THE FASHION DIARIES: Breakfast At Tiffany’s and Oodles of VINTAGE

It’s been a hot minute (more like almost a YEAR) since I posted a Fashion Diary entry, which is ironic because I’ve written my own personal journal entries practically every day this summer.

Despite PSL’s being back at Starbucks, along with the Maple Pecan Lattes and the newly-raved-about Pumpkin Cold Brew, summer is not quite over yet. Wait until Monday, September 23, guys! My summer fashion choices have been relatively laid-back, with the occasional dress or two, or three. 😜 It wasn’t until recently when my grandmother sent my mom and I packages of clothing that didn’t fit her anymore. For those of you who know me well, I love vintage fashion. So, needless to say, I was fascinated by my grandmother’s impeccable taste.

The first thing that caught my eye was a black and white polka-dotted dress

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***Please excuse the dirty mirror and, of course, the mirror selfie***

Then there’s the makeup look then went with it:

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Not only do I adore fashion, but I am a HUGE makeup junkie. This is actually the same lipstick that Audrey Hepburn wore in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” It’s Revlon’s “Pink in the Afternoon.” The blush, bronzer, and highlighter are from IT Cosmetics and the eyeshadow is from Bare Minerals!

The next thing that caught my eye was a long skirt:

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It’s hard to tell what the pattern is, but rosewood is one of my favorite colors (number 5 to purple, blue, pink, and red). You can’t even tell I’m wearing a skirt and top because it all flows so well! The top is from H&M and the shoes are from ZARA.

Then there’s the makeup look that went with it:

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With natural waves (my hair is actually straight, but if I sleep on it when it’s wet, it gets wavy), and the right lipstick, I rocked this look with confidence. The lipstick is Colourpop x Disney’s Tiana. Shout out to my best friend (hi Katelyn!) for surprising me with it!

 

 

Living La Vida De Moda: Maria Del Carmen Mercado

A year ago when I wrote an article called Meet Local Fashion Designer Maria Del Carmen Mercado for my internship. We’ve been in touch since I sat down with Maria in Dave’s Coffee Shop in Providence, but I decided to write a follow-up article (a whole year later) about the Dominican Republic-born, Providence-based fashion designer.

“I didn’t choose fashion, fashion chose me.”

Maria recalls the days where her career as a designer, and essentially, a creative began: “My story of a fashion designer or creative began as a child, where I would sew the clothes for my dolls and my friends’ dolls, and everything around me was usually transformed into dolls.  For example, mango seeds. I would usually paint a face on them with nail polish and they would become my dolls. [My] business also started early; I would make doll clothes and trade them for candy or coins.”

Her curiosity for fashion and particularly the art of movement peaked when she was in high school. “I was involved in after-school art programs and activities.  But it wasn’t until high school where I started to work after school in a clothing store.  I also modeled with two agencies and started to draw clothes.  During this time I became very curios why the clothing that I loved never fit correctly so during my time in my job I would put close attention to the fabrics that I handled, the details of the clothes but most importantly, I would ask myself how would I change the garment to make it fit me the way I liked,” says Mercado. And because of this experience, she likes to work with clients to give them the perfect jacket, wedding dress, bathing suit, etc that fits them just right.

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After graduating high school, she received a scholarship to attend the Rhode Island School of Design pre-college program (concentrating on fashion), where she built a portfolio and eventually got into her first-choice college: The Fashion Insitute of Technology in New York, New York where she graduated as a fashion design major in 2007.

“Fashion is a form of expression, my own personal way to see a shape or garment.  It is my way to represent a body’s figure.  To me, fashion is away of life. Things become shapes, color and structure.  It’s a way of putting attention to the details around me.  For example, my opinion on politics, history and culture. Fashion is thinking outside the box. It is knowing when to listen to your intuition and being able to recognize what is and isn’t there.”

If you are thinking about a career in fashion design, Mercado does have a few words of wisdom for you: “First I want to say that fashion is NOT what you see in the magazines, another word is NOT just glamour.  Just like a doctor or engineer, there are certain things that a fashion designer needs to learn.  In my opinion, to be a good fashion designer, I feel education is key.  Even if you are wealthy how would you communicate what you want to the pattern maker or the seamstress or most importantly, how would you know the difference between a patterned sleeve or a skirt?  To be a fashion designer there are so many components that you need to learn that you can’t learn by watching youtube channels.  Pattern making, draping, fashion illustration, color theory,  are just a few things that are a must for a fashion designer.”

Mercado continues: “to be a great fashion designer you need to be adventurous, willing to take risks and be different.  Learn to look within yourself and make decisions that YOU feel that work.  You need to have the confidence to turn off the voices and follow your heart.  I feel that the best direction is to design what I feel is correct NOT what is trendy.  I believe that you can’t teach someone how to be an artist but they can learn the technical side and the best way is through formal education.  Being an artist is seeing and feeling beyond what’s there, how can you teach that?”

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When asked what her favorite part of being a designer was, she said she enjoys every aspect of it! But that isn’t to say, that there aren’t times when she doesn’t have creator’s block. When she does get creator’s block, she doesn’t go by what other people are creating or what’s “in style,” at the moment. She just moves on to another project or takes a walk to recharge and refresh her mind. That also isn’t to say that she doesn’t get critical with herself, either, which she said is a weakness of hers.

“Although I am much better now, but it took awhile to realize that no one is going to give my brand 100% but me.  MDCM designs are my feelings, the way I see things, my way of life.  Realizing that no one but me could convey this has helped me a great deal, most importantly excepting that perfect does not exist.”

With that being said, in the fashion world, one is always learning, making mistakes, taking risks, and finding themselves through their work!

To view Maria’s website, click here  and to shop, go to http://www.mariadelcarmenmercado.shop! Thank you, Maria, for the interview and for your powerful, impactful words of advice!

***Photographers of the design images are @gabinichi and @denzzzadd from ristudio504.com — check out their work! 

 

THE FASHION DIARIES: Corduroy Jumpers are the New Blazers | Winter Fashion 101

It’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these fashion diary entries — since September 2018! I’m currently sitting in my favorite coffee shop in my cute little town doing work for thesis. Having a lavender tea never made me feel more relaxed and focussed than I am right now!

Spring Semester isn’t coming for another two weeks (at least for me.) As I said in my last post, this is the year of the color, purple and its many shades (shall I call this post Fifty Shades of Purple? Nah.) The colors purple, black, winter white, and even tan are paving their way into my wardrobe this winter season. New year, new clothes, am I right?

I took it upon myself to purchase a rosewood corduroy jumpsuit from SHEIN, along with a newspaper print top. I mainly bought the top to get myself motivated for my thesis topic LOL. Could it also foreshadow my future career? Who knows?

Anyway, here’s my jumper and top paired with black nylons and black Chinese Laundry high-knee wedged boots:

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While I’m at it, I’ll also attach a picture of my makeup:

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[Shameless self-promo] On the subject of bold lips and eyeshadow, have you checked out my magazine, Bold Lips and Coffee Talk, yet? We’re looking for blog writers and poetry submissions!

So this was short-and-sweet and to-the-point, just like my jumper!

Learning How To Say ‘No’ And Learning What You Want Out Of Life

This hasn’t really been my week, I’ll be honest. But you know what they say, the dark brings out the stars. Light has always been a motif in my life. In fact, my horoscope for today said, “don’t feel bad about wanting more.” In some cases, you need to push for what you want, which often means sacrifice.

If you know me, you’d know I always say, “October isn’t my month.” It really isn’t. No matter how much I love fall, the leaves, the weather, and even people start to show their true colors. I can’t help but think to myself, “do I really love fall? Or just the fashion and the pumpkin spice lattes I can get at Starbucks?” I had to ask myself a different question last week, but in a different context: “do I really want to write about fashion?” Needless to say, I wound up quitting my fellowship at CFashionista, but no worries, I’ll still be writing about fashion in my school newspaper.

Another thing: I took it upon myself to schedule a phone call with a graduate student at a prospective graduate school I really want to attend once I graduate from RWU. After sitting in countless senior seminar poetry classes, I’ve come to realize that the one thing I truly love to write is… guess what… POETRY.

I rediscovered poetry December 2016, when I was in the process of transferring colleges. It helped me cope with a lot that was going on in my life. (My poetry portfolio will be coming out within the next year or so, I figure.) Moreover, I’m planning on pursuing my MFA in poetry after I graduate.

Pursuing poetry as a concentration meant saying “no” to fiction writing. Don’t get me wrong, I love both; but poetry is my strongest avenue. This is where I’m going to get into saying “no,” when you need to.

I often call myself a “people pleaser,” which doesn’t necessarily work out for me. But in reality, you have to learn how to start saying, “no,” especially if it’s something you don’t want to do. I laugh as I write this because I’m remembering this Jimmy Fallon clip of Kevin Hart being scared shitless of Robert Irwin’s animals. No joke, I’d be scared, too. But like a lot of people, I have a problem with saying “no,” at times. Saying “no” will end up working out in your favor, when necessary. We know what we want, we’re not stupid.

So, moral of this blog post, don’t be afraid to say “no,” because, in the end, you’ll learn what you really want out of life. That goes for absolutely everything. Need I say more? I think not.

xoxo,

April 💜

THE FASHION DIARIES: Black and Tan to the T in Boston

For those of you who don’t know, Boston was my backyard for 20 years prior to moving to Little Rhody. I remember how resentful I was to my parents for making my brother and I move to another state. My mom later told me, “you’ll be away from the bastards who hurt you in Massachusetts.” I was getting over a break-up at the time, so I agreed with her and never looked back — not even a glimpse of Massachusetts.

This past Friday I actually went back to Boston to visit a friend at MassArt (hi, Kira!). Everywhere we went, including Primark, I said out loud, “Oh, Boston. Oh, how I’ve missed you.” I didn’t realize that I really did miss Boston and was almost reluctant to come “home” to my small town in Rhode Island. The minute I saw the Vera Gas Tank with the “strokes” of paint on it, I said in a Snapchat story, “Boston, I’m home.” It’s true– Massachusetts is all I’ve really known, despite how well I’ve gotten to know Providence. I can’t wait to return to Boston for grad school in a year or two.

Anyway, Providence may be the “creative capital,” but Boston is home to the famous MFA, the ICA, and some of the more creative spirits (not to mention so many publishing houses — a dream!)

I had to make sure I looked my absolute best while staying comfortable at the same time because God knew we would be walking a lot. What I wasn’t really cognizant of when choosing my outfits is that I mostly packed the colors tan and black. So here we go with the outfits!

1.)  Cheetah Girl or NAH:

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No joke, I swear one of the Cheetah Girls wears this ADORABLE AND TRENDY teddy-bear coat in one of the movies! Here I have it paired with simple blue jeans, a black top, and a pair of black booties with a silver toe and a bit of a heel from H&M. I saw this jacket at Primark, and I knew it was something I had to have. Kira bought one, too!

2.)  Black Sneaks Back ALRIGHT!

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Good play on words, huh? 🤣 Here I am wearing black jeans, black sneakers, paired with a tan-sherpa vest (that actually does keep you warm in the fall) and a tan striped shirt. This picture was taken at the Prudential Center. Sneakers are actually making a huge comeback this year, and will hopefully continue because they really are comfortable! Whether they are Nike, Adidas, Yeezy’s, or even a pair from Wal-Mart, sneakers are truly fashionable.

One thing I need to learn to master is how to take the T if I’m going to be living in Boston in the near future. Growing up in a suburban town outside of Boston, I didn’t have access to public transportation. But it’s all a learning experience!

Boston, thank you for lending me a second chance to show you how much I cherish you. ❤

 

Here’s To The Best Summer Of My Life: A Reflection

So, as most of you know, I just wrapped up my editorial internship at Rhode Island Monthly, and it’s been a dream come true.

Rhode Island Monthly is the premier publication in Rhode Island, and I’m forever grateful to have been a part of it for nearly four months. It’s almost weird not going into Providence every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Some of the highlights include:

  1.  Best of RI Party

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I wrote an entire blog post about my experience here.

2.  Interviewing Maria del Carmen Mercado

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via Rhode Island Monthly

Maria del Carmen Mercado is an RI fashion designer. She taught me so much in this one interview. For example, why post on social media every day when you can just post something and say “hey, this is what I’ve been working on,” or something inspiring. Read the entire article here.

3.  Trying out a (free) fitness class

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Photo by me

To read the full article, click here.

4.  Branching out of my comfort zone and writing my own fashion blog!

At RIM, I was blessed with the opportunity to create my own “fashion plate” on the site. One of the (many) things I did was go out and take photos of young women in PVD to compile a Fashion-Forward: Street Style in PVD post. This was definitely one way of branching out of my comfort zone.

5.  Throwing the first pitch at a PawSox game

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I know, I have bad form, but my aim was okay! This came as a surprise for all three of us, interns. It started with a picture, then we were told to get into a single-file line onto the field and we were each given a ball. None of us knew what we were doing! When we were told to throw the balls to the catcher, Fernando, we just went with the flow and, yes, someone got a picture of us throwing the FIRST PITCH! We then had to get all of the RI Monthly employees to sign our balls. Did the PawSox win? No, but we all won a HUGE highlight of our summer internships.

6.  Meeting fashion icon, Iris Apfel

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Yes, this is Iris Apfel still killing the fashion game at ninety-six-years-old! I met her at RIB & RHEIN in Newport. For the full article, click here.

I definitely found fashion to be my “niche” this past summer and will continue to write about it wherever the wind takes me! Rhode Island may not be the fashion capital of America, but it certainly is the “Creative Capital.”

Thank you, Rhode Island Monthly, for the best summer of my life ☺♥

Next stop, an Editorial Fellowship at College Fashionista, my junior year at RWU, and SENIOR SEMINAR/THESIS!

xoxo,

April

 

 

 

THE FASHION DIARIES: How To Style Birkenstocks (are they the new uggs?)

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Happy Sunday, my (A)pril-Listers! I had a busy weekend (hi Kristen, hi Katelyn!) My best friends from Massachusetts came all the way down to little Rhodey to visit me! Over the weekend I found out their beauty secrets (which I’ll be sure to post at some point) and we definitely kept the weekend fashionable.

So I gave into the trend I used to make fun of, Birkenstocks! Yes, I bought a pair from SHEIN. This dress I’m about to show you that I just got from SHEIN is TO DIE FOR and I couldn’t wait to share it with y’all. Not to mention it’s PERFECT with Birkenstocks.

I bought the traditional tan Birkenstocks because, duh, tan goes with everything! Like I said, I used to make fun of them but now, I just can’t get enough! I want them in black, pink, white, every color imaginable!

Okay, judge me, because Birkenstocks are basically the new UGG fad for the summer/springtime. But personally, I think they’re both timeless trends. I mean, hey, jeans have been around for decades and people still wear them, even if they are wide-legged. 

P.S. Jeans with Birkenstocks = HAWT (especially with skinny jeans).

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Without further ado… here’s a couple of ways I’ve styled the infamous Birks.

  1. Festival Style

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Yes, it was 90+ degrees and I was still wearing a cardigan strictly for this artsy, festival look.

Nevertheless, Birkenstocks are THE show for festivals. In this case, my friend and I went to the Warren Folk Festival last weekend, where we were going to be walking (and, of course, bearing the heat.) So, I wanted to go for a more casual look. Here I am wearing (literal) cut-offs jean shorts that come down just at the middle of the thigh. I’m wearing the vintage sunglasses I bought at Urban Outfitters and a simple, black tank-top. Oh yeah, and don’t forget the fedora (;

2.  Sunday Brunch

This is the dress I’ve been dying to show on my blog. It’s from SHEIN and it has blue stripes and orange and pink tassels, which are SO in right now. I have never been so in love with a dress before. But this goes to show that Birkenstocks can definitely go with any casual dress. I was thinking of my little black short-sleeve dress with a v-neck that I also purchased from SHEIN.

These shoes are also perfect if you want to get a pedicure (yes, my friends and I got ~blue~ pedicures.) My toes are Tiffany-Blue ☺

Birkenstocks are also great for toning down a cute romper and achieving a more casual look.

Start your end-of-summer looks off with sliding your feet into a comfortable pair of Birkenstocks! These shoes are also perfect for walking around campus (especially if your campus is larger.)

xoxo,

April

I do not own any of the gifs used in this blog post.***

Celebrating the Best of Rhode Island at the 25th Annual Best of Rhode Island Party

I trudge down to the back of PPAC in my five-inch heels thinking to myself, “I’m definitely changing out of these later!” Then I see the red carpet set up exclusively for VIPs. I then think to myself, “I can’t believe I’m here at Rhode Island Monthly’s Best of Rhode Island party!” I work the event with two other interns handing out VIP lanyards (that were a team-effort to get untangled from each other) for a total of ninety minutes. Then, at 6:30, the back doors close and we head to the stage where every winner and their guests were mingling in large crowds.

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I search to find my seat (and my mom) and then I grab two glasses of prosecco (one for me and one for my mom, don’t worry!) I sit back down and John Palumbo, himself, comes on stage — the man who started it all. The audience gets a kick out of the Family Feud parody that’s played on the screen. After that, they unveiled the cover, and in no time flat, we were all rushing to the back to receive our copies of the August issue (and to get food, beers, wines, and cocktails, of course!)

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I remember looking at my Instagram feed this morning and seeing that picture I took for Feast Sandwich Co. I walk into the Rhode Island Monthly office feeling empowered, capable, and absolutely lucky for what this summer internship has brought me.

I might as well showcase what I’m wearing, while I’m still writing this, because why not?

To view my “Get Ready With Me” video, click here. I apologize in advance for how underdone it is, I’m still getting used to video-editing. But good news is, I finally learned how to edit a photo on a computer!

Sorry for the sidenotes, but let’s get into it, I bought my pink, scalloped dress from SHEIN. They sell the cutest clothes for cheap prices! I paired with it pink stud earring with little green polka-dots that I bought at the Providence Flea and my mom’s pearl necklace. Finally, the shoes that I put on after I ditched the heels were from TJMAXX.

For those of you wondering, my style ranges from trendy to preppy ☺

OH! I promised I’d share with you my “big news!” Drumroll please….

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There are actually two parts to it, and both of them have to do with plans after RIM:

  1.  I’ll be a contributer for Marjorie Magazine.
  2.  I applied for an editorial fellowship (I can’t say where, yet).

There ya go!

In short, Rhode Island is a small state, but we have so much to offer, and I don’t think we get enough credit for just how wonderful we are. It’s definitely not where I thought I’d end up, but now I know PVD by heart than I’v ever known Boston. Although I will be trading it in two short years (after I graduate,) I’ll remember to include it in my social media bios ☺

THE FASHION DIARIES: A Mid-Summer Fashion Dream | ZARA and Discounts

Long time no fashion updates! (Well, except on Instagram, of course). But, as promised, I will be doing a ZARA AND a discount haul! I’ve been so busy with my internship, work, and even an org retreat. To follow my bylines at Rhode Island Monthly, click here.

But let’s get down my business (a.k.a my blog) and talk about what I’ve bought recently/worn this week:

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P.S. sorry that 3/4 of these are selfies, but I just wanted to get ~the essentials~ in the pictures.

This first outfit I wore on Monday to RIM, and I really wanted to wear one of my new tops from ZARA. I thought of wearing these shoes that I got for my birthday (from TJMAXX) for a pop of color. This outfit is perfect for a work environment, an interview, or even school if you’re feeling fancy. These rounded sunglasses are from Francesca’s. The top can also be paired with a dark-wash jean.

2.

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This is (another selfie) but it’s also a printed top that I also purchased from ZARA with mixes of yellows, oranges, browns, lilacs, and pinks. The sleeves are poofy with babydoll detail, which you can also see at the neck with almost a neck-tie keeping the shirt together. This adds a more sophisticated look, but this can be worn anywhere, although it does have a bit of deep neck (hence the tie). I wore this with a pair of red jeans and beige-gold kitten heels.

3.

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Exhibit C: a pinstripe peplum top I wore on my little excursion to Downtown Bristol. This is an example of a more sophisticated makeup look. I usually don’t wear eyeliner, but I used a powdered brown eyeliner from bareMinerals to create a subtle cat-eye. I didn’t want the cat-eye to be too strong because it was only a nice summer day by the water at one of my favorite coffee shops.

This outfit was actually inspired by one of my favorite YouTubers, Erin Noelle. Believe it or not, this outfit (and the earrings) were from Wal-Mart! So, of course, I bought them both for decent prices! The earrings I actually featured in my blog post, THE FASHION DIARIES: Summer Colors and Patterns. I paired this ensemble with classic white jeans, the original Sperry Topsiders, and a classic gold ALEX AND ANI bracelet.

4.

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You know what they say, everything is better with pockets! At least, that’s what some people say IDK. Truth be told, I didn’t even realize this dress had pockets until I put it on! This is another discount outfit I wore to RIM. In case you haven’t noticed from previous blog posts, I love blue, bold earrings, cute shoes, and vertical stripes.

If you look closely, my earrings are hot pink with pom-poms, and my shoes have bows on them! Also, I’m sporting a new pair of retro sunglasses from Urban Outfitters. They remind me of the pair of sunglasses that Carrie Bradshaw wears in “The Carrie Diaries.”

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THE FASHION DIARIES: Fourth of July Style

I’ve been a tad MIA on the blog for a while; I’ve been too busy killing it at my internship! Speaking of which, I have a journalism portfolio coming out, as soon I’m ~less busy~ which we all know is probably not going to happen, any time soon. But don’t worry, I’ll let you know ☺

It’s one of my most favorite times of the year: Independence Day! I live in Bristol, home to the oldest Fourth of July celebration. Needless to say, everything gets pretty crazy, especially the style! I remember my first summer here, I donned cowboy boots with jean shorts and flannel…… yikes!

This week, I really wanted to keep the patriotism alive through my outfits. Without further ado, here are my top three Fourth of July week outfits:

1.)

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This is a simply stylish white-jeans and speckled peplum blouse outfit. I got this top as an early birthday present for myself (was that really two months ago!?) at H&M. I wanted an outfit that would be appropriate for the office (and for getting a root beer float, afterward.) This outfit screams for both ice cream and summer!

2.)

 

This next style features a simple navy short-sleeved top tucked into my favorite kind of pant… guess which ones… PALAZZO PANTS! If you look closely the pants have stripes and small polka-dots on them. I’m also wearing my new sandals from my new favorite store, Zara. This is a perfect combination of the famous red, white and blue — also appropriate for the Beach House dinner right on the water (where you can also catch a perfect glimpse of the Bristol July 3 Fireworks). I swear, people must’ve seen my Fourth of July article for RIM because I mention the Beach House! I’m also rocking the sunburn, lol!

3.)

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This picture was taken today at the Bristol Fourth of July Parade. Here, I am wearing a red and white pinstripe off-the-shoulder dress with rose-colored vans, complete with a cross-body bag (because you seriously don’t want to carry a big metallic bag like mine to a parade — such a hassle!) And especially in this heat, a water bottle of any kind is essential.

Today, I also documented the Roger Williams University Orientation Advisors’ appearance in the parade — float and all (which won ‘most original’). I must say, it is fun taking charge of social media; I felt like Katy Bellotte in her latest YouTube video

Last Saturday, I had the amazing privilege of meeting Maria del Carmen Mercado, a local fashion designer. As she and I chatted for two whole hours, I learned a lot from her that I think all millennials (and Gen-Z) should follow. But I’ll save that for another blog post.

Have a safe, healthy and cool Fourth of July. Oh yeah, and happy birthday, America!

xoxo

April