Travel Documents

The Woman Tarzan Loved

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One of my favorite areas I discovered in London is Shoreditch. What became a constant hangout started by chance; I wanted a bagel shop. Now, London differs from New York in a lot of good ways, but ranking the top of the list as to London’s deficits is this city’s dearth of bagels. However, despite the inability to locate a single bagel shop on any given street, Shoreditch, specifically Brick Lane, hosts a whopping two bagel shops almost next door. Arriving at them is like a pilgrimage. If you start at the beginning of Brick Lane (and don’t take the much more practical route through Bishopsgate), you have to battle through about a half mile of very enthusiastic resteraunters vying to lure you into their pan-Asian establishments. About the time you reach a very sketchy bridge, the restaurants begin to be replaced by bookshops and coffee shops; it’s then you find yourself in the middle of hipsterdom. You must cooly continue past all the overpriced Americanos in their minimalistic surroundings and proceed onwards, but this is the hard part. Hipster central makes way for some of the coolest vintage shops in London. If you want a 15 pence bagel (that’s right, the bagels are criminally cheap), you have to travel onwards. I have to confess I regularly failed.

It was on one such day that I discovered this LOVE Moschino dress. When I arrived home, one of my former Disney colleagues took one look at it and said, “Oh, how cute, it’s Jane!” Hitherto, “safari” had been the only word to come to my mind, but I had to concede she was right. For fun, we started trying to put a “Jane” look together, and somehow, even with my limited wardrobe, I managed to have virtually the whole outfit amongst my belongings. 591986_1291551472856_full

I wanted to visit the Imperial War Museum before I left and thought this would make the perfect ensemble. Little did I know before arrival, the Imperial War Museum is imperial only in name. Nothing there predates WWI. Then again, if we were being truly authentic, there was no way Jane would be showing her knees. So with that, I hope you enjoy my modern interpretation of Jane Porter.

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DSC_0487Outfit Details: Hat, Scarf, Belt, and Umbrella: Vintage, Dress: LOVE Moschino, Shoes: LOFT (old)

Salmon Colored Dreams

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Medersa Ben-Youssef

After spending my entire first day feasting and wandering around the souks, I made a lofty attempt to see all the tourist sites in one day. Of course, I missed a few things along the way, but it was so overwhelmingly beautiful and episodic, I thought I would do a photo dump here to try to recreate it.

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Marrakech Museum

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Kasbah Mosque

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Badi Palace

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Inside Mamounia Hotel

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One of many Morocco city gates

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Yves Saint Laurent Gardens (a.k.a. Jardin Majorelle)

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Saadian Tombs

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The Seven Pillars

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Mamounia Hotel

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The souks after close.

DSC_0951Outfit Details: Tassel Earrings: Primark | Shirt: 3.1 Phillip Lim | Skirt: H&M | Tights: Primark | Shoes: Primark | Purse: Rebecca Minkoff (though the tassel is Marrakech)

Special Thanks to my photographer, Oliver Marsh.

 

Souk Central

DSC_0572When I arrived in Marrakech, I was so overwhelmed by the souks, language difference, and sleep deprivation after our 6 AM Ryanair flight and my recent exams, I spent the majority of the day wandering aimlessly through the souks, attempting to haggle and marvelling at the low costs. One of the grandest sights in Marrakech is the Koutoubia Mosque, which dominates the skyline in several directions thanks to its height. Next to it is the main square, Jemaa el-Fnaa. During the day the place is covered with orange juice salesmen (who will sell you fresh-squeezed orange juice for a standard 4 Moroccan dirham= roughly 40 cents.. unless you flirt a little). At night, the square stays open very late, dinner spots open up, storytellers attract crowds with their stories, and someone is bound to try to (if you look like a tourist) get you to take a picture with a snake. This square backs up into a spiderweb of souks (or markets), selling everything from brass to baby clothes. Among my purchases I counted: a small kettle (to make mint tea, of course), placemats, a fez (you know me), a 2 sets of Berber earrings and a ring (authenticity lacking), and Ras El Hanout (a blend of spices only to be found in Morocco). I saved the sites for the following day

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Babouches! The neon yellow pointy ones are the traditional Moroccan wear.

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Did someone say dinner?

 

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Outfit Details: Shirt: Primark | Shrug: Primark |Earrings: old | Necklace: Anthropologie | Jeans: LOFT | Shoes: KORS Michael Kors | Clutch: Rebecca Minkoff

National Gallery

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Remember I told you about visiting the Sandro Sample Sale? While there I couldn’t help but splurge on a (you guessed it) drop waist dress. Navy and black has been so sleek and minimal this Winter, so I thought I’d try it myself. To do so, I wore it to a place equally sleek but certainly not minimalistic- the National Gallery. My school is about two streets away, so I passed by here every morning and payed homage to old Nelson. I think he’d be fine if he could just column–down. Wow… ok on to pictures.

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The woman security guard started cracking up when I took this picture, so I feel like I won the National Gallery. If they watch people take stupid selfies all day and you make them laugh with your stupidity, then you must be doing something right…

Outfit Details: Dress: Sandro | Bag: Kate Spade | Shoes: Michael Kors | Earrings: Portabello Road

P.S. A few weeks ago on my instagram I asked what building has a mosaic of the word “Curiosity.” Well, this is the place! It’s up the stairway at the top of the landing when you walk in.

Beachy Cliff: A Romance

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The British Romantic poets and writers were profoundly affected by the vision of the Swiss Alps. After the dreary slopes of the English countryside, the towering edifices were the embodiment of mystery, the promise of adventure and peril, and the unspeakably delicious thrill of the unknown. Now, their radical break from the orderly and structure-loving conventions exemplified in the Enlightenment is commonly interpreted to be the stuff of surprise flower deliveries. But rather than humming “your song” (if you’re with someone) or daydreaming about their sense of humor (if you’re not), as we stare into the abyss of uncertainty buzzing around a new year, I have chosen to resurrect the true Romantic meaning.

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DSCN6158As we look towards the frightful and awesome unknown that is 2015, instead of approaching it with trepidation or even boredom, I will choose to see it for the huge opportunities (or obstacles) it can bring… even if the wind is an absolute torrent along the way. Make sure to take a moment to reflect on the romantic possibilities that lie ahead!

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DSCN6231Outfit Details: Coat: Vintage (estate sale find) | Blouse: Talbots (passed down from Mimi’s closet- I would highly recommend this route for finding good blouses) | Leather Gloves: vintage | Belt: thrifted | Skirt: New Look | Tights: Wolford | Shoes: MICHAEL Michael Kors | Purse: Kate Spade

Eagerly We Fly Away

IMG_1187 DSC_0542Christmas at Somerset House is absolutely beautiful! Fortnum and Mason sponsors a huge ice skating rink and puts up a huge tree complete with F&M baskets. The sign up says “SKATE” and that is exactly what we did, but not without some trouble. The rink is packed to capacity- so for those of us trying our ice legs after a few stagnant winters, this isn’t the place to learn (though they do keep a little training area off to the side if you are desperate). You are often tripped or tussled by other uncertain skaters or self-proclaimed experts (you can imagine me wagging my fist at the show-offs). But even if you can’t skate, it’s worth stopping by to see the spectacle. With the giant tree and the rink there, it’s the perfect catalyst for Christmas cheer.IMG_1153 IMG_1162 DSC_0552Outfit Details: Hat: Joy (in stores now) | Sweater: Helmut Lang | Jacket: Barbour Wax | Jeans: Acne | Socks & Gloves: Primark | Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger | Necklace: old | Bag: Kate Spade

Puttin’ on the Ritz

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The Occasion: Last time I went to England, I didn’t have tea at the Ritz. Now, you’ll see in lots of the upscale touristy books that “tea at the Ritz is a simply a must;” what they neglect to mention is that “must” is nearly 100 dollars a head for the same high tea offered throughout London. So last time an emphasis on practicality, frugality, and poor planning prevented my dining in style. This time around, with most of the other big tourist attractions behind me, I decided to budget and see what the hubbub was about. For our group of five, I booked in September for an early December tea slot around noon. At the time, I didn’t account for the Christmas fever that would be spreading, but what a catching epidemic! Everything looked very snappy.

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The Tea: I must declare everything was simply topping. Between the seven types of sandwiches, the luxurious ambiance, the smart tidbits of conversation, and the cake man bringing more delicious options to choose from, the Ritz was lovely! But to be honest, I think part of the reason I enjoyed it was because of the mounting anticipation and the planning and waiting that went into it. There’s a sense that if you’re going to spend every dime on the tea, it better be worth it, so you might try a bit harder at witty conversation, I picked a dress that I thought had a twenties vibe, and then I went all out with my fancy daycoat. If you are looking to just get high tea in London, don’t come to the Ritz, but if you want to feel like a million dollar trooper drinking the same tea, you’ve found your outlet (but book now).

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The Outfit:

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Coat: Tally Weijl | Fur: from estate sale (shown here and here)| Dress: BCBG | Tights: Primark | Shoes: Pour La Victoire | Shoe Clips: Vintage Clip-on earrings | Purse: Kate Spade | Leather Gloves: Vintage

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Tips his hat just like an English chappie…

And for a bit of last minute tree-decorating inspiration, I’d recommend Mr. Astaire singing this little ditty.

Pest

DSC_0303I am so happy I went to Budapest. At the time, I felt like exams should take precedent and that I was wasting valuable study time. Now, as I write this, I still feel in awe of that beautiful city. We began the morning at the Szépmûvészeti Múzeum (Museum of Fine Arts) in Pest. However, before we got to adventure over to the Varosliget Castle, we whisked ourselves away to the marketplace. Before my trip, the only thing I had heard about Budapest was the quality of the marketplace. As it closed at 3:00 (and we had a late start), I didn’t want to take any chances. It was well worth the talk. It had all the groceries, souvenirs, and traditional food I could have wanted in one place (I tried langos- the nearest fried thing, like a good Southerner). Because we were so close to the bridge, we went ahead and walked over it, visited the fascinating cave church (a quick Hungarian history lesson), and then climbed up to the liberty statue. Once back down the hill, we went over to get a daylight look at Parliament (sadly missing the last tour by minutes). DSC_0239

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Between Friday and Saturday, I spent so long walking around and were so cold that I decided to take a nice long coffee break and watch the sun go down over Parliament. Then, rejuvenated, I decided we should go to see at least one bath while in Budapest. Budapest is famous for its baths since hot springs flow through the rocks under the city. The waters are said to be very medicinal (though they looked quite normal to me. Next time I will probably pony up the money to swim at Szechenyi, but since I didn’t even have my swimsuit, the bath included in the Budapest city card did the trick. From there, I went to back to Varosliget Castle (which offered an ice skating rink beside it for the season) and explored it by night. It reminded me of the beginning music of Beauty and the Beast. On that account, I made sure not to get too close to any windows, as who knew what might lay inside…DSC_0366

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Outfit Details: Hat: Brixton | Shirt: Chloe | Blazer: H&M | Skirt: made myself with my sewing machine | Socks: Primark | Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger | Kate Spade

Two quick things:

1. Neon orange stuck out like a sore thumb in Budapest. It worked well in that my friend could find me, but I did not look like a local.

2. For anyone travelling to Budapest in November, regardless of the fact Hungary looks like it is southern of England on a map, you can expect similar weather. In other words, a blazer on its own is not going to cut it. Bring a scarf! gloves! heavy coat!

Buda

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The cheapest flight you can find in Europe to Hungary is most likely Hungarian-based Wizz Air. This was my second time flying Wizz Air, and I haven’t had any complaints either time about the flight itself, but this time, as I was perusing the baggage page (cheaper flights are always crafty in how the term things, so as to charge the unwary), I realized that a regular piece of cabin baggage would cost me an extra 14 pounds (both ways). Challenge accepted. I decided I would fit all of my clothes (and laptop) for my 2 and a half day trip into this Kate Spade bag, which would fit neatly under the seat.

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St. Stephen’s Basilica* was absolutely stunning. I would definitely count it among the top 5 churches I’ve ever visited. An added easter egg is the trek to the top, a journey well worth the roughly two dollars I paid. Turns out, the sun sets at like 3:30/ 4:00 at this time of year in Hungary, so about the time we went up, the entire city donned a dusky glow that made this gothic city even more Romantic-looking.DSC_0042

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I think that I almost had a heart attack when I crossed the Chain Bridge and saw a real live funicular. Clearly after seeing the Grand Budapest Hotel, I had some silent expectations I couldn’t begin to hope were real (probably beginning with a funicular). Our compartment was named Margit and she was a gem!DSC_0146

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DSC_0188Outfit Details: Bowler Hat: Brixton | Tunic: Zara | Blazer: H&M | Pants: MSGM | Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger | Purse: Kate Spade

*Even though this post is named Buda, St. Stephen’s is actually in Pest. Shared to The Fashion Canvas.

Eye Spy in the Dark

I am now officially home from England, but I probably have another week or two of posts (depending on my procrastination) to put up before the landscape changes back to Georgia. I’ll get to the bittersweet bits later.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share my experience riding the Eye at night and eating at the OXO Tower. I’ve ridden the eye twice during the day (though once was arguably near dusk), and both times the view has been fantastic. However, what happens at night that you don’t get during the day is better signaling. During the day, all the buildings are equally lit, making the important ones vaguer and less distinguishable at first glance. At night, all the lights go out, except the important ones. Okay, that may be an exaggeration, but it is easier to identify the more relevant places, as generally they are the ones whose lights stay on. Even still, there are a lot of lights. Come on, this is London we’re talking about.

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DSC_0047 Next, I walked down the Bankside (past an adorable Christmas market installed for the season) to eat at the fabulous OXO Tower. A quick fun fact that I ran across the other day– the OXO Tower was originally a power station (to rival Battersea) but was purchased in the 1920s by Liebeg Extract of Meat Company, producer of the OXO Cube. At the time, there was a ban on skyline advertising, so in converting the old power station, windows in the shape of “OXO” were added to establish a sort of advertising dominance across the central London skyline. Though the company has passed, the windows have become so iconic that they survived a 1970s plan to demolish the building.

Today, there is a brasserie and restaurant (recommended in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die) sponsored by Harvey Nichols. We ate in the brasserie (it was about 10 pounds cheaper per person), and I was very delighted. You can see my meals below. I especially like the cider soaked pear.

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Outfit Details: Shirt: Gap | Choker: H&M | Jacket: Tally Weijl | Trousers: Isabel Marant | Shoes: Pour La Victoire | Purse: Kate Spade