A fashion and lifestyle magazine and blog produced by Students in the Design and Merchandising program at Drexel University

Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Menu

As a native Californian, I never get to fly home to my family for Thanksgivings, since plane tickets are so expensive. For the past three years I have been spending my Thanksgiving break with my boyfriend at our Philadelphia apartment. Each year we try to cook something new. This year we bought all of our ingredients from Trader Joe’s, so everything was healthy and organic. For our menu we cooked turkey breasts, sweet potatoes, heirloom carrots, heirloom tomatoes, and green beans.

Because we can’t afford to buy or eat an entire turkey by ourselves, we opted to buy regular turkey breasts. My boyfriend was in charge of cooking the turkey, sweet potatoes, and green beans, while I was in charge of the carrots and dessert.

For the carrots I drizzled them in olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and then baked it in the oven for 25 minutes. For dessert I baked banana pudding that had a crunchy graham cracker base, a vanilla pastry cream and sliced banana filling, and a whipped cream and dulce de leche topping.

It only took us 2 hours to cook everything, and to top it all off we paired our dinner with a glass of white wine.

This was my boyfriend and mine’s third Thanksgiving in together, and we still managed to not burn anything. It was a truly peaceful and relaxing Thanksgiving, since we both prefer private dinners, rather than large chaotic family gatherings. Our main goal is to keep improving our cooking by trying more gourmet recipes each year.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Fashionable Scarf

When the weather starts to get colder, scarves come back and quickly become one of the must have accessories for the season. Fashion changes every year, which means there are always new styles to try. One of the trendiest options this season is the skinny scarf. While it doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with keeping you warm on cold winter days, it is a statement piece and many brands are joining the trend.

There are different ways to tie the skinny scarf depending on the material and the length. For the long skinny scarf from Nasty Gal, it can be draped and then knotted at the neck.

Nasty Gal

Because the skinny scarf is long and thin, so may be a bit hindering especially when it’s made with heavy fabric. The shorter skinny scarf might be a better choice.


If the casual knot tie isn’t for you, another way to tie the skinny scarf is to make bowknot.

Henri Bendel Monogram

You can also wear it without knot, by simply wrapping it around the neck.


Making a knot on the side of the neck can give you a more neutral feeling. For this method, the skinny scarf should not be too thin, and it must be tied in a knot, because the skinny scarf is usually so light it could easily blow away.

Saint Laurent

Last year, it was fashionable to tie a large scarf into a belt. This year, while the skinny scarves are on trend, we are just not ready to say good-bye to the large scarf yet. We have an easier way to wear them however – draping the scarf over the shoulder.


A scarf made of faux fur is also a good choice for this year.

Creatures of the wind

The scarf is not simply an item to keep you warm during the cold weather, but also a fashion item worthy to play and experiment with.  A scarf that reflects your personal style will be a highlight in your wardrobe.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Ultimate Ranking of the Most Satisfying Gluten Free Meals in Philly

If you’re living a gluten free life you understand the struggle of the constant hunt to find a gluten free meal that doesn’t taste like cardboard and will satisfy you until the hunt begins yet again. When you find that one dish that seems to magically solve all of your cravings, it is as if the gluten free gods are looking out for you from above. From someone who fully understands this feeling, here are the top five most satisfying gluten free meals in Philadelphia that will have you singing.

Sabrina’s Cafe
Location: 227 N. 34th Street, Philadelphia, PA
Dish: Cali-Turkey Sandwich

What a true gluten freer wants more than anything is bread that actually tastes like real bread, and that is why Sabrina’s holds the number one spot on this list. Sourcing their gluten free bread from a small bakery in Italian Market, Sabrina’s creates a masterpiece of a sandwich loaded with turkey, avocado, bacon, and sprouts. Topped with red pepper mayo, it will quench even the severest of bread cravings you may experience.

Giorgio on Pine
Location: 1328 Pine Street, Philadelphia, PA
Dish: Prosciutto, English Pea, and Mushroom Fusilli

Italian food is essentially taboo for someone trying to avoid gluten. Bread, pasta, and pizza are the food items you are banned from immediately with no exceptions. However, the small, family owned establishment, Giorgio on Pine, has found a way around that. Beginning the meal with warm gluten free bread and olive oil for dipping is right away a huge plus. But the decadent blush sauce drenched gluten free fusilli dish mixed with English peas, mushrooms, and rich prosciutto cheese is what will make you accept being gluten free for a night. With huge portions, definitely come hungry and ready for an Italian tasting experience.

Location: 124 S. 13th Street, Philadelphia, PA
Dish: Kim Chee Fried Rice

Soy sauce is usually the perpetrator when it comes to Asian cuisine. Often you think you’re in the clear, rice is naturally gluten free, but soy sauce tends to be in almost everything, and unfortunately it is gluten ridden. Thankfully, the modern, pan-Asian inspired restaurant Sampan has you covered. Specializing in gluten free dining, Sampan seamlessly translates their traditional menu dishes into gluten free options. The savory Kim Chee Fried Rice features grilled shrimp, sprouts, and is topped with a piping hot fried egg that a waiter will happily chop into your rice for you. Sampan’s dishes are served family style and meant to be shared, although honestly you’ll probably want this dish all for yourself.

Location: 1740 Sansom Street, Philadelphia, PA
Dish: Truffle Pizza

Gluten free pizza is truly a hit or miss dish. Often gluten freers are served an extremely dry, almost tortilla like pizza that, upon immediate pick up attempt, will crumble in their hands. Rittenhouse Square’s hole in the wall pizza joint, Slice, has defied this assumption with their gluten free Truffle Pizza. Completely covered in mushrooms and topped with a thick layer of gooey mozzarella, this pizza is a dream. Not a mushroom fan? No worries, Slice has multiple pizza variations as well as a make your own option opening up endless possibilities.

Landmark Americana
Location: 3333 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA
Dish: Chicken Tenders & Fries

For the six year old in all of us who just yearns for the perfect chicken tender, Landmark Americana provides a gluten free option that even non-gluten freers enjoy ordering. Perfectly crispy, breaded with gluten free corn flour, and served alongside battered fries, this dish is a classic and proves that even the simplest plates can be your absolute favorite.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Balmain for H&M

With the recent success of the Balmain for H&M collection, I have been thinking a lot about the nature of luxury items and how they are marketed to consumers. The limited edition collection launched on November 5th, however we first started hearing about the collection months in advance. Right from the beginning the collection was predicted to be bigger then any other fast fashion/ designer collaboration as the collection was announced at the Billboard Music Awards by some of fashions most famous faces. Kendall Jenner along with her sister Kylie and Jourdan Dunn wore looks from the collection on the red carpet, only revealing the collection when being asked who they were wearing. It was an announcement that no one was expecting that night and thus the two retailers created a frenzy right away. Social media exploded that night with the news becoming bigger then many of the award winners that night.
With the initial excitement created, the teams at H&M and Balmain had a systematic approach to the next seven months before the collection came out. They released images frequently enough to keep the collection in mind but not often enough that consumers got tired of looking at the beautifully crafted pieces. Every time the collection slipped from our minds we were reminded through new campaign images or shots of celebrities wearing the collection to different events. Without knowing it we were all waiting for the next glimpse of the collection to become available.
In addition to the anticipation, we were constantly reassured that the pieces coming out were the ultimate cool-girl pieces as top model after top model joined #hmbalmainnation in support of the collection. Culminating with the Hadid sisters and Karlie Kloss joining the Jenner sisters and Jourdan Dunn in the official runway show for the collection, we all looked on hoping to get to wear the same outfits as the famous faces that walked the runway.
So was all the promotion worth it? The collection sold out in just hours making it impossible to purchase anything had you not waited overnight outside the store. Additionally those who did manage to get their hands on product from the collection are now reselling it online for prices more than the price of traditional Balmain.
This brings us to the topic of the value of luxury goods. How can the fast fashion alternative be more valuable then the high end luxury original? Given that the luxury market is built on perception and the way retailers promote their products, even a fast fashion collection can reach luxury status when it is promoted like a luxury line. With the fashion industry and celebrities alike telling us how special the collection is, as well as its limited edition status, we believe that the supposedly "lower end" line is worthy of the same praise (and price) as the original high end market items. After looking at the frenzy the marketing cause maybe instead of saying that Balmain created a lower end line, we should be saying that H&M created a high end collection.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

PMA Perks

Although I finished my art history electives 2 years ago, there is one thing that motivates me to register for extra electives whenever I can. When you take an art history class, you are granted a little sticker to put on you ID that allows you free access into the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The classes usually include some kind of research paper that requires you to visit the museum. Because it is only a short walk from campus and the admission is free, I try to visit the museum a few times each quarter.

It's easy to incorporate the museum into projects for other classes, like photography. The objectives for photography focus on the design principles, which are also taught in basic design courses, are reinforced through weekly shooting assignments. Volume and contrast are some of the main focuses of the projects, and the art museum is the perfect location for taking pictures.

I always make sure to take a sketch book along with me. If I have a little extra time, I can sketch and keep my drawing skills sharp. As a D&M, drawing skills have been a necessity for many classes, and it is comforting to know that I haven't let what I learned in drawing class slip away. 

During at least one trip to the museum, I snap pictures of potential pieces to write art history papers about, and even if I don't end up choosing one as the main focus, it can work well as a piece to compare it to. What doesn't end up in the final paper is useful for other areas of the course or as inspiration, but they are also pretty nice to look at. 

Marie Laurencin
              Nymph and Hind
Enrico Donati
              Carnival of Venice

Paul Klee

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The 5 Beauty Products I CANNOT Live Without

The 5 Beauty Products I CANNOT Live Without

I’m a beauty novice. I love beauty and face products but I have no idea how to create the perfect contour or smoky eye.  What I do know how to do is put on make up that makes me look like your average girl. Through many trial and errors I’ve discovered a few products that are my ride or die pieces.

1. Better Than Sex Mascara by Too Faced - $23
 This Mascara is amazing. It has 4 stars out of 5 on Ulta.com. People swear by this mascara, I certainly do. I have fairly short lashes but this product not only lengthens them but is also volumizing. It stays on through out the day without flaking off. I always have this product on me, definitely worth every penny.

2. Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner by Stilla - $22This eyeliner is the best eyeliner I’ve ever used. It is super easy to handle and goes on super smooth. It gives you optimum control of the eyeliner. I have it in the Jet Black color, but it comes in 14 other colors. The colors are very pigmented. It has 4.4 stars out 5 on Ulta.com. It lasts all day and is also waterproof.

3. Brow Wiz by Anastasia Beverly Hills - $21 This brow pencil is a miracle worker. It is a twist up pencil that goes on super smooth. There are 8 different shade of color so you can find one that perfectly matches your eyebrow color. I use the Caramel color. The color looks extremely natural. At the end of the pencil there is a brush that helps you blend the pencil into your brown.  It has 4.6 stars out 5 on Ulta.com. The pencil is long lasting and water resistant. I will never use another brow pencil.

4. Priming Moisturizer by Glossier - $25Glossier is a very new company, only a year old, which was created by Emily Weiss- the creator of Into the Gloss. Into the Gloss is beauty blog that has gained huge popularity. The product is only sold directly through Glossier’s website. The Priming Moisturizer is extremely light and oxygenating. It contains a blend of antioxidants. It’s free of harsh chemicals as well. This moisturizer is perfect to put on your face right before you start putting on your foundation. This moisturizer doesn’t clog up my pores or cause me to break out. It has been the most helpful moisturizer I’ve ever used.

5. Matte Lipstick by NYX - $5.99This is my go to lipstick. It goes on smoothly and easily. The lipstick is very pigmented and goes on matte. It comes in 33 different shades. The lipstick last all day. It’s the perfect finishing touch to your day-to-day make up routine. My favorite color is Eden. It’s a rich dark red that is a great statement lip for the fall and winter.