Mount Desert Island, Maine: A Visual Diary

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

As home to Acadia National Park, Mount Desert Island is the largest island off the coast of Maine and one of the most beautiful locations I've been able to visit. I touched on the magic of this region in my last post, but needless to say there is more to its beauty than just the sky's colors. 

On this long weekend trip, my family and I ventured to experience the island from all angles -- by land, air, and sea. Between stunning summit views, rocky beaches, and crystal clear waters, I'm not sure any words can accurately depict the region's landscape. For that reason I'm letting the photos of this post lead the way, but don't worry, I won't conclude it without adding some personal travel tips should you ever decide to visit Mount Desert Island. And I highly recommend that you do.

Golden Hour on Cadillac Mountain

Monday, May 15, 2017

In every new destination there is a distinct quality with which I remember it by the most, as if one dominant experience helps create a snapshot of a location in my memory. Shortly after arriving home from a long weekend on Maine's Mount Desert Island, I already know how I'll remember this magical region -- by its golden hours.

Mount Desert Island is known to be the first place where sunrise is visible in the continental United States for at least half the year. With Cadillac Mountain standing as the highest point on the North Atlantic seaboard, naturally it serves as the prime location to view both sunrise and sunset. I've seen my fair share of beautiful skies in the past, but nothing compares to the moment when soft sunshine spills over Acadia National Park's stunning landscapes.

Much to my family's surprise, I woke up every morning on this trip to watch the sun rise outside our hotel balcony. Ask me to wake up at 4:45 AM on a normal day and I'll laugh, but those who follow me on Instagram will know the magic of a Maine sunrise. Likewise when sunset came around, we waited over an hour atop Cadillac Mountain's summit for the strongest colors to paint the sky. 

Maybe it seems trivial to describe a location by its sunrises/sets, but I think it speaks to the magic of Mount Desert Island. It is a place where all of nature's beauty meets to create an escape you didn't realize you needed. It is a place of pure bliss, and I'm already waiting for the day I get to go back.

Healthy Mind, Strong Body: One Month of YogaWorks

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Now that May has arrived, it's about that time when we start scrambling to make up for a season's worth of hibernating. Unless you worked out all winter, and in that case, I admire you. While I'm not by any means a fitness guru, I do understand the immediate health effects of working out on my aging body and the opportunity I still have to improve. Cue yoga, my favorite way to get back in shape after an exercise slump.

I spent the majority of April getting back on my feet with the help of YogaWorks, a studio with locations both throughout New York City and nationwide. There is a countless number of workout class offerings just in this city (and I've tried quite a few), but what stands out about YogaWorks is its openness to all people and levels. After a long season of slacking off on exercise, I still felt confident about myself in these classes. That, to me, is the most important thing when it comes to body health -- feeling good from the inside out. What better method than yoga to strengthen your mind and body at the same time?

So I've geared up in my Boohoo FIT workout wear and finally taken steps to re-include regular exercise into my weekly routine. It always feels easier when you're surrounded by other motivated people in class and instructors who can guide you along the way. It's all about baby steps. 

Power Red

Monday, April 24, 2017

It occurred to me recently that my wardrobe hasn't excited me in a while. Call it a return from the winter slump, but I've lately been wanting a total refresh of my closet to gear up for the rising temperatures. I don't spend much time succumbing to every new fashion trend out there (sorry Gucci), but there are a few that have particularly caught my eye this season. Statement earrings and power red, to be exact.

Between these two trends, they share a commonality that I could use more of in my wardrobe -- a statement. Red has a way of exuding confidence, or as Refinery29 put it perfectly, it's "the color of a woman in charge". These days it feels especially important to embody the girl boss way of life, am I right? My blog likely indicates that wearing color hasn't quite been my thing, but I think I'm about ready for a change. Plus, this outfit made me feel guiltlessly like the HBIC, and I'm totally fine with it.

A Cozy Transition

Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring has finally sprung and I'm still here wearing all black, so I guess old habits die hard. When temperatures can fluctuate between chilly and scorching in a matter of hours, your outfit choice is bound to be a little off at some point. On my recent trip to Nashville the transitional temperatures hit hard, so I opted for a combination of cozy and breezy.

I recently snagged these Matt Bernson sandals to kick off my spring wardrobe and surprisingly stayed comfortable in them all day while adventuring around Nashville. The woven bands add an airy springtime detail while paired with a bell-sleeve sweater that features a color transition in itself. Bring on the seasonal transition.

Birthday Flowers

Monday, April 10, 2017

If you follow me on Instagram you'll know I recently celebrated my 23rd birthday on a trip to the music city of Nashville, Tennessee. Though unlike the hoards of bachelorette parties that take over Nashville's streets, this was yet another relaxed mother-daughter adventure.

As I get older I tend to keep my birthday quieter each time -- not for any particular reason, but I guess April 7th keeps coming around faster than expected. My mom and I spent this sunny Friday strolling Nashville's 12 South and Gulch neighborhoods with no particular path in mind. One of my favorite stops was at Amelia's Flower Truck, partly for the lovely flowers, along with the salesperson who was also named Christina and celebrating her birthday that day. What a strangely coincidental birthday surprise, right? For that reason we just had to fight logic and buy a bouquet despite leaving two days later (#treatyourself).

The remainder of the day was perfectly pleasant, between getting dressed up in this one-shoulder number for a French brunch and boutique-hopping around town. As an age twenty-tree never seems too special, but this quiet celebration leaves me with confidence that this year will be a good one.

One City, Three Looks

Thursday, March 30, 2017

A Complete Guide to Dining in London

Monday, March 27, 2017

Location: Aubaine Selfridges

10 Best Things to Do in London

Monday, March 20, 2017

I'm starting to get the feeling that London is my lucky gem. For the second year in a row I visited during the off-season, both times escaping a New York blizzard for surprisingly favorable weather. As a city girl I've become smitten with this city because it never falls short of things to see and do. There is a beautiful blend of the historical and modern in this metropolitan capital that can spark interest in just about anyone. That being said, I'm sharing my personal favorites when it comes to taking on the dynamic city of London.

Seaside Snippets: A Floridian Weekend

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

48 hours in Florida -- because why not? This past weekend I left the New York chill behind to visit a friend in West Palm Beach for a brief moment of sun and sand. We sipped piña coladas by the ocean and watched surfers along the boardwalk, all making for a blissful seaside break. I chose to unwind over taking a thousand photos, but these snippets speak for themselves. A little sunshine and some ocean breeze go a long way. 

City Dweller

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

New York is portrayed as the city of opportunity, though often when living here it doesn't quite feel that way. I'm sure my fellow city dwellers can agree that we are always dreaming of the next vacation. But the funny result of leaving New York, whether by dream or plane, is that we always end up coming back.

I read in a friend's Instagram caption recently that "the best thing about leaving NYC is coming back". I know the feeling. This city has a way of greeting you in the most dramatic way possible, whether by annoyingly rerouted train lines or beautifully towering architecture. Either way, it has character. I've recently made a career change and ultimately been reminded of just how much New York can offer if you take advantage of it. 

Nothing will ever be handed to you, but this is a place where determination goes a long way. With the recent increase in temperatures I've been able to truly enjoy this energetic city again, and just like the seasons, I'm ready for change.

A Springtime Sneak Peek

Thursday, February 23, 2017

I never expect to talk about spring transitions in February, but the recent weather trends here in New York have proven otherwise. This past weekend was probably my happiest since New Orleans as temperatures finally allowed for al fresco brunching and strolls through Central Park. I hate to celebrate global warming, but it's hard not to smile when the sun shows its rays again.

My weekend started with a little pampering at Rossano Ferretti salon -- because why not give your hair a springtime sprucing? I'll take any opportunity to give my hair some volume, and I was more than satisfied with the outcome from this salon. With the warmer temperatures coming in, I (finally) traded my winter parka with light layering between this camel duster coat and mock-neck knit. You won't often see me in blue denim, but I guess a brighter day means a brighter wardrobe too. Who else is excited for the changing seasons? I know I'm ready to start upgrading the wardrobe again soon.

5 Lessons Learned From My First Year Working Corporate

Thursday, February 16, 2017

This is me in my natural habitat. Rushing through the streets of New York wearing all-black with a slight twist, of course. The brief time I spend walking outside before and after work is often my most introspective. Often times I leave work in a blur, wondering how the day has passed so quickly, or how a year has gone since I started working. It's all a part of adulting, right?

The past year of transitioning from college student to corporate girl has been one of significant change to say the least. In college your professors say they're preparing you for "the real world", but I'm not sure that anything really can. It all sort of rushes in without warning, challenging you, but also growing you every day. In hope of showing my support for anyone making the transition as well, I'm sharing five things I've learned from my first year in the corporate world.

1. Your boss won't be your best friend, but they'll be an integral part of your experience. The corporate hierarchy is a funny thing. It's a ladder that seems to never end. But maintaining a good relationship with your boss is everything, and the best thing to do is not only collaborate with them, but leverage them. Chances are your boss has done something right to get them to that level. And though you may not agree with them 100% of the time, use the opportunity to learn from them. No matter the strength of your relationship, you'll still have to spend 80% of your week with this person -- make it worthwhile.

2. Don't give up your hobbies. Time management is one of the quickest challenges you face when a full-time job comes around. It's easy to let the hours and days pass you when work gets hectic. Though I've had my fair share of long days at the office, I'm not one to let it take over my life. It is so important to maintain the passions that make you unique. Whether it's boxing or blogging, those side hobbies will fuel your energy and personality.

Morning Dates

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

I've hinted on my Instagram before that my boyfriend Victor has officially embarked on his culinary career. With any career change comes adjustments, and in this case that means having opposite working schedules. Though I can't complain, as we're lucky to be in the same city pursuing what we love. 

When it comes to dating a chef, I've quickly learned to reserve weekend mornings together. We'll explore the city or grab brunch at a new spot before strolling to his restaurant near Cooper Square (pictured here). So I guess you can call this my date night morning look - a simple black dress layered for winter and made casual for daylight. These quiet morning hours have now become my favorite.

Long Lost Travel Diary: Singapore Part 2

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Between celebrating the holidays and welcoming a new year, my final Singapore travel diary seemed to get lost in the mix. I don't think memories of travel ever get old, so this week I'm taking it back to a December week of warmth, adventure, and a sane American president (had to throw that one in). Our second day in Singapore was spent venturing through the city, away from Marina Bay's tourist hub and into more local favorites. I've heard several times that "there is nothing to do" in Singapore, but after this busy day we only wished we had more time. 

CHIJIMES is a restored convent from the 1800s now known as a place for dining, drinking, and hanging with friends. We visited before opening hours to quietly explore the area and its stunning architecture.

Year of the Rooster

Thursday, January 26, 2017

I'll admit I'm not always the best example of embracing Chinese culture, but Lunar New Year is a helpful reminder to keep tradition in mind. When I think of this holiday, I'm taken back to long weekends at my grandparents' house in Boston spent feasting over "lucky" dishes with family. In the past few years this tradition has slowed, with the passing of my grandmother and aging of the youngest generation. Though with the changing of family customs, there is a feeling of nostalgia during this holiday that still keeps us close despite the distance.

Chinese New Year has always been one of my favorite holidays, likely as a child because of the red envelopes (no shame). These days the red envelopes aren't so abundant, but the lifelong family traditions give the holiday its personal significance. I'm partnering with Coach to celebrate the new year with a pop of lucky red from their limited edition 1941 collection. Let this accessory be a bright reminder to value tradition and family as we celebrate our heritage.

Winter Refresh

Monday, January 23, 2017

Now is about the time when the we feel the peak of winter set in. The holidays are long over, and the countdown to spring is slightly too early to begin. When those winter blues start escalating I find it most helpful to step back and refresh, little by little.

Last weekend I stopped by Wonderland Beauty Parlor in New York's Meatpacking District for a long overdue cut. With the winter air making my hair extra static-friendly, those long locks were feeling heavier by the day. It turns out a quick cleanup of my layers was the perfect way to get me re-energized for the season. Simple, I know. But it's never wrong to treat yourself every once in a while. What small things help you beat a winter slump? Feel free to leave some tips in the comments below!

Pleated With Culture

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Contrary to my typical habits, I'm not a shopper when I travel. I much more prefer the reward of photos and memories as souvenirs. Though during my recent trip to Singapore, the cozy, independently-owned boutiques of the famous Haji Lane had a lure that I could not resist.

To date this dramatically pleated top is one of my favorite clothing purchases from a vacation. The design speaks to everything that Haji Lane is -- one of a kind. The narrow pedestrian street is lined with boutiques you won't find anywhere else, each with its own personality. I personally love the ability to pair this top with the simplest outfit without really being simple at all. Shopping on Haji is as much a cultural experience as most other local tourist sites, and it's at the top of my list for a longer visit on my next trip to Singapore.

From 18 to 22 || A Letter to Myself

Monday, January 16, 2017

I'm writing this just after reading a letter addressed to myself, written by myself as an 18 year-old high school senior. "As of now, I have big plans for myself," it reads. I remember my excitement about this class assignment asking us to write letters to our future selves, to later be mailed out by the school five years later. It was, however, that last thing I expected to receive on this typical January weekend.

I've come to learn that your twenties are precious. It's a time of instability, discovery, and endless cycles of challenge and success. Reading this letter quickly had me holding back tears, as cliché as that sounds. Not for reasons of nostalgia or regret, but more out of realization. Of the goals I had set for myself five years ago, almost all have been accomplished thus far (minus consistent exercise of course). It was that kind of realization that makes you step back to acknowledge everything you have to appreciate.

Emotionally speaking, the start of this new year has been exactly what the twenties are -- unpredictable. Waves of feeling burnt out are followed by elation and determination, and often times I'm not sure what my next steps should be. But realizing that I've now exceeded my 18 year-old expectations is a small but much-needed feeling of encouragement. As my final partnership with Reebok's #PerfectNever campaign, I want to pass off the reminder that the inevitability of challenge should never offset accomplishment of any scale. Stay proud of your present and determined for your future. Things will fall into place. Please excuse the cheese.

The Best of New Orleans: A Travel Guide

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

If there is one thing I can say about New Orleans, it's that you will never forget it. The city grows on you unpredictably, with a wonderfully bizarre culture unmatched by anywhere else in the world. I'll admit I didn't fall in love with NOLA in a day, but it didn't take much longer to become immersed into its incredibly unique community. There is no definitively ideal way to experience the Crescent City, but I've shared all the highlights from my recent trip below: 

A Quiet Welcome to the New Year

Monday, January 2, 2017

Hello, 2017! I still can't believe how quickly you've come. With the relaxing nature of Christmas weekend, every year I find myself scrambling afterwards to make plans for New Years. This time around, my boyfriend and I opted to stay in for a cozy celebration with just the necessities -- Netflix and excessive amounts of food, of course.

I remember in college feeling self-pressured to celebrate New Years in the glitziest, most sequin-covered way possible. I'm still not much older, but this time the new year felt more like a quiet reminder than a holiday -- to appreciate, prioritize, pursue, and grow. A night together over wine and cheese followed by a West Village morning was all we needed to ring in 2017. How did you celebrate?

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