liquid sunsets

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Bathing suit: Zara // Pants: Zara // Photos by: Jessica Rivas

I think my favorite thing about coming home for the summer is experiencing the magical Miami sunsets. Yes, Miami's hot and the humidity can get unbearable at times, but every evening, the sunset reminds me of how much I love it here. The colors are unreal -- blues, purples, pinks and oranges just kind of melt together in the sky and it's nearly impossible to contain myself from taking pics. My Instagram can attest to that. One of my favorite things to do in the summer? Grab some snacks and some music and go to the beach, not just on the weekend when everyone's there either, but at a time where the beach is nearly empty, around 6ish when it's calm and serene. Lie down, play some music, let the sun set. There's nothing more cleansing than that.

Here's a little outfit that was tailor-made to do just that. This summer I'm trying to stay as cool as possible by living living in bathing suits and crop tops and flowy pants. How do you stay cool and still look cool during the summer?

how Paris changed my life

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Paris photos by me // Outfit photos: Kara Korab // Overalls: thrifted at the Kilo Store // Boots: ASOS

It's been almost two months since I've posted on here... I could attribute it to all the traveling and all the crazy changes going on in my life, but the truth is, I've been avoiding this post. Every time I tell myself, today's the day, I've got a few free hours, I'm gonna do it, I end up coming up with a ridiculous excuse. Honestly, I think it's just hard. It's hard to think about all of my experiences and the beauty that is Paris without missing it or tearing up just a little. It's hard to even find the words to describe everything I experienced. I don't think it's possible. I don't have the capacity or the skill to accurately depict the beauty of every moment or how much I learned or how it changed me. It's hard to sum it up into one little blog post. It's hard and it definitely won't measure up to my expectations, but you deserve to know. You deserve to know just how amazing that city is. How much it means to me and possibly how much it could mean to you.

I'll start off by saying that anyone who knows me knows that Paris has always been my dream. I started taking French classes in 7th grade and have never stopped taking French classes since. I virtually fell in love with the city, the language, it's culture -- all before even stepping foot in its vicinity. When January came around, I was nervous. Finally, my dream was coming true: from mid-January to late May, I could say I was living in Paris. Talk about crazy. You know how sometimes, when you daydream about something or think about it too much and get your hopes up, it ends up miserably deceiving you? Yeah, I was nervous that would happen. And surprisingly, it didn't. It ended up taking my breath away more than I could've ever imagined it to.

On living:
I can truly say that in my whole life, I have never lived, I have never truly lived, as much as I did in those four months I was there.  I was never home. I was always out, exploring a different arrondissement, picking and choosing which parks, museums, galleries, restaurants, bars to check out. Adding places to my list and constantly crossing them off. I laughed, I cried, I felt. I was aware of everything around me. I took in all of my surroundings, at all times. I wrote them down, I drew them, I photographed them, I reflected.What really surprised me? I never grew bored. There was always, and I mean always something new to see. Just knowing that you live in a city like that makes life so exciting, it gives life meaning.

On Parisians:
The stereotype is true. In general, Parisians can be kind of cold and distant in comparison to Americans. But, honestly, I think that's kind of the same in every major city. Think about what most Americans think of New Yorkers. Everyone is just doing their own thing, trying to make it through somehow. And I mean I get it. Paris is the most visited city in the world. Can you imagine your city being invaded by billions of tourists each day? Like when you're trying to rush to make it to work and you constantly have to dodge at least 8 Asian tourists taking the same generic picture in front of a monument? It can get kind of old. It's also true that they dislike Americans. The second you say where you're from (if they haven't already guessed it by your accent), there will be a slight change of attitude about 80% of the time. Sometimes, if you're lucky, they'll actually be really fascinated by it and ask you a bunch of questions.

On style: 
Alright, so I'm just gonna put this out there: I have never seen so much eye candy in my whole life. Yes, you see a lot of beautiful people in Paris, but it's not necessarily about how beautiful they are, but how damn well they dress. It's all so subtle too, it's like they don't even try. I think the key to understanding Parisian style is also understanding a key Parisian philosophy: less is always more. The more understated it is, the more classic, the more discrete, the better. That means -- no flashy logos, no glitz and glam, nothing too crazy, and yes, not too much color (the stereotype is true - Parisians love black). Also, nothing too revealing. French girls don't do revealing and, well, they are still sexy as hell. Coming from the U.S., this philosophy was a little hard to digest at first, but I learned to appreciate it. My ideal closet will apply that philosophy -- it will consist of a few timeless, quality pieces that I can easily mix and match.

On beauty: 
The thing about Paris is that everywhere you turn, everywhere you look, you see beauty. The Haussmanian architecture, the art, the people, the food, just everything. You could be walking around for hours and get lost (because you will), but you'll never truly be angry because of the beauty you're surrounded by. What I found was that a lot of places you travel to, you have to know where to go and what to see in order to think of the city as beautiful. In Paris, that's not necessarily true, you can walk around anywhere and you'll see it. It's undeniable.

I'll end with a few words I posted on Instagram some months ago:

Paris, you're not what I expected. You're cold, you're rainy, you're slightly intimidating. You're not perfect, it's true...but you're breathtakingly beautiful in all your imperfection. When the sun is nowhere to be seen, and you are dressed in your signature shade of blue: soft, hazy, and dreamy, you take my breath away. And that's when I know, no matter where I go in the world, a part of my heart will always stay here, tucked tightly between your intimate cafes and thought-provoking conversations.

Merci et à bientôt
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My Paris Guide: 

I loved it when my friends would come and visit because it was almost like a little test to myself... how well did I accomplish my goal of really knowing Paris? Could I make my friends fall in love with it the way I did? Well here's where I would take them when I wanted to show them my Paris. I'm not going to waste your time nor mine by listing all of the tourist attractions because any idiot with a smart phone can figure that out. So here goes:

Canal Saint Martin
By far, my favorite area of Paris. Lots of young families, people from all over, a little grungy, lots of street art everywhere, not overly touristy, a definite must-see.

Picnic on the Canal - Grab some friends, go to any Monoprix or Franprix and buy yourself some wine, some cheese, some snacks. Then, go to a boulangerie and buy yourself a baguette. Take it to the Canal. Preferably on a Sunday. Sit, watch and take it all in.
Comptoir General (80 Quai de Jemmapes)- described as "the ghetto museum," this is a must-see destination. There's absolutely nothing like it. It's hard to describe because it's so many things all in one. It's a cafe, restaurant, bar, vintage store, cultural center type place. It's a place where Africans celebrate African culture and invite others to join them. The second you walk in you know you're somewhere special. The decor is like no other. And the people are always interestingly stylish and hip. Go during the day for coffee with a friend, go during happy hour to join in the mingling, go at night to dance (come early cause lines are long), or go on a lazy Sunday for some live music. Each time is an entirely new experience.
Holy belly (19 Rue Lucien Sampaix) - Ok, so I'm kinda cheating with this one cause it's actually a restaurant run by Americans who serve American food. But it's absolutely fantastic and I'm still savoring the brunch I had there. The staff is super friendly and their branding is spot-on.

Belleville

Buttes-Chaumont: Any park or garden that you go to will be perfectly manicured, the trees will be perfectly trimmed and all will be perfectly symmetrical. The Buttes Chaumont is one of the only parks in Paris that's not like that, featuring hills and trees that grow freely. It's also pretty huge. Go on any given sunny day and bring all you want to eat and drink and just lay out on the grass. I guarantee you it'll feel like all of Paris is doing the same. Once you're done relaxing, go for a walk and explore the park, specifically walk towards the Temple Sybille (preferably at sunset). It's perched on top of a cliff and gives you spectacular views of Paris. Look out for Sacre-Coeur while you're there.
Cafe Cheri(e) (44 Boulevard de la Villette): My favorite place to go to on a friday/saturday night. Cafe Cheri(e) is a little gem of a bar in Belleville. It's inexpensive, laidback and always, always a good time. People are cool and friendly and will actually strike up a conversation with you. You'll always make friends and meet people and the DJ plays the BEST music. It's nothing fancy, it's just a genuinely good time. FYI: it gets unbearably crowded and hot around midnight, so plan on wearing something light.

Le Marais 

Le Kilo Shop (69-71 Rue de la Verrerie) - The best thrift shopping you'll get in Paris. Not the cheapest thrifting you'll ever do, but they have a great selection and it's all curated and organized by section, which saves you so much trouble.
Place des Vosges - Gorgeous square in the heart of the Marais-- the oldest in Paris.
La Cafeotheque (52 Rue de l’Hôtel-de-Ville) - My favorite coffee shop in Paris. There's a room with huge windows,
L'as du Fallafel (32-34 Rue des Rosiers) - best fallafel you'll ever have in your life.
Also try to check out any of the art galleries in this area, there are a ton!
When doing the Marais, I would follow it up by a stroll in the Ile de Saint-Louis -- a little island of happiness on the Seine. It's in the heart of Paris, but seemingly isolated. It's tranquil and peaceful and unbelievably charming.

Jardin des plantes/ Austerlitz

Jardin des plantes & the Grand Mosque of Paris: Do these together. Pick a day when it's nice out, walk through the garden. Go inside the greenhouses. Be amazed. Walk up the hill, to the gazebo and sit there enjoying the view. Then, go to the grand mosque across the street. Visit the outdoor tea room, take in the views, people chatting, smoking hookah, drinking tea, the tile mosaics on the wall, the curve of the trees. Order the 2 euro best mint green tea of your life. Make the line for the pastries. Have fun trying to communicate which ones you want (not even french people know the names of them). They're also 2 euros each and insanely flavorful.

You can't do Paris without experiencing the art it has to offer. My recommendation is to pick one museum and go to it. My all-time favorite is La Fondation Louis Vuitton. It's lesser known by tourists and its architecture is equally as mind-blowing as the art on display.

Extras ~
Palais Royal - Daniel Buren columns & garden, Cafe Kitsune, Colette
For the best view of Paris: Roof of Printemps (also free)
Hotel Amour (hotel restaurant with a gorgeous outdoor terrace) & The Beef Club's Ballroom (speakeasy type bar)
* You'll find photos of most (if not all) of these recommended spots on my Instagram*


Nouveau Western

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Top: Kilo Shop // Jeans: Zara // Hat: Kilo Shop // Boots: ASOS // Photos by: Kara Korab

Spring in Paris is just as magical as everyone makes it out to be. A few rays of sunshine really change everything. Paris is alive as ever: cherry blossoms blooming everywhere, people actually smile as they pass you on the street, every restaurant terrace is packed with people chatting, taking in the sun. I'm taking every single opportunity to be outside. Always. Lately, I've discovered that my favorite thing to do, along with basically every young Parisian in the springtime, is to picnic. Whether it be along the Seine, at the Buttes Chaumont in Belleville or along the Canal Saint Martin, it's my favorite way to spend my time. I wore this outfit to hangout with some friends and, yes, picnic by the canal. I bought the hat and the shirt at the Kilo shop, which is probably the only place I shop in Paris. Of course, it's a thrift store, but with a twist. The selection is definitely curated so there's a lot less rummaging involved, it's well organized and, best of all, you buy things by the kilo. I definitely recommend checking it out if you're in Paris.

flared up

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Jacket: Zara // Top: Monki // Jeans: Zara // Boots: ASOS // Bag: Thrifted

After weekends of traveling (oh the struggle), I'm overjoyed to be spending all my time in Paris again. Spring break is over and April is around the corner, which means I have about a month left here and I'm kinda freaking out about it. Still, looking back I'm pretty proud of how much exploring I've done without compromising too many of my precious Parisian weekends. I went to London and Lisbon, which you knew already, but recently I also went to Barcelona and Mallorca. Naturally, I took advantage of the cheap prices and raided every Zara in my vicinity while in Spain. Just like every blogger/fashion gal out there, the first thing on my shopping list for spring/summer was a pair of flared jeans. For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past few months, let me warn you now, say goodbye to your precious skinny jeans, cause flares are gonna be in the limelight for a while. They're not the easiest to style since the last time I did so was circa 2007 (?), so I'm actually pretty excited to take on the challenge. This time, I paired them with some chelsea boots, a military jacket (also from my Zara haul) and this amazing asymmetrical top from one of my fave online stores, Monki.

What are your thoughts? Are you gonna hop on the bandwagon like the rest of us or will you stay true to the skinny?

azulejos

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Last weekend could very well have been one of the best weekends of my life. I went to Lisbon and fell head over heels in love. I planned the trip with very little expectations, all I really knew was that food would be cheap and that the city would be picturesque and honestly that was enough to convince me to book the trip. We arrived to Lisbon exhausted from not getting enough sleep the night before and we took on the challenge of foregoing taking a cab to our air bnb and instead took the metro and a bus. I was pleasantly surprised to see that their metro system was dirttt cheaaapp. And when I say cheap I mean you can get an unlimited 24 hour day pass for just 6 euros. yep. Once we got on the bus and saw the city, I could not keep from smiling. My cheeks were hurting by the end of the day I kid you not. It was just so different. Such an aesthetic delight to see these colorful buildings that were centuries old in a state of beautiful decay. Don't even get me started on the azulejos-- the blue and white ceramic tilework found on so many of Lisbon's buildings. 

What I loved most was that you can feel it's history while you're there but it has an undeniably youthful spirit to it. Here's a little summary of my experience:

The People
It was so unbelievably refreshing to be greeted by Portugal's warm people. It honestly made the experience. Everyone was just so unpretentious, humble, and kind, but so much fun. People will actually talk to you as you walk down the street and approach you at a bar and make conversation. Everyone's just so open. Portuguese people are also very colorful and diverse, which makes things all the more interesting.

Food
Seafood, seafood, seafood! Some tapas and more seafood. I'm not a huge seafood person, but let me tell you, I savored basically every bite I had in Lisbon. I felt like everything was made with so much love and care. And of course it doesn't hurt that everything is so cheap. See the restaurants I listed below for recommendations...

Nightlife 
The Thursday we arrived we were pretty tired and just wanted to keep things low-key after dinner. We did our research, picked a bar and arrived to the bar around 10:30, only to find that it was closed and wouldn't open til midnight. We settled for walking around the area and went home around midnight and that's when we heard people out in the streets. It's safe to say that nightlife in Lisbon starts late and lasts alllllll night. I recommend walking around Bairro Alto and popping into bars. Grab drinks outside cause that's definitely a thing there. And go to Cais do Sodre and visit the "pink" street (which is no longer really pink). There are a bunch of great bars there and the street pretty much stays crowded and is vibrant and filled with life all night. Also, it wouldn't hurt to go out of your comfort zone and just try a really, crappy hole in the wall place with cheap drinks, at least to start off the night, chances are it'll be packed and people will strike up conversations with you instantly.

Tourist attractions 
Honestly the best part of this trip is that it's completely hassle-free. You can go to Lisbon without knowing a thing about it or where to go and easily find yourself wandering the city and running into everything. The best way to enjoy Lisbon is to walk, A LOT. The hills are steep, so it's not always easy but it's so worth it. Plus you need to burn off all that food somehow, don't ya?

- You must take the tram 28, a streetcar that will take you all over lisbon.
- I would also recommend going to Cascais, a charming beach town just 40 min from Lisbon for a day if you have the time.
- Sintra is also a good idea, but avoid making the mistake I did and get there EARLY. Especially during the winter when things close at 5pm. Also, make sure to either pack lunch or eat in advance because the restaurants are all pretty bad, cramped with tourists and overpriced. Sintra is a mountainous town and is a UNESCO world heritage site. Make sure you see the Castle of the Moors and the da Pena National Palace.



Shop:
A Outra Face da Lua- Vintage stope/ Tea Room/ Bistro
Rua da Assuncao, 22, Baixa, Lisboa
www.aoutrafacedalua.com

Eat:
Taberna Portugesa 
Calcado do Combro, 115
Bairro Alto, Lisboa

Cafe Tati
Rua da Ribeira Nova, 36
Lisboa (next to mercado ribeira)
www.cafetati.blogspot.com

The Decadente 
Rua da Sao Pedro de alcantara, 81
Lisboa Portugal
www.thedecadente.pt

*Also do yourself a favor and try any one of the ginginha stands around the city (pictured above). It's a delicious cherry liquor that will give you the perfect shot of energy throughout the day (and yes day drinking is apparently ok here.)*

Cascais
The loveliest seaside town with cute little beaches and shops

House of Wonders- boutique, cafe, restaurant with a rooftop terrace!
Largo da Misericordia, 53
(center of Cascais)
www.facebook.com/bbhouseofwonder

Belem 
Pasteis de Belem- Quintessential Lisbon bakery, you can't leave Belem without going... it's quite known among tourists but for very good reason. Have their signature Pasteis de nata!

Pair that with a visit to the tourist attractions: Mosteiro de Geronimos & Tour of Belem

Nightlife:
Cais do Sodre, pink street
Bairro Alto
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