Travel Series Part 2: Packing for Paris

Packing for a trip abroad can seem like pretty daunting task, especially when you’re traveling to Paris. For those of you who are venturing off to the city of lights this spring/summer, fear not. While Paris may be renowned as the epicenter of the fashion world, you don’t have to be decked out in couture to look fashionable and effortless. It took me a few trips to the city to realize that dressing like a Parisian is easily done if you just keep it simple. Black skinny jeans are a staple. (I think I took three pairs for a 23 day trip, and washed and re-wore them plenty!) The French embrace many of the same fashion trends that we do (except for shorts. Do not wear shorts. Ever.) I also learned that the French are not the most colorful dressers, so when in doubt keep it neutral. I’ve experienced all kinds of weather in Paris, from warm and sunny to cold and drizzly. Just know that in Spring, it can go from one extreme to the other in a matter of a day, which why I always advise people to pack layers, and close toed shoes. I’ve created a collage of all linkable items to help give you an idea of what to pack for what I believe is THE best city in the world.

  1. My favorite black skinny jeans are these from Old Navy. Only $34.94, when they aren’t on sale. I have so many pairs of these.
  2. Mango Metal Thread Cardigan-$50
  3. A denim jacket is a must-have for me. Love this one from Gap! $80
  4. This black cardigan from Madewell is currently on sale for $60.
  5. This blush floral jacket from Target by Victoria Beckham is on clearance for only $24.50 and is SO cute. You may have to check your local store for it, but it is such a great price and color.
  6. A light scarf like this one from Madewell is a perfect compliment to neutral outfits. $55
  7. Nordstrom Topshop Jamie High Waist Ankle Skinny Jeans. $70
  8. Floral skirts are perfect for a warm spring day! Check out this one from Miss Selfridge. $68.00
  9. Gap Softspun Short Sleeve T-Shirt Dress. $60 (Available in lots of colors!)
  10. Black & White Summer Scarf- Splurge for $72 or Save for $15.00!
  11. Gap Softspun Short Sleeve T-Shirt Dress. $60 (Available in lots of colors!)
  12. Levi’s Distressed High-Rise Jeans $98
  13. Simple tees are great for layering and looking effortless. Check out the selection from ASOS, here, here and here.
  14. Cami tops are also perfect for layered looks. More selections from ASOS here and here!
  15. Another simple top with a cute knot detail. $59
  16. I love a crisp white poplin top like this one from Mango or this one from ASOS.
  17. Flowy Striped Blouse Violeta by Mango $40
  18. An over-the-shoulder satchel is obviously the most practical choice for traveling. Compact and secure are the way to go. This blush colored bag by Urban Expressions is on sale for $54!
  19. Many people may warn against carrying a backpack around while traveling due to pickpockets. However, I carried this Rebecca Minkoff backpack with me EVERYWHERE without any worries because the clip can be unbuckled and clipped up top. This makes it super hard for anyone to get into your bag without you noticing. I even tested it for security by having one of my friends try to get into it while I wore it. It’s such a convenient and stylish bag. $245

The shoes aren’t numbered but here they are from left to right.

  1. Steve Madden Elaina Sandals $80
  2. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star $50
  3. Karl Lagerfeld Paris Larose Suede Laceup Flats *ON CLEARANCE* Only $41
  4. I’m honestly so glad that platform sneakers are in right now, because they are great for walking long distances, which you will do a lot of if you plan on site-seeing. Check out these Steve Madden sneakers from DSW. $60
  5. I LOVE espadrille wedges. A little wedge will keep you comfortable rather than a wafer thin sole where you will feel every cobblestone and pebble you step on. This pair from Sole Society are so cute and summery. $96
  6. Yes. Ankle booties are acceptable spring/summer wear when the temperatures can range from the eighties to low sixties. I found them useful for cooler days and any night out where I could pair them with tights and a skirt or black jeans. You may even be able to find some on clearance like this pair by Dirty Laundry. $45

Travel Series Part 1: Studying Abroad

Summertime is almost here! That means a lot of you will be taking trips, whether it’s abroad or road tripping around the states. I thought I would start a little series on travel tips and ideas for those of you who are about to embark on exciting adventures. Part one will be all about studying abroad. In 2015, I spent some time in France learning about international communication and embracing the French lifestyle. It was an extremely rewarding experience for me since I met some of my best friends on the trip and learned so much about college life in another country. I also took the opportunity to travel to other places around Europe with a couple of friends since intercontinental flights are SO inexpensive.<—–DO THIS. I really had the time of my life, so when someone tells me they’re going to study abroad I get so excited and want to give them ALL OF THE TIPS.

Disclaimer: The cliché about studying abroad just being an excuse to go on a trip and party is SO not true. Lol, I’m kidding. It’s a blast. But you do learn. A little.

The Pro Tips:

  1. Don’t overpack. I know it’s been said before and you probably think that you are going to need every pair of jeans you own along with every cardigan, summer scarf, and top you can fit in your luggage. But take it from me. I stuffed my luggage to a nice 51.4 pounds and thankfully the airline let it slide on the way there. However, I did not take into account the amount of shopping that was to occur.  You will end up stuffing curling irons and shoes into your friends’ carry-ons hoping that the connecting flight from Paris to Rome doesn’t leave you while you beg the lesser-known airline to let you board, all the while trying to figure out how many pounds are in a kilogram.
  2. Being nervous is normal. Pre-trip jitters are inevitable, and for me, it happens with almost every trip I go on. It’s totally common to get a rush of emotions before taking off. You’ll be excited, nervous, anxious and curious about what is to come. I definitely shed some tears when I left my family at the gate. Flying to another country is one thing, but actually living in a strange town and going to school in a foreign place can be daunting. While the unknown can be scary, it is also eye-opening. It’s important to talk yourself through any worries you have about being far from home. Think about the opportunity that awaits you, the people you will meet and the places you will see. Once you arrive and fall into routine, you will see that going with the flow gets easier everyday.
  3. Make friends. I’m not going to say that going on a trip with a bunch of people you don’t know is easy, or that cliques aren’t formed. Thankfully, I knew a couple of the girls who were on my trip, and shortly after landing immediately formed a bond with three others. If the organizers of the program don’t set up meet and greets or get-to-know sessions, suggest one yourself. It helps to break the ice, and to get a feel for who you are going to be spending the next few weeks with. It’s crazy, but in a few days in you will start to feel like a family. It’s easy to relate to others in your group because it’s likely that they are feeling the same way as you.
  4. Take advantage of the experience. I can’t stress this enough. In twenty years you won’t regret the things you did do, but the things you didn’t do. On a free weekend  book a train ticket to a lesser-known town and immerse yourself in its culture. Eat the local cuisine, even if it scares you (escargot is amazing by the way). Approach locals when out at a bar and make new friends. Do the most and keep record of all of it. Keep a journal, take a ridiculous amount of photos and videos and save the songs you hear during the trip. They will always remind you of the time when you let your adventure flag fly and had the time of your life.

Haute Heritage: Culture In Your Closet

A thought occurred to me recently that brought about feelings of both nostalgia and wonder. I thought about how sometimes we can lose touch with who we are and where we come from. Growing up as first-generation American of Jordanian and Palestinian descent, I was always surrounded by our vibrant culture. From clothing and foods, to music and dance, my life has been influenced by a very rich heritage that spans generations. After the passing of my grandparents, I wondered to myself if the customs and traditions that I was fortunate enough to experience as a child would eventually fade away in the future, or will my generation honor our past and preserve our cultural identity. Without the influence of those who possess the knowledge and history of our traditions, it can be hard to hold onto the aspects of our culture. I hope the pride in our heritage will be instilled in those who follow, because it is such a beautiful thing to have. Not to mention, the fashion pieces are just gorgeous. This is why I was so inspired to write about this topic. Keeping little relics of culture in your closet are a way of holding onto where you came from.

Okay, so time for the looks. I was fortunate enough to have a grandmother, May, who was just as much into fashion, style and travel as I am. I am also lucky that pieces from her wardrobe are in beautiful condition and are so easy to incorporate into everyday looks.The jacket featured in this post was also a key influencer. All of the pieces feature “tatreez” style stitching which is an intricate style of Palestinian embroidering. In the town of Ramallah, where my grandmother was from, this style stitching is all over everything like shoes, bags, dresses and tops, and can be found at almost every store. Brands such as J. Crew and Topshop have recently curated pieces influenced by Palestinian culture. I also couldn’t pay homage to my grandmother without a stack of gold bangles, as these clink together to make a sound that reminds me so much of her and my childhood. I had so much fun pairing these items with such modern looks and everything that is linkable is linked below!

Jeans: Old Navy

White Lace Crochet Top: TJ Maxx

Bag: Prada Small Saffiano Camera Bag

Bangles: Kishek Jewelers

Top: ASOS-New Look Mesh Panel Shell Top

Skirt: Forever 21

Sunglasses: Chanel

Shoes: Merona Matilda Lace Up Heel

CL by Laundry Jessie Sandal

Chinese Laundry Sophia Sandal

Saturday Shirts, Sweets & Sephora

So, I am one of those people that has like a thousand saved links on my Facebook of recipes that I am “going to try one day” but I usually just end up adding to the list and forgetting about them. This time around though, I decided to give it a try for Easter and I ACTUALLY DID IT! I made a Tasty recipe for crepe cake.  You guys, this cake is so pretty and was kind of easy to make! It is time consuming, but I think I pulled it off and everyone loved it.

This weekend was filled with family, food and new finds at Sephora on Saturday. I wore my “Saturday shirt” as my sister calls it. I’m not usually a fan of Old Navy tops as they can be a bit disposable, but I have had this one forever and it’s my go-to oxford, and 90% of the time I wear it, it’s on Saturday.  I went in with just one objective, which was a new eyeliner pencil since my Tarteist Doubletake Eyeliner ran out on the pencil side. FYI, you may think that the felt end would run out fast because it’s shorter, but it has actually lasted a while. Anyhow, instead of buying another Doubletake, I decided to try the Smashbox Always Sharp Waterproof Kôhl Liner. I had the Tarteist Sex Kitten liner in my other hand, but the sales associate sold me on the Smashbox because of the supercool self-sharpening feature. I have to say I should have stuck with the Tarte liner. The features of the Smashbox liner are cool, but since it is kôhl, it applies almost gray and definitely not as pigmented as the Doubletake. Lesson learned. I found it interesting that this SA wasn’t the only one who steered me away from another Tarte product during my shopping trip. I was ready to purchase the brand’s Rainforest Of The Sea Drink of H2O moisturizer, but she seemed like a real skincare expert and convinced me that I do not need anything that helps with wrinkles (aw!). She instead suggested the new Boscia Tsubaki Swirl Two-Part Gel & Cream Deep Hydration Moisturizer (whew that’s a mouthful). I have to say I was sold on just on the look of the packaging alone, because the gel and cream are swirled and pink and pretty. I am still in the trial phase of using it but so far I like it for two reasons. One being that a little goes a long way and at $38 for 2 oz. you don’t want to be dolloping this stuff on your face. Two is that I have dry skin and it really feels like your face took a drink of water after applying, so I feel like this will be a repeat buy.

Bracelets: Hermès Clic-Clac, David Yurman & Hermès Printed Enamel Bracelet

Jeans & Top: Old Navy

Flats: Target

Lipstick: bareMinerals GEN NUDE Matte Liquid Lip Color in Bo$$

What kind of moisturizers are you guys using? Let me know in the comments!

 

TGIF & SPRING + The BEST flat iron. Ever.

I just love spring time. Everything is new and green. Iced coffee tastes better. Also, my hair behaves so much better than summer. I recently asked my hairdresser to recommend a new leave-in conditioner and he suggested this Loréal Série 10 in 1 for color treated hair. I LOVE it. My hair hasn’t been this shiny in a long time, and I recently went through a few color changes so it was super dry. I paid $20, whereas Ulta and others sell it for $27. After researching I did find it on Notino.com for only $12.59. I’m not too familiar with the website, so I would stick with getting it from a professional or Ulta. I couldn’t believe how soft my hair was after straightening it, but the iron is the real godsend. I used the Bio Ionic 10x Pro Styling Iron.  If you have coarse or curly hair, this is REALLY worth the $230. I don’t really use the vibrating feature, but I think I will try it next time. Your hair will be SO smooth and shiny after using this iron. I was so amazed that I had to snap a pic of it before I was even ready. It also cut my hair prep time in half. Unfortunately, spring weather lasts only about a month here in Florida, so I love taking advantage of the nice weather with tops like this one from Target. Another bell sleeve (what can I say I’m obsessed).

The bag is the Tory Burch Perry tote which is so classic and convenient and is currently on sale on their website!

The bracelets are David Yurman and Hermès Clic-clac H.

Lipstick color is “Flat Out Fabulous” by M.A.C.

My necklace is by Swara Jewlery, which is a local jewelry designer that I am OBSESSED with. They make the daintiest most beautiful necklaces using real gem stones. So many of my long necklaces and chokers are by Swara.

Turns out, I’m a Maxxinista.

I’ve always dubbed myself “lover of things” whenever describing myself in a shortbio or on my social media channels. Until recently, I have done most of my “thing loving” shopping at Target where I could really do some damage. That was until a new TJ Maxx opened up down the street from me and OMG it was seriously like an amusementpark had popped up in the neighborhood. Usually, I reserve my makeup buying forSephora, Ulta or drugstores, but I was in need of new blush and a makeup blender.I saw this pallet by BH Cosmetics which I got for a steal at only $9.99. I like how my blushturned out after applying, so this ones a keeper. The makeup blender by Beauty Concepts is just okay. It was a little too firm, even when adding water. Definitely no comparison to the original Beauty Blender or my fave by Real Techniques. Okay, so I have an issue with the mugs at TJ Maxx. They are just too cute, and I literally haveto buy one each time I go. I had to share this one which isn’t available online, but check out their mug selection! I think that I was head to toe clothes from TJ Maxx in this outfit, save for my flats which are from my former flameTarget (still luv u). I recently bought the shirt and I’ve had the jeans, which  are on their last leg (or two legs hehe). Anyway, I’m obsessed with the dramatic sleeve trend that has been around for the past year and I welcome it to stay as long as it wants.

This top is a more mild version of the trend, but I’m loving it.

Well…yeah.

 

Pardon my french, but that I can. I was thinking that my first post post should highlight the reason why I started this blog. If you read my About Me page, you would know that I recently turned 30. As a gift from my cousin, I received a book full of quotes on being 30 and aging. Well, it contained quotes from some of the greatest minds in modern history such as Oscar Wylde and Voltaire. But of course, this quote from Ozzy, another great mind, spoke to me the most. My twenties were amazing. Fun. Adventurous. Crazy. I rocked my twenties. I plan on rocking the next ten as well, but documenting them on here and sharing my everyday experiences with you! LET’S GO.