Study Abroad: Berlin (Part 2)

It’s bitter sweet how fast time has passed since I’ve been in Berlin. In exactly one month I will return to my hometown of New York. Just the other day, the streets of Berlin seemed so remote, so unfamiliar, and now I can almost call this place home – for now, at least. While I greatly miss New York for a plethora of reasons, I do appreciate everything studying abroad in Berlin has taught me. Has it been the most easygoing experience? No, but life isn’t always easygoing. Regardless of the tumultuous ride I’ve had since I’ve been here, I know now more than ever that I can overcome anything thrown in my way.

Thanks to my classmate Yuki (who I’ve made friends since been here) I managed to get some great outfit photos during an excursion for my photography class. The outfit felt so much like a mix between a British and Parisian college student. Maybe it was the hat, the bright colors, the smile or just the confidence I exuded that made me feel that way, I don’t know. But whatever it was, I am sartorially thankful.

berlin outfit of the daystudy abroad: BerlinJacket: H&M| Dress: ASOS| Shoes: Sample Sale| Hat: H&M

Be You, Stay True, Stay Fabulous!

Oddly enough, since attending NYU my love for being black, and more specifically Caribbean-American, has grown tremendously. As of lately, I have been having the case of, “be you, stay true, be shameless” wherein I have an inner dialogue with myself about the wonderful aspects of being a black woman. I’ve learned to embrace my natural hair over the last two years, but also have kept in mind that if I want to straighten it with heat or wear extensions for a while, I sure can. Sometimes people of color think they have to wait for the rest of society to see the beauty within themselves, but to hell with that. I am a first generation American, my ethnicity is that of Jamaican & African descent, and I love who I am. While there are days when I am down and out, they are becoming far and few between. The acceptance of myself has helped me navigate life while figuring out how I am going to fulfill my life long dreams of becoming a magazine editor. Oh man, cheers to becoming older, wiser, and far more brazen.

So tell me, what do you love most about your ethnicity? 

forever 21 Coat: H&M|Pants: Forever 21| Top: Forever 21| Shoes: Primark

Travel Diaries: Amsterdam

travel dairies: amsterdam For years I thought that if I were to live in another city besides New York, it would have to be either London or Paris – maybe even Berlin. But having visited Amsterdam, I can safely say I would consider moving to The Netherlands following my college graduation. The city is majestic, surrounded by water and happy-go-lucky people. Not to mention, most inhabitants opt for bicycles as their primary mode of transportation, which happens to be emblematic of the easy going lifestyle many Dutch people are known for. And although for most, if not all of my trip, my friends and I were in very tourist areas of the city, I couldn’t help but feel happy and at peace throughout the entire weekend while I was there. It was if happiness briefly permeated the city air, and I happened to inhale a breath or two of it.

Amsterdam

Travel Diaries: Amsterdamvondelparkvondelpark

Since we arrived relatively early on Friday, we spent the afternoon exploring the city center, and enjoying some good ol’ Italian food. Afterwards, we made our way to the House of Bols, where we toured the space, while simultaneously learning about the history of the Lucas Bol company, which is known for its alcoholic beverages, especially the Dutch drink called genever. While we had planned on visiting the Van Gogh museum right after the House of Bols, we decided to explore the city a little more, and can I just say, Amsterdam is the land of photo opportunities. We ended the night with some well-need waffles topped with ice-cream, chocolate chunks, sugar, and whip cream.

the pancake factory

Which takes me into our fun-filled saturday. Since we had the entire day to our liking, my friends and I were able to make the most of our day. The pancake bakery in Amsterdam was an absolute pleasure, albeit the pancakes weren’t your typical New York City, diner pancakes. Following the pancake bakery, we did the ultimate tourist thing to do: a boat tour of the city. While I can feel your piercing eyes, to my defense, it was the most feasible way to see most of the city in the time frame of an hour. So, there, I had to be your conventional tourist for the day. It is was amazing to see how well-kept the city’s canals were, as most were built from the 17th century onwards. As we collectively stared right outside our boat windows in awe at how scenic Amsterdam was, I immediately was brought back into reality when the boat captain announced that there was a museum in the city center filled with an archival collection of bags and purses. So immediately after the boat tour, I made sure to make my way to the Tassen Museum Hendrikje; and to my luck, the collection in the museum was absolutely delightful.

Amsterdam (17 of 1)

But before I ended up at the Tassen Museum Hendrikje, I stumbled upon the cutest stationery shop that drew me in by the shop window alone. While I told myself I would not be spending money on anything but food, I couldn’t resist purchasing a few items in the Like Stationery store. Plus, if you’re anything like me, you must know how handy and useful cute stationery like notebooks and pens, can be. I kid you not, I am far more motivated to blog or do school work when I have a whimsical notebook and playful pen in hand. 

Amsterdam (28 of 1) Amsterdam (32 of 1)Amsterdam (31 of 1) Amsterdam (30 of 1)

All in all, if offered the opportunity to visit Amsterdam again, I would go in a heartbeat. From the scenery, to the food, and the people, Amsterdam will surely be missed. But until we meet again, you will forever be in my heart, Amsterdam.

True Beauty Extends Beyond the Exterior

Shammara Lawrence  ”It’s not just about a great picture, it’s about finding a feeling – a comfort in yourself as much as an inner sparkle. That sparkle is what shines through, when given the chance, and you mustn’t be afraid to sparkle a little brighter, darling.” – Sarah Stein

Inspired by the creative aura pervading the streets of Berlin, I sought out an opportunity to collaborate with a photographer based in Berlin, and luckily, I managed to get my wish. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Sarah Stein’s eye for images which express the inner beauty of the subjects she shoots, aids her creation of timeless, iconic photographs. Prior to the shoot, we both decided to take inspiration from all things stereotypically girly – so think tulle (lots of it), sequins, and the color pink. Sarah even referenced Tilda Swinton’s most recent magazine editorial for our shoot together, which I found ironic and quite amusing, given that I had marveled over Swinton’s editorial right here on the blog. Overall, Sarah was a pleasure to work with and I couldn’t be happier with final images from our shoot. As stated by Sarah and myself, everyone deserves the chance to recognize their holistic beauty, as true beauty extends far beyond the exterior. And because of Sarah, I was able to do just that.

fragment-of-light-berlin-portrait-fotograf-portrait-2-1969bfragment-of-light-berlin-portrait-fotograf-portrait-2-1778c

Thank you for such a beautiful shoot, Sarah. To see more of Sarah Stein’s work, head on over to her personal website here.