Cheesesteaks and Chokers: The Finale.

Well, the end has come and gone. I said goodbye to Fishtown, goodbye to photo shoots, goodbye to the team that taught me how to use a french press. To learn more about my time with URBN, consult my last post. This post is a tribute to a city that’s no longer new to me. “Dirty old Philly,” as our old lady neighbor once called it, is now a friend of mine.

Before this week’s outfits and eats and smiley moments, I want to take a second to thank the three best roommates I could’ve ever asked for. To Nina, thank you for introducing me to cookie crisps, knowing I’ll always be willing to take a photo of (or with) you, and being my Sample Sale ally. To Leena, you are the kindest, gentlest soul I’ve ever encountered and every interaction with you leaves me wishing I was a better person. Thank you for also talking Bravo with me while the others judged from a distance. And to Marg, you’re my ultimate adventure buddy. From walking 4 miles around the city by accident that first weekend to supporting and encouraging my peanut butter/mixed nuts addiction, you will never truly know how much this summer meant to me!

Okay, enough with the sap. This is the grand finale of my time in Philly. Back to the business school, I go.

Last #OOTDs

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Last Suppers

The Best Week Yet

Well, that’s a wrap. This city’s definitely been good to me, too bad I never had the cheesesteak to prove it.

Farewell, Philadelphia.


Stuck in my head: Malibu 1992 // COIN
Snap it: Fishtown

Cheesesteaks and Chokers: Week Nine.

The theme of this week: pure demin takeover. It’s insane to think that the life I’ve created here is coming to an end. Only seven more days of adulting before I go back to tailgates and textbooks. Not gonna lie, I do miss the Terp life.

Here’s week nine and all it’s glory. To be honest, the week was packed with fun but I don’t have the photos to prove it. Did it really happen if there are no pics? Had a little break from behind the screen. No munchies, not many moments. But don’t worry, the outfits are all there. Priorities, you know?

Lookin’ Good

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Feelin’ Good.

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Stuck in my head: 11:11 // Arkells
Snap it:

The Big 100- “Reading Revival” Revisted.

Everyone loves a good Netflix binge. Like, who doesn’t want to watch hours of Stassi vs The World (clearly, I’m watching Vanderpump Rules right now). But, almost a year ago, I committed to refinding my love for reading. And this week, I’m reporting back to say I found it, celebrated it, and have held onto it. 

The number of books I’ve read throughout the summer and semester is probably pretty average. It ranges from 1-3 a month and yes, one of them is always the Girls’ Night In book club pick. At first, progress was slow and it took an effort to turn pages instead of pressing play, but over time, the value of reading started to really show itself. 

“Reflecting on the differences in the characters I was reading about lead me to develop an understanding of narratives from different perspectives. A kind of empathy I could bring to the real world.”

Something I’ve noticed is that in times of self-obsession, like extreme stress or mini-meltdowns, empathy with and an attachment to fictional characters can keep you sane. It’s a distraction without complete distance and isolation from all human emotion. It’s a connection without a charge attached. It’s simple and it’s a way to practice loving when you maybe don’t have all yourself to give. 

“There are other women out there that want to grow from the books they’re reading, too. They want to understand the relationships between characters and relate it to their own personal development.”

I read the best book about two weeks ago. It’s topping the charts and is this month’s GNI book. It’s called Educated, by Tara Westover. It’s about the education of a girl raised by a super religious Mormon family. The real kicker is that it’s a memoir. The other real kicker is that it’s impossible to put down. 

There’s a kind of excitement in realizing someone enjoyed the same thing as you. It’s uniting and powerful. All the women in my family had read the book, or are currently reading the book, and I feel so close to them when we talk about it. The differences in interpretation reveal how we differ but also all we share. I love hearing her favorite subplot or her least favorite chapter. I’m getting to jump into the brains of people I love and it’s all because of 300 pages of words. 

So, I’ll end the same way I did in February 2018.

“So to conclude, read a book. Not optional. Please and thank you.”

Find the original story of my Reading Revival here


Stuck in my head: Golden Age // Houndmouth
Snap it: current read: The Handmaid’s Tale featuring my doggie PJ pants

Cheesesteaks and Chokers: Weeks 6 and 7

Time keeps getting away from me. Week 6 was only 2 days long, thanks to Peru. But, week 7 returned with all the thrift store finds and Philadelphia sunshines to make up for it.

Here’s week 6 and 7. Highlights include a photo shoot at Pizzeria Vetri, a trip to the famous Philly Art Museum, and a new vintage baby doll maxi dress.

What I Wore

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What I Ate

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What I Loved


Stuck in my head: Beetle // Run River North
Snap it:

The Big 100: “Trading Words for Memories” Revisited.

The first post I want to highlight is this one, Trading Words For Memories, written for my family after my grandfather passed away in December of 2016. It was my first experience of loss, the first time I saw my Dad cry, and the first time I felt like my writing could make someone feel better. In reading the old post, I can hear myself struggle to find the right tone and words to express how I was feeling. 89 posts later, I have more to say. 

“There’s a part of me that wants to fill every hole he left in someone’s life– husband, father, grandfather, friend- but I think his memory and influence will do more good than an overemotional 18 year old trying to be her Dad’s dad.”

Something I’ve always struggled with is feeling guilt in relationships, and wanting to fix things for people, even when it’s not really possible. Experiencing this loss, I think that I wore my Dad’s heaviness more than my own. But through time and support, I learned how resilient people are, and that the best thing we can do is preserve in their memory.

“Staying true to my everything-happens-for-a-reason spirit, I know that all change comes with lessons and love. I am inspired to preserve my relationships with everyone, forgive and forget, because life is short but love lasts so long.”

And at the time, focusing on the positives in my life felt like the greatest takeaway. But since, I’ve started to honor my Grandfather’s memory not with personal lessons, but through questions about who he was. I started asking for stories, recounts of his best reactions, passions he chased throughout his life. Over a year out, I think I know who my Grandpa was even better than I did when he was alive. I feel like I’m reshaping the old, cookie-loving man I’d known into how my parents, cousins, friends of friends knew him. A true intellectual with a weakness for sweets. 

“But in all sincerity, I really believe that each person in your life shapes your character. Thank you for making me who I am today. I know you’re proud, and honestly, so am I.”

But the closing holds true, and I never stop thanking my lucky stars for the incredible role models in my life. 

Find the original moment of reflection here


Stuck in my head: Mission to Mars // RKS
Snap it: terrain cafe, PA

 

The Big 1.0.0.

This week I shared my 100th post and I didn’t even notice. Like talk about letting a big moment slip by. Come on, J, let’s get it together here.

I started my blog back in September of 2016 with this post about losing my blog-ginity and how I wanted to develop my personal edge through writing. The “OK, let’s do this now” came from my, at the time, favorite Instagrammer, and the name came from my love for my campus and my city. 

That’s when the creativity took off and I started to develop my voice. I shared about my internships with CAVA, Marriott, and GNI and started to try new things, like going vegan for a week. I dedicated posts to people that make me so happy and vacations that made me really feel like I was living fully. From burnout to pushing through the push-up pain, I’ve found a passion for writing for other people and become a much more reflective, self-actualized person.

In Summer 2017, I felt like I’d outgrown the image I’d created. I wanted to own my female experience and speak more to social media. That’s when The Next Classic was born, in 12 hours, from my parent’s beachside bedroom. The perspective matured, just as I had in freshman year. In this swap, I can hear a change in the way I saw, and now see, the world around me. 

This post is like bringing the cake to the party, it just felt necessary to round up some of my all-time favorite works and bring them back from the blog graveyard. To celebrate 100, I’m resharing two old posts with new insight.

The first one comes tomorrow.  

My blog has seen me grow professionally and personally and I’m proud of how my work and my character have evolved. It’s time to stop and smell the syntax, but not without a true, sincere thank you to everyone that’s helped me along the way. From Instagram DMs to comments on the site, my family and friends are really the ones who built this. I owe all my confidence, and probably a couple internships, to you. 

I’m still impressed with myself from the “stop and smell the syntax line,” so we’re going to end with that. Let’s stop and smell the syntax, friends. 


Stuck in my head: Butterfly // Delicate Steve
Snap it: Herald Square, 2016. It felt like time to bring this back.

Modern Day Time Machine.

I’ve written before about my dark years. AKA: the eight years that Taylor Swift played on a loop and her picture was plastered on every and any open space within a mile radius of me. At the time, I thought I was *musically living,* now I know I was really just missing out on a whole world of different sounds.

No worries, I was eventually cultured. Enter Spotify, which, not to be dramatic, changed the soundtrack of my future. And now, my favorite compliment to get is “you look like you listen to indie music.” Houndmouth, HAIM, and Hippocampus describe my life better than any pop, country crossover track.

But, as I danced in my nosebleed seat at the Taylor Swift Reputation tour, I couldn’t help crying (and singing) along as she played some of her classics. And I started thinking about the power of music to take you back to such a specific moment, or feeling. The thought has stuck with me, and no matter how many times I sit down to write about it, it’s still hard for me to put into words. It feels almost like a modern day time machine.

And in all of this, I started to think about how it’s not just memories and feelings, but the people you share music with, too. It’s why we avoid certain songs that remind us of certain heartbreaks and make playlists dedicated to people we love. There’s so much life tied into something that we just have to press play to experience.

I wasn’t expecting to be so emotional at the concert. I didn’t even think to wear waterproof mascara; most of Swift’s current songs are more sass and less sob. But, when she played tracks from her first couple albums, it brought me back to long car rides with the best of friends, fifty chairs in a circle around a campfire, and a time of my life when my biggest worry was how I was going to fit more magazine cutouts of Taylor into my shrine. Simpler times, to say the least. It wasn’t a sad, depressing cry. More of a, “wow, things are so different now and I’m so different now” moment.

Change is always confusing. Realizing things aren’t the same always makes us more reminiscent of the past. I love where I am now, but part of me misses where I was when the Red album hit iTunes. It’s okay, life goes on and it keeps getting better, but sometimes it’s nice to be brought back to who you used to be. 


Stuck in my head: Long Live // Taylor Swift
Snap it: Rep Tour!

 

 

Cheesesteaks and Chokers: Week Four

It’s crazy to think I’ve been roaming Rittenhouse for almost a month now. Keeping it short and sweet. Loving every moment. Taking every picture. Here are the outfits, munchies, and happy faces from this week.

Dress up

Fill up

Remember it all


Stuck in my head: Listening In // Dr. Dog

Snap it: Navy Yard

Patterned and Ready To Go.

I’ve always loved getting dressed in the morning. Won “Best Dressed” senior year not because I was actually best dressed (that rightfully belonged to a different fashionista), but because every morning, since seventh grade, I put thoughtfully composed outfits on my body. You can imagine me laying my clothes out the night before, only to change it in the morning because of a vision that had come to me in a dream. Honestly, this is still my routine. I’ve just traded Pacsun fashion finds for Forever 21 ones. 

I’ve always been a basic trend follower. I loved my Sketchers, then my Converse, then my Vans, now my Adidas. I was never drawn to pushing the boundaries of what was considered cute. Whatever was on the models at Zara or on one of my friends seemed like the perfect inspiration. When asked about my fashion sense, my go-to answer is that I’m really good at dressing inside the lines. 

And then I experienced my first day wearing a silk bandana. Now, my wardrobe will never be the same.

All of sudden, a world of colorful accessories, different textures, and conflicting patterns existed in a way I hadn’t ever seen before. Everyone was taking some kind of risk and even when it didn’t work, they did. One silk scarf showed me how a little addition can up the stakes and make a more dynamic composition.

This summer, I’ve challenged myself to get a little outside my fashion comfort zone. Wear patterns. Invest in colors. Hats with everything. Walking the streets of Philly or the halls of my office, my goal is to make someone think “hm, I think I like it,” instead of “I think I saw that on another 19-year old last week.” No more “better safe than a fashion disaster. ”

While none of my outfits are revolutionary, or even begin to touch the flawlessness of some of the people who work at URBN, it feels good to be proud of a look and want to share it. It’s not about feeling pretty, it’s about trying to funnel my creative energy into what I put together. Denim on denim has always been one of my staples, but now it’s about denim on denim on a neon pink sneaker and a vintage clutch.  

Still no style queen, I would never claim to be, but I’m one step closer to being more original and taking more risks. To see some of my favorite looks from this summer, check out my Philly dairies from Week One and Week Two.

And the best part of looking and feeling good? All the mirror selfies that come with it. Enjoy my collection. 

 


Stuck in my head: Butterfly // Delicate Steve
Snap it: Fishtown Flea

You can clearly see my go-to pose. 

Cheesesteaks and Chokers: Week Two.

Time to add some new combos to the “can’t re-wear without being an outfit repeater.”

Week two was even better than week one. I found more thrift shops, learned some new recipes (hello, homemade peanut sauce on sweet potatoes and chicken), and photographed some pretty awesome places. Overall, the past seven days were a win win win.

Here are the looks, meals, and moments I want to share. 

did someone say clothes?

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replace my hands with forks, please.

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those in-between moments.

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Stuck in my head: What Am I Becoming?
Snap it: South St

Top Three Tips for Exploring A New City.

Growing up near DC, I tend to take ownership of it. When people ask me where I’m from, I’ll happily say “a suburb outside of DC” until they press me for more information and I have to admit I’m from Maryland (which I also love, but just a little less). My summer move to Philadelphia has been overwhelming and exciting. One challenge, though, has been figuring out all I need to do, see, and eat before I leave. While I’m still in the process of learning the ropes, here are some helpful tips for all my fellow transplants trying to find the who, what, when, and where. 

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1. Start An Instagram Collection

People will LOVE to let you know what should be at the top of your to-do list. I’ve gotten so many restaurant suggestions my pant size is already starting to expand at the thought of all the future meals. It can be really overwhelming and hard to remember the suggestions so as people give them to you, start a note in your phone to keep track. Later, look up the places on Instagram to get a feel for if you’d enjoy it. If yes, add it to a collection in your saved Instagram images so you can easily remember, find, and identify it based on photos! Also, don’t be afraid to skip suggestions that don’t feel you. Fancy Asain food restaurants, no matter how high they’re rated on Yelp!, will never make it onto my Musts list.

2. Research the Neighborhoods

For most big cities, there are almost little micro-cities inside, each characterized by individual personalities and activities to do there. Put a little time into getting to know what the best things from each neighborhood are and try to figure out where they are in comparison to each other. I truly believe the only way to get to know a city is by foot, so lace up your Adidas and hit the streets. This weekend, I walked over 10 miles through the city (half because Ubers were too expensive, half because adventure vibes). It can be really cool to see some of the things you’ve seen online or learned about in school while you walk.

3. Ask for Help

A lot of people strongly identify and love where they live. Don’t be afraid to ask people for directions, suggestions, and advice as you explore. For public transport, Google Maps is a great guide, but it’s not always the easiest. Consider popping into a store, stopping a pedestrian, or asking the subway stop workers for the easiest, best, safest way to get from A to B. Also, take advantage of those around you! I make sure to ask for weekend tips at work and events happening in the area. So far, I have a DIY Skyline Night at the Philadelphia Art Museum and a nighttime trip to Boathouse Row on my list. If you’re with other transplants or use social media, see what people in your network suggest. I’ve found they’re an awesome resource for food and fun reccs.

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This past weekend started with a spin class and ended with a dairy-free froyo run. Don’t worry there was a ton of thrifting, pride parading, flea market hunting, and park visiting in there, too. Can’t wait to keep learning this city’s grid and sharing all the secrets. 

And obviously send me any Philly musts immediately. Contact via DM. Open to all suggestions. Extra open to all trendy, Instagram-ready, coffee serving suggestions. 


Stuck in my head: Mission to Mars // RKS
Snap it: The Gayborhood, PHIL

Where My Money Goes.

Welcome to my newest obsession: STATIONARY STORES.

Lately, my Instagram feed has been flooded with pictures of cute poofy pens, greeting cards, stickers, and day planners. And I hate to say it, but I’ve become a sucker for an enamel pin. There’s something so satisfying about ordering all things you need to #adult, and then not #adulting. Here are my go-to photo ready shops for all the stationary goods you didn’t know you needed in life.

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Ban.do

band

photo from @shopbando

Things to check out: their new day planners, the graphic tees, + everything their Creative Director, Jen Gotch, loves

Packed Party

packed party

photo from @packedparty

Things to check out: all the glitter you’ll ever need + “Guac This Way” skinny doormat

Hello Sunshine Shop

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Things to check out: Allllllll the pins (especially this avocado toast one)!

The Wing

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Photo by @the.wing

Things to check out: (while not necessarily a stationary shop, what has stickers and pins counts for me) “Girls Doing Whatever The Fuck They Want 2018” Stickers + “Bag Lady” canvas tote

People I’ve Loved

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photo by @peopleiveloved

Things to check out: “You’ve got this” socks, I Like You, I Love You Book, + all these map prints that make cities art and art cities.

The Shop That Needs To Exist, But Doesn’t Yet

American Dream House

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photo from @americandreamhouse

Things to check out: the killer Instagram graphics for now- ULTIMATE ROOM ACCESSORIES COMING THIS SUMMER


Stuck in my head: Animals // Coast Modern
Snap it: Dormify pop-up in Montgomery Mall (good place to shop for your next dorm decor splurge)