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Before I travel to a new destination I make sure to do my homework online and ask friends for advice. When visiting Sanorini a few weeks ago I made sure two activities at the top of our agenda…  taking a lunch cruise around the island and riding a donkey down to the port.

            On the first morning we were picked up from our little bed & breakfast and taken down to the water by Blue Lagoon Cruises. It was off peak timing, so it ended up being just the two of us and a recently-wed gay couple on their honeymoon sharing the boat.

The waters were particularly choppy that day causing a bit of excitement for everyone on board. Once the waves smoothed out, the water became a magnificent shade of sparkling blue. At certain times we could see just under the surf where schools of colorful fish languidly swam by. As the day drew happily into evening we were treated to a view I will not soon forget: the legendary sun setting over the volcano.

            As for the donkeys… they were a little less accommodating. Santorini itself is a very tall island and the majority of the town is located on the upper portion. This positioning lends itself beautifully to pictures, but slightly less so to actually getting down to the water.

 I have a freak fear of cable cars (something to do with a trip to Randall’s Island as a child), so my options were either walking a full mile up/down the steep stairs or hopping on the back of a donkey and giddying up. I chose to save my legs.Apart from a brief blip when my guy nearly ran over a group of hikers (they’ve got much more stamina than I do!), it ended up being one of the highlights of my trip! 


            It’s difficult to describe my surreal romance with Santorini in a few short paragraphs. It had been a slight obsession of mine to visit the little island since watching Alexis Bledel’s character, Lena, travel there in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Oh, and I let’s not forget: it’s the land of Mamma Mia!

            We landed in Santorini in the heat of the day after an early morning flight from Athens. Moments before beginning our descent, the island appeared in the distance like a sparkling jewel against the deep blue Aegean Sea. Flying into their provincial airport was a refreshing change of pace after the non-stop spree of big cities we’d visited in recent weeks.

            One of my favorite things about Greece was the bed & breakfast that we were staying at in Fira. Every nook and cranny was perfect from the white washed interior to the breathtaking view of the ocean below. As two 21-year-olds alone in a foreign country for the first time, we were feeling very spoiled.

            Once we finally worked up the nerve to rent an ATV we decided to tool around the island. It was a lesson that sometimes allowing yourself to get lost can be the best plan of all. 

            First we found ourselves in Pyrgos, a small village that may literally dazzle the living daylights out of you. Look in any direction and you’ll be met with endless scenery that seems to extend on forever. Next, on the recommendation of a hilarious waitress, we drove over to the black sand beaches of Perissa and indulged in an intoxicating mix of sunshine and pina coladas. It made for a particularly terrifying ride home. In the end I may not have found my Kostas, but I did discover a place where reality may actually be greater than fiction. 


            I feel a little bit guilty complaining about the weather when all of my friends back in New York are experiencing the worst winter on record… but after having been in London for nearly three months I’ve become a pansy.  So when I heard that they have something called ‘reading week’ here  (meaning that I had a surprise week off from classes) I jumped at the opportunity to head down to Barcelona and remind myself of what sun felt like.

            Though I’ve spent a decent amount of time in Spain previously, I’d never made it all the way to Barcelona. I’d heard stories from friends who had visited the city telling me that it was amazing and I absolutely had to visit, but it had never jumped out at me for some reason. When I got there I was happy to find that what they had said was true.

            Due in part to its proximity to the ocean, Barcelona feels more like a beachside town than a major Spanish city. And there whole siesta-culture is definitely something I could get on board with… along with their need for a glass or two of sangria to accompany every meal, no matter the time of day.

            Even though it’s one of the warmed places in Europe at the moment, its still not quite optimal tourist season which worked well in our favor. It felt like we had the entire city to ourselves! Barcelona was ours to explore.

One of the highlights of the trip was watching the sun set into the ocean over the vast Barcelona skyline from Gaudi's Park Guell. 

(Because it's never too cold for ice cream, amiright?)

Pumpkin soup and bellinis taken alfresco (!) at Picnic

Sangria should only come in glasses the size of your head!

Dear good people of Barcelone, 
I am sorry that I kept insisting on calling Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia. The Sangria Famiglia. Really, I am... 

From café hopping around town to getting stuck at the top of Park Montjuic, we certainly got into some shenanigans. But what good trip doesn’t have lasting memories to match it?


            Woody Allen’s world is one of habitually rainy days and east coast prep. His latest film, Irrational Man, plays into this world as Allen’s well-established aesthetic pervades every scene of the film.

If nothing else, audiences can rely on the knowledge that a Woody Allen project will always be gorgeous to look at. Newport, RI, the idyllic beach town that provides the setting for this film does not disappoint. The tantalizing fantasy of strolls along the Atlantic and late nights at small-town diners is enough to make wanderlust hearts ache.

Centering around a college campus, we see a handsome but troubled philosophy professor, Abe Lucas (Joaquin Pheonix), arriving to find his wild reputation has preceded him.  We watch as he struggles to accept his new position and deal with his own emptiness and the meaninglessness of his life. He soon meets Jill (Emma Stone), one of his students, with whom he develops an unlikely friendship.

Abe’s profound emotional darkness is eventually lifted by a sudden sense of purpose. While sitting in a café, he and Jill overhear a woman discussing the unfair results of her custody battle due to an impartial judge. The film’s conflict comes from Abe’s resolution to murder the judge, hoping that this random act of kindness will somehow rectify his wrongs and give reason for his existence.

Allen’s films often use clothing as a thematic semaphore. This is most prominent in the wardrobe of Jill. With wisdom beyond her years, we must constantly be reminded of her true colligate status by her penchant for sweater-sets and cargo shorts.

Even when pursuing an illicit affair with an older man, she maintains her sense of naivety through dress. The first time she kisses Abe, wearing a flouncy skirt and boxy top, she keeps her hand over her stomach the whole time, fully covering her slight hint of exposed stomach.  Unsurprisingly, when she finally learns the true cause of the judge’s death, she is adamant that Abe turn himself in because it’s the moral thing to do.

Jill’s boyfriend, Roy (Jamie Blackley), is exactly what you would expect for the partner of her calculated character. Even when he’s furious he looks like he’s fallen straight out of a Vineyard Vines catalog. His carefully put together outfits demonstrate the organization and advanced planning that he applies to every area of his life.

Abe, on the other hand, thrills Jill by pure contrast. He is unlike anyone else in her comfortable, but predictable life. His disheveled appearance, another meaningless distraction for him, is an afterthought. He is more concerned with philosophical prose and his manic theories. Despite Jill’s determination that they should be together, it’s eminently clear that this juxtaposition could never work out.

Emma Stone brings her characteristic confident informality and youthful energy to the role. The charming effect of her lanky limbs thrown into a cable knit sweater or under tweed bucket hat nail the east coast prep style that so many strive to master. I’ll be using this movie as a blueprint for how I plan to dress next week on Martha’s Vineyard… 


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Caroline Mason: 21. Native New Yorker (and one time North Carolinian). Assistant to Derek Blasberg. Just a girl who is OCD about all things fashion, drinks way too much coffee, and has an affinity for late night talk shows and travel books. FIT class of 2016. Previously with Karla Otto PR, Lori Goldstein and Lester Garcia.

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