Summer in the City

Bodysuit: H&M // Shorts: Thrifted Levi's // Shoes: Birkenstock

It's summertime and the living is easy. I'm spending my summer in the city working part-time and interning and it's such a good change from last summer. I'm not stuck in a cubicle wearing boring office clothes, but instead I get to create programing for incoming NYU students, and work a pretty sweet retail job where I'm surrounded by pretty clothes. 

Despite being a Texas gal, I'm still learning how to look cute in the summertime. Usually my summers consist of staying at home and binge watching everything on netflix in my pj's, but now that I'm constantly out I'm looking for ways to stay cool and look good. 

I'm glad that I didn't put this bodysuit away for the season because I love how it looks with a pair of shorts. The low back makes me feel badass and gets rid of the possibility of back sweat, a very real issue on the very humid streets of new york. Now that the heat is in full swing, I've finally accepted that my trusty denim shorts are going to retire very soon. I've been wearing these shorts since I thrifted and cut them myself for over four (five?) years now and i'm definitely not the same size I was then! 

Any suggestions on a good place to find denim shorts?

Travel Guide: Amsterdam

Walking around Amsterdam felt like walking around a pop-up fairytale book. Architecturally it looks and feels different than most of the cities I saw in Europe. With its buildings in all shades of black, grey, and maroon and the plethora of canals and bridges, Amsterdam doesn't feel like a real city at all. 

The city is very walkable which is great because every street you go on is so beautiful. Also no need to know Dutch because essentially everything is in English which is such a blessing. I imagine that in the Summer the city is even more lively than it was when I visited towards the end of March, but I honestly think that the city is a great place to visit, no matter the time of year. 

As always, I've attached my handy dandy map with all the locations mentioned and more to the bottom of this post!

To See and Do

  • Anne Frank House (*note: tickets sell out very early and the line gets crazy long so try to plan for this as far in advanced as possible)
  • Rijksmuseum
  • Van Gogh Museum
  • Bloemenmarkt
  • Nine Streets
  • Vondelpark
  • Red Light District- it's Amsterdam– you have to.
  • Concertgebouwplein- check their website before you go because I think they do free concerts during lunchtime every Wednesday! 
  • Keukenhof- if you go in the spring, you must take a trip out to Keukenhof to see the tulips!
  • I Amsterdam Sign

To Eat and Drink

  • Coffee and Coconuts
  • Pluk
  • Bakers & Roasters
  • Kantjil & De Tijger- holy smokes. one of the best meals I had while abroad, must stop by if you're into Indonesian food!
  • Cafe het Paleis
  • Getto

KEY

Blue= Places to see and things to do

Green= food

Yellow= Coffee

Grey= Shopping 

Photo Diary: Amsterdam

Amsterdam was less about seeing all the sights and more about eating good food, walking aimlessly, and having good conversations with my friend Irvi. That being said, every inch of Amsterdam is adorable and photogenic so naturally I took photos of as many canals and moody-toned buildings as humanly possible. We also took a short trip out to Keukenhoff to see the famous Dutch tulips!

In Amsterdam I really got to experience a slower pace of traveling which I'm not used to, but I really enjoyed it. Sometimes it pays to sit in a cafe for a few hours instead of rushing from one place to the next.

The Ordinary Skincare First Impressions

I told myself that once I was back home I would start taking better care of myself– I wanted to be more aware of what I was eating, find a workout routine that I enjoy and that would keep me active, and I desperately needed to actually start taking care of my skin. Overall I have decent skin, I rarely get breakouts, but I do have some hyper pigmentation that I'm not too happy with, my skin is fairly dry, especially around my nose and between my eyebrows, and I've always had issues with my skin feeling rough probably due to my skin not shedding properly (cute, I know). 

I've heard a lot about The Ordinary via various blogs in the last few months praising them for making skincare products that are backed by science, actually work, and best of all are affordable. I was able to stop by one of their shops in London and pick up a few items to try for myself. I've only been using them for about a week and a half but my skin is already showing signs of improvement and my only regret is not ordering these products sooner. 

I went ahead and picked up the Glycolic Acid Toning Solution to help exfoliate, brighten, and even out my skin, the Azelaic Acid Suspension for its brightening properties, and the Natural Moisturizing Factors to combat my dry spots. 

The Glycolic Acid Toner is by far my favorite product. I've already noticed a huge improvement in how my skin feels! Before I would get a lot of build up around my nose or in crevices like right behind my ears. After one use any and all signs of build up were gone and my skin is baby smooooooth. I use this every night and it does have a bit of a warming sensation that starts to lessen the more you use it. This product will make your skin more sensitive to the sun to be sure to use sunscreen in the morning! I definitely prefer chemical exfoliants over physical ones and at just under $9 you bet that I'll be buying another bottle when this is finished. 

Next up is the Azelaic Acid Suspension. I started using these products all at once so I can't speak for how it stands on its own, but I do think that this is part of the reason why I've seen great results in my skin evening out in just a little over a week. I use this every night and I'll occasionally use it in the morning under my moisturizer if I feel like it. This also has a warming sensation that fades as your skin adapts. My main qualm with this though is the texture. It's described as a "cream-gel" but feels very silicon-y and had a matte effect on the skin. When applying I feel like it sticks to where its first applied and you need to put in some work and move fast to blend it in properly. Because of this, I feel like I'm using more product than I need in an attempt to cover my face and neck. I do think it helps to brighten and even out the skin, but this product may be more favorable to people with oily skin because of it's mattifying effect. 

Last up is the Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA which is my least favorite product out of the bunch. Just like the Azelaic Acid, this has a silicon-y feel mattifying look which is not ideal if you have dry skin and are looking to use this product as a moisturizer. This doesn't make my skin look or feel more hydrated and I will not be repurchasing this. At the moment I use this before I apply my actual moisturizer, but there's no way I can use this on its own.

Overall I think The Ordinary is a great place to go to if you're looking to start taking better care of your skin on a budget. I love the simple packaging and the fact that they really do have something for every issue. Definitely do your research before hand because there are some products that cannot be mixed or that need to be applied is a certain order to be safe and effective. This youtube video and corresponding information sheet are very helpful if you want to learn more about the rest of their product line. 

Are there any products from The Ordinary that catch your eye? Let me know what some of your favorite skincare brands are!

Currently Binging on Netflix

Is it just me or did all the good shows come back on netflix recently?! I'm generally not the one to watch netflix during the school year but I have a few days relaxing outside of London until I'm back in New York and dealing with jet lag, moving, and starting an internship, and finding a job to get all caught up on the goodness that is netflix shows. Here's what I plan on binge watching:

Master of None

You've probably heard all the rave reviews already but Master of None is such a refreshing show to watch. I feel like it should be mandatory for all first/second-gen immigrants to watch because Aziz Ansari just gets it. It's hilarious, makes me feel all the feelings about my parents, and it well done overall. Plus, Ansari is an NYU alum and we're both marketing majors so I like to think that I'm destined to be the next him.

House of Cards

I am waaaay behind on House of Cards (I think I'm stopped somewhere on season 3?) but with the currently political situation I think this would actually help me take the mind off the news. Kevin Spacey is amazing as Frank Underwood, so much so that I almost aspire to be him (minus the murder, and deceit, and all that jazz).

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

I really appreciated the past two seasons of UKS for it's lightheartedness and catchy tunes (pinor noir anyone?). I think this is the perfect show to relax over with a tub of ice cream and feels perfect for the summertime. 

Chef's Table

The latest season of Chef's Table actually came out a few months ago, but I was holding out until I could watch it at home on our super HD tv (with the curved screen and everything. #extra). Chef's Table is one of those shows where I am glued to the screen, it is one of the best produced shows I've ever watched and it never leaves me anything short of breathless. I could honestly go on about my love for this show in a whole post of its own!

I recently finished watching Abstract: The Art of Design which I loved, and I'm anxiously waiting for Daredevil to come back next year. What have you been watching lately, anything you'd recommend?

That One Time Paris Changed Everything

Toyosi Oyelola_Paris Reflection001.jpg

This semester, Paris was definitely the place I was most looking forward to visiting. If it would have worked with my degree requirements, I would have definitely have chosen to study abroad there instead of Prague. Like nearly everyone else on the planet, I've always loved the idea of Paris and anything surrounding French culture. I've read one too many articles on how to achieve the perfect french bedhead or dress like a french girl. On a more serious note, I also appreciate France because of my love of food and culinary history and techniques. Chef's Table gave french chefs their own season, and while I definitely was not able to enjoy a french meal at a nice restaurant the mere idea of being in that environment made me feel giddy inside. 

Going into this trip I was scared, mainly for two reasons. Either I would get there, realize that Paris has been over romanticized and over hyped and be immediately dissapointed, or I would come back with visions of eclairs and pain au chocolats dancing in my head, proclaiming that Paris was the city of my dreams and that I was destined to be a parisienne, immediately annoying anyone and everyone within 10 feet of me. While the latter definitely came to fruition to some extent (I'm still thinking about the baguette I got from a local bakery and I've started one too many sentences with 'when I was in Paris...") I also came back with a increased passion and drive for all things creative.

The thing I love most about Europe, and something that is really exemplified in a city like Paris, is the amount of craftsmanship put into everything. As a self professed aesthete I need to be surrounded by beautiful, carefully thought out things to feel my best. On the surface I know that this tends to sound superficial, but I am happiest digging in the details and to be in an environment where choices were made carefully and things like beauty and pleasure are always considered of high importance. 

I've had plenty of people mock my 'aesthetic'– jokingly or not– and it pisses me off to no end. Yes, I am the girl who plates her meals in an attempt to make them look instagram ready, I will do what I have to do to find the perfect lighting for an overhead shot of my breakfast, I've spent the past year and a half working on defining my own 'branding' because it's important to me.

Despite only being there for three days, I feel like I got a really good sense and feel for Paris. I'd even dare to say that by the third day I was starting to know my way around the city— sans google maps. I saw all the little coffee shops, restaurants, and boutiques and I know that there's a million more that I didn't even catch a glimpse of. Being surrounded by all the beautiful places showed me that this it's possible to live the life I've always imagined for myself. A life surrounded by beauty and creativity.

I came back from Paris with a bit of pep in my step and a desire to recreate my short lived Parisian life. I've always known that whatever I end up doing in life has to have some creative aspect, but I've always let my imposter syndrome get the best of me. I love photography, and cooking, and writing (once in a blue moon) and creating things but there's always someone better than me, someone who get more compliments or recognition. But since coming back I've been learning to not care about other people and focus of me and honing my skills and putting them out there on display. I took the leap and finally made my photography portfolio and consolidated it with my blog (not sure if you've noticed but you're currently reading this on 'toyosioyelola.com', I have my own dot com!!!!!). I'm planning on upgrading my camera gear when I get back to the states and I'm excited to feel like I'm investing in myself. 

I'm also starting to look into how I can make the blog feel more like a real thing for me and not just a little side hobby by brainstorming content and trying to develop this into something that feels more put together and makes me proud to show off. I feel like in comparison to so many other bloggers I've followed for years that I haven't gone very far and while I know that numbers don't tell the whole story, I'd love to get to a point where I can do more collaborations and increase engagement on here. 

For the first time I'm looking at my creative hobbies and looking into how they can become a career or woking on building them out for the long term. I still have no idea what I'm doing in general, and I know that at the age of nineteen I'm not supposed to have everything figured out, but I am definitely in a place where I need to start getting serious about what I'm working towards and what I want to achieve instead of just going with whatever happens. Life is unpredictable and I could end up changing my mind a million times before graduation, but now is a prime time to roll up my sleeves and put in the work to make some of my dreams a reality. 

I've never been comfortable calling myself a creative, but there really is no denying it. while I'm not the best photographer, writer, cook, stylist, etc I place a high value on creativity and making beautiful things.

I feel like it's so cliche to say that paris changed my life, but damn it, it's true. 

merci beaucoup paris. je t'aime et je te verrai bientôt.