Travel Documents

Then We Open Again, Where?

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As I’ve mentioned, I’m a few weeks behind on updates from my trips (look out for Budapest and Morocco). I got lucky on my outfit here, despite the delay, since cheetah print is booming right now. I’ll try to be better about upcoming Christmas posts!

I arrived in Venice the night before Halloween. When I made the booking, I didn’t mean to plan it that way, and to be honest, I completely forgot (although people in England celebrated way more than I anticipated, adopting it as a veritable week-long festival rather than a single night). But in this case, fate interceded on my behalf. For as Romantic and dreamy as the canals and bridges are in Venice, the ambience of the night could have invented the meaning of phantasmagoric. It is no accident that Poe set “The Assignation,” “The Cask of Amontillado,” and “The Masque of Red Death”* here. Walking through the darkened alleys at night they seem to grow narrower and deeper. You pass the same bridges, walking in a circle fueled by the frenetic energy of despair, suspicion, and above all fear. Meanwhile, in glass windows all around hang ominous masks in a variety of shapes, their darkened eyes glaring eerily in the moonlight. With this collection of photos, I’ve tried to capture a bit more of the creepy vibes, but I also included just some of the general beauty of the change to Autumn which November brings. DSC_0350

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DSC_0343Outfit Details: Jacket: bought on a LadyBirdLikes Instagram sale (vintage) | Lipstick: Chanel | Shirt: American Apparel | Necklace: thrifting find | Leggings: The Row | Shoes: Primark (and on sale now for 3 pounds in leopard print and black) | Purse: Kate Spade

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DSC_0324The title of this post is taken from the song “We Open In Venice” from the musical Kiss Me, Kate. Here’s the Rat Pack’s rendition of the song. Also, while I was in Venice, I had the pleasure of meeting Louise, the amazing mind behind Pandora. To see her interpretation of Thomas Mann and the Marchesa Casati, see here.

*The exact setting of “The Masque of Red Death” is in a castle and nothing else is described specifically, but as it doesn’t disclude Venice, and the story has a Venice-esque feel to it, I included it (possibly erroneously) in the list.

It Happens to Hepburn – It Happens in Venice!

Our second day in Venice was quite eventful. Between St. Mark’s square and a tour of the Basilica, wandering through the Doge’s Palace, witnessing a full-on bread attack by itinerant pigeons, falling in love with the Marchesa Casati exhibit, and a dreamy never-ending walk that ended in a candlelit dinner, it was very full but equally fulfilling! Personally, I could have taken a few more coffee breaks, soaking in the city, basking in the sun, languorous in little cafes, but I have no regrets. There is only so much you can do in a weekend away from school!

One of my biggest inspirations on this trip was Katherine Hepburn’s performance in David Lean’s Summertime. The movie itself is rather drab, as she walks around Venice sad and single, looking for love, finds love, drags it out, and is still sad. Luckily, her wardrobe doesn’t share the same fate, making her scarves, knee-length skirts, and button-ups on point. You’ll have to see if you feel the same way about mine.

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I do not own the rights to these pictures.

Here’s my interpretation: Hat: picked up at a street vintage sale while roaming around the city! | Glasses: Chloe | Earrings: vintage | Scarf: vintage (found in the attic) | Shirt: H&M | Blazer: DKNY | Skirt: Joy (there’s one near my apartment and it’s a constant struggle to avoid going in and buying everything) | Purse: Kate Spade | Shoes: Lanvin

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DSC_0449     Doge’s Palace IMG_0620

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For more pictures of Katherine Hepburn in Summertime, see this old Hollywood Reporter set.

Venice (A Vision in Three Parts)

DSC_0496When you are in Venice, there is nowhere else on earth you could be– the mysterious passages, romantically gloomy water around every corner, picturesque bridges, burly, striped gondoliers, and creepy masque shops (coupled with the overall abundance of leather goods). It’s not the destination for the claustrophobic or the penny pincher, but to the dreamer of unrealized visions? Venice is bliss. Venice is the nearest scratch with reality.

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No visit to Venice is complete without a trip to the fabulous Rialto market. While it’s not a prime location for the vintage-seeker, there may be no better place for fresh fruits and vegetables. I was particularly pleased to get three large bags of sun dried tomatoes for 5 euro. In the US, you always pay the same amount for a small jar! Also, if you’re in need of an eel for dinner, this is the place to come (namely because they sell them). While generally I try to err on the side of adventure, on this occasion, I must report a timely abstention.

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In the afternoon, we went over to the Jewish area. A little known and sad fact: in 1516, Venice was the first place to ever instate a Jewish “ghetto” (the English appropriation of the word stemming from the Venetian “ghèto”). Today the area remains Jewish, though less than 500 Jews live there. However, as of 2009, the population of Venice dipped under 60,000, meaning that it may be a higher percentage of Jews in the city than you would expect at first blush. DSC_0490

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Where in the world is Rebecca Santiago?

What I Wore:

Hat: Vintage | Dress: Vintage (and if you like bubbly effect of the bottom, I literally safety pinned the extra fabric up, so it’s not hard to achieve) | Earrings: Israeli market! Shades: Urban Outfitters | Necklace: Anthropologie | Belt: Thrifted | Tights: Gap | Shoes: Primark (still there, I believe!) | Purse: Kate Spade

Stay tuned for more soon, although I may be a bit delinquent over the next few days as the reality of exams sets in– wish me luck!

 Shared to Hat Attack and Trend Spin

Oh Holy Sites

Due to a series of farcical miscommunications, my outfits in Israel weren’t exactly up to par for a fashion blog post– “colder” in Israel does not equate to “colder” in England; “modest dress for a holy site” doesn’t mean hide the cleavage, it means hide your shoulders, knees, and cleavage. That being said, despite the fact I was constantly burning up, Israel was fantastic. I’m going to spare you any outsider commentary on the political/ religious tensions, as more than ever I’m convinced I’m not equipped or informed enough to comment, but I can’t help but share a gratuitous number of photos. We divided our time between Haifa, Jerusalem, and Bethlehem, and I’ll tell you a little about each below.

Haifa

This is a northern city (about an hour and a half from Jerusalem) known for its Baha’i Gardens which you can see here. The University of Haifa is also one of the only schools that offers a masters in underwater archeology.

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Jerusalem

And many nations shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. Micah 4:2

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We spent most of our time in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives. This was particularly nice as the view up there is spectacular, the olive groves are refreshingly peaceful, and there is an adorable church we wandered into which had the Lord’s prayer in (nearly) every language. When we climbed to the top, a few of the things we wanted to see had closed for lunch, so we ended up camping out on top of this roof. We were the only ones there, and it felt like we had all of Jerusalem at our fingertips!DSC_0011

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Diagram of Girl After Long Day Walking:

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(Roughhhhh) Outfit Details:
Hat: Primark | Shades: Chloe | Blouse: Vince Camuto | Bag: Kate Spade |
Jeans: Primark | Shoes: KORS Michael Kors

Bethlehem

Going to Bethlehem is a pilgrimage for every Christian. As we crowded into the area where Jesus was supposedly born, the energy was effervescent, and there was an overwhelming feeling of the pending majesty we all anticipated around the corner. What you may not realize about Bethlehem, and what I was also unaware of at my arrival, is that it is one of the only remaining Palestinian cities. With my ignorance as to the situation, it could only be more of a shock at the fact that Bethlehem was part of the area directly walled from Jerusalem. I have to say, with this trip coming directly on the heels of Berlin, there were some uncomfortable parallels to be made.

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DSC_0154Here is, as the owner claimed, the only Starbucks in Palestine, and of course we had to stop. Regardless of the, er, unique branding, the service and the coffee remained excellent. Afterwards, we made some typical purchases, meaning I am the happy owner of a very colorful rug (which is still perplexing me in regards to my future travel arrangements).

Thanks for reading this post. I have tried to remain largely non-confrontational and neutral, but should anything be cause for discussion, please feel free to message me privately, and I will try to respond as quickly as possible.

Saying Sandro Sample Sale Sounds Silly

DSC_0475DSC_0480DSC_0492But the event itself was really fun! I had never been to a Sample Sale before, but as you probably know, they are synonymous with heavenly blessings to the average clothes horse. So when I received a last minute invite,  I thought I’d go experience this oft-discussed phenomenon for myself.

On the whole, I was rather surprised. I had expected only a few offerings, all too small for anyone busty, at ridiculously low prices. What I met was a veritable warehouse full of ladies and gentleman shedding layers in a race to try on as fast as possible (without exposing anything) to the open air. There were also racks upon racks of clothes, though not as nicely priced as I had hoped. T-shirts were 30 pounds, and from there it started at 50 for everything else. Sunglasses and accessories bottomed out at 20 pounds, which as far as home currency goes, is still a fantastic price for brand new designer wear. Since the conversion put everything right around 100 dollars, I had a little less luck. Still, it was fun to go and be among the style-hungry men and women caught up in the flurry of a well-tailored sale. While I tried to keep my pictures clear, the one below shows a bit more of the bustle of what it really felt like with people crowding mirrors and trying on handfuls of stuff all at once in front of everyone else. Next week, they are holding a Vanessa Bruno one with vintage handbags– if you’ll be around Shoreditch next weekend, message me below, and I can forward you the invitation information/ code (as I can get in a few people). DSC_0478DSC_0486DSC_0487DSC_0495

Thanksgiving for London

I am constantly thankful that I have the opportunity to temporarily live in Zone 1 of London at this season in my life. Even while juggling my internship, law school, and my recently hectic travel schedule, I always try to make time one afternoon a week to discover something I don’t know about this awesome city. Virtually any brand I’ve wondered about is within walking distance, and the exhibitions that I see advertised at home open here. In a bit of shameless self-promotion on the city’s part, I often see the Samuel Johnson quote “when a [wo]man is tired of London, [s]he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” If you excuse my tweaking, I would have to say that Mr. Johnson unequivocally encompassed my emotions on the subject. Therefore, when my trip to Paris was unexpectedly canceled, it was no great loss to spend a languorous Sunday roaming, Mrs. Dalloway-style, around Covent Garden.

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As an aside, this is my Cara Delevingne impression.

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So morning coffee at Somerset House (where there is now an ice skating rink I need to try), Ben’s Cookies and window shopping at Covent Garden Market, lunch at the Delauney Counter, and general tour-estrial bliss on Waterloo Bridge — altogether a halcyon day.

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Hat: Primark (3 pounds!) | Earrings: Thrifted | Shirt: Anthropologie | Bunny Sweater: Portabello Road Market | Skirt: Viktor and Rolf | Tights: old H&M | Shoes: Lanvin | Clutch: Primark

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“Halcyon Days”
by Walt Whitman

Not from successful love alone,
Nor wealth, nor honor’d middle age, nor victories of politics or war;
But as life wanes, and all the turbulent passions calm,
As gorgeous, vapory, silent hues cover the evening sky,
As softness, fulness, rest, suffuse the frame, like freshier, balmier air,
As the days take on a mellower light, and the apple at last hangs
really finish’d and indolent-ripe on the tree,
Then for the teeming quietest, happiest days of all!
The brooding and blissful halcyon days!

Shared to Trend Spin and What I Wore

Ich bin euer, Je suis votre compère, I am your host.

“I used to pretend I was someone quite mysterious and fascinating. Then I grew up and realized I was mysterious and fascinating'” –Sally Bowles

If it wasn’t clear from my last post, I tend to relate to new places, people, and things from familiar characters and stories. Berlin, of course, would be no different, and yet, with all the mystery and legend surrounding the wall, it’s become almost a character in itself. Still, I don’t think any self-respecting musical theatre enthusiast can approach Berlin without hearing in their head that whispered beckoning from the back of a seedy dance hall (or outdoor brick structure): Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome. 

DSC_0703After accidentally booking a hostel for the wrong date twice, I ended up staying on what I later realized was the East Side of Berlin, about a fourth of a mile from the East Side Gallery. The location was great and convenient for our purposes, but the whole time I was there, I couldn’t help but feel a bit displaced by the fact that a mere 25 years ago, the place I was staying would have been completely inaccessible to me. While I realize that my impressions don’t add anything fresh to long discussion; overall I was just impressed by how arbitrary the divide seemed, watching as cyclists streamed down what would have been an abruptly ending road (Fremde, etranger, stranger).DSC_0676

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DSC_0717 2Moreso than other cities, it is difficult to escape history in Berlin. With every tattered building, it stares you in the face, but the city’s vibrance almost subdues the ghosts. The art scene is tremendous, and it seems like start-ups are blooming around every corner. I’m not sure whether it’s a joke, but I heard that all you need to move to Berlin as a young person is a camera. They offer a special visa for artists. Bliebe, reste, stay. Like I said, I don’t know if it’s true, but we certainly saw a lot of art, but of all the displays, I liked none better than the china room in the Charlottenburg Palace. This room was fabulous. The attention to detail was extraordinary, and for some reason the designer felt the need to play with the border between the wall and ceiling to the point that a deer was sticking out of the wall (I kid you not!).

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DSC_0750What I wore:
Hat: Brixton
Dress: French Connection
Tights: old (I can’t remember the brand)
Socks: stolen from my Dad ❤
Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger
Clutch/ Wallet: Fossil
and introducing… my new coat (which I bought there on a splurge): TALLY WEiJL

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Gluklich zu sehen, je suis enchante, Happy to see you!

Shared to What I Wore

Oh the Posh Posh Traveling Life, The Traveling Life for Me!

Say it with me: Newsh-von-schteen. You might want to try again, and a third time. To be honest, you might want to give up altogether and just gaze at the Bavarian view, or you could adopt my all-too-American approach and call it the “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang castle” (after being corrected by about a hundred Germans).

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See those familiar headlights peaking into the picture?

Well, considering the fact that I couldn’t dress like a doll on a music box to visit, I decided to channel the Baron and Baroness Bomburst (of Vulgaria) and  Ludwig II’s outlook on glamour and drama, generally in epic proportion.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 3.07.21 PMHowever, there’s a limit to personal pizazz when a 40-minute walk up a mountain is involved with a very full suitcase (the consequence of back-to-back overnight train/ bus rides). Still, the view surpassed any struggle involved. Bavaria is like the fantasy backdrop of any pastoral landscape. Blue skies, fields of green, mountain silhouettes, endearing chapels, and little red roofs dotting the area next to the water. It’s easy to see why land prices are so high. It’s a veritable paradise.

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DSC_0814And at the top of the hill? A fairy tale castle surrounded by the terrible legend of the eccentric and reclusive prince who could not face the reality of his diminishing power. In its stead, he built himself an edifice, a makeshift temple to his majesty, ready to receive his subjects when they should come (or it would have been, to this day it remains unfinished). Unfortunately, we were strictly prohibited from taking any pictures of the actual inside of the castle, but here’s a promotional photo of the reception area:

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Check out the view!DSC_0785Once outside, there was a path to a wooden bridge. Word to the wise, if you want a picture of the castle as a whole, this is the place to get it (you’ll just have to fight the rest of the tourists for it). I’ve included a helpful mapDSC_0819DSC_0840

What I wore:
Headband: Primark (old)
Sunglasses: Chloe
Earrings: Vintage
Fur: estate sale boon (shown here)
Blazer: DKNY
Blouse: Yves Saint Laurent- Rive Gauche
Skirt: New Look
Tights: Wolford
Heels: Chloe
DSC_0802      For more information on Ludwig and Neuschwanstein, you can go here (or of course wikipedia). However, the more involved your research gets, be sure to look out for this guy:
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–Shared to the lovely Patti’s Visible Monday (it’s good to be back).

Fall of the Habsburgs

DSC_0689Important piece of information: for those of you travelling to Vienna, if by chance you are taking a bus from the Bratislava airport, “Vienna” in English is “Wien” in German. Give up on a sign that looks like Vienna, and hasten to “Wien”-er land! Once there, get ready for delightful food. To start, Viennese coffee and Vienna stew at Cafe Schwarzenberg, as fancy as it was overpriced, and even though my meal screamed tourist, an unexpected bread charge for 6 euros is positively excessive (especially for two pieces). And yet it looks so unassuming…DSC_0699DSC_0701Vienna marked my first stop on a 5 day trip, ending in Berlin. Necessarily, by only bringing a carry on, my fashion options were a bit limited, so more so than usual, cool comfort won the day, and it’s probably a good thing considering how much we walked. I knew almost nothing about the city before I arrived, save its particularly musical upbringing. I have a habit of wearing fashionable shoes walking, only to lose feeling in my smaller toes for over a week. This time my trusty travel Bass shoes kept me supported to see this:DSC_0770 and these:DSC_0717DSC_0707DSC_0744And I walked until I was positively inspired…10807518_10204551773807933_1117419402_oeven if Chanel is known to make people a bit mooney and swoony….DSC_0787We never figured out what this next thing was, but it looked cool. With the Latin writing, I like to think of it as a Roman temple re-incarnate. DSC_0681What I wore:
Bowler: Brixton
Scarf: estate sale find
Sweater: H&M
Jeans: Ann Taylor Loft
Shoes: Bass

DAY 2DSC_0696DSC_0702 2DSC_0700DSC_0688The second day in Vienna, I toned the walking down and actually did a few things, starting with the Habsburg Palace. I could tell I would be new money when I was surprised at how sparse the inside of the Habsburg Palace. However, what they might have saved on wall hangings, the certainly lost on cutlery. Every successive ruler had to have a travel set of cutlery, one for each house, and even one solely reserved for Easter Day. Accompanying this display, before the advent of the lightbulb, one had to be well stocked with ornate candlesticks. The Habsburgs have an entire room.DSC_0683

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Less than expected, but very red

Next, I headed up towards the University of Vienna (and its surrounding area)  to pay homage to one of the great Austrian economists (Von Hayek) alma maters. While we were there, they were having an impromptu book sale, and I managed to snag a few English vintage Penguin editions. Subsequently, I decided my daughter will attend the University of Vienna; now to have the daughter…DSC_0713DSC_0719DSC_0723 2DSC_0731For the rest of the afternoon I wondered a bit taking pictures of things I liked and getting lost. Somewhere along the way, I decided I would try to see if there were standing room tickets to whatever opera was playing. The opera was about 10 minutes from my hostel, so I thought I could run back and change if I stood in line for a ticket at 6:30 for a 7:30 production. As it turned out when I got there, the opera started at 7:00! Thank goodness, I was early. They also only asked three euros to get into the opera. DSC_0791DSC_0736In our lives we all need personal rituals (whether buying scones on Saturdays or keeping an involved makeup routine). Personally, I maintain a ritual of always drinking champagne when I go to the opera. I thought they sold it by the glass, only to receive a small personal bottle to add to my personal routine. What could be nicer than standing on the balcony of an opera house drinking champagne?IMG_0368IMG_0363What I wore:
Hat: Brixton (see above)
Scarf: thrifty find
Sunglasses: Urban Outfitters
Shirt: GAP
Pants: Antonio Melani
Shoes: Tommy Hilfiger

Sunday in the Park

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What could be lovelier on a Sunday afternoon than to stroll in the park, visiting Roman ruins in a historic cathedral town? I bring you St. Albans, a gorgeous village thirty minutes outside of London, named after England’s first Christian martyr, birthplace of John Churchill (the first Duke of Marlborough, and as you may remember my previous post, victor of the Battle of Blenheim) and home to the only existing medieval clocktower in England (which was used as a semaphore tower in the Napoleonic wars). DSC_0712Yet the most epic sight of St. Albans is probably St. Albans Cathedral, a Gothic monolith, legendarily built with stones taken from Roman ruins rolled up the (long) hill from Verulamium Park and completed in 1089. It was here that the first draft of the Magna Carta was written, and it was once the largest cathedral in England! We arrived around 2:00 in the afternoon (Blackfriars to St. Albans is about a 30 minute ride for ~10 pound return fare). It’s a ten minute walk up to the church through the village area, but on the way you pass through the adorable square (where you will find the clocktower). Once there, you follow the signs and slip down a side street, and all the sudden the Cathedral comes out of nowhere! We were surprised we couldn’t see it towering over the horizon. Once you’ve found it, you wonder how you could have missed it! It takes a full five minutes to walk around the whole thing! It sits at the top of a hill which slopes down to the Park. There you can enjoy the company of weeping willows, frantic children and Roman ruins alike—we certainly did.

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Sights inside the Cathedral:
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DSC_0701To Verulamium Park (and a stop for ice cream)!

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Remnants of a Roman Town

What I Wore:

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Hat: antique store find
Fur collar: estate sale gem ($7.00!!)
Blouse: Gap
Cardigan: H&M
Belt: Zara
Pencil Skirt: Zara
Wallet/ Purse: Fossil
Shoes: Stubbs and Wootton