Hard knock life

  

I have officially been back in New York for two months now and although I am glad to be home I have found that I’ve had to readjust to some things. Things such as being reminded that New York City despite the title it posses of the most dynamic, loud and buzzing place to live in, can knock you down off your high horse from time to time. I suppose that’s the beauty of this place, if you want this hectic life you’re going to have to do better than that (is what I imagine the city saying when I feel utterly defeated). I thought it would be nice to dedicate a post to New York City, as I did with London, although this might not be as heartfelt. This is more of a rant, a love/hate sort of relationship if you must. 

Picture this: Here you are on a smoldering summer day waiting at the subway station for a train that’s 20 minutes late. With bag straps branding your shoulders, sweat trickling down your back, visions of smashing every single train fill your brain, but no matter how many times this happens, you’ll continue waiting for the subway because well there’s no other way to get around in this crazy city but also because deep down inside you love it here. I’ve realized that NYC will make you less patient but more tolerant. 

On to why I very much love New York. It epitomizes the idea of a fresh start, there’s so much to be found in oneself and each day is filled with new and unexpected opportunities. Every time I enter the subway I may encounter a love of my life, every corner I turn I might stumble upon a new revelation or someone who may hold the key to my next journey. Life here can be so unpredictable and random whether good or bad, it’s what fuels me. 

So here’s to New York, you excite me, you empower me and you exhaust me but I love you for it.

P.S was thinking of doing a NYC eats post (same as my London one) for those who might be considering a visit to the big apple, comment down below if you would like to see my favorite food places.

xx, Gwen 

  

Advertisements

Viva Mèxico 

Hello Darlings! I am finally back from a well deserved 30th birthday vacation. Two of my best friends and I stayed at a gorgeous all inclusive resort basking in the sun, eating, drinking and most importantly relaxing. It was such a great way to end the summer and begin a new work year feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. My intentions were to take multiple ootd photos but I was totally kidding myself, as I hardly got out of my bathing suit. I did manage to squeeze this one look in and am really happy with the way they look, although it’s making me a bit sad that I am not longer there. Well then, on to the look…     

My skirt is from Forever 21 (plus size $19.50). The day before my trip I went shopping for a a bathing suit but instead found this midi floral skirt which I fell in love with! It sits perfectly above my belly button and flows so beautifully in the breeze. I then popped over to Old Navy (I feel they have the best tanks) and found the perfect color ($4) to match the skirt. My sandals are a previous purchase from Primark (shop in London). Lastly whilst soaking up the sun on the beach a hat vendor was walking by, I couldn’t pass up this straw fedora which goes with anything during the summer!

Similar skirt here and here
Tank top here

Hope you all enjoyed this outfit post. I now have a roommate which I will try to coax into taking more photos of me.

Also here is a beautiful shot of the resort & the beach. We stayed at the Catalonia privileged maroma beach resort.   

Hasta luego,

Gwen, xx

 

Black and White

It was my 26th birthday on August 21 and I wanted to go for a low key weekend getaway before the madness of graduate school ensued (cue the gray hairs). Tampa is not too far of a drive and it was perfect to just get out of my normal mundane world for a moment. I stayed at Le Meridian which used to be an old court house and is now transformed into a modern and chic hotel. It has beautiful scenery and Tampa’s downtown backdrop was perfect for photos. The ootd below was what I wore to the Tampa Museum of Art. With a new Andy Warhol exhibit it was definitely a must see. I opted for easy and lightweight seeing as it was scorching hot outside. This white long line button up top was a steal at Marshalls and I loved the “boyfriend fit”. I paired it with my big sun blocking hat from H&M and black lace up booties from Aldo which I later switched to sandals after walking around the museum for a while. The biker shorts are from forever 21 and provided just enough coverage seeing as I originally thought this top was a dress. I kept it clean with the black and white, no color and loved it! If you are ever in the Tampa area I would highly suggest Le Meridien Hotel and the Tampa Art Museum. Until next outfit…..similar links down below!

IMG_0696

IMG_0735

IMG_0563

IMG_0747

IMG_0583

IMG_0725

Similar Dresses- Here, Here
Similar Lace up Booties

Toodles, Ari

A love note to London 

  

Here I am laying in my room enjoying a cuppa tea (how English of me). Six months ago I arrived in England and I now leave an honorary Londoner (if you’ve been reading my posts lately you might have noticed a bit of a change in my vocabulary). Time has just flown by and strangely enough I have never felt more at home, than well at home.

Walking down the streets during my final days here, I take in the now familiar aroma of your hazy air and reminise on when I first arrived, a fresh-faced American ready to take on a new adventure. I remember how mysterious your gray skies were and how your perpetual clouds never ceased to fill me with hope (hope of a sunny day that is). I welcomed the inevitable rain everyone but I seemed to moan about, that is until I experienced your massive droplets wearing nothing but a jumper, you cheeky London. 

In your little pubs, I found warmth and comfort. Their home cooked food and rustic environment left me craving more every time.
You will never know what you’ve done for me. You have turned me into a complete outsider, drained my wallet with your currency system, tested me with your dry humour but I fell in love with you just the same.
There is beauty everywhere your eyes turn from gorgeous parks, to street markets booming with people and an extensive array of foods. I have fallen in love with all of it! 

So, here’s to the drunken nights with the wonderful new friends I’ve made which funny enough are all Austrailians living in London (Insert Aussie & British joke here). Your underrated pastries in local coffee shops (which I have unashamedly had loads of). Here’s to the beautiful strangers I met the gaze of on the tube. Here’s to the amazing history that took my breath away time and time again. Here’s to you London! 

I will never forget this amazing time we spent together. You helped put a sparkle back in my eyes and I will now return to the big apple with a new sense of pride and accomplishment. I am so lucky to have been able to call you home, if only for a mere six months.

I don’t believe I ever mentioned why I was in London, But I’ve been a nanny to a little girl for the past two and a half years and her family asked me to come over with them to help with the transition period. The biggest thank you goes to them! And to that wonderful cheeky little girl who will always remain in my heart! 

So it is with a massive sigh and images of “look left”, “look right” & “Mind the gap” all fluttering through my mind that I must bid you farewell. London, It’s been brilliant! ❤️  

xx Gwen 

London Eats 

For this post I thought I’d switch things up a bit and mention a few of my favorite places to eat in and around London. It is now coming down to the wire my friends (1 short day left) such a bitter sweet feeling, but anyways on to the delicious food.

Before arriving lots of people warned me about how “bad” the food is in England but let me inform you that it is not! I mean you can’t go wrong with fish and chips, a Sunday roast because who doesn’t love meat, potatoes & Yorkshire pudding? If you don’t fancy typical English dishes hop on the tube to any of the food markets and you’ll find a huge variety from all over the world! Here are a few of my favorites! 

The Bolingbroke (Clapham) – Sunday Roast  

Granger & Co. (Notting Hill) – Ricotta hotcakes, banana & honey comb butter. 

Borough Market (London) – Beef Curry & Paella (yes I mixed the two because why not?)

Camden Market: (Camden) Gluten free Tacos & Horchata/ Agua de coco   

Kettners (Soho) –  Afternoon tea 

The Regency Cafe (London) Easy Peezy English Breakfast (only thing missing is black pudding but I am not a fan)  

Fish and Chips (Camden Lock)   

Bangers and Mash (prepared by my boss) 

  I also want to mention The Black Swan (Pub located in Surrey) for the best Sunday Roast outside of London! 

I also want to mention that the Indian food in England is the best I’ve ever had, so good that I’ve never had the chance to take a photo of it.  An amazing place to go to is Tayyabs in London as well as Aladin on Brick Lane rd. 

I know this is outside of our normal posts but I could not pass up on sharing some of the wonderful places my mouth has had the pleasure of meeting. Hopefully this didn’t make you all too hungry. Maybe this could be of help for anyone traveling to England in the future. Take care lovelies 

xx, Gwen 

Coming to America 

My flight back to New York is only 3 days away! (I’m such an emotional wreck). I have been organizing and packing over the last couple of days and as I was putting together my handbag I thought I would give you guys a glimpse at my must have flight items.

During a long flight something to read be it a book or magazine is great to keep yourself occupied.

Music- either an iPod, iPad or where ever else your music is stored, oh and you must not forget your headphones. Mine are from the brand Frends

I like to carry a notebook in order to reflect on my journey or jot some notes down. This cute pineapple one comes from Paperchase (UK). 

Flushable wipes (self explanatory, especially for us ladies)

EmergenC- this is a good vitamin C packet to take before flying as you’ll most likely be around a sick person along with all of the recycled air, which doesn’t help the cause.

Hand sanitizer- once again trying to keep germs at bay. This Soap and Glory one smells amazing!  

Chewing gum– my ears pop when descending and landing, chewing gum really helps my ears from becoming filled with air. My favorite is sweet mint from Orbit

Hand cream- keeping hands nice and moisturized is very important! Another Soap and Glory favorite! This cream is also considered a hand mask. 

Hydrating Face cream or mask- your skin looses a lot of is moisture and can become really dry with such high altitude so once again it is vital to help your skin retain some of it by adding in a hydrating face cream or a mask. I’ve packed the Sephora brand Honey sheet mask and the Nuxe creme fraiche 24 hour moisturizing mask. 

Eye mask– undereye areas are also delicate and can become quite dry, placing eye cooling masks can also help keep them fresh looking. I’ve got the Skyn Iceland hydro cool firming eye gels which really help de-puff the under eye area. 

Hydrating spray face mist– a mist also works if you prefer a quick spritz of freshness every few hours or so. The Evian facial mist is great for a quick refresher! 

Lip balm– we can’t forget the lips! The key word for this post is obviously hydration and your lips should also be nice and moist for the duration of the flight. My current favorite has been the Nuxe Reve de miel lip balm.   
This might seem like a lot of products but this is a routine that I am pretty much used to. I also make sure I carry a large tote to ensure I can bring along all of these items. I am currently using my Longchamp tote. It is super comfortable to wear and ultra roomy!   
There you have it guys! I hope this post was helpful for any those of you planning on taking a summer holiday (or during any season really). 

Safe Travels!

xx, Gwen 

Weekend with L’Occitane 

L’Occitane en Provence is a French brand created by Oliver Baussan. His main goal was to create products that celebrate and preserve the traditions of his native town Provence. At only 23 years of age Oliver began making his own natural oils to sell at markets and the rest as they say is history. There are now over 2,000 L’Occitane shops all around the world! 

I made an online Sephora purchase and had Ari mail me the items I bought (can we say obsession?). This “Weekend in Provence” set was one of the first items I opened because I couldn’t wait to get a whiff of the sweet almond, ah pure bliss! Prior to purchasing this kit the only other product from L’Occitane I had tried was the cult favorite Shea butter hand cream and to no surprise I loved it! So when I saw this on Sephora’s website I figured I would give it a try. Here’s what the set contains…

Almond shower oil 2.5 oz – moisturizing body cleanser, leaves a satin finish
Almond supple skin oil 0.5 oz- created with almond proteins leaving skin very supple
Almond milk concentrate 1.7 oz- nourishes smooths and tones skin
Almond delicious hands cream 0.3 oz- the almond milk and oil softens hands
Almond delicious soap 1.7 oz- almond shells gently exfoliate dead skin cells for extra smooth hands

All of these products are also paraben, sulfate and phthalates free.

  

This is a limited edition set and can be found on Sephoras website. (Not sure about the actual store). Overall I feel this is a pretty fabulous deal for $36. You are able to try a decent sized amount of product therefore, being able to make an informed decision on whether you would repurchase a full sized item. I’ve been using the hand cream, body lotion and shower oil for about 3 weeks now and can say that the scent is truly divine! The shower oil creates a milky texture once applied on wet skin, I then rinse and my skin is left feeling silky smooth! I seal the moisture in with the body lotion, the best part is the almond scent lasts quite a while. I am still thinking about purchasing the full sized shower oil as it comes with a hefty price tag. Otherwise money well spent in my opinion! 

As the name suggests it is also perfect for a weekend getaway in Provence! Or anywhere else your heart desires! 

Have a lovely weekend everyone! 

xx, Gwen 

Américaine fille à Paris Part Deux 

So knowing the beauty lover that I am you all know I had to stop and do some shopping whilst in Paris (not too much as my main focus was site seeing). I came across a pharmacy which displayed a bunch of sale items on the window, I figured I would surely find some goodies in there. Also Sephora was near by and I couldn’t resist (could you guys believe that I haven’t stepped foot in a sephora since December of 2014?!?!) Shocking I know! But trust me if there was one in London I would be in there every weekend. Well then let’s get on with this mini haul shall we?


Not having much time to browse in Sephora I grabbed a very much needed beauty blender and at the check out line I spotted the Sephora brand hydrating under eye mask. I am excited to pop that bad boy under these tired looking eyes of mine.

On to the pharmacy purchases, Nuxe is a parisian beauty brand started by Aliza Jabès in 1990. Her goal was to create feminine skincare which would be based on a pharmaceutical approach: nature, innovation, evaluation, accessibility and sensory experience. She has now expanded the line to skin, body, hands and foot care oh and we can’t forget the men’s range! Nuxe has won many awards for some of their staple products such as the Rêve de Miel Lip balm (which was one of the items I picked up). I am obsessed with this lip balm! My lips have never ever felt so soft. I was previously gifted the Rêve de Miel Hand and Nail Cream a few years ago and I fell in love with the scent! It is also really nourishing and hydrating as it is infused with honey and vitamin E. I loved it so much I had to pick up two! Right as I was about to check out I saw these cute little Bioderma bottles and a Klorane travel sized dry shampoo. The Bioderma micellar cleansing waters are a perfect size for travel! I grabbed the sensitive and combination/oily skin formula. I’ve heard great things about the Klorane oatmilk gentle dry shampoo but I had never come across the formula for medium to dark hair until that moment, this too is another product I cannot wait to try. 

Lastly I was shopping for some cute souvenirs and came across this little Paris tray. I loved the print on it and thought it would make a perfect dish for placing the jewelry i wear on a daily basis.

I hope you all enjoyed my mini Paris haul. This trip shall too be one I will never ever forget!
take care lovelies,
xx Gwen

Américaine fille à Paris – Part Une 

Bonjour les amis! What an amazing time in the city of lights! My long weekend was very well spent site seeing, eating and riding the metro all around Paris. Boy am I glad I grew up in NYC, the metro was a breeze to navigate! I knew my savvy subway skills would come in handy one day! (I still hate the MTA)

I arrived Saturday morning and headed straight into town. I walked along St. Germain blvd a famous strip known for its shops and cafes. Stopping at one of the most well known ones “Cafe de Flore” I had a glass of chablis & a quiche lorraine, so yummy! I then walked to the infamous cathedral Notre Dame. What a beauty! I continued my journey walking along the left bank and stopped at the Pont de l’Archevêché, one of the narrowest bridges in Paris and where people from all around the world have left their “locks of love”. Sunday consisted of the open bus tour which took us along all of the major sites such as the Eiffel Tower, Trocadero, The Louvre, Notre Dame, Arc de Triomphe and so many more. Ahhhh la Tour Eiffel, I caught a glimpse of it from afar and I squealed like a little girl! It was indeed magical especially at night during the light show. I also went on a boat ride along the river Siene admiring all of the beautiful bridges. I learned that there are 37 of them! Monday was my last day and there was no way I was leaving Paris without visitng the Louvre. What an amazing museum! Such significant works of art and sculptures, it really takes your breath away! In between all of the site seeing fun I of course stopped at cafes and grabbed tasty baguettes, gelato and pastries. I don’t know how French women remain so slim, all there is to eat consists of carbs. I pretty much had bread with every meal, well worth it in my opinion! Now for the fun part, photos! 

   

                

 
        

  

I wanted to also mention that this was my first time traveling on my own. I will admit I was a bit anxious before leaving but once I arrived my fears were put to rest as everyone seemed welcoming. I stayed at this great hostel called Generator. Now I know what you’re thinking hostels are usually known to be a bit sketchy but Generator recently opened up (about three months ago) and the space is gorgeous! There’s a dining area on deck as well as a “chill lounge” and bar. The staff was beyond helpful and friendly. I would totally recommend it to anyone traveling solo.

Hope you all enjoyed this little sneak peak at my trip. Part deux is coming up next… Want a hint? It has to do with goodies I bought in Paris!

à la prochaine! baisers – Gwen 

Paris is always a good idea

Another bank holiday has rolled around in England causing the urge to book a quick city break. I chose Paris! the city of lights, one of those most magical and romantic cities of all time (so I’ve heard). I am insanely excited! I wanted to quickly share with you all what I packed for my long weekend getaway. Focusing on makeup and some key pieces I felt were necessary. I also got some fun tips from “Parisian Chic” a style guide by Ines de la Fressange. Let’s begin!

Choosing what makeup to bring is always so hard for me, especially lipsticks I mean how can a girl anticipate what color she’ll want to wear for the next three days? (Champagne problems). I tried to focus on my holy grail products and a variety of what I consider to be classic lip shades.

 

  

For clothes I pretty much chose basics ie; jeans, a denim button down, striped t-shirt and a little black dress for a night out. Two pieces I want to give special attention to are my faux leather jacket and side slit blouse. I purchased them both at Newlook.

A motorcycle inspired jacket can easily transform an outfit into chic and edgy. I love the contrast of pairing it with something a bit more feminine to balance out the asthetic of the look.

This side slit blouse is all the rave in London (I’m assuming it is back home as well). I love the slight sexiness it posses as you’re mostly covered up in the chest area but can show off a bit of skin without being too much.

If you haven’t already noticed I am pretty much obsessed with wearing black. Normally I am all about color but lately black pieces have taken over my wardrobe. Wearing black makes me feel like I’m in a classic piece (even if it’s only a plain black t-shirt). This was also confirmed while reading the “Parisian Chic” book.

  Stay tuned for my Paris adventures!

xx Gwen