H&M

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

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.

Ladies Who Lunch

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” ~Anais Nin

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While I love my friends in England (don’t get me wrong), I have to say, seeing a friendly face this side of the pond is an irreplaceable feeling. So when my friend said she’d be coming three days earlier than expected, I wiped out my Wednesday afternoon schedule, so we could have a less-crowded day to romp around London. As it was, we ended up getting ready for an hour, sitting at lunch for about two hours (at the marvelous Delaunay counter– by far my favorite cafe in London), before we finally got over to Covent Market and the British Museum. Lucky for us, without the hindrance of Thanksgiving, they had just begun putting Christmas decorations up (though they haven’t quite lit up the Rosetta Stone yet). So it got dark early on us, but it didn’t at all impede our afternoon. Such is the glow DSC_0003

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DSC_0013Outfit Details: Hat: H&M | Scarf: Vintage | Sweater: Burberry Prorsum | Cape: Vintage | Bag and Phone Case: Ba&Sh (you can find similar here) | Leggings: The Row | Boots: Michael Kors
The moral of the outfit is that when you start with a black palette, you can really jazz things up with a few accessories (which I’ve included here, complete with phone case).

DSC_0523Shared to Visible Monday and Hat Attack.

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

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

 

Welsh Weekend

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Greetings from Cardiff! I can now happily say that I have been to all the countries in the United Kingdom. Although from all the English people I’ve talked to who haven’t been to Wales, sometimes it doesn’t seem the most united a front. Still, regardless of all the cautionary messages I heard about Wales, I had a wonderful day in Cardiff, tromping around the castle, the old shipping coast (bay), and the market.

Cardiff Castle

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The ceiling of the “Arab” room.

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This building, on the side of the grounds, was added much later to the castle, and was not completed until 1881.

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The symbol of Wales is the dragon. Besides residing in the middle of the Welsh flag, you can spot them at random all around town.DSC_0815DSC_0869DSC_0901

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Half Welsh, Half English: In These Stones Horizons Sing

DSC_0857This red building, known as the Pierhead Building, used to be the home of the administerial efforts of the Welsh coal shipping industry. Until the end of World War II, Wales was one of the most predominant coal shippers in the world (where they mined it in North Wales, and then exported it from Cardiff). However, the 1950s brought with it the decline of coal, and with it, the decline of the backbone of Cardiff’s economy. Thus, the city had to re-invent itself. Today this building features a museum on the Welsh coal industry(especially in regards to Cardiff’s role in it), and Cardiff has worked to become a wider convention and tourist destination. DSC_0834

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DSC_0891      What I wore:
Hat: H&M
Glasses: Primark (1 pound!)
Tambourine Necklace: gift
Shirt: Helmut Lang
Gloves: Vintage find
Jacket: H&M
Leggings: H&M
Boots: Kors Michael Kors
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Stockholm (Set to Roam): Day 2

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It was difficult to pack for Sweden in September for two reasons:

1. All I know about Scandanavia is that it is supposed to be bitterly cold and near the Arctic (making it a perfect environment for the Northern lights). However, since it wasn’t freezing in London (also notoriously chilly), how cold could it really be?

2. All my knowledge as to what people wear in Stockholm comes from the blog (wait for it…) Stockholm Street Style, in which everyone seems to be engulfed by black quilts and wearing heels.

Well, as it turns out, I should have brought only black clothes that were quilted. Not only was it super cold, everyone did (as the stereotype goes) look like supermodels. Although when the average person is tall, thin, blond, and wearing exclusively black, this should really come as no surprise. Looking back, when I think of Stockholm Style Blog, it always struck me as a bit darker. Now, I know. Henry Ford and the Swedes get along (you can have it in any color, as long as it’s black). Also, everyone who looked remotely local seemed to be wearing some variation on the Chelsea boot. The moral of the story is: don’t wear tuxedo shoes in Stockholm. Bring boots.

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After sorting out the wardrobe, I set out to see the Vasa, Sweden’s very own marine archeological feat, brought to you fresh from 1626. The ship, which originally embarrassingly sank in the Stockholm harbor stands as the world’s only full scale model of a meticulously preserved 17th century ship to date. Taking 10 years just to remove it from the harbor, this ship represents a labor of historical love, and to great avail. When I looked at the Captain’s Quarter’s I couldn’t help but reminisce about old Nemo and his underwater exploits. Though not exactly the same time period, the point is that the Vasa is a marvel of modern preservation methods, and very worth visiting.IMG_0231

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After a long museum morning, I headed over to “Salu Hall.” While I don’t have a direct translation, it should be something roughly like “a pantheon of ridiculously good food in a building with a fake steeple.” I ordered some sundried tomato lasagne (it looked too good to resist) and a few pastries. I have to say, Sweden can do some lemon pastries. For whatever reason, you could by them in bulk from the 7-11s on the corner, but they were worth it.

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Not lemon, but equally good,

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Early morning light over Stockholm

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I admit this wasn’t my best pairing, but for what it’s worth:
Jacket: Burberry
Shirt: Estate Sale Find
Pseudo-PJ Pants: H&M
Shoes: Lanvin

 

Growling Around Borough

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I live in an area called Southwark. For those of us who aren’t British, it is counter-intuitively pronounced “Suth-uck,” rather than “South-wark.” Historically, it was the theatre, gambling, and prostitution epicenter of Central London. While such activity wasn’t permitted under the Queen’s watchful eye, her visual impairment kicked in right around the bank of the Thames, making anything that went on South of its shore virtually unchecked (this is also because Southwark was not part of London proper, making it a separate jurisdiction). The City of London was particularly suspicious and subsequently, unkind, to theatrical groups within its limits, leading to a large theatrical community in Southwark, where they claimed to “practice” in order to perform for the Queen. Today, it’s where you will find the rebuilt Globe Theater, although the gambling and prostitutes have relocated (hopefully). Between the Globe and the installation of the Tate Modern Art Museum, its become a popular area that hosts lovely walks down the Southbank, and scenic views of St. Pauls.

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This man is pointing at Southwark from the Millenium Bridge.

However, before you get to St. Pauls, you have to cross over London Bridge (possibly one of the most boring bridges in London, despite its widespread musical acclaim). And before you reach London Bridge, you encounter a sudden wall of delicious smells cascading from the left side of the street. That pantheon of flavors is none other than Borough Market. Borough Market is the next step up from a farmers market, selling all sorts of fresh produce, meats, and cheeses, in addition to a delicious selection of tempting takeaways.

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I sampled the salt pork, which I was informed was an “American dish” via Boston.

One thing I didn’t realize upon visiting Borough Market is that unlike the farmer’s markets I’m used to back home, people don’t really shops here for their groceries. That isn’t to say no one does, but Borough Market today is a bit of a tourist destination, which has driven prices from the mom and pop tomato stand fares you’d expect to those recognizable in the rest of central London. If you decide to take a visit yourself out-valuing Tesco will not be on the schedule. However, it’s fun to just walk around, and take in the selection, of well, everything.

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Verdant Inner-City Seating

As should be no surprise to those who know me, with a universe of food staring me in the face, while there, I decided to splurge on a coffee. However, this coffee had a recommendation, namely a line spanning out the door (and I’m told, on weekends, well around the block). The brand is Monmouth. Founded in 1978 in Covent Garden (on Monmouth Street), they have grown into three stores that seem to have a cult following. A yuppie playground, Monmouth is not coffee for the weak; if you are prone to headaches, this is not your brew. If you want to stay up half the night doing work to the background of warm, rich flavour this is where to get your beans.

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Just in from The Clothesline: A Real British Queue.

To the sartorial: have you ever seen something that was so crazy that you secretly wanted it (for no rational reason), but told yourself you could never pull it off? That was my relationship with my lion skirt. When I saw it in H&M, it’s combination of quilting and lion heads, I demurely put it back on the rack where it belonged. Undaunted, I returned to best this beast, and here is my interpretation, if you can think of a better way to sport it, let me know below. I’m definitely up for suggestions.

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Outfit Details:
Choker: H&M
Leather Jacket: H&M
Skirt: H&M
Belt: Thrifted
Satchel: Fossil (this is the only purse I brought over, but be on the lookout soon for some diversity, and the newest addition to my closet!)

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