Keep Your Head Up

London Eye | by Lauren Cunningham

London Eye | by Lauren Cunningham

London Rooftops | Lauren Cunningham

London Rooftops | by Lauren Cunningham

Buckingham Palace | Lauren Cunningham

Buckingham Palace | by Lauren Cunningham

Pushing through crowds in a tourist ridden city sometimes can take a lot more effort than you bargain for. A brisk stroll across a walking bridge? You wish. Crosswalks with unfamiliar pedestrians? Forget it.

Eventually, you find yourself power walking with the posture of someone who appears to have an agenda and have convinced yourself that everyone simply must think you’re a local.

I have bad news: they don’t. They take note of your tourist tendencies. They see through your lies. The big giveaway is when your poise takes a nosedive as you see an empty red phone booth and sprint over to take advantage of the magic moment. Guilty. Oops.

Piccadilly Sky | Lauren Cunningham

Piccadilly Sky | by Lauren Cunningham

Union Jack | Lauren Cunningham

Union Jack | by Lauren Cunningham

London Rooftops | Lauren Cunningham

London Rooftops | by Lauren Cunningham

The biggest mistake we made while adventuring through London was one of our first times on the tube (London’s subway). We had exited our car and were en route to Covent Garden for a bite to eat. Feeling superior to all of the lazy, apathetic people who were heading towards the lifts,  we opted for the stairs instead.

What we saw was a sneaky quick exit instead of long lines and claustrophobic feelings. What we didn’t see was the sign that read: “THERE ARE 193 STAIRS. THAT IS EQUAL TO FIFTEEN FLOORS. YOUR THIGHS WILL BURN LIKE THAT OF 1000 FIERY SUNS.”  (There may have been some exaggeration just now, but you get it). After a lot of heavy breathing and thoughts of giving up, we made it. We saw the sun. We were alive.

There were two things we were both sure of after climbing that never ending spiral staircase from hell. The first, was that all my time in the gym leading up to this trip was WORTHLESS. The second, is that we would never second guess the masses of people waiting to take the lift ever again.

Ever.

More updates from England soon. Also, Amsterdam on Friday and New York next week! 2014 is starting out incredibly.

To follow my adventures in real time, follow me on Instagram at @lacunningham 

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Moonlighting.

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via Pinterest

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via Pinterest

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via Pinterest

 

Things that take some getting used to during in wintery England :

  • the time difference | 6 hours makes a difference when it comes to easy sweet dreams or painfully long hours of facebook creepage. I recommend a sleep aid and for you to put the coffee down. Immediately.
  • the weather | Give me a rainy day ANY time. I love them. But add a little wind and cold–things get a little bit slippery. Avoid: buying an umbrella with the country’s flag on it.
  • social norms | It doesn’t take long to gather what’s okay and what isn’t in a new culture. Just keep your eyes open. Oh, and whatever you do, do not pick up a British accent or inflection within the first week of visiting. You will be the target for jokes. Speaking from a friend’s experience…
  • the darkness | because the sun is never high and the its time to shine is cut a little shorter than in the states, you spend a little more time in the dark. Not complaining. If there’s one thing I love it’s a night stroll, city lights, and my favorite evening activity: dinner (will also accept dessert).

Because I’ve been spending a little more time in the moonlight lately, I thought I’d post a few things that has inspired. Namely my new need for all of the black accessories. I need a matte black watch more than I need an umbrella on a drizzly london afternoon. I want people to see my wrist and think, “Wow. That girl is chic and has her shit together. What a class act.” Then they’ll notice the oversized belt around my middle and, unbeknownst to my incessant desire to consume beer and baguettes, they will be impressed (and deceived) by my apparent waist size. Yeah, you could say I’ve got life figured out.

Headed to London today to be a total tourist. Photos galore to come.

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To follow me in real time, check out my instagram at @lacunningham

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Market Mornings.

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I am a firm believer that travel is 100% more enjoyable when you get to experience your destination as the locals do.

While living in Florence, Italy a couple of years ago, I didn’t spend my weekends in the Piazzas swarming with tourists and rambunctious umbrella salesmen. No, I spent my weekends cruising in backseat of my friend Mattia’s navy blue mini cooper. From camping trips in the country side, to nights out in Fiesole, to taking a special trip to a nearly invisible restaurant in a tiny town solely because I must try the gnocchi–it’s safe to say that a few simple google searches would not have yielded such memorable adventures. While I did take time to see and appreciate the sites of beautiful Firenze, I did it through the eyes of the people who truly knew the history and value of them because they’ve been surrounded by the culture their whole lives.

This past weekend, we went to London and stayed with my friend’s stepsister in Borough. We were banking on her showing us around so we could see a different side of London than we were expecting, and she did not let us down.

On Saturdays, there is a market filled to the brim with every tasty thing you could imagine: macarons, fresh meats, ice cream, home grown produce, curry cooked right in front of you, sweets for DAYS, and (my personal favorite) chai tea straight from Darjeeling. I was in heaven, and most of that can probably be attributed to the amount of free cheese samples I consumed throughout our time there. Just kidding. (But really, what’s better than fresh Comté? Nothing is the answer).

Markets are a great way to get a feel for a place and it’s people, but also to support it’s local industries. If you’re ever in London, I highly recommend checking it out. Take the tube, grab a mulled wine, and see what all the buzz is about.

To keep up in real time with my travels follow me on Instagram at @lacunningham

Up next on the blog: Winter Wonderland–the land of amusement park rides, cider, christmas lights, and a lot of spiced sausage.

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England via IPhone

Being me, I always like to boast about how quickly I can overcome the obstacle called jet lag because I am, in fact, an international globetrotting prodigy. Oh, six hour time difference? That shit is easy as pie. Look at me sleep through a solid amount of REM cycles.

I am here to tell you that all of what I just said is a lie. (Surprise?). The unfortunate (and humbling) reality is that I’ve been up since 5:30 this morning and it’s now 7. I’ve been here going on five days and this madness is still going on. Help.

I haven’t uploaded any of the pictures from my camera yet, so I thought I’d do a little trip catch via my iPhone. I just got the 5s and let me act as ambassador and tell you how incredible the camera is. It’s making my instagram look like I know what I’m doing.

| OUNDLE AND STAMFORD PHOTO CATCH UP 

Mixing patterns on travel day | Sweater: Madewell, Scarf: Belk, Jeans: BDG, Shoes: Cynthia by Cynthia Rowley

Mixing patterns on travel day | Sweater: Madewell, Scarf: Belk, Jeans: BDG, Shoes: Cynthia by Cynthia Rowley

Airplane Reading | Man Repeller by Leandra Medine (check out her blog at manrepeller.com because it is everything)

Airplane Reading | Man Repeller by Leandra Medine (check out her blog at manrepeller.com because it is everything)

Arrivals | LZ and I upon getting to London

Arrivals | LZ and I upon getting to London

First coffee in Oundle | went to a quaint shoppe called Smiths No. 4 when I got to town. Had a cappucino and finally could believe I was back in Europe.

First coffee in Oundle | went to a quaint shoppe called Smiths No. 4 when I got to town. Had a cappucino and finally could believe I was back in Europe.

Oundle, England | Also known as the most quintessentially English place that exists (I think)

Oundle, England | Also known as the most quintessentially English place that exists (I think)

2014 | Ringing in the new year at a pub in town called The Ship

2014 | Ringing in the new year at a pub in town called The Ship

Burghley House | The day we explored a town called Stamford

Burghley House | The day we explored a town called Stamford

Reflections | Stamford, again

Reflections | Stamford, again

Tea Time | Earl Grey every second of every day with a spot of milk and a biscuit. This was during lunch at the George Hotel in Stamford

Tea Time | Earl Grey every second of every day with a spot of milk and a biscuit. This was during lunch at the George Hotel in Stamford

Tulips | because the blog shot was neccessary

Tulips | because the blog shot was neccessary

We’re boarding a train to London in a few hours for a day of site seeing and exploring. I’ll be there for the next couple of days, but if you live vicariously through 3×3 pictures you can follow me on Instagram and Twitter (if you can handle any more sass)

Talk to you all soon!

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Prepare for takeoff

Happy Sunday, friends! As 2013 comes to a close, I’m find myself reminiscing over what a big year it’s been. For instance, I graduated college (BFA in fashion design & minor in graphic design, aka the hardest 4 years of my life), my brother got married, I met so many great new people in Nashville, my career path started to unfold, and I consumed more than one entire pizza with no regrets. Also there was whiskey. A lot of whiskey.

Let’s march onward to my last installation in my travel beauty series before I board my transatlantic flight, shall we?

|PART V: HAIR

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Products: Conair curling iron 1″, Pureology Reviving Red Shampoo, Moroccan Oil LIGHT Treatment, Kevin Murphy Hair Resort spray, Batiste dry shampoo in Blush, a gross understatement of how many bobby pins and hair ties I actually brought

Oh, hair. My hair is something I understand about as much as I understand complex math. I get how it is SUPPOSED to work–I’ve watched the tutorials, I’ve read the articles, I’ve purchased the miracle products. However, when it comes to me actually USING the knowledge and trying to produce the effortless curls that I marveled at on Pinterest, they look less “Beach Chic” and more “Sassy Ramen.” It’s the worst.

Though I am far from having a lot of great hair days, good hair days are easier to come by because of the stellar bunch of hair products I’ve found within the last few months. The Pureology shampoo is the newest addition. It is 100% Vegan, free of sulfates and other harmful bits, contains a lot of beneficial oils (Jaljala, Coconut, and Olive to name a few)  and boasts an antifade complex that it will make my red hair last as long as possible. It not only makes my hair feel great, but also my scalp. HIGHLY Recommend.

After towel drying my hair, I apply about a dime sized amount of Moroccan Oil (also known as, hair salvation) starting at the roots and then throughout my hair. I, then, spray the Kevin Murphy texturizer through my limp locks. Putting these products in before drying allows them to really sink into the strands of hair as they are being heated. After blasting hot air at my head for about five minutes and fighting frizz with my paddle brush, I have a soft, voluminous, and not-too-straight mane of hair.

Lastly, the dry shampoo. Dry shampoo is the answer to not wanting to wash your hair as often. Batiste and I are best friends. We go everywhere together. Affordable, effective, and not overly fragrant, dry shampoo makes my days between washes (often times there is a beanie involved) a lot more bearable, and a lot less homeless looking.

|PART VI: IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS

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I thought I would include some tidbits that I couldn’t bear to leave home without.

  • First of all, my arm candy (did that make me sound like a member of the fashion elite?) Most of them are simple silver bangles, courteusy of my sweet mom, and there is also a beaded one I wear which mom wears as well–we’re close.
  • The next item is hashtag CRUCIAL. This red lipstick is the most wonderful, matte, long lasting red lipstick I have ever worn. Write this down: MAC. MATTE FINISH. RUBY WOO. All thank you notes can be sent to my email inbox.
  • I’m bringing along two mini O.P.I. polishes, in Vampsterdam and You Don’t Know Jacques, because I like to think that I am going to keep my hands looking manicured while I’m traveling. But if we’re being honest, I’d probably rather spend that time scouting out Europe’s best macarons. Aim high, Lauren. Aim high.
  • Perfume says a lot about a person. I enjoy tricking people into thinking that I’m a big deal, so I typically spritz on Miss Dior eau de parfum. If you want to have the same scent as I imagine Aphrodite did, wear this.
  • The last item is a necklace I purchased from a small designer named Cynthia Rybakoff while at the Chelsea Market in New York. She not only designed it, but is a gemologist and was able to tell me the qualities of the moonstone in my necklace. What a lady.

I am counting down the seconds until I am on my first flight. I am not counting down the meals I have left before I get to treat myself to one of those airplane premade feasts. Please, Lord, let there be a pasta option. If there’s one thing that can get me through a nine hour flight…it’s carbs.

Speak to you all when I touch down in the U.K.!

follow me on instagram @lacunningham to see what I’m doing in real time!

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