A Little Behind the Times?

 

Anyone from the UK or other European areas will probably scoff at me for this post and wonder where I’ve been the past few years. BUT I can defend myself, as I have in fact been in the U.S. where we have been vastly unaware of this trend and I hope it’s starting to creep across the ocean because I’m in love. More fashion and trend conscious people have embraced this across the pond, but overall it is severely lacking in the general population of the U.S. and I am petitioning for this to change!

The trend I am talking so highly of is…sneakers! The only place I noticed this popping up in the U.S. was during the summer when I was working in Nordstrom and the extremely fashion conscious male sales associates would rock the occasional Nike Roshe or Adidas with their suits, and some of the women would pull out some sleek Nikes as well. The occasional New Balance 420 would pop up around town as well, but overall the majority of people were sticking to the usual boots and booties. Keeping in mind I was also confined to the West Coast over the summer and over my holiday break in December (specifically Seattle, which has an extremely relaxed vibe). Here in England, the sneaker (or trainers as they’re called here) trend is so in your face it’s impossible to miss. The usual look for girls includes skinny jeans with a chunkier sneaker and an inch of ankle showing. Comfy and cute? I had to try it out.

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My clearly loved and well-worn Nikes

Over the summer I had purchased a pair of safe and simple black Nikes to try out the trend tentatively for myself. I loved the slight athleisure vibe sneakers gave off while paired with a fancier top/trousers. I was nervous at first to branch to this style of footwear as many of my friends deeply questioned my reasoning behind this, but I just defended my choice with a smile and a simple “I like them.”

I’ve worn my black Nikes so often throughout the past few months and I knew I was in desperate need of a second pair of sneakers, especially while living here in the UK. I had my eye on a pair of maroon New Balance 420s for the longest time and I truly believed this would be my next purchase. However, one fated day in Urban Outfitters would change this. I had seen many girls rocking Air Max sneakers here, especially in black and navy blue. They seemed comfortable and just the right about of bulky mixed with sleek features. Already having way too many pairs of black shoes, I was going to steer away from the Air Max. But alas, Urban Outfitters happened to be carrying a gorgeous style of Air Max that I couldn’t look away from. They’re soft lavender with some darker tones around the bottom. They have the classic Air Max shape and I fell in love instantly. I couldn’t get them out of my head and after two days of dreaming about them I returned to the store and snatched them up. They’re extremely comfortable and add just the right amount of fun and color to any outfit.

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I have caught the sneaker fever and it’s bad. I am still dreaming of the New Balance 420s and maybe during a moment of extreme weakness I’ll head into the city and buy them. Is anyone else loving the sneaker trend?  Do I sound crazy to people for thinking this is newsworthy? Let me know your favorite sneakers! I have a strong feeling this trend isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

 

xx

M

P.S. Some sneakers I’m loving…

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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Dealing with Change

Growing up I had a strong belief that I so intensely disliked where I lived that I just had to move away as soon as possible. And when I say move away, I mean pack it up and move across the country to a place I knew nobody. Soon enough after graduation I was packing up my life in a few massive suitcases and flying to Worcester, Massachusetts with my parents to move me into my first year of college. I left a peaceful, quiet town in the Pacific North West that exuded the most relaxed atmosphere to a campus community of affluent, prep school kids who all looked like they stepped out of Jcrew and Vineyard Vines websites. The campus came equipped with old, ivy-laden brick buildings that seemed to have been created form my dreams and I couldn’t wait to create a new life here. Fast-forward a few months and you’d see an overly emotional teenager calling home at late hours of the night begging to come home. I missed home, missed my parents, missed my then-boyfriend, and missed the ease and comfort that came with the known and the familiarity that I took for granted my entire life.

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The Minster, near the University of York

So naturally, after becoming comfortable and creating an at-home vibe over two years, I packed it all up again and traveled across the world to York, England and started everything over again. Similar feelings of loneliness and homesickness would creep up on me unexpectedly the first couple of months abroad, especially during my second term (which just started a month ago). Through these two big moves I’ve discovered that I love home and have a very hard time with change. So why do I keep moving my life to vastly different places and starting over? I guess I’m a sort of dreamer/romantic who has these big ideas of grand adventures and new areas, meeting people and turning strangers into lifelong best friends. This is all fine and wonderful in theory, but when halting experience of homesickness hit these ideals become a bit harder to obtain. So how have I managed to cope during these big moves, as well as trying to excel at the same time? Well, I’ll tell you….

 

  1. Say yes. This applies to almost every new and drastic move, I feel. This was especially applicable when moving to England. I am currently more secure in who I am as a person than I was as an 18 year old and with this confidence comes a greater ability to connect with a wider range of people. The first two months I was here I was constantly busy, constantly surrounded by other people. On one particularly memorable night I was just about to tuck in with a book and some blankets when a friend asked me to join her on a pub night to meet other students. I was so close to saying no, but gave in after remembering my “Say Yes” rule. That night, I met my current best friend here in England and it brought me to many of my other close friends that I have here!
  2. Don’t be afraid to cry. I am a definite crier, and I don’t think that will ever change. I’ve gone through the phases of holding it in and never speaking about my feelings, but let’s be honest, that never works for anyone in the long run. Sometimes what truly helps is lettings out those tears you’ve been holding back. Whether it’s homesickness, frustration, confusion, anger, sadness…I truly believe letting that emotion out is a great first step to getting past it.
  3. Don’t isolate yourself. This is similar to the “Say Yes” rule. During my first two years at college I always had people in and out of my room and always had (at least) one roommate. This constant energy and buzz of people truly helped me because it was a great distraction from any sadness I may have felt. Surrounding myself with my friends always makes me feel better, no matter what. Here in York it’s a lot easier to become isolated because I have a single room. Even now I have to remind myself to get out of my room and check what my friends are up to.
  4. Become comfortable being alone. I know this is almost opposite of what I’ve been saying, BUT this is extremely important. No one wants to be around people 24/7 (fellow outgoing introverts where you at?) and having time to refuel and be with yourself is a great relaxer. Sometimes I venture into the city of York and sit in a café by myself for the day, or wander around the shops. Being able to be comfortable with being alone and happy in who you are is essential in life. Being alone does not mean you’re lonely. Finding this balance is so important and I myself am still working on it.
  5. Dedicate yourself truly and fully to your new surroundings. This was an especially hard thing to do my first few years of college when I was dating someone back home. I cannot stress enough so necessary it is to detach yourself at some level from home. This does not mean you have to forget it and never talk to anyone at home ever again (I speak with my parents and friends from home all the time). However, do not become so stuck back in your old life that you do not make new connections and memories in your new home. I used to be so caught up in staying connected to all my friends and family back home that I was missing so much of what was going on around me! Finding that nice balance between being fully present in your new surroundings and staying connected to home is hard but worth all the effort.
  6. Have FUN. Recognize how exceptionally lucky you are to even be in a new place. When I’m feeling down and out about where I am I have to stop myself and think about where I am and how I have this amazing opportunity. Take everything in, focus on the good and brush off the bad.

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My college in Massachusetts, end of the second semester 2015

 

I can’t remember who said this or where I found it, but this has always stuck with me: In 10 years you don’t want to be in the exact place/situation you’re in right now, so why are you afraid of change? I reflect on this often. Change can be scary and daunting, especially moving so far out of your comfort zone, but change is immanent and can be a great thing. Even if a path seems to be pushing you back from what you want, it’s just a diversion and is setting you up for greater success than you know.

 

Xx

M

 

The 90’s are Calling…

Turtlenecks! If you asked me a few years ago if I would reach for a large turtleneck automatically in the morning I would have laughed and said absolutely not. In high school friends would share stories of how turtlenecks haunted their childhood and we would all agree we’d never touch those horrid things with a thirty-nine and a half foot pole (yes, Christmas is over but I always enjoy a good Grinch reference).

So how did this massive insurgence of turtlenecks happen within the past few months? They’re in all the stores and dominated the glossy magazine pages throughout the season. I have personally come to love this versatile as well as practical item of clothing. I may even go as far as to call it the MVP of winter fashion.

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Now I’m not talking about the skin tight, rolled down turtleneck, although those can look chic and polished in their own way if done right. I am instead mainly talking about the oversized, comfy sweater that checks off every winter necessity. Warm and cozy? Check. Feels like the equivalent of wrapping up in a blanket? Check. Versatile with all outfits? Check. Fashionable? Check. They can be worn simply with leggings or jeans, paired with boots, flat, sneakers… The possibilities are honestly endless!

I am currently loving my grey Topshop sweater that I received for Christmas. It is the easiest thing to throw on when I’m in a rush and so soft it’s unreal. I love that it doesn’t have acces fabric to fold over and instead is more of a funnel-like collar.

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IMG_3816                                                   Topshop sweater, similar here

Originally, to sort of ease myself into the whole turtleneck trend, I opted to go for a cowl-neck sweater dress that gave just the right about of form-fitting goodness. Going with a cowl-neck is a great alternative to a turtleneck, as it is extremely forgiving and does not require much fuss and also provides an effortless look. Paired with tights and cute ankle chelsea boots makes for a fun, comfortable winter outfit.

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IMG_3879                                   H&M Cowl Neck Sweaterdress, similar here

 

I especially love wearing a casual, oversized turtleneck sweater with skinny jeans and fun sneakers (more on this trend later…) along with a classic black wool coat for extra warmth. Who else is having a lot of fun with this trend? I for one hope that turtlenecks are here to stay! Let me know your favorite looks below!

**Elle Magazine has a great slideshow of 50 different ways to wear a turtleneck that is definitely worth checking out.

Juice With a View

Growing up outside of Seattle, Washington, I have become used to the overabundance of fresh, local, organic food stores that seem to pop up out of nowhere. Picking up something to eat or drink that I know is delicious and fresh was a extreme luxury. My summers consisted of freshly pressed juice made at home from organic, farmers-market produce that was so earthy you could practically taste the air and sunshine.  In short, I was spoiled with my food options.

Moving to England, it is much more difficult to find such food, especially in York. English food is vastly different from what I am used to and it’s been an adventure trying things out (note: do not try black pudding). I’ve had an amazing time wandering into the city and trying various restaurants and cozy cafes. There is so much food and life here in York, I worry I won’t be able to absorb even a fraction of it before I have to leave.

That being said, sometimes I find myself craving a little taste of home. In the midst of amazing, hearty restaurants and pubs, I found Filmore and Union. F&U prides itself as being a health restaurant through and through. The York branch provides a quaint downstairs cafe area, and an upstairs restaurant if you fancy yourself a proper sit down meal. I usually stick to the smaller downstairs bit, which is equipped with lovely white and grey tones, complete with lush greenery that truly does give off the whole health vibe.

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Not only can you literally taste the freshness from the food and drinks, but F&U offers an extremely wide range of gluten free products (100% of their evening menu is gluten free!), as well as vegan. The founding couple truly commit themselves to an overall healthy lifestyle, drawing upon their time spent in California for inspiration.

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Everytime I walk into F&U I feel an immediate sense of ease and comfort. They tout that they use farmer’s market fresh ingredients in their recipes, and new and exciting monthly additions can be found on many of the menus. My current favorite juice of the moment is called Raw Energy and includes apple, spinach, cucumber, broccoli, lemon and ginger. Absolutely delicious and sweet to taste! Their gluten free granola is also popular as well, which is pictured above. I do not get to F&U as much as I would like, but each time I go it is a magical treat. I love to grab a fresh juice to go and take a walk around the Minster, which is right around the corner.

Does anyone else love to explore different food options? What are some local favorites of yours? Share in the comments below!

 

**This is not a sponsorship, but true and honest opinion from my experience

My Current Makeup Must-Haves

In the past few months I’ve been finding myself on Youtube, watching makeup tutorial after makeup tutorial, and all of a sudden four hours have gone by. Is this a problem for anyone else?

I’ve become so enamored with finding the best makeup for my skin, where to splurge, where to save, and everything in between! I’ve learned a great deal from all these Youtube channels (some of my favorites include: Kandee Johnson, Stephanie Lange,  and Tati). I feel I’m starting to get a solid collection of favorites that I thought I’d share!

Foundation:

Foundation Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer  in 1 Linen

Kandee Johnson has been ravings about this “perfecting” foundation and concealer so I had to check it out. It is one of the more affordable higher-end foundations at $27 (or £25.00). I’m really liking this currently. It gives a medium-full coverage. I don’t really like it as a concealer, and stick to using a separate product for that. It’s definitely not matte, and so I must use a setting powder with it. I apply it using my damp Beauty Blender and its gives a great, natural looking coverage that isn’t too cakey or too sheer. It’s the Goldilocks of foundations!

Setting Powder:

Powder

Clinique Blended Face Powder in Invisible Blend

I was previously using Makeup For Ever HD High Definition Powder, but ran out and could not find it over here in the UK. I figured since I had such great success with the Clinique foundation, I should try out the powder! So far, I love it. The Invisible blend doesn’t change the color of my foundation at all and does a great job of locking everything in and reducing creasing. I may switch back and forth between this and the Makeup For Ever later, but for now this gets the job done.

Contour:

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The Smashbox Step-By-Step Contour Kit  in Light/Medium (also available in Medium/Dark)

I was a bit late to the contour trend, and used to use my bronzer as a dark contour. I watched a video (on Youtube, surprise!) about how bronzer should 100% never be used for contour! Bronzers are orange-y and a true contour shade should be more grey-like because a contour is creating the illusion of a shadow/enhancing the natural contour of your face. This kit was rated one of the highest among all the contour kits (I spent about a week researching!) and so I decided to give it a try. I love it! I do not use the brush that is included, but it is handy for a beginner who doesn’t yet have many bushes. I mainly use the contour shade (on the left) and the highlight (on the right) and only use the bronzer shade sparingly to add a bit of warmth to my face. Overall, great product that is easy and straightforward for anyone to use! Only three colors reduces possibility of errors, and a nice chart on the mirror allows for easy replication.

Eye Shadow:

Eye Shadow

Urban Decay Naked 2 Eyeshadow Palette 

An oldie but a goodie! I asked for this for Christmas 2014 and it’s still going strong. I use this almost every day. I have a hard time buying multiple eyeshadow palettes as I feel they’re all so similar…someone feel free to correct me and change my mind but I usually just stick to this. The Naked palettes truly do live up the the hype – the pigment is great, and they last all day/night long. I spent a long time figuring out which one I wanted, and decided on the Naked 2. I am definitely interested in the new Naked Smoky palette though! I may have to add that to my collection. My most used colors include: Chopper, Bootycall, YDK, and Busted. This palette can complete and everyday makeup look, or create a dramatic smoky eye!

Highlighter:

Becca Highlight

Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Moonstone

I was hesitant to try out highlighters at first. I didn’t want an enormous amount of sparkle on my face and end up looking like a discoball. I heard great things about this Becca highlighter and decided to give it a go. I previously had tried the Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder in Highlight 01 but I found it was too light and barely noticeable. I returned it instead for this Becca one in Moonstone. I do really like it – it’s fun to have a little bit of extra shimmer! I was originally interested in the Becca x Jaclyn Hill Shimmering SKin Perfector Pressed in Champagne Pop which everyone and their mother was raving about on blogs and Youtube. The Sephora salesgirl talked me out of it, saying it was too dark for my skin. However, online reviewers say it works for all skin tones so I may have to go back and try it out. Overall, this is a really fun product that gives my everyday look an extra pop!

What are YOUR favorite makeup must-haves? Share them below!

**Items pictured in the main image not mentioned:

 

 

Invasion of Massive Scarves!

I’ve always thought that a nice scarf adds just the right bit of extra oomph to an outfit. Does anybody else remember when infinity scarves were all the rage? I must have a collection of at least 15 different infinity scarves in my closet sitting untouched since high school. I still see them in stores, but the trend seems to have moved on, or at least I’ve moved on.

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I’ve recently become enamored with the massive, blanket-like scarves being sported as of late. I knew I’d need one before I left for England, and so I picked up the pictured one before leaving. I am so in love with it!  I use it almost every day as a nice blockade against the harsh winds here. I’ve even used it as a wrap around my shoulders in the library when the temperature dips a bit. The only drawback is that it sheds like crazy! I usually wear a black wool coat and I have to use a lint brush to remove all the fuzz almost everyday. Small price to pay for such coziness, though!

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Currently doing all I can to will myself not to buy any more large scarves. Let’s just hope this frigid weather moves on quickly so that I won’t continue to be tempted 🙂 Anyone else loving the big blanket-like scarves recently? Tell me your favorite ones!

xx

M

Soft and Blue

The past few weeks I’ve been back in England it seems like I can’t leave the house without something extremely soft and warm. I figured moving here I’d leave behind the bitter, cold wind of the East Coast on top of Mount Saint James. Alas, here I am being blown away by the overzealous wind. Everyone here always looks so fashionable as well, so no room for sweatpants and Uggs in lectures!

I’ve recently been grabbing for this beautiful, baby blue French Connection sweater that I picked up at Nordstrom last year. It is a simple yet stunning piece that creates an ideal addition to any simple outfit. Sometimes I pile on some delicate bracelets, or opt for a minimalist gold necklace to go along with it.

My brown Sam Edelman ankle booties haven’t been getting much wear as of late, but the soft brown color compliments the light blue quite well. With some hidden fuzzy socks these babies kept me warm on my walk to class!

How is everyone else staying warm this winter? Back at my home College the weather looks like it’s about to get unbelievably chilly!  All this cold just creates an excuse to stock up on cute hats and scarves, right?

xx

M