extravagant

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.

Throw Back Thursday: Vizcaya

IMG_3406It was last year, around this time, and I was deeply, madly, unabashedly in love with a certain pair of Anthropologie shorts. So much so, that I still have the picture I took as reference so that I could show the workers what they looked like (just in case) as I began the long wait for what is the double markdown (or bi-annual sale on the sales) at Anthro. IMG_1443

Well, mere moments after I finally got the shorts of my dreams, we threw ourselves in the car and went to Miami (clearly in the honeymoon phase). I’m afraid that today, besides telling you that my shoes were Clarks, watch was Target, shirt was GAP, and glasses were Disney, this isn’t about fashion. This is a travel blog.

Allow me to take you to one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been:

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from Instagram.

Vizcaya. Nestled down a verdant road across from the planetarium in Miami is a palisade befitting Fitzgerald’s musings. All at once a coral cove, deserted beach, Victorian jaunt, and tycoon’s mistress, Vizcaya sits on the coast pleasantly secluded from downtown Miami, but with a perfect view of the skyscrapers in the not-so-distance.

IMG_3253 2Built in 1914 on 180 acres, Vizcaya was the European-inspired brainchild of American harvesting magnate James McCormick-Deering. They wouldn’t let me take pictures of the inside (I did manage one or two equally sneaky and shaky ones that aren’t worth showing), and I would like to note that these were all taken on my Iphone. With that in mind, try to envision how much better the real thing is…

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Instagram ftw

IMG_3271The entrance to the pool:

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From Instagram

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I particularly loved this man-made island-functioning-as-a-dock right outside the sitting room.

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The Atrium. I just wanted to sit there and write poetry. Alternatively, it seems like the perfect arena to reenact the Liesal/ Kurt Sixteen Going on Seventeen love scene if anyone would like to oblige my ever present need to jump across benches.

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From Instagram.

Too bad there were no benches. I suppose that would make a good subject for a terrible poem.IMG_3299 IMG_3300 The Gardens:IMG_3306IMG_3309IMG_3311IMG_3324 IMG_3328I know this is a bit different than the regularly scheduled program, but it was so beautiful (and my shorts were so en pointe— even after two markdowns), I thought it might make for a nice stroll down memory lane.

Shared to TrendSpin on TheFashionCanvas and Simbaco’s Instagram Travel Thursday (on that note, I’m @bexwrecks on instagram if you’d like to follow me).