denmark which are just as majestic as they are fascinating. Amalienborg Palace is more modern and it serves as the current home of the Danish royal family. The square, along with Frederik’s Church, is beautiful.

The ornate and fascinating Rosenborg Castle
Tivoli is the second oldest amusement park in the world and served as inspiration for the Disneyland

Walking through the city is quite honestly like walking through a fairy tale and Tivoli Amusement Park embodies the epitome of the Disney mystic. The park is found in the middle of the city, yet feels removed and magical with pristine rides and attractions that puts Disneyland to shame, visually. The winter lights at night are beautiful and the international food hall is a great and delicious way to save money on dinner. I felt like a giddy little child walking through the park and seriously could not stop smiling of happiness.

Funky modern design can be seen throughout the harbor tour

Taking a boat tour through the canals and harbor helped me grasp the layout of the city and see all of the interestingly designed buildings from the water. The opera house and library (both on the water) contrast the quaint colorful buildings that line the canals with state of the art unique modern architecture. The tour also goes to the famous Little Mermaid statue which is out of the way by foot and a bit underwhelming. It’s one of those things that you have to do as a tourist and the tour made it worth it.

Altalier September has one of the most trendiest brunch’s in the city

Copenhagen has mastered the instagram-era art of brunch with trendy cafes and ascetically perfect food. Not only does the food look amazing, but it also tastes amazing. The Danes are known for their open-faced sandwiches, so you know the avocado toast will be superb. I had two of the best avocado toasts I’ve ever had and that’s coming from someone who religiously eats avocado at every opportunity.

Union Kitchen’s popular brunch

Copenhagen’s food scene is consistently named one of the best in the world, thanks to an emphasize on creativity and healthy natural foods. The now international juice chain, Joe and the Juice, started in Copenhagen and they are about as easy to find as a Dunkin’ Donuts in New York. Superfoods are abundant and they love fresh seafood. The smoke salmon and pickled herring were amazing for dinner and the baked goods for breakfast were unique and always flavorful.

Light display at the Museum of Design

I’ve never been to a museum quite like the Museum of Design, a museum dedicated to the tradition of cutting edge design in Denmark with displays from the 18th century to today. They had a special exhibit about the evolution of disco and nightclubs which was super interesting and well done. The permanent exhibits were a visual treat with a wide range of art, both modern and traditional, on display.

Contemporary furniture display at the Design Museum
Reminiscent of NYC’s Soho campaigns, this Pepsi ad is one of many murals found around Copenhagen

Places I ate:

• Restaurant Puk (Traditional Danish in a fun environment)

• Union Kitchen (Trendy brunch and coffee)

• Joe and the Juice

• Tivoli International Food Court (very good cheaper food and lots of options)

• Atelier September (great coffee shop with small plates)

• The Market (trendy contemporary Asian)

• Kompa 9 (small local coffee shop and bakery)

Shopping: 

• Stroget street (longest pedestrian street filled with both danish and international clothing chains)

• Normal and Message (two trendy Danish stores with decent prices)

• Magasin (Big nice department store full of Scandinavian brands)

• Ganni (Danish “It” brand of the moment around the world thanks to Instagram influencers)

First impressions

Here I am, in Florence Italy, writing while sipping a crazy cheap and crazy good cappuccino in a gourmet cafe at 4:30 in the afternoon (a huge taboo, guilty as charge).  It’s been about two weeks since I first touched down in the land of pasta and gelato and so far I’ve loved embracing la Dolce Vita.  Cliché aside, catch me wandering every street till I get lost all semester long.  Culturally, the Italians love their food and they love their drinks.  Give me an aperitivo plate of prosciutto and pecorino for every meal and I’ll happily relax among all the tourists and bustling locals in the large piazzas.  On every turn, there is art, either in the form of a building, church, or street art.  Nothing quite beats finding the ancient Renaissance era palaces painted with modern edgy street art and I could go on and on about the coffee culture.  Watching elderly Italians sip their coffee at their corner cafes while reading the paper every morning always puts a smile on a face.  

The majestic Ponte Vecchio that connects the two sides of Florence over the Arno river.

Florence is a textbook definition of a walking city.  Everything is confined within the city center with the massive figure of the Duomo towering over the rest of the city.  The central squares are pedestrian only and walks to destination are no more than 30 minutes.  Every street presents a new surprise, whether it be an elaborate building facade, a cute cafe that you haven’t seen before, or a random ornate Renaissance sculpture which scatter themselves out through the city.  There is a sense of joy and curiosity that comes from walking in Florence.  Nothing is boring and everything is accessible.  The lack of a subway system allows visitors and locals to take advantage of the walking museum that is Florence.  

The Florence Duomo has to be one of the most photogenic buildings I’ve encountered. It photographs amazingly every time!

This past weekend, I ventured away into the tuscan countryside to explore the beautiful Chianti region and learn about the local wine industry.  Driving through the hills covered in vines and cypress trees was reminiscent of movies encompassing the beauty of Italy.  I visited a small local family vineyard where I learned all about the process of wine making and the history of Chianti.  The tour ended with a traditional tuscan lunch paired with the local wine in a picturesque chateaux over looking the fields.  Not only was it a super fun experience, but also a cultural one.

Grape fields at the Chianti vineyard.

The Chianti region offers the perfect break from the bustling city of Florence, even for non-wine people.  The vineyard I visited was only 20 minutes away from the city, but feels like an entirely different world.  Chianti wine is probably one of the most well known wines from Italy, coming from the Sangiovese grape.  The red chianti is smooth and flavorful, pairing well with the delicious ragu pastas that Florence is known for.  For my first weekend away, it was a great little escape that really helped me gain a greater appreciation for wine.  

The hills of Chianti

These first two weeks have been an absolute whirlwind of cultural exploration, adjustment and fun. Embracing the Italian way of life has been easy, full of gelato and paninis. That’s all for now, as I anxiously await the start of my European travels. Ciao!

Exploring Argentina

Hi everyone! I’m back after a little hiatus. College life has caught up to me and I seriously haven’t had the chance to sit down and write anything. Lots has been going on and I’m about to leave for my semester abroad in Italy where I hope to document every aspect of my travels while exploring Europe! To kick off two months before I leave, I want to revisit my summer travels in Argentina, an amazing adventure for my first time in South America.

Argentina is a rich country full of culture and vibrance. I had the opportunity to explore all sides of the country from the tropical paradise of Iguazu Falls on the northern border, to the Patagonian tundra and the spirited metropolis of Buenos Aires. Starting with the city, Buenos Aires is massive with many different neighborhoods that harness different environments and cultures. Like any cosmopolitan city, there’s your trendy quarter (Palermo), the bourgeois strong held (Recoleta), a boho artist dwelling neighborhood (San Telmo), and colorful working class neighborhoods (La Boca). What makes Buenos Aires such a delight to walk around is that each of these unique areas feels like a different city with their own cultures, arts and atmospheres. I relished walking around each area and discovering the little quirks while enriching myself through the Argentinian culture.

A must see and highlight of the city is the Recoleta Cemetery, a world famous cemetery that is unlike any other. The cemetery is quite literally a city for the dead (think of a village of tiny house mausoleums), allowing you to easily get lost with intrigue among the mass of uniquely designed tombs. The park that surrounds the walled cemetery is perfect for people watching and soaking in the Argentinian culture. Street musicians and tango performers are abundant. Sitting outside sipping a latte at an alfresco cafe is an ideal way to watch the vibrant scene of the large park. On the weekends, a large local craft market sets itself up around the cemetery. Browse the local artisan stalls full of unique crafts and get lost once again in the central highlighting park/cemetery of the Recoleta neighborhood.

Palermo Soho and Hollywood reflect their namesakes, being the “trendy” neighborhoods. Younger and colorful, they offer fun steakhouses or parrillas and many nice boutiques for shopping. Don Julio and La Carnicería are two popular and delicious options that were highlighting meals of my trips (both in the Soho neighborhood). The strong dollar and weaker local currency makes shopping a thrill in Argentina (take advantage people!) and some of the best and nicest Argentinian labels are located in Soho. For a break from shopping, stroll into a local cafe and enjoy the slow art of sipping an Argentinian coffee (preferably with a football game in the background).

A Soho street

The La Boca neighborhood is the grittier working-class neighborhood with colorful architecture and street art that reflects the vibrant pride and culture of the people. The vibe along the small streets is definitely touristy, but the buildings are interesting to observe and provide for great instagram opportunities (sorry, photo-opts). Fun and fascinating street art can be found all over Buenos Aires, but the best can be found in the more seedier areas such as La Boca which drawls tourists.

A wall in La Boca

San Telmo claims to be the birthplace of tango and now boast a number of funky markets and gentrified streets. Many of the building were old “palaces” back in the day and it is interesting to tour the courtyards and balconies of the old dwellings since many have become stores, galleries or apartments. Foodies can delight in the San Telmo Mercado, an indoor market full of gourmet street food and antiques. Make a day searching for leather treasures and enjoying freshly baked empanadas.

Empanadas are a must try food in Argentina

Outside the metropolis of Buenos Aires lays a vastly diverse landscaped country. Iguazu Falls borders Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay in the tropics and is the widest system of falls in the world. The boat tour is truly a thrill ride that heads straight into the falls. You get the best views from the boat down below, but there is also a whole network of hiking trails up and around the falls that allow you to enjoy the nature and wildlife of the subtropical forest. The falls are unlike anything I have ever seen and really take your breath away.

The falls from the boat ride

There are few places in the world where one can ski in August. Argentina is one of them. Venture to Patagonia to explore a winter playground. Bariloche, a town about 15 minutes from the Cerro Cathedrale ski resort, is modeled after Swiss ski towns and is situated right on the edge of a massive lake. The desolate landscape of Patagonia along with the lake country makes the Bariloche area breathtaking and unlike the mountain of the northern hemisphere. The country also allows visitors to take advantage of local produce, showcasing the best steaks and Malbecs for a very reasonable price.

Bariloche lake side

That’s it for the summer travels! Stay tuned for my adventures abroad, traveling across Italy and Europe!

Exploring the World of NYC Coffee Shops

They say that New York never sleeps, and this might as well be totally the case given that every street is lined with at least two artisan over-priced small scale coffee shops, a Starbucks and a Dunkin’. Finding caffeine in the Big Apple is no challenge. In my two months there this summer, I have attempted to try as many independent cafes (although I will never give up my tired and true Starbucks chai) as I could during my commute, lunch breaks and lazy Sunday mornings. There is a whole world out there of coffee ambiances and gourmet creations to explore in the mega city.

Bluestone Lane: An Australian offshoot, Bluestone is located all over the city and specializes in gourmet drinks and “toasties” which are perfect for a quick light lunch. The locations tend to be smaller, making it more of a grab and go type of place. *Over a dozen locations all over the city.

Chacha Matcha: My favorite New York cafe, Chacha Matcha quickly became my go-to beverage pick-me-up everyday on my commute to work. As the name suggests, they specialize in matcha green tea, but create funky takes on the classic matcha latte with matcha chais, turmeric lattes and matcha lemonades. They also have a delicious assortment of matcha flavored pastries and chilled breakfast items. The crowd, along with the decor, is trendy and instagram obsessed. *Locations in Noho, Nomad, and Nolita.

Birch Coffee: Birch coffee has one of the best chais I have ever tasted. A bit of a unique place, they discourage technology by not having wifi or any outlets. Instead, they have a whole wall of books for customers to cozy up to and little conversation starter cards that attempt to create a hospitable and friendly unplugged atmosphere. Ideal for non-electronic studying! *10 locations across the city.

Think Coffee: A classy and spacious cafe, Think Coffee is a place a study. Standard coffee menu with breakfast and sandwiches, the environment at Think is extremely pleasant. They have outlets at every table, plush leather seats and play a calming mix of classical music which makes you even want to study. In a crazy city like New York, Think Coffee offers a reprieve from all the hustle and bustle outside. *About 8 locations across the city.

Joe’s Coffee: Joe’s has been a New York favorite for a while serving up a quality cup of “Joe” to many neighborhoods for years. They are simple coffee counter stores, but simple does the trick. If you need a quick coffee on the go, Joe’s is the place to go. *Over a dozen locations throughout New York.

Gregory’s Coffee: Another favorite, Gregory’s coffee is kind of like a local Starbucks. They have a large menu of drink options, food, and juices in there spacious cafes. What makes Gregory’s great is that they have a lot of vegan and gluten free food and drinks, making it a place for everyone. *23 locations in Manhattan.

Ralph’s Coffee: The Ralph Lauren Corporation, already pioneers in creating a truly immersive shopping experience, recently opened Ralph’s Coffee Shop inside select offshoot stores. I visited one inside the Flatiron Club Monaco and was delighted to get a delicious iced mocha within the stylish green tiled walls of the coffee outpost and the pleasantly light and airy atmosphere of the store. The coffee is all hand crafted, and the store is perfect for pictures. *Located at the Flatiron Club Monaco, Rockefeller Center, and the Upper East Side Ralph Lauren.

Maman: Maman is a favorite of the stylish Instagram crowd and it’s easy to see why. Besides having great coffee, a decadent lavender hot chocolate drink, and cute pastries, the cafe makes you feel as though you have been transported to the South of France with its cute decor and blue and white color scheme. The cups and plates are all super cute and photogenic too! *Locations in Soho, Tribeca, Nomad and Chelsea.

Citizens Of (Gramercy, Chelsea): While more of a popular brunch place, the trendy cafe has a barista bar serving up an array of exceptional drinks. The Australian styled spot has a refreshingly light interior that feels especially cool on a hot summer day. Come for the avocado toast and stay for the dirty chai (it’s seriously one of the best I’ve had). *Locations in Gramercy and Chelsea.

Everywhere to Shop in NYC

As the fashion capital of America and a worldwide fashion hub, New York City is overflowing with a crazy range of flagship shops, small boutiques and mega department stores. This summer, I have had the opportunity to explore many different shopping areas. Here are some of my favorite neighborhoods and streets ideal for any fashion lover or avid shopper.

Soho

Soho is the designated “cool” tourist neighborhood with every imaginable “cool” store you can think of.  While it might be busy, the area is vibrant and has some great destination stores such as Reformation, Opening Ceremony, Off-White, etc.  There are also a lot of pop-up stores and concept places such as the Glossier Flagship.  For window shopping, nearly every major design house has a location around Soho.

Flatiron District

The area around the Flatiron building and Madison Square Park has a lot of major flagships found inside cool Gilded Age era Neo-classical style buildings lining the avenues and streets.  Many mid-range stores such as Club Monaco, J Crew, Madewell, Anthropology, Intermix, Tory Burch and Brooks Brothers have huge flagships in this area.  The crowds are less around this area too which is a huge plus. 

Upper West Side

The Upper West Side area around Lincoln Center and along Central Park boasts an array of slightly trendier and more reasonably priced stores than its east side counterpart.  European favorites such as Joie and Maje have large flagships here, along with popular American jean companies Paige and AG.  The area is also super cute and quiet.  

Chelsea

Around the High Line are some of the nicest streets in the city.  They are lined with luxury apartment buildings and designer stores.  A lot of New York contemporary designers such as Rebecca Taylor, Alice and Olivia and DVF have their flagships in this area, and Chelsea market is full of all sorts of local goodies and artisan crafts.  Seek out bargains, window shop and admire the street art in the popular urban revival neighborhood.

Hudson Yards

The newest and coolest complex of Manhattan, Hudson Yards’ epicenter includes a giant 5 level luxury mall that is unlike any mall I have ever been to.  The stores range from high-end designer shops to fast fashion places like Zara and popular places like Aritzia and Lululemon.  What’s great is that the ac is blowing and the cool marble interior makes for a fun indoor experience on a hot summer day.  The 5th floor holds New York’s first and only Neiman Marcus.  They give it their all to give shoppers a modern retail experience.  

 5th Avenue and Madison Avenue

Throughout Midtown, 5th Avenue to Lex Ave are for the most part very touristy and not very worthwhile in terms of shops.  However, the general area that borders central park is home to many of New York’s iconic department stores.  Window shop at the massive Bergdorf Goodman, experience the newly reopened accessories and shoe departments at Saks, and take advantage of the many boutique designers being featured at Bloomingdales.  Walk further uptown to Barney’s which is truly an experience for any fashion fan and admire the window displays of designer flagships along Madison Ave. 

Everything I Ate at Smorgasburg

Back for a new post on my New York adventures!  This time around, it seems obligatory to dedicate a whole post to Smorgasburg, otherwise known as the ultimate foodie destination.  For those of you who do not know, Smorgasburg is a giant food festival that takes place in Williamsburg, Brooklyn every weekend in the summer.  Many famous outrageous food creations have come out or started at Smorgasburg and you have certainly seen pictures of some of their craziest frankenfoods on instagram.  Foods such as the Ramen Burger, the Spaghetti Donut, the Raindrop Cake and Big Mozz mozzarella sticks were all introduced at Smorgasburg. 

With nearly 100 different vendors at Smorgasburg, it might be just a tad hard to figure out what to get.  I recommend spending some time walking around and to just soak it all in.  It is amazing to see everyone come together and experience a common love for eating and food all in one small outdoor space.  Once you gather your bearings, it helps to plan it all out.  It also helps to know that you should be splitting everything, or you might explode from overeating! Here is everything I tried… although there was so much more.

Spaghetti Donut (Marinara sauce):  This crazy concept is new this year and is getting a ton of attention.  Everyone loves pasta and everyone loves donuts, so why not put these too popular carbs together?  While it might seem gross, the donut is pretty much just donut shaped slightly dried out pasta that is lightly fried to hold the shape.  Personally, I’m not a huge red sauce pasta fan, so I felt like it was underwhelming.  Others love it, however, and this unique food combo is definitely worth a try.  

Fluffy Pancakes (Blueberry cheesecake): Oh my god, these were heaven.  The airy souffléd pancakes were hands down the best pancakes I have ever tasted.  While the pancakes alone are a reason to get them, the different flavors which include blueberry cheesecake and creme brulée make the pancakes extra special and a perfect start to your Smorgasburg experience.  

Ramen Burger:  There was a ton of hype surrounding the Ramen Burger when it first came out a few years ago.  While the combo might seem random, the salty flavor-filled ramen pairs amazingly with the taste of the burger, out doing any bun while looking fabulous for that insta-feed.  

Chicken and Waffle (Buffalo Chicken Bites):  Someone, a genius perhaps, decided that chicken and waffles can easily become chicken in a picturesque waffle cone.  Easy to eat and oh-so delicious, the buffalo chicken bites inside the cone with a drizzle of creamy blue cheese dressing were the perfect portable festival food.  Coming from a buffalo fanatic, these were very worthwhile!

Prickly Pear Cactus Juice:  I have no idea what prickly pear cactus is but I do know that it makes for a vibrantly beautiful pink juice.  While the taste isn’t too special, the color of the juice is something to brag about.  Maybe not the best juice of all the many juices at the fair, but it’s refreshing and pretty!

Truffle Fries:  Sometimes a classic hits the spot.  The truffle fries from the gourmet fry station might be a tad basic, but they are simply delicious and make for the perfect side to any of the outrageous entree options at Smogasburg.  

Shaved Ice (Matcha):  Definitely my favorite food that I tried at the festival, this trendy dessert is the ultimate treat on a warm sunny summer day.  Think of it as fancy adult snow cone, but with two layers of flavored coconut cream, rice cereal, and deep natural coloring.  The matcha flavor was to die-for and tasted like a refreshingly upgraded Starbucks green-tea frappuccino. 

Coxinhas (Cheese and Dulce di Leche):  Smorgasburg is all about trying new foods from different places.  I decided to try coxinhas which is a kind of fritter from Brazil.  The cheese filled coxinhas was similar to a very melted mozzarella stick. They paired extremely well with the aioli sauce that goes with them.  The Dulce di Leche was like a bite of caramel heaven.  If the line for Big Mozz is too long, these make for a well worth it alternative. 

Summer in the City

So I might have completely neglected blogging the last couple of months, but being a busy college student doesn’t always lend itself to an abundance of free time. A lot has happened since I last wrote. I managed to somehow survive a brutal finals period, pack up all of my stuff, move out, and work and prepare at home for a summer move to New York City. I am now finally settled in the city after a whirlwind first two weeks. So far, it has been an amazing experience, and I am absolutely loving the thrill and the freedom of living in the middle of a giant metropolis. I could write endlessly about everything that I have done so far, but I’ll leave that up to future blog posts that I’m anxiously waiting to post. Anyways, what am I doing and how am I living in this wild fast-paced city?

I admit that I was a little apprehensive about moving by myself to a large city. This is the first time I have lived in a city and it’s definitely a far cry from the isolated and sheltered rural college that I attend in Upstate New York. Here, I have to fend for myself. No more ordering everything on Amazon and marching myself 5 times a day to the unlimited dining hall. I even have to figure out “cooking” my meals which, although I’m a huge foodie, is definitely not my forte. Trying to prepare meals has probably been my biggest struggle, and I have resorted to a lot of dinners full of energy bars and bananas (I have some work to do). I’m also having to figure out transportation methods which is interesting enough since New York has a ton of options, none of which are completely ideal (rural college=clueless Uber newbie here). I seriously love walking around though, and my daily walks to and from work is actually quite invigorating. New Yorkers are intent on their commutes and they walk with such purpose which I can totally embrace and go along with. It’s fast paced and lively, giving me energy for my busy workday.

Talk about distractions, walking around is the worst for my wallet (and tight budget). There are so many great little cafes and restaurants to grab quicks meals or coffee. They all somehow seem much more appealing than my spinach and avocado “salad” waiting for me at home. Good food is so dangerous, please take caution. Everyday, I see somewhere new and make a mental note to try it out, pushing back my homemade oats further down my meal prep timeline. What might be even more exciting and even more dangerous are the sheer number of amazing stores dotting the whole city. Just on my commuting walk alone, I have probably ventured into 5 different stores and I have started a list in my head of all the shopping districts that I need to visit for my soul and not for my wallet’s sanity. My internship’s in fashion, so it’s all in the name of work, right?

Work itself is amazingly interesting and fun. Even being an intern and doing interning things is still somehow exciting. The environment is so creative and lively and the days go by quick. I feel so professional which sounds cheesy, but I get a rush when I walk into the elevator with all these fashion bigwigs at the beginning of each day. While the city can be overwhelming, it means that there is nonstop excitement, leaving me busy and curious. I could write on and on, but I’ll leave that up to next week. Yesterday, I went the Smorgasburg… so stay tuned!

Spring Style Watch: Must Have Trends

Hi! It’s me here, resurfacing after a little blogging break and ready to take on the warmer weather. Sweater weather might be finally behind us, so it’s time to break out the florals and sunglasses to embrace the warmth. Some exciting news on my part, I’m going to be living in New York City for two months this summer which means that I’ll have loads of exciting stories and content to share on here! So, what will I be wearing? Here are some trends to look out for this season from picnics and the beach to festivals and outdoor concerts.

Seriously iconic words

Trend: Textured Swimsuits

Who says swimsuits have to be all made of the same fabric? Mix up your pool-side look this summer with a fun crocheted, metallic or even denim suit. Brands like Solid and Striped and Oséree are changing the way we see swim style by using unique materials and unconventional designs.

Trend: Barely-There Sandals

We have gone from the blocky platform sandal to a barely-there strap sandal in just a couple of seasons. While a bolder shoe makes a fun statement, sometimes the bare minimal does just the same which is the idea behind this new shoe trend. Embrace a fun sandal this spring and enjoy the freedom of letting your feet breathe outside.

Essential: Light Stylish Coat

I absolutely swear by my Barbour olive green wax jacket because it completes any outfit and goes with any style while keeping me warm and dry in the fickle Upstate NY April weather. Trench coats are another classic that also works well for early spring, and wind breakers are surprisingly having a moment. Have fun with an 80s inspired neon color-block wind breaker or a metallic jacket to brighten up any outfit.

Trend: 80s Style Prairie Dresses

Think 80s Laura Ashley meets Coachella. Puffed-up shoulders and pastel floral prints might be back (whether or not that’s a good thing is definitely up for discussion). For this season’s inevitable floral fix, try something retro-funky and embrace the light fabrics and colors that come hand and hand with the prairie girl look. Look out for Urban Outfitters’ collaboration with Laura Ashley to see this trend go real mainstream.

Essential Trend: Culotte-like Statement Pants

I am all for the bold comfy pants that are starting to become a summer essential. For those days when shorts might not be the most appropriate and a dress just isn’t doing it, wide-legged high-waisted culotte pants are the perfect alternative, especially for spring weather. Find a bold printed pair and wear it with a simple shirt to automatically feel stylish and confident.

Where to Shop Online

Alright alright, I know that I pretend to be a big supporter of small businesses and brick and mortar shops. And yes, I definitely am since I try to shop local as much as possible. However, living in the middle of farm land upstate New York makes it a little difficult to shop for the kind of quality I want with my clothes. Thanks to my isolation, I’ve somewhat perfected the art of online shopping. I know how to find the deals, the kind of clothes I’m looking for, and the prices I deem reasonable. I have compiled here a list of my go-tos. While I know there are many other stores out there on the web.com, these are what I believe are the best. Whatever you think, anything is honestly better than Amazon* (sorry, Amazoners, but really?).

*It was recently released that Amazon is reigning in more revenue for apparel than any other retailer in the US, more so than Target or any large brand…

Shopbop

Probably my favorite online retailer, Shopbop sells clothes that range dramatically in both style and price. They brand themselves around being trendy and fashionable, so they are the go-to place for all of those latest must haves. A lot of what they sell is from smaller lesser known designers which is both cool to find and good to support.

The OUTNET

The OUTNET will dangerously change the way you shop and what brands you shop from. In a genius way, they drawl in last season clothing from top designer brands, both small and large, and majorly discount them for the internet to buy. It is essentially an online outlet, but classier and larger.

Asos

Asos is a British online fast-fashionesque brand that sells a variety of trendy clothing at very reasonable prices. They have their own brand that is similar to a TopShop or Zara, and then they sell other brands that are usually a bit pricier. A bonus: they have an online student discount and the shipping doesn’t take as long as one might think.

MyTheresa

High-end fashion can be found all over the internet these days. MyTheresa sells a selection of expertly curated clothing and accessories from the world’s top designers. They attempt to duplicate an in-store experience online with excellent customer service at the ready for any shopper.

Revolve

Revolve is similar to Shopbop with many overlapping brands and a similar online experience. However, it’s LA based, so they cater towards a young Cali crowd. Almost all of their brands are US based which is cool, and they stay very up to date on trends, offering amazing edits and inspiration.

Zappos

Probably the most popular online retailer, Zappos is known for their shoes and crazy fast free shipping. If you need any kind of footwear last minute, Zappos has your back with an array of hundreds of brands and styles. The selection is a little less trendy and less curated towards the stylish customer than say an online department store, but it is super convenient!

Saks

The well known luxury department store, Saks Fifth Avenue, has a great online store where you can find nearly everything and more from their stores. While the prices might seem a bit steep, Saks Online will often offer really great discounts and deals that help make online shopping worth it. Nearly everything is returnable for free and shipping is nearly always free.

Nordstrom

Nordstrom online is always a go-to for good deals and easy shopping. They also have one of the best online department stores (not every department store is great online) with a huge selection of all of their brands. As always, they have free and easy returns which really can make a huge difference with online shopping.