Monday, 11 December 2017

WHAT TO DO WITH 1 DAY IN BOSTON

Determined to make the most of the East Coast when I was living in NYC, I set off for a 24-hour visit to Boston over the summer. I was there for just one day and night, but in that time I managed to see a lot of the city's highlights.

It all started with my trip to Acorn Street, where I shot with my friend @LouiseSweeney1, so check that out if you're a fan of pretty streets. Once you've snapped your photo on the most photographed street in North America, it's on to...

Pretend you're a student at Harvard

First up, Harvard. I knew that Louise lived by the iconic university but I didn't realise I'd be walking straight through it to get to hers. It was utterly surreal - and somewhat creepy - to wander through Harvard in the dead of night. Even in the low light, though, I could tell how beautiful it was, and by the time I'd arrived at Louise's I'd already decided I'd be back the next day for photos!

Of course, you'll have to visit the John Harvard statue and rub his left toe for luck. Then again, I've since found out that Harvard students actually pee on the foot for luck, so I'd come equip hand sanitiser!

Get a breath of fresh air at the Public Garden


If you're the type of person who simply likes to wander when visiting somewhere new, the Boston Public Gardens are the place for you. You can't help but stumble on little moments of wonder there. We saw a newly-wed couple getting their wedding pics, entertainers blowing up balloon animals, and buskers merrily strumming. A joyful place to explore, and a beautiful park by any city's standards.



Embrace your inner bookworm at the Public Library

I could have spent hours at this library, browsing the books and just enjoying the quiet. Be sure to check out the grand study room with the green lamps that only seem to exist in libraries - why is that?

Wasn't a fan of the overly dramatic security guard who hurried us out of the gorgeous courtyard. Apparently a wedding party was about to descend on the premise, and unfortunately we weren't dressed in our wedding-crashing attire.

Get your (vegan!) ice-cream fix


Around the corner of the Public Library is FoMu - a cute dessert spot specialising in ice-"cream" made from coconut milk. Vegan or not, you should try out these treats if only for their untraditional flavours. Sweet Lavender? It looks pretty and tastes pretty. Avocado? I couldn't claim to be a millennial if I refused!

***

One day in Boston is time enough to get a feel for the city... But that said, I'd love to spend longer there! Hopefully next time! For more of my adventures, follow me on Instagram.

Monday, 4 December 2017

THE BIG MOVE HOME: WHY I LEFT NYC + WHAT'S NEXT

Well, well, well. After all that hustle and slog and slow progress in New York, I am back in Donegal, where I started. Why on earth did I leave and what the hell is next?

Photos by Kaye Fordtography

While I did move to NYC on a temporary working visa - the J1 Graduate Visa - I was open to the idea of staying if I found an employer to sponsor me. It wasn't my biggest priority, though, and ultimately I ended up working for the startup fashion company Hebe Rose, which did not have the resources to help me get a new visa.

No regrets! Working for Hebe Rose was fantastic: I believe in their vision, their products, and the co-founders. Ah, the incredible co-founders April and Barbara: they're going to make waves in ethical fashion and beyond. Who knows, maybe I'll be back working with them in the future!

With no means of securing a new visa, the sensible step was to come home. I wasn't about to overstay my welcome in the USA - I wouldn't want to ruin my chances of a return. But the sensible way isn't always easy, and I had mixed emotions in the weeks leading up to my departure. Over the last few weeks I tearily said my goodbyes and thank yous. By Thanksgiving, the day of my flight home, I was distraught. I couldn't stop blubbing on the bus to the airport. I wasn't even sure what I was sad about exactly... Endings I guess.

Back home at last, I took my usual spot on the couch and have settled back into family home life pretty easily. Each weekday I come into town with my Mum job hunt from a coffee shop - if I stay at home I end up sleeping in far too late. And what job am I hunting for exactly? Now that's the question.

It may make me sound wishy-washy, but there are a number of routes I can see myself going down. Of course, with my degree and experience in digital marketing, a job in social media is a no-brainer. But then again, there's my passion for photography, and I had the chance to work on some incredible photoshoots as a producer too, so I could look into working at photography studio.

Whichever path I take, I know that I'll be able to handle it. If there's one thing New York makes you it's resilient. If you're ever thinking of moving there, be it for a summer, a year, or more, I would recommend it. It's not just about the work experience, it's the life experience. You'll come out of it stronger than ever.

So what's next for me? Time will tell, but I'm confident that there's bigger and better things in store. After all, taking on New York is the first step to world domination!

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

FAVOURITE WEEK + LOOK IN NYC SO FAR

I've slowly started to develop an obsession with patterned trousers. They're just so easy to make into a look. Simply add a simple t-shirt and jewellery voilà, you're put-together. That's how I usually wear these Urban Outfitters trousers... But on this occasion I went for something a little more daring: a mesh top and bra combo - in broad daylight - sacré bleu! It was New York Fashion Week though, so no one battered an eye. This was nothing compared to the true style icons strutting down Manhattan.

Top + trousers: Urban Outfitters | Bag: Hebe Rose New York

NYFW is old news at this stage, but I had to mention it since it turned out to be one of my favourite weeks in New York so far. I was busy shooting bloggers, running from one event to the next, and loving every second. All while wearing these stripy trousers to death - it's a good thing they're so comfy!

Photos by @shotbyjessica

Oh, and an insane thing happened that week! NASDAQ were asking people to tag photos from 29 Rooms - an interactive, pop-up art gallery - for a chance to be on the billboard. I snapped and tagged and boom! Next thing I know my friend Michelle is smiling away on the NASDAQ billboard in Times Square - in two photos that I took. That's one for the photographer's bucket list right there!

I can barely comprehend my NYFW. Glad I documented it on video because I don't think I'd believe it all happened... NYFW you were bizarre, busy, and just brilliant. Here's to many more!

Follow along with my NYC adventure over on Instagram.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

GETTING A BRIGHTER SMILE WITHOUT A DENTIST + GIVEAWAY

I've had yellow-tinted teeth since I can remember. I don't drink coffee or smoke, but somehow that's the colour they remained. Until, that is, I tried at-home teeth whitening with Smile Brilliant.

I didn't know when I'd be able to afford professional whitening - especially with New York City prices - but I couldn't bear my British smile in a sea of perfect pearly-whites. American's sure know how to take care of their teeth! So this alternative to dentist whitening was an absolute godsend.

Of course, teeth whitening strips and the likes have been on the supermarket shelves since forever. But they can be a little hit or miss: they aren't the easiest to use, and they don't always brighten the teeth evenly. What I love about the Smile Brilliant teeth whitening kit is that it fits your teeth perfectly - because the moulds are made from your own teeth! They'll send you clay and trays so you can make moulds and send it back to their lab. A few days later you can expect a package at your door with your new moulds, ready to go!

And then the whitening process begins! First, you apply a strip of the teeth whitening gel to your mouth moulds. You can wear these anywhere from 45 minutes to 3 hours. Veer on the side of caution first, especially if you have sensitive teeth, and try them for 45 minutes. Then you can increase the time you leave them on in increments of 30 minutes over the next few days of use. Luckily, I've never suffered from sensitive teeth, so after a few days I started wearing the gel for the full 3 hours for maximum whitening. I haven't had any noticeable increase in teeth sensitivity, so I'm thrilled!

After whitening, brush your teeth. Wash and dry the moulds and apply a strip of the teeth-desensitising gel. Wear this for a further 15-20 minutes. Do not skip this step! You do not want to risk making your teeth much more sensitive. Once you've done that, take out the moulds, and you're done!

I must admit, I was shocked at the taste of chemicals when I whitened my teeth the first day. I don't know what I was expecting! But after the first few days, I had gotten used to it, so that's not a problem any more.

And my results? Well see for yourself...

I could not be more pleased with the improvement. I can finally kiss my yellow teeth goodbye!

Fancy trying Smile Brilliant yourself? Enter my giveaway or go ahead and use my code technicolourdreamer20 at checkout for $20 off.

Tooth Whitening Gel

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

WELCOME TO AMERICA'S MOST PHOTOGRAPHED STREET

Acorn Street in Beacon Hill is said to be America's most photographed street, so naturally I popped 'round and get a few snaps. Over on my photography Facebook page I've shared some photos I took of Louise Sweeney there, but I also got in a few photos myself...


Top, overall shorts and shoes: H&M // Bracelet: Vintage // Watch: JORD

It's clear to see why this little street in Boston has become so photographed. How could a place this picturesque not become a tourist attraction? Cobbled streets, a large American flag, and overgrown greenery all come together to make this the perfect picture spot. Obviously, you can expect a constant stream of tourists with phones in hand to get their pics. But ever committed to get the shot, Louise and I stayed put for a good 30 minutes to get pics without any unwanted bodies in the background!

It's not just Acorn Street that's Insta-worthy, the whole of Beacon Hill is charming. Mosey beyond the famous street and you'll find enough old-timey buildings, cute shops, and brunch spots to keep you busy. Speaking of brunch, Bin 26 Enoteca was where we got our fix, try the eggs Benedict!

If you're like me on a city break, and you love to simply stroll down streets to see what you find, Beacon Hill is a must-visit spot in Boston. I also found a few other great places to visit, but you'll have to wait for the next blog post to read about that... Until then, I'll see you on Instagram.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

5 HARSH TRUTHS ABOUT LIVING IN NEW YORK

On the week of Independence Day, I got to thinking about my time here in America, and more specifically New York City. I've lived in this city for over 8 months now (whhhat?) and over this time I've discovered some harsh realities about life in the Big Apple.

While I'm usually all about spreading the positivity, today I thought I'd dish the dirt on what's not so great about this great city. So buckle yourself in, it's about to get real up in here... Oh and the photos are of me on my rooftop during 4th of July festivities!

Inside I'm crying...

1. You will be ghosted

If you are unfamiliar with the lingo how old are you? it's simply when someone suddenly poof disappears out of your life. They won't reply to messages or calls, and they certainly won't provide any sort of explanation. Until I lived here, I had no idea what it truly meant to be ghosted. But oh boy do I know now. It's practically an initiation process here. Get ghosted by a love interest, a potential employer, a new friend, and BOOM congratulations you're officially a New Yorker.

Most frustratingly, it's extremely common for prospective employers to ignore you. I must have applied to over a hundred jobs when I first arrived in this city. And 9 times out of 10, I heard nothing in return. Which would be fair enough, if it was only after the initial job application that I heard nothing. But even when I got to the face-to-face interview stage, I'd still hear no word back. In one instance I even emailed an interviewer twice to get a yes or no. It doesn't matter that it was obviously a no at that stage - out of common decency they should have replied! I never heard from them.

It's just so easy to walk away and never see someone again here! The city is so big, you're not going to randomly bump into them. And so the ghosting epidemic continues...

2. You will burn out

While this can happen anywhere, it's particularly true in New York City. There are so many things to keep on top of here. It's not just your job. You'll be looking for accommodation, or scraping together enough for your weekly food shop, or simply trying to keep on top of your social life. It's the city that never sleeps, after all. Might as well kiss your 9 hours a night goodbye.

If you're living away from your family home, like so many Irish are, everything intensifies too. New York, man. It's tough.

3. You will compare yourself to others

I'm not one to compare myself. I know I'm on my own route and taking it at my own pace. But there is something about this city that makes you compare yourself to everyone else here. You'll be in awe of people who seem to do it all: Bagging promotions, working on cool personal projects, and still finding time to go out for cocktails on a Thursday night. How do they do it?

Hopefully it won't get you down too much, but you probably will fall into the comparison trap at least once. If you manage to never compare yourself to others as you live in this city, tell me your secret!

4.You will be broke

New York is expensive. This shouldn't be news to you, especially if you are planning to move over. Funnily enough, it seems like almost everyone scrapes by, regardless of their income. The bigger the payslip the bigger the apartment, I guess. And it is the monthly rent that will eat up most of your cash. Then there's the price of food here. It's insane! No matter how frugal you are, you will feel broke at some point.

5. You will hate it...

But you'll also love it! When I first moved here, I didn't understand how anyone could not adore this place. But as time wore on, I must admit I was worn down by this city. And yes, at times I've hated this city. It's relentless and sometimes it feels like there is no escape from the grind. But, ultimately I still love this place - I wouldn't hang around if I didn't! And if you love the hustle and bustle of city life, there's no doubt you'll love this place too... on good days!

I also did a chatty video about the harsh truths of living in this city, if you feel like listening to me ramble.

It feels strange to write such a negative post, as I am an optimist at heart. I hope it doesn't put you off moving to New York, rather I hope it sheds some light on some lesser talked about parts of living here. It's not for everyone, but if you're even a little drawn to living here I do recommend trying it! It's hard out here, but there's no place like it. Good luck!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

ROLL UP, ROLL UP: EXPLORING CONEY ISLAND

As much as I love city life, Manhattan gets seriously stuffy in the summer months. So over the weekend, I decided to skip the city and head straight for Coney Island with a few friends.

My first pit stop was Nathan's for the world's best (according to them!) hotdog and crinkle cut fries. And while I can't say if they are the best in the world, it was certainly the best hotdog and fries combo I've had! Hunger satisfied, it was on to the attractions.

Dress: H&M | Watch: JORD | Glasses: Wildfox | Necklace: Top Shop

I'm not the biggest fan of rollercoasters and the like, so I opted to just do the ferris wheel like the scaredy cat I am. But that was lovely, and gave me a chance to get a great view of our surroundings. Add in a fried Oreo or two and I'd say that's a day well spent at the seaside.

Coney Island isn't a must-visit place if you're popping to the city for a holiday, as it is very crowded and there are far better beaches and theme parks to visit. But if you're in NYC a little more long term and are looking for something different to do, it's worth giving it a try. I'd recommend going in the summer season (of course) and on a Friday when there are fireworks! Oh, and there's karaoke on the boardwalk too, randomly enough!

You can also catch up with me over on YouTube. Here's my most recent vlog, featuring my trip to Coney Island...

That's the latest with me. Happy 4th of July y'all. See you in the next post!

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

MUSEUM HOPPING ON THE CHEAP | Skint in NYC

NYC is not a good place for living that frugal life. But alas, here I am with a few cents in my pocket and dreams bigger than I can afford. I thought, why not blog about it? Enter my new blog series: Skint in NYC. Check out the first of the series, Bagging a Free Haircut

I may be counting my pennies, but that shouldn't mean I can't get my fix of culture every now. Luckily, New York City is chock-a-block full of iconic museums and art galleries that you can do on the cheap. The trick is knowing when to visit, and knowing when the admission prices are just suggestions. So let's get into it...

Where: The Metropolitan Museum of Art

What: Pay what you wish

When: Any day, any time

If you're headed to New York, a visit to The Met is probably pretty high up on your to-do list. Thankfully, it's completely affordable, because it's pay what you like! Though you can be easily fooled into coughing up $25 for an adult ticket, as the signs state this as the admission price. Look closely at the sign though, and you'll see in smaller print that this is only a recommended price. In actuality, you can play as little as a dime if you wanted to! Don't worry about the cashier judging you when you hand over a measly dollar bill. Honestly, they get cheapskates thrifty people like me and you all the time. They won't bat an eyelid.

Once you're in, you'll have access to pretty much all the collections on display, save the odd members-only exhibit. A must-see is of course the Anna Wintour Costume Center, to get nerdy about fashion. Next head to The Sackler Wing for the photo ops next to those huge windows... Oh, and the history too I guess! Finally, I always make a trip over to the modern art wing, as it's my favourite style. Whatever kind of art you dig, you're bound to find it here - this place is massive! Be sure to etch out a full day in your schedule for The Met if you really want to see it all.

Where: The Museum of Modern Art

What: Free

When: Fridays from 4pm

Unfortunately, it's not as easy to get into the MoMA for cheap. However, if you're willing to queue for a bit, you can get in for free on Fridays at 4pm! You'll only have a few hours until it closes at 8pm though, so if you're hoping to see it all you better have your walking shoes strapped on tight.

You'll find recognisable work by iconic artists here, including Salvador DalĂ­'s The Persistence of Memory, Vincent van Gogh's The Starry Night, and - of course - Andy Warhol's Campbell’s Soup Cans. But it's not all about the well-know pieces. The museum is dedicated to showcasing work by emerging artists too, so you're bound to stumble upon a new favourite while you're there.

Where: American Museum of Natural History

What: Pay what you wish

When: Any day, any time

I have to admit, this museum is not one of my favourites, because it is very focused on natural history (duh). That's not really my thing. But, I had some time to kill and I love me a good outing, so it was fun to wander around. And it's pay what you like, so why the hell not?

Bonus: it's where Ross worked and also hooked up with Rachel(!) - is that not reason enough to visit?

Some deal as The Met, simply hand over your donation and you'll get your ticket. While there is usually a special exhibit that you'll have to pay full price to see, you can skip it and still have plenty to peruse.

Where: Brooklyn Museum

What: Pay what you wish

When: Any day, any time (they're closed on Mondays and Tuesdays though)

Brooklyn Museum is definitely an underrated New York City spot. It's not in a part of Brooklyn that many tourists would wander to, but they should! I mean, for the interior alone, just look...

Seriously had such a great time exploring this museum... It was when I first arrived in the city, when I had no one to hangout with and could only have a date with myself, so that's exactly what I did! Loved it.

Despite all these tips, I'm not saying you should pay the bare minimum to get into these museums. If you have a bit of spare cash then by all means, donate what you can, I'm all for supporting the arts! I'm just letting you know that it is possible to do these museums even if you're on a really tight budget.

This is just a hand-picked selection! There are many free and low-cost museums on offer, check out this list if you're looking for more things to do when you're skint in NYC. Or for something completely different, read about how I bagged a freebie haircut in this costly city.

Until next time, you stay thrifty, NYC.

Monday, 22 May 2017

The Look I'll Be Living in this Summer | OOTD

It's getting hotter here in New York City, so I've been on the hunt for some flowy and light pieces to add to my wardrobe. My budget is not on my side, however, so I've mostly been raiding cheap-and-cheerful shops with little more than $20, hoping for a retail miracle. My prayers were answered, when I stumbled upon this little gem of a jumpsuit in Forever 21.

Jumpsuit: Forever 21 | Watch: JORD | Bag: Hebe Rose | Necklace: Topshop | Shoes: H&M

It's super simple, but that's why it's so perfect for me. With a limited wardrobe - half my clothes are back home in Ireland - I have to get resourceful with my outfits over here. A one-time wear kind of ensemble will not do. I need something that can be worn day and night, and that's definitely this jumpsuit. For nights out, I'll pair it with heels and delicate accessories. I'll dress it down for day-to-day office wear, like how I've worn it here. Throw on my Taylor Crossbody, and I'm ready to land at Hebe Rose HQ for and get my hustle on.

Then there's the accessories. Or should I say: that watch. I received this gorgeous piece by JORD in the post last week and since then it hasn't left my wrist. I forgot how great old school watches are!

This is going to sound ridiculous, but I feel so relieved to have a watch back in my life! It's such a great way to stop wasting time on your phone. Before, I would always be looking at my phone for the time. But of course, then I'd see the notifications and start checking Instagram, Twitter, email... And it's not until I slide my phone back in my pocket that I realise I still have no idea what time it is. Plus I probably wasted 5 minutes from all the needless social media scrolling. So for me wearing a watch is a pretty little life hack.

Psst, click to get $25 off a JORD watch, with the chance of winning a $100 JORD gift card.

You can expect to see me wearing this ensemble a lot this summer. How about you - what is your go-to look for the warmer months? I'd love to hear in the comments!

Thanks to Jord Watches who sent me their Frankie 35 in Dark Sandalwood & Slate watch for review. Cool Watches