Style Gems: Everything I Wore… is a column created by beauty & style writer Emerald Elitou. The diary-style series highlights her fashionable adventures through her first-hand experiences. For her inaugural story, she tries out the Barbiecore trend while on a visit to her hometown of Philadelphia.
If there’s one thing I recommend you do this summer, it’s to take a staycation. Before you list your apprehensions about staying minutes away from your hometown, let me share my personal experience that helped me unlock a deeper adoration for the “City of Brotherly Love.”
Although the imaginative blend of “stay” and “vacation” has grown in popularity since 2020, before this trip, I didn’t understand why anyone would desire to travel within a day’s drive of their home when there are countless tropical destinations around the world. Nevertheless, I packed a suitcase of summer looks and planned a “staycation” in my hometown of Philadelphia, a city known for award-winning cheesesteaks and freshly baked soft pretzels.
With all my fashion and beauty must-haves packed and ready to go, I hit the road and headed to The Mills by June Homes on an invitation from the property manager, Tinisha Banks. Located in the Northern Liberties section of the city and a short walk from the famous Piazza penthouses, June Homes provides fully furnished, short-term apartment rentals for up to 18 months. Short-term housing, popular amongst college students and artistic residents, is also available in major cities such as Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles.
During the 45-minute drive from my quiet neighborhood to downtown Philadelphia, I was reminded of the soul of my city. I took note of the artistic mural details, the bustling people, and the historical buildings that give the city a feeling of culture that is all of its own.
While a quiet environment is ideal for creativity, there’s no denying the inspiration one can get from a bustling metropolis filled with budding professionals.
For those who may not be aware, the 2-1-5 is rich in ourstory. Established in 1775, the Society for the Relief of Free Negroes Unlawfully Held in Bondage was the first American abolition society. Founded in 1794, the Mother Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church is celebrated as the oldest A.M.E. congregation in the nation. Philadelphia was also home to Marian Anderson, who became the first African-American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in 1955.
Upon arrival, I was greeted warmly by Andy, the building manager, and Theresa, the housing manager, who took me on a tour of the contemporary building. The pair showed me all of the amenities, including the 24-hour fitness center, laundry rooms that feature state-of-the-art equipment, and the community room that led to the rooftop terrace overlooking the scenic Philadelphia skyline.
The next day, I was awakened to the sun’s gentle kiss after enjoying a comfortable night’s sleep in my home away from home. After completing my beauty routine in my sizable bathroom (which also featured a thoughtful hospitality basket), I headed back into my bedroom to get ready for my day ahead.
Well rested and in good spirits, I found myself excited about trying the #Barbiecore look, a popular summer trend that encourages you to step outside your comfort zone and tap into your inner Barbie. To achieve the look, I wore the Wrap Bodice Maxi Dress ($120) by ELOQUII, which was a standalone statement piece. The dress was flattering to my figure and accentuated my feminine energy.
In my opinion, no look is complete without the perfect fragrance. Feeling colorful, I layered Poppy ($45) by Bath & Body Works with the Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Ruby Orchid Eau De Parfum ($118), which I think gave off playful, feminine, and floral vibes.
Next, I headed to Ardmore, PA, to give myself a little self-care day at NBeauty, Inc. salon and spa. In the spirit of trying something new, I opted for bold and eye-catching “chrome nails,” and I am happy to report I was not disappointed. These beauties, created by resident manicurist Diamond Tiarrah Walton, start at $85 and look like a million bucks!
When it came time to eat, Andy recommended that I head to D’Oliva, a cozy yet modern Italian-American pizzeria that has been serving the community with delicious food for three years.
A three-minute walk from the apartment building, the inviting pizzeria recently revamped its menu, serving more exotic tastes at affordable prices. To familiarize myself with the menu, I ordered a variety of foods.
While everything was scrumptious, I highly recommend the following:
The Rucola Salad is an arugula salad that beautifully blends the flavors of cherry tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, figs, and tangy goat cheese.
The new Garlic Shrimp Pizza is a savory white pie with an Alfredo sauce as the base. The flavors were delightful to the tastebuds and worthy of more than one slice.
Lastly, I tried the highly-celebrated cannolis, which are imported from Italy and made with Mascarpone cheese rather than ricotta. The only thing I can say is that it was just as delicious as it sounds.
Overall, wearing the Barbiecore trend is something I will do again, and my luxury stay at June Homes was everything I expected and more. When you feel like you need to get away from the norm, do yourself a favor and enjoy a little staycation so that you can relax, renew, and reset without the pressure of faraway travel.
Until my next adventure, keep shining!