racing stripes

 shirt RIVERLAND / dress C/O JEWEL TONED / necklace C/O MALL OF STYLE / bag REBECCA MINKOFF / shoes ALDO

As summer comes to a closing chapter, the typical formula kicks in. I become the recepient of good-luck wishes, endure the sweet sorrows of friendship good-byes, and must again surrender to the educational gods. Nowadays, relaxation instantly morphs into preparation. Gone long are the nights where I can peacefully enjoy Welcome To Sweden episodes without worrying about at least one move-in mishap. I mean, switching dorms in NYC is not exactly a black-and-white task. Storage trucks, Container Store runs, and the return of the incessant MetroCard swipings, it'll be a warm welcome back to the city indeed. Not to mention, I will officially be freed from the grasps of NYU's dining plan and shall make my first foray into cooking (starring my limited range of kitchen skills).

I spent my last week in California doing the summer classic: coffee and the cinema. My latest film conquest? The Hundred-Foot Journey, aka the live-action Ratatouille with a splash of Chocolat. For those seeking heavenly Indian food porn and picturesque French villages, this flick is best reserved for you. And tip one? Don't enter the theater on an empty stomach (same rule applies to Jon Favreau's Chef)

Naturally, shapewear is my number one comrade when it comes to devouring fine cuisine both on and off the screen. Jewel Toned was recently kind enough to gift me their best-selling Major Mini Dress to play around with, and this isn't strictly LBD business either. The figure-enhancing creations over at atelier Jewel Toned are designed to amp up your curves in fresh innovative manner. Their collection of minidresses, skirts, and biker shorts are all the blank slate for your sartorial imagination. This is why I just so happen to love my Major Mini Dress; its versatility is perfect for crafting a menu of outfits for every occasion. On this particular day, I chose to go streetstyle elegance by layering a striped cropped tee on top and finished my ensemble with black ankle-strap heels. And I don't feel guilty about noshing on avocado omelettes and fries in this dress either! Thankfully, my food baby will remain in ultimate concealment (for now, at least).


snake's nest

dress C/O HKR COLLECTIONS / vest H&M / necklace OK1984 / bag REBECCA MINKOFF / shoes STEVE MADDEN / hat LOVE STORY / sunglasses FOREVER 21

 Dear Mexico, thank-you for blessing me with (once again) a tan.

Living in New York may have robbed me of my wallet, sleep, and sanity, but it can't truly kidnap the powers of sunkissed skin. With that being said, my one week stint in Cancun was a much needed R&R away from the mental confinements of work shifts and deadlines. Let me tell you, waking up to the shores of Playa Marlin is a refreshing change from a nightmarish 8AM alarm.

Ask me how I spent my wanderlust coins and I'll tell you this: sun, sand, and salsa. Mornings consisted of one lounge chair, one Triangl bikini, and an infinite dosage of tropical sunshine (special S/O to my trusty Australia Gold sunscreen). Add a splash of groovy tracks from The Growlers and I was good to go. The afternoon formula went aquatic-style; I usually either opted for a dive in the postcard-perfect Caribbean waters or tamed it down with a dip in the hotel infinity pool. By evenings, cuisine reigned supreme. Whether it be sampling my first taste of cactus and octopus ceviche to experiencing a foodgasm right in the middle of a Mexican Walmart bakery, there was no dish immune from my burning appetite (and iPhone camera). I could honestly pen a five-paragraph essay just on the food porn. And let us not forget the heavenly mocha frappé from Ah Cacao Chocolate Cafe, crafted with authentic cocoa beans from the Mayan lands. Starbucks is eternally trapped at "basic" level by this point. 

However, Cancun isn't merely a beach bunny destination. It only takes a two-hour drive to explore the majestic world of Chichén Itzá, an ancient city constructed by the Mayan civilization and is ranked as one of the newest Seven Wonders of the World. While my time there mostly consisted of hitting the "ignore" button on the aggressive (read: illegal) souvenir vendors, it was quite interesting to get properly schooled on Mayan sacrificies and their love for hammocks. We cooled down our temple adventure with a visit to Cenote Ik Kil, a famed sinkhole swimming pool. Ancient Mayans supposedly worshipped cenotes and utilized them for religious ceremonies, believing they connected to the underworld. Lush vines, curious catfish, and cascading waterfalls certainly made this no ordinary community pool. My fears took the best of me when I refused to swim, nevertheless, dive into 130 feet of murky water with no lifejacket (and that would be 30 pesos please). Instead, I peacefully settled on snapping GoPro shots from the safety of dry land. There's always next time I guess! 

And of course, I can't forget a vital vacation component: shopping. Our resort was conveniently located right across from the bustling La Isla Shopping Village, a retail paradise that mixes the luxuries of Louis Vuitton with the street comfort of Zara and my new favorite, Pull & Bear. Think of P&B like a hybrid between Topshop and H&M. Cropped plaid jumpers, floral babydoll dresses and cut-out ankle boots were among the alluring menu, and it was hard to stick to just one purchase. I ended up nabbing a white muscle tee with French phrases (how pretentious of me). Can Pull & Bear just make its American debut yet or what? 

I also finally got the chance to wear this beauty sent to me by HKR Collections. Maxi dresses pair perfectly with a tropical holiday, much like how pina colodas and beach afternoons make the most compatible couple. Tuning into the traveling vibe, I thought the "London, New York, Paris" typeface was an adorable touch (though I have yet to make my way across the pond, I hope to in the future!) I chose my trusty denim H&M vest and a floppy black hat to complete the look. I also must not forget to introduce my newborn Rebecca Minkoff Mini 5 Zip crossbody bag, a recent steal from the Nordstrom Anniversary sale (and to which I stayed up until midnight to order. The priority is real)

Before I go, allow me to explain the title of this blog post. While I dearly love Bethany Struble behind the blog Snake's Nest, I actually learned that Cancun is Mayan for "snake's nest". Thankfully I never encountered any of these spine-chilling reptiles. The most exciting action I got was probably from an iguana sunbathing on a rocky cliff, Little Mermaid-style. And I'm perfectly content with that!