The Kendra Thornton Fashion Challenge

The lovely Kendra Thornton got in touch with me to help her organize a few looks for her getaway trip to Miami. Scroll down to see some stylish inspirations for her upcoming trip!

“With some time on our hands, my husband and I started planning a getaway just for us to Miami! We love this city because of its history, beaches and natural parks. There are so many things to love about this area of Florida, but I’m also excited because I’ll be able to just let loose for a while. I’m looking forward to this trip, but I do have one problem. I’m in need of some fashion salvation. Your ensembles have always inspired me to dress up and pick just the right accessories to go with whatever I’m wearing.

We are staying at a Miami hotel called the Biltmore Estate. The scene here is quite luxurious and tropical but with an American twist. It’s one of the oldest hotels in Florida and was built in the 1920s. The history here is quite incredible, but so are the amenities. We found the Biltmore on gogobot, which provides photos of the championship golf course, yoga studio, beautiful gardens and lavish swimming pools. I can’t wait to just relax and spend some time exploring the grounds of this beautiful hotel. A casual and posh look would be wonderful to relax at the cafe or put around with my husband on the green. We are also exploring some culinary arts while at the Biltmore. One of our romantic dates is a cooking class at the new Culinary Academy at the Biltmore. I would love for a comfortable yet sexier look that really makes my husband feel as lucky as he is. I know that you have some incredible ideas for heels and dresses that would work just for this look. Miami is a place full of life, and we will definitely be getting lively. We plan on checking out some of the nightlife on South Beach and possibly taking a boat out to the bay. If you have any more suggestions for evening looks and swimwear, I would greatly appreciate it! I can‚Äôt wait to see what you come up with for my fabulous Miami getaway!”

– Kendra Thornton

Casual Look

Beach Wear

 

This outfit is perfect for a stroll along the streets of South Beach or to relax whilst exploring the grounds of the beautiful Biltimore Estate.

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A show-stopping bikini, this outfit radiates chicness with a bold splash of color.

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This gorgeous and classy outfit would be perfect for Kendra’s cooking class date. The dress’ colorful patterns are a great match to the Miami scene

A romantic 48-hour getaway in St Ives, Cornwall

This past weekend I had the pleasure of going on a quick getaway to Cornwall, England. We rented a car and drove four and a half hours west of London.

Here are some tips for a quaint English trip.

For accommodation, we booked a room at the Boskerris boutique hotel in Carbis Bay. It was perfect: Large living room area, an outdoor terrace facing the ocean, a cute bar and excellent service from its personnel. It was also voted as one of the top romantic hotels in St Ives.

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Food recommendations

– The Shack: A stand where you can get burgers next to the beach in Carbis Bay. An informal place with good atmosphere.

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– Porthminster Cafe: An award winning restaurant ideal for lunch or dinner in St Ives. Try their fish and chips as well as their oven baked hake. Their outdoor deck overseeing the ocean makes its views incomparable and unmissable.

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– Caffe Pasta: A nice restaurant next to the harbor, offering a variety of pizza and pasta – from the traditional ones to those with seafood. Try the crab linguini for a warm summer day’s lunch.

To get around, we used the train for one stop as well as the car to get around St Ives. There are also 1-mile treks you can follow for great views of the beach and access to different bays. Lelant, Carbis Bay and St Ives are highly recommended.

Other activities include going on a boat trip to Seal Island, where you have the opportunity to see some seals and if you’re lucky, dolphins!

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Strolling around the cobbled streets of St Ives and its harbor is also a must.

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St Ives is a great destination for a quiet and quaint retreat. Enjoy!

Surviving Long Distance Relationships – Gifts for Him

Whilst I’m not a lover of long distance, when you find the right person, there’s no doubt I would do it. And that’s what I’ve happily gotten myself into in the past months since I moved to New York.

My boyfriend has an exam in June, therefore we have said we will not meet up until then. Literally one day after he’s done, we’ll be together. Until then, how do you beat long distance?

I want to ignore the obvious (Skype, phone calls, Whatsapp and so on) and suggest a way to keep it interesting!

One of the things I’ve been doing is sending him a gift each week we’re apart. This can be something simple, from a card, to something more elaborate. Below are a couple of ideas and things I’ve sent him so far:

Customized Wood Wall Art

Shutterfly or MyPublisher offer different projects you can personalize. I opted for a customized wood wall art, below, which captured some of the special moments we had when we were together.

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Pillows with Quotes

Etsy offers great shops for custom made goodies. I found these two pillows which I absolutely loved and had to send to him. His reaction? Loved them!

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Mr Bump Mug

Once, he was sick and I sent him a Mr Bump mug from the Mr Men & Little Miss collection. Not only were these characters part of my childhood, but also his!mr bump

Beer Crate

And because this post (and my gifts) was (were) getting too cheesy, I sent him a “Best of British Beer” crate that Funky Hampers sells. The best of this gift? When he opened the package after a 12-hour work day, the first thing he saw was “You deserve a BEER” – and my (hopefully funny) note which read “Here’s something to celebrate (or relieve the pain) of studying for the CFA!”. Ladies, this is the perfect gift for your significant other!

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Swimwear

One of the things that keeps long distance relationships going is having dates when you will see each other next. For us one of them is a trip to St Lucia in the summer. I bought a Saint-Tropez brand¬†Vilebrequin¬†swimsuit for him to look forward to St Lucia (as if London’s gloomy weather wasn’t¬†enough motivation already!)

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So as you can see, we haven’t been apart much yet and still have a few gifts to go. Any good ideas out there?

My boyfriend is the sweetest, he has also surprised me multiple times so gents, keep an eye out for a post on gift ideas to pamper her!

INVITE: Anthropologie and La Moda Viaggia Breakfast

Are any ladies in New York this weekend?

Anthropologie and my blog are offering a complimentary breakfast where we will be pampered in their exclusive Soho store, which will be closed only for us! The event includes complimentary breakfast with mimosas, personal stylists advising us on upcoming fashion trends, meeting new people (we’re already about 30 gals!) and goodie bags!

The event takes place this Saturday 26 April at 9:00am.

If you want an invite please email me at stylingbyale@gmail.com with your full name.

Keep an eye out for pictures and a post about the event in the coming week!

Girl Gone International in NYC

Women’s expat group Girl Gone International (GGI) approached me to publish a week in my life in New York on Instagram! Follow @girlgoneinternational on Instagram to get tips on the Big Apple and get a peek into my life!

About GGI
GGI is an online magazine and global community of 10,000+ group of young women living, loving, working and studying abroad.

A glimpse of El Salvador, Part I

I will be featuring my country, El Salvador, in a few of my next posts. When travelers go to the region, they tend to skip El Salvador. Known as the “pinkie” of Central America, my country is full of natural beauty and culture.

This post features the popular “Ruta de las Flores”, a collection of five scenic towns known for its mountains, flowering coffee plants and unique arts and crafts. The towns are located a few kilometres from each other and can be easily accessed from the main highway.

1. Nahuizalco

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An indigenous town, Nahuizalco is known for its unique handicrafts. Explore the night market, where stalls are lit by candle only.

2. Salcoatitan

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This village housed El Salvador’s first coffee plantations back in 1860. If you enjoy outdoor activities, Salcoatitan is a great town offering mountain biking trails. Click here for trail recommendations between the Ruta de las Flores towns.

Park and Restaurant La Colina

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La Colina was founded in 1996, offering its guests food, recreation and cabins for accommodation.  You will find some of the most typical Salvadoran dishes in a cozy atmosphere and natural surroundings.

3. Juayua

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Also known as the City of the Red Orchids due to the abundant number of this flower in the mountains, Juayua has a rich historical background.

One of the tours which is impossible to miss is the route of the 7 waterfalls, which takes approximately 5 hours to complete. The tourist office can offer you further information and can lend you rappel equipment for the waterfalls.

4. Apaneca

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If you want a picturesque view of the coffee plantations, take the Apaneca Canopy tour. ¬†Don’t miss out on the beautiful lagoons, particularly Laguna Verde and Laguna de Ninfas.

5. Concepcion de Ataco

Known for the peacefulness of its mountains and vivid colors, a couple of days are ideal to wander through the market and walk the pebbled roads. Ataco houses some of El Salvador’s most unique art.

Casa San Antonio

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This beautiful two-floored house in the heart of Ataco is a good accommodation option for 12 guests.

Attack Oh Burgers!

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This new burger joint was opened in 2013 and is already the talk of town. Offering artisanal burgers, chef Oscar Pena has applied his knowledge gained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris to bring to El Salvador an exquisite food venture.

 

Amazing Places to Discover

I’m frequently asked what my favorite place is, what amazing trips I’ve done. And while it’s difficult to pinpoint a particular one, here are three memories of unforgettable experiences.

Harbin, China

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I was in Beijing for my gap year and we had a long weekend coming up. My friends and I hadn’t planned much so we desperately went to the train station a few days before to see where we could go. Shanghai: sold out. Guangzhou: Sold out! Xian: Sold out!!! We could only find hard seat trains to Harbin, which at the time we didn’t know much about. Harbin or the hard seats, in case you were wondering. The adventurous in us didn’t hesitate and two days later, off we went to this northern city close to Russia.

My first advice here is: don’t ever buy hard seat train tickets in China. We went into the train, which was full of people sitting down, standing up on the hallways, using the toilet as a seat (with their live chicken in hand). We realized it was a local train stopping every 5-10 minutes. Finally we got a seat and they literally were cold, hard seats. “What were we thinking when we bought this?” is all I could ask myself during the ride. It must have been one of those lost in translation moments.

1,200km and 20 hours (!) later, we had arrived to -30C weather. We went to the famous Ice Festival¬†which was incredible. Life-size buildings made out of ice lit up with LED lights, large snow statues and fireworks galore. The cold weather was nothing next to these beautiful sights.¬†The first Ice Festival was in 1963 and since then, it has attracted China’s best ice sculptors and thousands of visitors each year.

Retrospectively, what made this trip unforgettable for me was the immersion into an authentic Chinese experience and having visited an incredible and hard-to-believe iced theme park. If you’re visiting China in the winter, don’t miss out on Harbin!

Patagonia, Argentina

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Whilst living in Argentina, I didn’t want to leave the country without visiting Patagonia. In particular, the famous glacier Perito Moreno in Calafate. My friend and I decided to go after quickly planning the trip a few weeks before.

The unmissable part of this trip is a 6 hour trek on Perito Moreno. I had never seen views like these. I highly recommend doing this tour with Hielo y Aventura, they are very well rated and I wasn’t disappointed. In other glaciers, you usually get on a boat and get close to it only. This experience was way beyond that. We were on top of the glacier, with high peaks of snow which appeared like frozen snow waves. Their color was the clearest white and blue and we could even walk on top of frozen lakes.¬†The day ended perfectly with a whisky on the rocks to warm us up.

If you are in Patagonia, El Chalten is also worth visiting. Known as the trekking capital of Argentina, this small mountain village is quaint and home to Cerro Grande and the popular Cerro Fitzroy. These two mountains are great for climbing and you have amazing views from the top.

One of my hobbies is trekking and doing this contrastingly on ice and mountains was a great and unique experience.

Cabo Polonio, Uruguay

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It was Easter break and I had failed to make travel plans. Luckily I had a friend in Uruguay who invited me to spend the holidays with her and her friends in Cabo Polonio. I wasn’t sure what it was, but it was 1) a new place and 2) a beach. Enough to convince me.

I’m glad I went, as Cabo Polonio is a beach which is only accessible by 4x4s. The town has a population of 90 inhabitants and has no electricity or running water. Although this would potentially have been a deal breaker for me, I loved it. It was the perfect time away from civilization, modern life, my computer and phone. It was a back-to-basics experience full of beach time, cocktails with the sunset, great food and company.

Due to the lack of electricity, the sky has been one of the best I’ve ever seen. It was full of stars everywhere and shooting stars were easily and frequently spotted. The best time to go is when there is a full moon, as there are parties on the beach.

What I loved about this experience was exploring this hippie town and its sand dunes, eating great food and spending time with friends. Nothing beats basics.

 

The most amazing trips I’ve done have been on an impulse. It is this open mindedness that allows me to explore new places with a great sense of adventure. If you need travel recommendations for any of these places, get in touch!

7 Lessons I Learned About Style While Living Abroad

Having lived in 6 countries in the past 8 years, I have developed a knack for style influenced by where I was at the time. My fashion sense has oscillated over time, but at the moment my style is best described as eclectic chic, representing a mixture of my various international experiences. 
 
Here are the key fashion lessons I’ve learned so far, they will be useful to you when traveling abroad – Enjoy! ¬†
 
1. Browse local stores
 
Local stores (both chains and independent boutiques) have great finds that you would normally not find back home. Boutiques tend to have unique pieces that have not been mass-produced and therefore it’s unlikely you will run into someone wearing the same outfit. For example, I got a beautiful floral dress from a Chinese boutique that is admired by everyone wherever I go!
 

2. Set a budget 

Whenever you go shopping, set a budget before you leave home. Money tends to go fairly quickly, especially abroad. It may sound like a boring task but if you buy within your budget, you will avoid the post-buyers remorse that usually ruins that otherwise great shopping trip.

 
3. Fit is key
 
Fit is everything, especially as people’s general builds are different in each country. I was in Japan once and their coat sleeves run slightly shorter because of Japanese women’s arm length. I loved one of the coats¬†so I ended up buying it anyways and it looks great when I wear it with long-sleeved shirts!¬†
Have you ever found yourself sizing up or down because they don’t have your size? I must admit I’m guilty of this as well¬†but it’s best to avoid it. If you’re unsure how it fits, ask a¬†friend to take a photo¬†of you to see yourself objectively. Another good alternative is to get¬†those pieces you absolutely love slightly tailored. Bear in mind some items will be easier to tailor, i.e. hems but taking a blazer in, for example, will be slightly trickier.
 
4. Dress to impress…
 
… Yourself! Is your outfit too daring? Too boring? You can never please everyone so dress in what makes you feel amazing. Living abroad you most likely will have a different style than that of locals. Adopt what you like and mix it with your own sense of style. Living in Argentina, I used to wear my favorite LBD from London to go out in the evening. It is a¬†one shoulder dress with a fan-like detail on the other shoulder. Very Lady Gaga – but less¬†risk√©¬†(by about¬†10x!). I feel GREAT in it! I turned heads (in a good way) by being true to my sense of style.¬†
   
5. Don’t be afraid to experiment¬†
 
Fashion is like art, undefined. Don’t be afraid to use different patterns, materials and layers in one outfit. I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my inspirations mix leopard print with polka dots. Fashion rules are there to be broken!¬†
 
6. Style can be learned
 
Use celebrities, Instagram and¬†Pinterest for inspiration on style. Check out @alescloset on Instagram for inspiration on how to style your everyday favorites and buy gently worn clothes from all over the world. Alternatively, hire a personal stylist to help you re-vamp your wardrobe! Costly, you say? Check out¬†www.facebook.com/stylingbyale1¬†for an affordable personal stylist service. Style and creativity can be exercised every day – it’s never too late to start!
 
7. Fashion is fun!
 
All in all, fashion should be fun! Experiment, explore and be true to yourself! 
 
My next move is to New York City Рthe fashion capital of the world. Stay tuned! What fashion lessons have you learned so far?
 

Pop-Ups Around The World

Pop-ups, whether it be restaurants, bars, stores or events, have become a worldwide trend in the past years. The concept is that these utilize unused spaces for special events that last a few hours, weeks or some even become permanent establishments due to their popularity.

Read on to discover my current pop-up recommendations!

1. Diner en Blanc

http://dinerenblanc.info

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This invite-only elegant picnic event founded in Paris is held in 25 cities around the world, aiming to “recall the elegance and glamour of court society”. It is usually held at a secret yet popular city landmark which is revealed on the night of the event. All dressed in white, diners are treated to an unforgettable experience, where each brings their own table and a 3 course meal.

The night is full of good food, great company, live music and sparkles. The event only happens once a year in each city, so keep checking their website for when it’s coming to yours! For invites please contact me.

2. Clubhouse Jose Ignacio

http://oasiscollections.com/clubs/clubhouse-jose-ignacio

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Punta del Este in Uruguay is often referred to the St Tropez of South America, becoming one of the chicest places to vacation in the southern-hemisphere summer.

Oasis, a luxury rental company, launched the members-only Clubhouse Jose Ignacio in December 2013 and is open select dates through to April. Reserve one of their guest rooms to enjoy sunset drinks, daily pool parties, guest DJs and an exclusive beach front.

3. The Marc Jacobs Tweet Shop

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This year’s New York Fashion Week will welcome a Marc Jacobs pop up shop where customers will not be able to pay in dollars but rather with their use of the hashtag #MJDaisyChain across social media.

The shop will open February 7 to 9 in Soho, New York. Visit to enjoy a comfortable lounge with food, drinks and accessory giveaways throughout the day.

4. The Pop-Up Hotel

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Pop-ups are not limited to restaurants or events. The Pop-Up Hotel tours Britain, following the most popular festivals, retreats and events. It’s best described as glamorous camping, offering services which you may expect in boutique hotels.

For those of you attending the Glastonbury festival in June, be sure to consider this hotel as an accommodation option!

5. Yoshi Bar

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Students in Seian University of Art and Design in Japan have created a space out of reed grass for them to meet up in the campus. It’s abstract design is such that it is highly portable and recyclable, and was put together in only two days.

Pop-ups appear and disappear quickly so keep yourself updated on what’s going on in sites like http://popuprepublic.com or your city’s Time Out magazine. Have you been to any pop-ups?