How to Shop Local and Eat Local

As young professionals, it is important that we not only maintain a healthy lifestyle and give back to the community we live in. We are in the transformative period of our lives when we become independent and are contributing members of the economy. Make a positive influence by shopping and eating locally. I’m extremely passionate about shopping at local farmer’s markets for my food. I’m helping my community and developing a healthier lifestyle because of it. So slip on a pair of your favorite flat mules, throw on a cute kimono, and bring your straw tote because we are taking a trip to the market.

Shopping locally for your food builds community. I know the people that farm my food, and my money is not being lost in the corporate world. There’s nothing I love more than meeting new people and seeing their faces light up because I purchase their products and ask about their family business. It truly warms my heart knowing that I am supporting local families.

As I said previously, it is healthier for you to buy locally. Everything is fresher and has higher nutritional value. The people who you buy from can tell you exactly how it was grown and the process it went through to get to your straw tote. The more steps between you and the source of your food, the higher the risk of contamination.

Personally, one of my favorite benefits of shopping locally is that most of the time it is cheaper. I know this may be shocking to hear considering how expensive it is at the store. The truth of the matter is, it is cheaper (and healthier) to buy foods when they are at the peak of their season. I like to buy in bulk and throw them in the freezer so I have them for future seasons.

What do you love about shopping and eating locally? Leave me a note in the comments below!

When in Rome

Buon giorno! This summer I had the opportunity to travel to Rome, Italy and had an amazing time! I loved every part of Rome, from the incredible architecture to the delicious food, to the designer stores. After returning home, I have written down a few of my favorite travel tips. Hopefully, these will help you plan your next excursion!

1—Make an itinerary. Before jetting off, you should make a list of the main attractions to make sure you see all that you want. After doing this, you will be able to plan which days you want to do each activity. This will ensure that you make the most of your trip and don’t forget anything you want to do. Additionally, make sure you know your flight times and locations to make traveling as smooth as possible.

2—Wear a comfortable outfit. If you are traveling to a foreign country, you most likely won’t have a car to drive around like at home, and you will have to walk almost everywhere. Because of this, it is important to wear an outfit that is cool and comfortable. One example of an outfit that I wore was a white T-shirt, seersucker shorts, white Converse, and pearl earrings.

3—Water, water, water. Depending on your destination and time of year that you are traveling, the temperature could be very hot, like it was on my trip. The best way to combat this is to make sure that you are staying hydrated throughout the day and drinking plenty of water.

4—Take lots of pictures. This is definitely a trip you’ll want to remember! Take as many pictures as you can so you will be able to look back on them when you are home and remember all the great memories you made.

5—Do as the Romans do. That being said, make sure to take a step back to appreciate the remarkable country you are in. Look at the incredible, thousand-year-old architecture, and listen to the different languages being spoken around you. This is a once in a lifetime experience, make sure to enjoy it!

What are your favorite travel tips? Let me know in the comments!

4 Mexican Summer Treats You Need to Try Before Summer Ends

As summer draws near its end, and we transition into fall, take a moment to appreciate the fact that there’s still time for more sizzling summer fun! Alright, so the sizzling heat isn’t necessarily the greatest perk of summer, but at least it’s what makes summer the greatest time of the year to eat your favorite chilly sweet summer treats. Take a breather from your fall preparations and cool off by learning about these four tasty Mexican treats you need to try before summer ends.

1—Ice Cream Sandwich Churro. This Mexican summer treat has the perfect combination! The warmth from the churros blends perfectly with the coolness of the ice cream which results in a happy tummy. These sugar and cinnamon dusted pastries add an extra touch of sweetness to your ice cream that’ll leave you wanting more!

2—Rainbow Raspa. Raspas can be served in several different syrup flavors like mango, grape, and watermelon. Naturally, I couldn’t decide which yummy flavor to choose during my visit to the raspa stand so I thought—why just get one flavor when you can get three? This colorful Mexican treat is a mixture of lime, banana, and cherry flavored shaved ice that’s totally worth a brain freeze, or two.

3—Avocado Paleta. Break away from ordinary popsicle flavors and try a creamy avocado popsicle instead. Not only is this popsicle healthy, but it also creates a sugary fiesta for your taste buds. The avocado paleta has just enough milk and sugar blended into it, so it doesn’t overpower the refreshing taste of the avocado. This frozen delight will definitely keep you cool during the sizzling summer heat!

4—Fresas Con Crema. Last, but not least, is my favorite Mexican summer treat. Fresas con crema is a heavenly blend of freshly sliced strawberries and a sugary cream. Once you get a taste of fresas con crema, I guarantee you will not want to put it down until you’ve eaten every last spoonful of this classic Mexican treat.

What are your favorite summer treats? Show us on social media! Don’t forget to tag @CFashionista.

A Trip to the Ringling Museum of Art

Being that I am an art major and that one of my best friends lives in Sarasota, I pretty much started geeking out when I realized how close she lives to the Ringling Museum of Art. This museum has a total of 21 exhibits, ranging from interchanging galleries of contemporary art, to displays of portrait photography. Due to the permanent collections being the only galleries I could take pictures of, I dedicated most of the time I had at the 14th-18th century European art, and the Circus Museum.

The gallery of 14th-18th century European art mostly captured art from the Renaissance era. The combination of beauty and elegant, flourishing creativity during this period is why I’ve always found the “rebirth” period to be one of the most influential movements in history. One piece that really stuck out to me features this snazzy lady right here. Her gown is hands down one of the prettiest articles of clothing I’ve ever seen and she’s holding the tiniest dog to walk the planet.

The circus museum was full of interactive pieces such walking on tightropes and sitting in a clown car, but what really stuck out to me what the fashion. The Ringling Circus was at its peak in the mid-1920s, so obviously the costumes were amazing. Female performers always had the most intricate beading and details on their costumes and this woman’s warm-toned gown matched perfectly with her partner, the elephant’s, costume. The piece definitely gives me Water for Elephants vibes.

How to Conquer the Ringling Museum of Art

1—Bring your student ID. If you’re enrolled at the University of South Florida, Florida State University, State College of Flordia, New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design, or Eckerd College, this is essential. If you are a college student but not enrolled at any of these schools, bring your ID because you will still get a discount! Your ticket will cost only $5 rather than the typical adult ticket which costs $25.

2—Keep track of time and make the exhibits you know you want to see a priority.

3—Bring a bag that can fit everything, including your camera. Walking around a museum, or anywhere in general, with a camera in my hand can be very irritating, and I find that it draws attention to me. I found that just bringing a bigger purse can easily solve the problem. I usually find myself gravitating toward smaller purses, but in situations like these. A shopper or tote is the perfect solution.

How are you going to conquer your next art museum? Let us know in the comments!

The Places You Must See in Brooklyn, According To Your Instagram Feed

There’s no denying that New York City is the fashion capital of the U.S.; so naturally, for those of us who dream of working in the industry, it’s the end-all, be-all place to end up post-grad. What no one tells you is how absolutely impossible it is for anyone to live there on an entry-level salary. Not only is rent shockingly pricey, but so is everything else. Basically, every after-work activity that us 20-somethings enjoy doing is outside of our price range. So where do us normal people live and hang out when you work in NYC but don’t have a six figure salary – or a salary at all (shout out to all the unpaid interns out there)? Help us, we’re poor.

Living in Brooklyn is moving its way up the where-to-live totem pole for Millennials and Gen-Zers stationed in New York. Greenpoint, Williamsburg, and Fort Greene have all the cute photo-op spots, coffee shops, and under-the-radar vintage boutiques that the city has, all at a fraction of the price. While I’m aware that the occasional trip to Manhattan is a must, there’s plenty to keep you busy on the other side of the East River. Below, I’m spotlighting the best and brightest of Brooklyn, NYC It-Girls approved. 


Not into sifting through racks and racks of junk just to find one or two good finds at Goodwill or Unique? The Break offers a highly-curated collection of vintage pieces ranging from 50s dresses to 90s band tees, all at a reasonable price. Check out their Instagram for updates on sales and special events.

Where: 82 Dobbins St. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn


This massive restaurant-bar-outdoor escape is located a short walk from the Brooklyn Bridge and can satisfy every single one of your cravings whether you need a Sunday brunch spot, a quick coffee-croissant combo, or an after-work cocktail. Make sure to check out Freehold’s website to stay in the know on their daily deals.

Where: 45 S. 3rd St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn


If you’re in need of a new brunch spot, you’ve found the right place. Sit out back in the outdoor patio or inside to enjoy the staff’s impressive music selection. Need another reason to check out Blessings Café? They host a Record Night every Wednesday from 8-10pm.

Where: 663 Flatbush Ave. in Prospect Park, Brooklyn


For those of you who crave the knowledge that you found something first—whether it be a trend, a designer, or even a new store (!!), Swords-Smith is for you. Founders Briana Swords and R Smith moved into Williamsburg long before it was the “it” place to live and wanted to create a space that held onto the Brooklyn they know and love. The inventory is ever-changing, but expect to see a range of designer rags from Samuji to MM6 Maison Margiela. Can’t make it to the store, check out their online website.

Where: 98 S 4th St. in Williamsburg, Brooklyn


Greenpoint has its fair share of vintage shops, but Mirth is at the front of the herd. Whether you’re looking for a fitted vintage suit for the office or the perfect pair of vintage jeans, I guarantee that Mirth should be one of your first stops. Coming from Manhattan? Take the ferry – the view is to die for.

Where: 606 Manhattan Ave. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn


After buying way too much (in the best way) vintage from The Break, head around the corner to Dobbin St. Vintage Co-Op for even more. While the store also has vintage clothing, the real finds here are furniture. Say you’re looking to recreate Don and Megan Draper’s mod apartment or live in a Wes Anderson flick, Dobbin St. has something, somewhere that you’ll fall in love with.

Where: 37 Norman Ave. in Greenpoint, Brooklyn


Not really an IMAX person? Check out Syndicated for a rather unique movie theatre experience. Whether your parents cut you off their HBO account and you need a place to watch Game of Thrones on Sunday or just want to see your favorite old-school flick somewhere other than your couch, Syndicated is the place to go. Keep up with their Instagram for what’s on the agenda.

Where: 40 Bogart St. in Bushwick, Brooklyn


Be “in the know” and go to Carthage Must Be Destroyed, which despite its rather intense nomenclature, is actually very pink and very aesthetically pleasing. If you’re looking for a place to go on a Saturday for a morning yoga class and post-sweat brunch, this is the place for you. Just downstairs is an equally lovely yoga studio, Like a Prayer Yoga. Basically, this is the place to be.

Where: 222 Bogart St. in Bushwick, Brooklyn

Any other must-sees in Brooklyn? Let us know in the comments below!

6 Ways to Make Being Green Easy

That new Forever 21 haul might look great on you, but it definitely does not look great on the earth. The fashion industry is the second biggest pollutant on the planet.  From production to post-consumer, the process of fast fashion needs as much of an update change as a winter to summer wardrobe—it takes 18,000 gallons of water just to grow the cotton for a pair of jeans, and about 400 gallons for a single cotton T-shirt.

According to Newsweek, “The EPA estimates that diverting all of those often-toxic trashed textiles into a recycling program would be the environmental equivalent of taking 7.3 million cars and their carbon dioxide emissions off the road.”
Yep, definitely not looking good.

So, you might ask, how does one keep a rad, on-trend wardrobe while reducing global warming?

Last week, I attended a panel in Detroit on sustainable fashion, hosted by local designers, clothing-conscious store owners, pattern makers, and buyers. Here was some advice they gave for making green the new black:

1—Quality over quantity. Have a few well-made pieces that will last rather than buying fast-made trend pieces that get thrown away season to season; curate your closet with key, quality pieces.

2—Look for transparency. Good sustainable brands show working conditions and the cost to create, such as Reformation (carrying clothing at good prices, upcyclying, and listing what resources went into their products) and Matt and Nat (vegan “leather” goods).

3—Thrifting is your friend! Mom jeans super-ultra in style right now? Instead of buying new, why not stop in at your local resale or goodwill and search for an authentic vintage pair?

4—Reduce, reuse, recycle, rewear. When it comes recycling fabric, due to a lot of the chemicals that go into processing clothing, most used or deadstock clothes end up in landfills. However, it’s not all wasted—the fashion panel I attended featured designers who up-cycled car interior leather, automotive metal, ex-TV cabling, and even furniture covering and old blankets…and made them totally wearable.

5—Take up knitting. Not only is it therapeutic, it’s a zero-waste way of making accessories and garments from a single “thread.”

6—Spread the word. A major issue with fashion sustainability is awareness. Tell others, thrift and share your stores, check out and share websites like Not Just A Label. It is totally possible without breaking the bank or wearing the same T-shirt for the rest of your life to work a little more “green” in your everyday style.

In the words of Phillip Picardi of Teen Vogue, “To tell a teenager that she should stick to lip gloss—when she’s being directly impacted by the policies, and they’re directly affecting her lifestyle and the lifestyle of those around her—is frankly irresponsible […] young women […] should have a firm opinion of what’s going on.” This quote applies to all Fashionistas/os and general clothing consumers; It shouldn’t just be about “who” you’re wearing anymore, but “what” you’re wearing.

How do you incorporate going green in your everyday looks? Tell us and tag @CFashionista!

The Dos and Don’ts of French Chic

The Parisian It Girl is a long-standing icon in the fashion world. Adopting this infamous aesthetic is more than just wearing a marinière. It is all about carrying yourself in an elegant and carefree manner. From Pinterest boards to Vogue tutorials, how-to guides on becoming the perfect French girl are everywhere. But, does all of this live up to the hype? Here are the top three dos and don’ts of la vie Français.

French Chic Dos

1—Do go for quality over quantity. A big difference between Americans and the French is that the French value investment in high-quality goods. This can be seen through the French way of styling and buying. A French girl will never buy something unless she absolutely loves it and knows it will last. Investing in your first pair of classic Louboutins not only lets you go gaga over shoes, it teaches you to value and take care of what you own.

2—Do embrace the natural look. A true Parisienne isn’t afraid to go out au naturale. Skipping heavy makeup isn’t just a good way to let your skin breathe, it can also help build confidence in your natural features. Styling a fresh face with a flowing sundress beats worrying about mascara smudges any day. Glossier is a popular new skincare brand that embraces the French motto of going bare.

3—Do learn self-discipline. Ever wonder how the French girl resists baguettes and croissants? She doesn’t; it’s all about moderation! Learning to opt for smaller portions of your favorite baked goods is a great way to satisfy a craving without feeling guilty. After all, restaurant portions in France are around 25 percent smaller than in America. Having measuring cups handy and limiting eating out are quick ways to make sure you’re not over eating.

French Chic Don’ts 

1—Don’t over-accessorize. In the words of Mademoiselle Coco Chanel herself, “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Selecting minimal accessories when picking out an outfit is a quick and easy way to refine a look and appear more elegant. Instead of adding excess jewelry opt for a sweet spray of Chanel’s Coco Mademoiselle.

2—Don’t fall victim to assuming you can’t be an It Girl. The truth is that there is no set of requirements to be an It Girl. The media’s portrayal of the perfect Parisienne hardly ever shows women of color or varying sizes. While France isn’t exactly the leader in social equality, Paris is definitely a diverse city and no matter who you are you can embrace the good qualities of French life.

3—Don’t let your identity become consumed by an aesthetic. While it can be a lot of fun to dress up and play French girl, realize that there is no such thing as becoming the perfect Parisienne. Always remember to stay true to who you are and to not let your life become defined by the aesthetics you aspire to achieve.

What do you think about Parisian Chic? Comment below and let us know!

First Reflect, Then Transform

Artist Georgia O’Keefe wrote “I have done nothing all summer but wait for myself to be myself again,” but what if that waiting was a sign? What if you’re not happy with the person you are?

Summer is nearing its end on us and man, has it flew by? It’s almost time for a new school year, which means one thing: a fresh start.

They say no one knows you better than you, which is partly true. I’ve discerned that there is a difference between the person I am and who I yearn to be. Through mistakes, disappointment, happiness, success, and other people, I reached the conclusion that I wasn’t happy with who I was and the life I was living. I was chasing the wrong dream and putting my time, money, and effort into a place I didn’t want to be in anymore. The person I thought I wanted to be because it would make my family proud wasn’t the person I truly seek to be. I knew this change would disappoint and surprise many, but I also knew I wasn’t disappointing myself. I was ready to start over, no matter how difficult it would be.

So I did something about my situation and I couldn’t be happier now. I’m attending a new school in the fall. I’m embarking on a new major, which is a concentration that I’m passionate about (you guessed it, it’s fashion) and I even altered my appearance a bit.

I was always afraid to act and believe against how I was raised and what was expected of me, but I’m different than my friends and my family, and that’s okay. It’s satisfying to embrace uniqueness in people and possess individualism.

As summer approaches its end, I’ve begun to reflect on who and what I want to work for this upcoming school year. I’m currently in the process of transforming myself, and it’s shocking people—I’m not the Maria people have always known. Every flower begins as a seed and contains some thorns; though eventually, this flower blooms into something beautiful due to support and nourishment. Don’t be afraid to recreate yourself. It’s never too early or late to change your life. The right time is now. Don’t pretend to be someone you don’t want to be. Everyone wants to make a difference and leave their mark, but that’s not possible if you’re not the person YOU enjoy being.

I encourage you to find things, meet people, or go places in the world that radiate your sparkle and inspire you to be the real you. Every day is another potential learning experience and that includes learning about yourself.

What do you have to reflect on this summer? How will you undertake your fresh start this fall? Let us know how on social media, and tag @CFashionista. 

All About Austin and Keeping it Weird

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Everything is bigger in Texas,” but do you know about keeping Austin weird? Austin is a trending travel destination due to the hipster city’s high temperatures and chill vibes. What makes this city so unique is that it is not supposed to be “touristy.” That’s why many are beginning to call it home, but the locals do not necessarily want this in fears of ruining the small-town feel.

I recently ventured to Austin to see what all the buzz was about. Two of my close friends live there, so they showed me around from a local’s point of view but incorporated a few of the classic Instagram worthy spots. While there are many gorgeous murals, the entire landscape of the buildings and nature here is unlike anywhere else.

Austin has such a wide variety of entertainment. There is truly something for everyone; I found that there are a lot of activities to keep people moving. Sure, everyone wants others to think they solely drink kombucha and do yoga every day, but I witnessed a lot of people who truly live this healthy in Austin. I’ve done my fair share of yoga classes, but this was the first time I’d done it outside in a park. And did I mention—it was completely free! Hiking on trails is also super popular and the views are fantastic. On the contrary, since Texas is basically the equator’s neighbor, the temperatures can be extreme. This calls for lots of water endeavors, including swimming, cliff diving, stand up paddle boarding, water skiing, jet skiing—the list goes on.

While being active is fun and all, so is eating. Austin has some amazing dining options. Let’s take a moment of silence to appreciate chips and queso. Tex Mex food is common, so we ate lots of tacos, rice, and salsa as well. Additionally, museums and shopping are always options that will not disappoint. Sixth street is iconic in that it is similar to a mullet, except instead of business in the front, a party in the back… the roadway is a business in the day, party at night. You cannot drive on the street at night because it is meant to be a place to walk around, let loose, and listen to fun music.

Overall, Austin is an interesting city, to say the least. Some may think it’s “weird,” but I think that is what makes it so inspiring.

Where have you traveled this summer? Let me know your favorite destinations via Instagram! 

Fashion and Beauty Culture Shocks From Taiwan

Despite my Taiwanese ethnicity, some would say that I’ve been “white washed.” I was born in America and have lived in areas with low Asian populations my entire life. This past month, however, I had the pleasure of flying to the great motherland of Taiwan to see family and adventure to attraction sites. During my stay, I discovered five fashion and beauty “culture shocks” that I’d like to share!


Ever since Coco Chanel’s accidental sunburn from her Riviera trip, tanning has been all the rage in western civilization. Yet in Taiwan, society finds beauty in pale skin. This perspective stems from ancient dynastic times when fair skin resembled wealth, nobility, and feminine beauty. Thus, people in Taiwan, especially women, will go to great lengths to avoid evidence of sun on their skin by applying skin whitening formulas and carrying umbrellas on sunny days to shade from UV rays.

2—Hair Texture

With the humid and sweltering weather, it is impossible to maintain frizzy hair. The solution to this issue is perms! Perms are basically a necessity because they allow men and women to attain smooth or curly hairstyles without much fuss throughout the day.


Since the workload for high schools is more rigorous and demanding than for colleges, public schools require students to wear uniforms from elementary to high school years. The main purpose is to create unity to reduce distractions. Additionally, for scholarly reasons, students typically do not cater to their appearances with cosmetics, hair products, fragrances, etc. until they begin college.

4—Dress Code

Although both Americans and the Taiwanese will wear black to a funeral, they definitely have conflicting dress code beliefs. Americans dress to the nines to exhibit respect for the dead, as the service is an honoring event. In contrast, the Taiwanese pay tribute by dressing sloppily to show distress from the dead’s passing. Moreover, it is inappropriate to attend in Taiwan a funeral in a lace dress, fancy veil, sleek tuxedo, or pair of pointy pumps.


The weather in Taiwan is cooler and more bearable in the evenings. Therefore, it is common for streets to be bustling even at midnight, and night markets are quite popular! Night markets are streets filled with boutiques, restaurants, and vendors that open for business once the sun goes down. Many teens buy clothing from these hotspots, as pieces are more affordable from night markets than from malls. Fashion from night markets is extremely trendy (you can easily find identical items in multiple shops) and generally imitates Korean or Japanese styles.

I oftentimes forget that an abundance of civilians on earth lives by completely different rules than I do. My vacation to Taiwan, the country of bubble tea and designer Jason Wu, reopened my eyes, exceeded my expectations, and brought me closer to my native culture. I highly suggest taking a trip to Taiwan sometime in the future, and if you do visit, save your receipts because they double as lottery tickets!

Which fun fact did you find most amusing? Let us know in the comments below!