I welcomed 2011 as a year of surprise and mystery, both of which were fulfilled beyond my expectations. I agonized over the college decision process, I graduated high school, I spent a summer loving life before I flew across the pond to spend my first semester of university in London. Last year, I would have found this very idea to be entirely absurd, but even in my 2010 review post I accepted that things often work out in the craziest ways possible. At this point, I'm quite glad some things didn't happen. I had my heart set on attending RISD in autumn of 2011, but I ended up thousands of miles away from home instead. I wouldn't change that for anything. 2011 has been a year of decisions and transitions, all of which I suppose are quite natural for someone my age.
January: I just can't quit now, you really got a hold on me.
I dyed my hair red and enjoyed wearing my Docs with floral prints.
February: Zigzag and plaid
After a few weeks of staying home sick with glandular fever, I returned to school and mixed prints. While wearing Doc Martens.
March: All the styrofoam began to melt away.
I enjoyed the stoned-librarian turn my style began to take, and I ended up as Teen Vogue's pick of the day.
April: Philly Frolicking
Weeks after a rejection from a certain school whose colors are brown and red, I took a trip into Philly and explored NoLibs.
May: Last Day
I enjoyed my last day of high school...
June: Graduation Day
...and a month later, I graduated.
July: Back to school vibes
I pondered life in a park, and it started to sink in that I would be quite far away come autumn.
August: Going away party
My friend threw a going away party in my honor, and a few days later I packed by bags and left the country.
September: Sun is in the sky, oh why, oh why would I want to be anywhere else?
I took a cue from a famous British songstress and enjoyed a few sunny days in London town.
October: Return from the countryside
After a weekend retreat to the Malvern Hills, I returned to London with a sense of rejuvenation.
November: Hilsener fra København
I went to Copenhagen, Denmark! I've long been enthralled with Scandinavia, so this was quite a treat (although very cold).
December: Home is wherever I'm with you
Three and a half months, four countries later, I returned to a wintery Philadelphia. Home.
Here's to a 2012 full of surprises!
Friday, December 30, 2011
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Coat - Modcloth, cardigan - H&M, dress - Volcom, belt - thrifted, leggings - Forever 21, shoes - Topshop
I wore this to grab lunch with a family friend (whom I hadn't seen in months!) and my siblings. It was quite nice - we went to Panera, where I always order the Mediterranean Veggie sandwich. I also had some earl grey tea, undoubtedly influenced by the prominence of tea in England. It's so much better than coffee. Ever hear of "coffee time"? Exactly.
A few weeks back, someone asked me on Tumblr about school, specifically if it was giving me a hard time because my outfits seemed less inspired. I replied that was indeed true, based on a variety of factors, naturally. I'm reunited with my over-stocked closet, I have no qualms about wearing heels because I walk much less, afternoon naps aren't nighttime naps (it is dark in England by 4pm), I haven't really had the time to delve into posts on my Google reader feed, etc. Though I can't help but feel (paradoxically) less pressure to dress a certain way. London is a very, very stylish city - my excursions nowadays involve wondering where all the brogues went and where all these sweatpants came from - but it's a little overwhelming to me in that sense.
I have an idea of how I want to present myself, both in real life and on my blog, but I felt I couldn't quite live up to my own expectations. I hate to admit it, but I felt a bit (perhaps an understatement) inferior to native Londoners in regards to aesthetics. It's so funny because London has a reputation that "anything goes" - it's evident that street style is a friendly competition to see who can dress quirkier. And that's just the thing; though I may feel out of place in my small hometown, I felt invisible in London. And that feeling didn't exactly motivate me to put on a pair of five inch heels.
I hope to further reflect upon my time abroad before the New Year, but that's it for now. Might go see the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo at the cinema if it isn't sold out! Enjoy your evening!
Monday, December 26, 2011
Coat - Forever 21, sweater - gift, necklace - antique, skirt - Lulu's via Beso.com, tights - Hue, boots - Rachel Comey, satchel - market in London
Just a quick Happy Christmas post! Today was one of those days I thoroughly enjoyed my outfit but cut myself short with time to take photos... thus most were unusable due to my not-so-attractive facial expressions.
This Christmas, I've realized - and adored - what home is. I think that's the best gift of all.
PS Miss the suburban landscape?!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Coat - ModCloth, cardigan - sister's, dress - Asos, necklace - Etsy, tights - Target, boots - Doc Martens
I would have liked to have posted these photos while still in London, but I was busy exploring one last time... and packing. I went to the National Portrait Gallery, V&A Museum (my favorite!), Liberty, and Selfridge's one last time. My departure itself was chaotic and a tad bitter; I realized I forgot a handful of belongings in my room, I was running on literally no sleep, I couldn't sleep on the plane despite that fact. I cried upon seeing my friend Tracey, who accompanied my mom to the airport. I cried hysterically once we drove down my street and even more when I stepped inside my house and saw my cat. Tears of joy, obviously. There's no place like home!
I've been relaxing as much as physically possible, with my cat by my side, of course. I haven't felt like leaving my bed too much, but I did to bake Christmas cookies, see some friends, go to Target (yay!) to get wrapping paper, and whatever else. Unfortunately, I think I'm coming down with something. Perhaps it's from last week's lack of sleep.
In case you were wondering, my tea habit has only increased since touching down in the US of A... I seem to have forgotten I used to be addicted to coffee!
I'm so excited for Christmas. Normally I'm such a scrooge, but I am just so excited to give everyone their gifts! I think I did quite well this year with my selections, but perhaps I'm just being hopeful since nothing is returnable, unless the recipient cares to travel to London... There's just no place like home for the holidays.
Monday, December 5, 2011
Coat - Modcloth, jumper - Zara, necklace - thrifted, skirt - H&M, leggings - Forever 21, shoes - Topshop
Dressing for Monday mornings = wearing tried and true favorites. Can't say I really anticipated the bone-chilling weather, though. Probably the coldest day in London I've experienced! It is December, after all. My hands were numb during this (very brief) shoot.
The days here are dwindling, with the countdown bearing just eleven days at this point. It's all final exams (and essays) and Christmas shopping now - maybe a few drinks at nearby pubs and perhaps the last trips to my favorite museums here. (Note: I visited the Victoria Albert Museum for the third time yesterday, and I have still not seen half of the collection on display.)
On an incredibly positive note, I couldn't be more excited to see my animals.
On an unrelated note, I've been updating my Tumblr to the point of obsession. Must have something to do with finals quickly approaching...
Monday, November 28, 2011
Coat - ModCloth, necklace - antique, sweater - 3.1 Philip Lim, skirt - Missoni for Target, leggings - Forever 21, shoes - Topshop
I wore this last Thursday, during the American holiday of Thanksgiving. I ran a few errands with Christian before heading out to dinner, at which point I switched these shoes for my Rachel Comey booties. I probably would have celebrated by making some stuffed squash and baked goods if I didn't have visitors, but of course, I did, so naturally we went to an Asian-fusion restaurant called Spice Market (owned by world-famous chef Jean-Georges). I had been to the New York branch as had my aunt, but I was incredibly excited to share it with my family. Since vegan food can be hard to come by in many classically British restaurants (and even those in the States...), this was an excellent compromise for everyone.
We left the restaurant entirely stuffed, though not from our ordinary American Thanksgiving fare. I'm still in a state of disbelief that I am so fortunate to have been able to spend this holiday with my family, and similarly that the week flew by and everyone is back in the States at this point. Even more shocking is that I've less than three weeks left here in good old London Town.
I would like to note that I am still feeling quite ill, and when I'm sick there's nothing I enjoy more than cuddling with my cat. My mind is already home.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
"Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow airport..."
Coat - ModCloth, top - Monki, skirt - Monki, leggings - Forever 21, shoes - Topshop
These were taken last Monday... I'm feeling a bit under the weather now. I wore this to the airport to meet my friends and family! The reunion was so nice; I didn't expect they would already be waiting by the time I arrived, but I spotted the group and my brother saw me. My friend Lauren ran to hug me, then I dashed over to the rest of the group, almost slipping on the airport's smooth floor.
I do enjoy London in many ways, but the visit made me realize how excited I am to return home, especially in time for the holidays. Seeing these people makes me want nothing more than to be in my house, cuddled beneath a blanket with my cat on my lap, eating edamame and watching a movie with my sister. It is bittersweet that I will be in the air twenty one days from now, en route to Philadelphia... but it's becoming increasingly sweeter.
My aunt and my friend Christian (who took these photos) are still in town, so I shall spend time with them over the next two days. It's nice having companions in London, which can often feel quite impersonal.
Friday, November 18, 2011
Coat - ModCloth, cardigan - H&M, t-shirt - C&C California, dress (worn as skirt) - Camden Market, leggings - Forever 21, boots - Spring
I realized I haven't worn all of the shoes I brought with me to London, so I decided it's about time I utilize my many pairs. It's essentially winter here, which I normally refuse to accept back in the States until December hits. I'm just in disbelief that I've been here for nearly three months now, and in a month's time I will be back in Pennsylvania. It's bittersweet, most definitely.
On an undeniably positive note, my family and a few friends will be here in London this upcoming week! With the exception of briefly seeing my aunt before she had a connecting flight back to the States, I haven't seen any of these people in three months. I couldn't be happier that I get to see them, spend time with them here in London, and celebrate Thanksgiving with them.
This is my first weekend in London since October since I've been traveling so much! I want to relax and do some school work, but at the same time, I want to do exciting things because I have only a month left here. Decisions, decisions.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Cardigan - sister's, top - C&C California, necklace - Etsy, skirt - Urban Outfitters, socks - Target, shoes - Topshop
So... I went to Barcelona! Here I am in Park Guell, an amazing outdoor space designed and landscaped by Antoni Gaudi. The weather was beautiful - 72F in November! We strolled through the park, climbing its stone steps and marveling the amazing view of the city. Everything was so beautiful! I loved seeing some Gaudi's work; we stayed in a hostel on Passeig de Gracia, which includes Casa Battlo and La Pedrera. I didn't take the opportunity to go inside either of these, but the following day, we did visit La Sagrada Familia.
Cardigan - vintage, necklace - Etsy, dress - Asos, socks - Missoni x Target, shoes - Topshop
As usual, I feel I didn't have adequate time to explore the city. However, I'd love to return sometime in the future - perhaps when the cathedral is completed (estimated anywhere from 2025 to 2040).
I had wanted to visit Spain for ages, since I've been learning the language since I was eleven. My speaking didn't really extend past a seventh grade level, but I thoroughly enjoyed being able to put it to use.
Unfortunately, I didn't really get to experience any typical Spanish food, but I did buy some rice with which I intend to attempt a vegan paella dish. It's too bad I didn't find any saffron there...
I still have to post photos from Cardiff, Copenhagen and now Barcelona. I think I shall round up a few photos to show my favorite parts of each city!
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Cardigan - H&M, necklace - Etsy, top - Asos, skirt - vintage, leggings - Forever 21, shoes - Rachel Comey
Somehow this is my first time wearing these booties on the blog... I've worn them out a few times, but I suppose I didn't take photos because it was nighttime. They still have yet to properly mold to my feet, but they're getting there. Today's wear might have a little something to do with wanting to wear them this weekend. I'm traveling again! This time, it's somewhere much warmer. I think I'll keep it a surprise, but it's somewhere I've wanted to go for quite some time, so I'm very excited. I know I'll be taking lots of photos!
These next two weeks are looking wonderful - an excursion this weekend, the following will be spent here in London, and then that week a few family and friends are visiting! I've been having dreams about reuniting with them. Whenever I think of meeting them in the airport, the final scene in Love Actually starts playing in my head, Beach Boys in the background and all. It's very safe to say I love life, as of late.
It's a bit funny to me that London is already in Christmas-mode: Liberty (and every other department store) have had their Christmas shops up and running for the past month, the lights on Oxford Street were illuminated last week, and there will soon be ice-skating rinks in various spots - including Somerset House, where fashion week takes place. Somehow, I'm not so bitter about the approach of this time of year as I normally am. Maybe there is something magical about London at Christmastime. Or maybe I just watch Love Actually too much. I'm giving a vote for the latter.
See you when I return from holiday!
Saturday, November 5, 2011
Coat - ModCloth, necklace - thrifted, sweater - H&M, skirt - TJ Maxx, bag - vintage, shoes - Topshop
Greetings from Copenhagen! I write this from the lounge of a hostel, exhausted from a long day of walking and sightseeing. It's so beautiful here. If it weren't so cold (at the beginning of November! it feels like January!), I'd consider studying here. It's odd how soon I've managed to fall in love with the city, but each excursion from the treacherous streets of London has been quite magical. The pace of life here seems much slower, with time for smiles at passersby and no need to push others out of the way on the Metro. It's not spotlessly clean - there's rubbish on pavement, there's a plethora of wheat-paste posters and brightly colored spray paint. But I like this. It makes it feel free and less part of a system, if that makes any sense.
I've long had an adoration for things Scandinavian - Ikea, Norse mythology, the word itself - and this trip has reassured that crush. If only it didn't get dark at 4pm, and if it were summer... I feel like I didn't allow nearly enough time to explore thoroughly (somehow I missed the concept store Weekday, which I'm now longingly stalking online) and I would very much like to see cities in Sweden and Norway.
I really can't explain why, since there's no logical reason, but Copenhagen vaguely reminds me of Philadelphia. Maybe it's the quiet, charming side streets or the abundance of simple graffiti. Even the color of the pavement seems familiar, and it's been months since I've seen cars drive on the right side of the road! Perhaps it's my perception that I cannot get lost in both cities, whereas this does not hold true in New York City or even London. The size is manageable, but not small.
On another note, I tried to channel hip European twenty-somethings in this ensemble. Also, please be incredibly surprised that 90% of my hair stays up in a low bun (as illustrated above). This hasn't happened in quite some time, probably two years. Again, be amazed.
PS Thanks to my friend Kate for taking the photos of me!