Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Back to the States I go, but first...

I can't believe my time here in London and Europe is about to come to an end.  As we moved out of our flats on Sunday and said our goodbyes it finally started to sink in just how fast these past two months had gone by.  However I still have a few things left to look forward to before I head back to New Jersey.  

I extended my time here a little and will be spending one more week here in London.  I know this week will fly by but I have a few things on my list that I must see before I leave.  I know it sounds crazy that it was not one of the first things I saw once I got to London having lived in South Kensington, but I am finally going to see the guards change outside of Buckingham Palace. I want to head down to Abbey Road since I do share a little something in common with that street (if they drop the 'e'), walk around Notting Hill and Portobello Road, wander through the markets and lastly walk the 450 steps to the top of St. Paul's Cathedral to see the amazing view of London.  Now, of course I hope to stumble upon new places in London through it all but these things I must do before my time in London ends. 

Image result for abbey road

Leaving London will be hard enough but at least I will have one last trip to look forward to!

This Saturday a friend of mine is flying out to London, from there we will be leaving on Sunday and making our way to Barcelona! Barcelona has always been on my list of places to travel to. Now, finally getting the opportunity to go there, I couldn't be more excited. However, that's not the end of my travels.  My final destination while in Europe will be Ibiza.  Having heard amazing things about this Island, I cant wait to experience it for myself!

Image result for ibiza beaches
Just a tad different than the Jersey Shore 

After that, my time in Europe will come to a bittersweet end.  Although it will be sad to say goodbye I know I will be back soon! 

It's All Greek to Me

These past three months in London has flown by. I feel like it was just yesterday when I first arrived and was excited but slightly nervous for my European summer adventure. I was very fortunate and got to travel to Paris, Prague, Amsterdam, Barcelona and the Amalfi Coast. Now I’m also currently in Mykonos with my boyfriend and our friends. This past summer was amazing and one I will truly never forget. I got to experience different cultures, try different foods and attempt at speaking different languages. I also learned a lot from my classes at London College of Fashion. I had incredible teachers who were extremely knowledgable. I have so many incredible memories. It was absolutely an unforgettable summer.

Now I’m in Mykonos and it’s absolutely beautiful! We’re staying in a villa that we found on Airbnb. The villa is absolutely beautiful! It’s in a secluded area and has a pool with a stunning view of the ocean. It’s so relaxing. I never want to leave.

We’ve been lounging at our villa most days but went to the beach beneath us. It’s only a seven-minute walk. On the walk down there are horses grazing in the field. There are also goats and horses randomly throughout the island. The island is so rocking and hilly. James rented a Jeep Wrangler and driving in it has been giving me anxiety. The roads are so narrow with lots of twists and turns. Plus everyone drives fast around the sharp turn, which is terrifying. We’re getting used to driving around the area and I’m learning my way around.

The food has been incredible! I’m 100% Greek and used to eating lots of Greek cuisine. Nothing compares to the food here. It’s so fresh. We’ve been eating fish every night. They bring fish to our table and we choose which one we want to eat. The Greek salads and feta is also unreal! If you’re Greek and don’t like feta then something is wrong with you. It’s the best cheese ever in my opinion! My boyfriend is Greek as well so we love eating Greek food. Last night we want to a bar called Astra. The inside had lights that looked like sparkling stars. It was a rowdy and fun night. We have six more days here. The rest of our friends are joining us tomorrow night. I’m absolutely loving Mykonos and never want to leave.  

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Tips: From Packing Less to Good Investments

How is it finals week already?!

Everyone warned me about how quickly this trip would fly by but I seriously had no idea how right they would be. While I am sad to go, I am anxious to get home and get back to my normal routine, healthy eating, and most of all, my bed… and dogs. This past week in London has unfortunately been rainy almost forcing me to stay in and write my 3,000 word paper. With that now out of the way I have some free time this weekend before packing up my life and heading to Italy for a couple of days to meet my dad.

There have been many lessons and travel tips I have accumulated throughout my adventure but I figured I would dedicate a post to writing about the most important or most helpful tips for traveling again...hopefully soon. 

One: Pack LESS... always pack less. In fact, if possible pack nothing. Because if you are anything like me you will accumulate so many items that you have to ship, buy another bag, and throw out items in order to make it back home. 

Two: Do at least one spontaneous thing in each city, even if it means splurging. My spontaneous activity in Dublin was in fact one of the best nights I had in the last 9 weeks and that was going to the Avicii concert. I bought the tickets while the opening acts were performing and made it there for the last half. Concerts in the US are one thing, but in Europe they are really something else. 

Three: There's a fine line between beaten path and places you should not go. While not always easy to differentiate between the two, it is important to have some boundaries. I have found some of the most amazing places by not doing the usual touristy attractions. However, if you travel too far off the beaten path and your gut tells you to turn around, call an uber, and turn around. 

Four: At least TRY and speak their native language. Not one of the easiest tips to follow but definitely worth the challenge for self explanatory reasons. 

Five: ALWAYS pack and invest in a good umbrella. I guess it may depend on what city and the time of year you go, but the chances are... it will rain. Even if the forecast says sunny, it's lying. Dublin, London, Paris, rain, rain, rain. And do not just buy a cheap umbrella because you will end up like my friend Kyrsten fighting the wind and getting wet. 

And Six: Be open minded. Every city is different and chances are, they will be nothing like you expect. Luckily for me, they were better than expected and I could not be more thrilled and excited to get home and share all my adventures with my friends and family. 

And That's A Wrap

And that's a wrap! Our final London College of Fashion course is finally over. Last week we had our last Trend Reporting class, which was an interactive course that involved a lot of excursions to art museums, fashion companies and luxury department and flagship stores. In just five days we visited three museums and five fashion firms. The fashion firms were definitely the most valuable experience we had, since we got to meet successful business people who are currently working in the fashion industry. 

Our very first stop was Not Just A Label, which is a company that helps high-end fashion brands network at no cost. They've worked with over 18,000 brands that have amazing high quality designs. 

Then we got to visit a PR company called Iroquois PR. From the moment we walked into this studio we were greeted with the utmost hospitality. They offered each and every one of us a cup of tea, coffee or water, and not to mention, they had the cutest and friendliest dog that we got to play with the entire time. The company works with mainly quirky vintage-inspired brands. Their showroom consisted of so many bold and fun colors and prints, like fruit-printed shoes, sequined dresses and neon bathing suits.

On the third day we visited Mode Information, which is a trend forecasting company that was filled to the brim with trend books and magazines of all kinds. These books were insanely expensive and went anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000, so getting the chance to look through future trend forecasts before anyone else was extremely cool. At the very end they even let us choose from their bookshelf of past forecast magazines to take home.

On our very last day we got to visit two different fashion firms, Jas M.B. and Elaine Hooley Design. Jas M.B. is a luxury handbags company that designs high quality unisex and versatile leather goods. We got to see a preview of their new collection, which had really cool holographic elements. Melanie, the company's seller, was such an engaging and charismatic speaker, and she even handed each of us all of their 2015 range plans and her business card enclosed in a tiny leather pouch. 

Elaine Hooley Design is a fashion design consultancies company that designs women's clothing for high street brands. They have a very strong, quirky and whimsical brand image that has a lot of fun prints and vibrant colors. Once I walked into the studio I immediately thought of Anthropologie. Kevin, the studio manager was so full of knowledge and had such a personable character. What I admired most about this company was that they didn't look up to mainstream trend forecasting websites or books, like WGSN, for inspiration. Instead, they had their own unique process and were able to develop an entire collection from anything, like a pair of shoes or vintage plates.

Within these two weeks I had the chance to gain real world knowledge first-hand. It was absolutely like nothing I've experienced at Drexel before. Yes, I may get to listen to people like these at guest lectures in the URBN Center, but actually getting to visit their studio and see and feel their work in person is a whole other experience.

Our very first museum visit at The Royal Academy

Taking a lunch break at Camden Beach

Our visit to the British Museum

The Welcome Collection's staircase

The Welcome Collection's dining area

International Movies and Their Drink Pairings

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post about French movies and their perfect wine pairings. Since then, I have had the privilege to travel and see more amazing countries throughout Europe. In honor of it being the last week of mu study abroad program, I wanted to write another movies and their drink pairings post based out of the other countries I have visited.

I. United Kingdom

Harry Potter is a fan favorite in the United Kingdom. This film series is based off of the Harry Potter novels by J.K. Rowling. This series consists of eight fantasy films that are full of magic, adventure, and a tad bit of young love. If you know anything about the United Kingdom, then you know that they have a lot of pride in their pale ales. So, if you do decide to waste a few hours on watching these films, try having a pale ale like Landlord by Timothy Taylor's. Its a stronger ale, but it is very tasty.

II. Ireland

P.S. I Love You is a movie about a young widow who discovers her late husband has left her ten messages that are intended to help ease her pain and move on with her life. Because this movie is based in Dublin, it only makes sense that you enjoy this film with a Guinness. In my opinion, Guinness tastes like poison unless you get it straight from the tap of an Irish pub. So I recommend that you fly to Dublin if you intend to watch this movie with a Guinness.

III. Spain

El Matador, also known as the Matador's Mistress, is one of my favorites. This Spanish film is about a scandalous affair between a bullfighter and his mistress. I love this movie in particular because I have crushes on both Adrien Brody and Penelope Cruz. With this film, I recommend a refreshing Sangria. A sexy film deserves a sexy beverage. In my opinion, anything with red wine qualifies as sexy. 

IV. Greece

Mama Mia is by far one of the most popular films to come out of the Greek Islands. This is a story of a bride-to-be trying to find her father using the popular songs by ABBA. This fun movie deserves a spirited drink. I recommend Tsipouro. This drink it very strong and very sweet. It is recommended to only have a small amount and chilled. When I had this drink it surely kicked me in the bum, but the Greeks love it! 

V. Holland

Anne Frank: The Whole Story is based in WWII Amsterdam. This film follows the life of a Jewish girl from Germany whose family migrates to the Netherlands to hide from the Nazis. This film is surrounded by Anne's diary while in hiding. There is no other drink you should enjoy this movie with other than Heineken, a premium brew from Amsterdam. Heineken is my dad's personal favorite. 

I hope you all get a chance to enjoy these movies and their perfect drink pairings. I know I did. :)