Puerto Rico 2016-17 Recap

As our Christmas gift from our parents, my sister, parents and I spent the week in Dorado Beach, Puerto Rico which was the absolute best way to relax and get ready for the new year. We’ve been doing this for the past 6 years, so it’s something of a tradition now, and I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the holidays and get ready for the new year. We always leave the morning after Christmas and come home after the new year.

My favorite way to relax, rejuvenate and prepare for the new year is by laying on a beach chair with some great playlists, books and magazines! This trip, I read three books and caught up on a few of my favorite magazines, Teen Vogue, PORTER and InStyle. I read two fiction books, An Abndance of Katherines by John Green and This is Where You Leave Me by Johnathan Tropper, and one non-fiction book, Tales From the Back Row by Amy Odell. I think TFTBR was my favorite. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in the fashion industry, either as a career path or just as a side interest.

As for our vacation itinerary, we basically spent all day and every day on the beach. We’ve visited some other places in Puerto Rico in the past and done more tourist-y things, but we all look forward to this vacation for the relaxing beach time so we kept it pretty simple this year. Here are some pictures from our trip:






2016 Recap & Favorites // Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!! Reflecting on 2016, I couldn’t be happier with how the year turned out. It was a year of so many milestones for me and despite the bad rap its getting, 2016 was hands down the best year yet. That’s not to say there weren’t major challenges, disappointments and low points of the year, because there absolutely were. But all in all, 2016 was amazing.

I turned 18 and celebrated in New York City with the most fabulous weekend ever, I met one of my favorite bloggers, I got to be an assistant buyer for the boutique I work for, I made some amazing friendships in my senior year, I graduated high school, I watched my cousin get married and was lucky enough to be in the wedding, I went on my dream vacation to London and Paris, I watched my host-sister win an Olympic gold medal, I moved to an incredible city to start college to study my passion, I travelled to so many new places and spent so much time with family and friends and so many more wonderful moments and memories.

Here are some photo highlights, and then I’ll be signing off until next year! 😉

























Here’s to an even better 2017!! Happy New Year! XO, Nicole

Christmastime in the City

Last weekend, my family went to New York City for a fun trip before the holidays. We always do a weekend in early December to do some fun holiday activities in the city and celebrate my dad’s birthday, which is in the beginning of the month. We’ve been spending a December weekend in New York City for probably 10 or so years now and it’s one of my favorite holiday traditions!

Some of our favorite things to do around the holidays in New York City include the Bryant Park Christmas Village, seeing the Rockefeller tree, dinner at Bobby Van’s steak house, brunch at The Standard Grill (their holiday decor is amazing!) and seeing the unbelievable windows at Bergdorf’s, Saks and Bendels. Here are some snaps from our weekend:








Parents Weekend Recap

This past weekend was Parents Weekend at my school and it was so much fun! Just spending 24 hours with my parents and sister was exactly what I needed before gearing up for final presentations, projects and exams in two short weeks (eek!). We took a ton of pictures, so I thought it would be fun to share a little recap of what we did.

First, we had lunch at Distrito on UPenn’s campus with my roommate and her parents. We were so busy catching up, I forgot to take pictures of what we actually ate, but you can trust me on this one. The guac was amazing and unlike any other guac I’ve had before. I got a burrito which was also delicious. We snapped a few pictures after our meal because the restaurant was just so cute!







After lunch, my family walked over to Magic Gardens on South Street. Unfortunately, they closed early for a private event, so we didn’t get to go in and walk around. But we did end up snapping some pictures outside! After that, we walked back to Rittenhouse and did some shopping. We spent most of the afternoon just walking around and catching up, which was so great. You really can’t compare a FaceTime convo to one in real life!
Then, we went back to University City to walk around campus and I showed my family some of my favorite places in the neighborhood, which of course included a stop at Insomnia Cookies… a place my friends and I find ourselves at more often then we’d like to admit 😉
For dinner, my family went to Pod, a trendy Asian restaurant on University of Pennsylvania’s campus (just a short walk from Drexel). It was insanely good. We ordered a ton of dim sum (literally almost every plate on the menu) which was a great way to try so many different things. We also brought one of my best friends whose family couldn’t make it that weekend, so it was so much fun to introduce my family to her!


On Sunday, I met my parents back in Rittenhouse Square for brunch at Parc. Going with the theme of the weekend, the food was unbelievable. I had an avocado chicken BLT with fries and this sandwich was so good, I could go back and eat it everyday. We also shared a bread/ breakfast pastry basket filled with muffins, pastries and croissants which was to die for. Having little sweet pastries and things for breakfast is my absolute favorite.
After brunch, I had a mile long to-do list to catch up on and my family headed back home. It was the perfect weekend. Spending time with my family (over good food) was exactly what I needed to get through the crazy busy few weeks before Thanksgiving break.

Stay Inspired




Finding sources of inspiration and being creative has always been something that is super important to me. For as long as I can remember, I’ve cut out clippings of outfits, colors, photos and patterns from magazines to create inspiration collages and boards. I also love going on Pinterest and Tumblr for everything from outfit and home decor inspiration to beautiful photos of nature and cities. I wanted to share a few pictures and quotes that have been inspiring me lately. I’ve really been making an effort to stay informed and inspired, even when I’m super busy at school.

As I said in my last post, I’ve felt really detached from the blog in the past few weeks. School has literally consumed my entire life, and I try my hardest and pride myself in the consistency of posting at least once per week. That being said, there is always room to improve. I am hoping that next term I will be able to put even more time into the blog. I am a perfectionist and am always striving to make Empire Styles the best it can possibly be.

And since today is Tuesday, November 8th…. today’s post wouldn’t be complete without encouraging everyone to go out an VOTE! I’m not going to tell you who to vote for, but I will encourage you to pay your civic duty because your vote counts and will shape our future. 

Outfit: Fall in Rittenhouse Square

I feel like I’ve been so MIA on the blog lately! While I’ve had content publishing every week, I feel like I haven’t been actually interacting with you guys as much. Friends, family and other bloggers had always said how busy of a time college is, but I never truly understood that until I came to Drexel! I am literally always doing something, most of the time it’s either doing work, hanging out with friends or eating. But it’s mostly just doing work. Only a few more weeks until I’m done with my first term 🙂

Last weekend, my roomie and I walked to center city to explore Rittenhouse Square and treat ourselves to a nice dinner out. What would a fun city excursion be without some good ol’ outfit pictures?! A few weeks ago, I went home for the weekend and bought a super cute bomber jacket from the boutique I work at and I am in love. It is such a great layering piece and a perfect weight for the in-between fall weather we’re having in Philly right now. As I talked about in my fall trend preview, I think bomber jackets are a huge trend this season and I’m so glad I finally hopped on the bandwagon. Here’s how I styled mine:


How are you styling bomber jackets this fall? Comment below! 

Fashion News Sources to Follow

I’ve always loved following the news. For as long as I can remember, the news would be playing every morning in the kitchen while our family was having breakfast and getting ready for the day. In one of my English classes in high school, my teacher had us read the newspaper as often as we could to stay informed and also to help our writing. In addition to local, national and international news, I also try to keeps tabs on fashion industry news. This is something that I enjoy reading and learning about, and now that I am a fashion student, it is more important than ever that I stay up to date on the latest industry trends, news and updates. I do everything from follow sources on social media to subscribe to e-mail newsletters, so I figured I’d share some of my favorite sources today.

1. Fashionista // I subscribe to their daily newsletters and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I’m going to be honest, I don’t read their articles everyday, but I always skim over the headlines mentioned in the email and if I see anything interesting I either bookmark it or read it. As a college student, I don’t have time to read every article I see, but subscribing to the newsletter helps me at least stay in-the-know about the latest events.

2. Business of Fashion  // Business of Fashion is my overall favorite resource for fashion news. I follow them across all social media accounts and also subscribe to their email lists. I have found that BOF has the most well-rounded content. They publish about all the current news as soon as it happens, so I am always in the know. What I love the most about BOF is their editorial section. They discuss current hot topics in the industry and write different positions on them which is a constant source of inspiration for blog posts (for me at least!). I highly recommend subscribing to BOF’s email list. They recently switched over from a completely free service to a paid service, but I believe the e-mails are still accessible without a paid membership.

3. New York Times Style Section // One of my professors from my FIT precollege courses had us read a lot of The New York Times style pieces and watch their videos, as well. Of course, NYT is where the legendary Bill Cunningham worked and published his weekly street style videos/ spreads. I particularly enjoy Vanessa Friedman’s (the editor of the Fashion & Style section) pieces because she is incredibly honest in her collection critiques and commentary about trends in the industry.

4. Man Repeller // I mention Man Repeller a lot on here, and it’s for good reason. Leandra and her team are seriously rockstars. They produce content that is incredibly relevant and timely, and they present it in such a unique way. Reading fashion news via Man Repeller is a breath of fresh air: it is not quite as serious as BoF or NYT, but all the information is still there. They also often editorialize and make their articles more of a discussion, which I love because fashion is a two way street that cannot work without the consumer participating.

5. AP Fashion // I follow AP Fashion on Twitter, and I think they’re a super easy and great resource for checking the latest news in the fashion industry. I generally don’t read the full articles/ briefs but following on Twitter is a super easy thing to do to make sure I’m always up-to-date!

What are your go-to fashion news sources? Comment below!