Wednesday, February 27, 2013

midterm madness ending at the market

by some incredible sequence of events, we've made it to midterms week. I'm in official denial we're anywhere close to halfway done with the semester as there is just too much left to do and see! in desperate attempts to make the most of my fleeting moments of final studies, I decided to set out to a bit of this exploring.

on monday : I woke up early to spend a half day interning at snap fashion but upon realizing they had no computer for me to work at, I set out to see something... anything! I made my way south to the victoria & albert museum (host to some billion objects of design) where I obsessed over their eighteenth century statues and historic fashion collection before making my way to spend a fantastic two or three hours in the cafe - anything for a good cup of tea & chocolate bar! 

tuesday : a little less adventurous after my first exam, I took a ten minute walk from our school in bloomsbury to soho/noho (not sure which I found...) to tapped & packed, a local cafe with fantastic coffee and a lovely, neighborhood feel. 

wednesday : after my midterm (only one left for next week! ), a few gals & I traveled a little farther north to camden market and enjoyed an early afternoon of vintage shopping, sweet deals and free samples off asian food stands. I made it back home without too many purchases but the authentic feel was tough to pass up - definitely a destination to return to! 

off to scotland for the weekend : look out for updates from the north!

 walking up to the V&A museum : it already looks elaborate
 the awesome ceiling & windows of the awesome V&A cafe
 as an insta-addict : I had to share my lunch plate, view & snack of tea with a shortbread/carmel cookie
 a favorite view from the V&A : the modern glass chandelier with european statues in the backdrop
 lost in a british alley on a rainy day & not sad about it!
 I blame lack of caffeine/sleep for my excitement over this americano & vintage spoon combo
our first glimpse at the market that lay ahead...
 after many distractions & a couple purchases : the inside of the stables (the vintage side of the market)
 zebra scarf & cable knit henley : final finds of the day!
the crew enjoying a seat on the classic camden vespas (see the canal right behind us?)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

this week : fashion & football

this week started out with me pretending I was a part of london fashion week as I shamelessly went people & prada watching after class at somerset house. it is by far the best people watching you could possibly find with the most outrageous ensembles mixed in with the truly classic and tasteful... a great kick of inspiration as I made my way through a busy week of fighting off a cold and preparing/procrastinating for midterms. instead of writing essays I found myself making brief vintage shopping trips and watching sherlock on netflix... 

as we rolled into the weekend, an exhausted caryn & I decided we would simply spend all of friday at the book club sipping cappuccinos while posting up on our laptops. on saturday, I went with a large group from school went to the fulham v. stoke football match. slightly freezing, but the winning score & a hot chocolate made it all the more enjoyable! 

inside somerset house where all the shows were happening
 a few stylish individuals I was able to sneak a snap of on my iphone

 my blue mug at the book club was a perfect contrast for the overcast skies outside
 street art happiness in shoreditch : another green bear was captioned "I love you this much!" with his arms outstretched
 let's go fulham!
a few of the loyal fans of the day strategically wearing neutral colors...

Sunday, February 17, 2013

week six of london life

a few pictures from my daily life in london...

I've become quite skilled at scouring secondhand bookstores for my modern british novel class : the classic bindings are fantastic! (also the curious titles like the gentle art of making enemies)
 as a stationary fanatic, I was probably a little too excited to get a snap fashion notebook on wednesday
 catching london's nautical details while jogging along the thames friday morning
I tend to get really inspired to instagram while I jog...

valentino, london eye & portobello road

another lovely week in london has flown by at a remarkable speed! I keep saying it, but I've never felt so strongly about the cliche, "there aren't enough hours in the day," as I have this semester. after a busy week of school & interning, I was incredibly excited for my weekend plans! on friday, my friend clara & I went to the valentino : master of couture exhibit at somerset house and obsessed over all the couture gowns and ensembles from the mod sixties to slightly tacky 2000's. we both agreed we would wear anything given to us from the show... after that I walked across the thames & met a group at the london eye just in time for sunset (can you say perfect timing?). 

on saturday we were in no rush to do anything but with the sun actually shining and temperatures around 50, a slow stroll through hyde park seemed like the perfect activity! I was busy naming all the swans as we aimlessly strolled by all the ponds and fountains. eventually we found ourselves by portobello road market where an incredible assortment of antiques, cute clothes and seriously tempting jewelry made actually picking what to buy a little too difficult. I'll have to go back soon to find the perfect turquoise ring since I'm a little concerned the vintage typewriter won't fit in my suitcase... 

outside somerset house : the red banner is the valentino entrance
our guide to valentino's couture catwalk
before heading up the london eye
 view of the sunset over london
each pod actually held quite a few people : it's slightly more huge than you'd think
 checking things out on the way down
the crew feeling extra touristy
 one of my favorite london pictures so far : sunset over big ben
fountain near the entrance to hyde park
I'm pretty sure this is called the italian gardens : either way it was gorgeous!
very casually strolling
 I named this swan emma

the iconic london market
the pastel houses were so cool! I think it would feel like living in an easter basket
 though I adore pink, I chose this plum house as my future address
 you know life is fantastic when you can get gelatto in february
just a little color inspiration from a very happy bike

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

silly at the sights

though I've described our museum musings and crepe cravings at length, to get the full feel for how much we've been enjoying our trips : you'll need to scroll through the silly side of our camera rolls! 

we were VERY excited to have just arrived in paris!
we always travel with our hoosier pride
this guy was very determined to take a picture with us, so we followed his lead with the peace sign pose 
a couple of our hosts for the weekend (their names are a little too french to really remember, though)
they not only made us dinner the first night, but started a major guitar hero jam session : we rocked!
making the most of the train ride back from versailles
we're practically the european version of panhel
 shout out to my dg's! miss you all! 
 in the breezy gardens at versailles : fishy faces were absolutely necessary... I blame lack of sleep for this one
throw back to our stonehenge & bath trip : this was our human stonehenge, success!

Monday, February 11, 2013

pearls in paris!

the first place I can ever remember wanting to go was paris. I was determined at this age : I picked up french, read fashion magazines, idolized the van gogh magnet my parents brought home as a souvenir one year and ate a lot of bread to prepare myself for this inevitable adventure... well on friday morning, passport in hand, I hopped on a flight with five of my friends to the city of love, and fall in love with it we did! 

day one }

in a sleepless state of excitement, we basically just popped out of the metro somewhere in the middle of the paris. the architecture immediately took my breath away as I swear the city leaned down to give me a kiss on the cheek... jaws dropped and cameras ready, we found a sign for le musee de louvre, so the mona lisa it was! I found her quite endearing, but was much more a fan of the roman and grecian statues and ornately painted rooms that housed royal treasures. a baguette, a designer vintage store, a delicious chocolate shop and the purchase of a black beret (I couldn't help myself...) later and we were at le notre dame! it's enormous, the glass is beautiful and there are incredibly creepy gargoyles up top that you get to hang out with if you can scale the very tall and very windy staircase! the effort was well worth it as we got our first full look at the city and its romantic color palette. the bitter wind had us back down all too soon as we made our way down the seine. the bridge of locked love, secondhand book vendors and chandelier shops all caught our eyes as we found ourselves at the foot of le tour eiffel just in time for it to light up and just in time to get caught in the rain. 

bonjour paris!
 even the trees looked french
in front of the fountain at the louvre : six very excited girls!
 getting angles
 from the inside : the architecture was still incredible

usually I don't love sculpture, but la victoire felt so light and free for being made of stone
 our favorite room in the louvre (though we only made it into about seven total) : can I have the royal crown please?
 view over the seine
 first glimpse at le notre dame

the dorky pictures my friends were kind enough to snap : the apron on the right reminded me of something we would find in papa's collection
 birds taking flight outside le notre dame
 up close at le notre dame
 the detail of these cathedrals is incredible!
 vault ceilings & stained glass
 this knook was extra colorful
 how can you still be so grumpy with that view?
 the back/top of the le notre dame
 paris is only pink, beige and grey : it's gorgeous
 extra creepy boys
lock your love to the bridge
 the things I find artsy along the seine...
 casually placed monuments are some of my favorites...
 at the base of le tour eiffel : an iconic end to our first day! 

day two }

we started saturday with a couple helpings of nutella & bread before heading back into the heart of paris. with constant caffeination & plenty of breaks for crepes, we actually managed to cross all our major sights off our list with a mass of pictures to document each corner! we started at le musee d'orsay and as I repeatedly told the group : you could have left me there the entire day and I would be entirely content... van gogh does that to me. between his classics, signac's dotted sailboats and the assortment of bonnard I only made it through three galleries before it was time and missed most of the renoir and monet, but felt so happy and calm it was as if I had just done three hours of yoga (assuming I could even do three hours of yoga). le musee d'orsay was my favorite moment of the weekend! the rest of the day was still uphill (quite literally as you'll read later) as we stopped across the seine to snap the eiffel tower pictures we didn't get before and the sun actually warmed us enough to take off my winter coat and do a little dance for all of france to see. still in the monument mood, we made our way to l'arc de triomphe and down le champs-elysee. I admit we weren't there to shop, but rather caryn & I were determined not to leave france without a macaron from lauduree! the interior transported us to a bakery fit for princess ariel, the mermaid, with it's nautical details and healthy proportions of gold... 

as the day started to lean towards evening, we hurried on the metro to the base of le sacre couer (the church at the very top of montmartre) where we energized with crepes and espresso before climbing the steps to another fantastic view of the city. the steps were filled with children watching a puppet show, tourists snapping pictures and a few friends jamming out to bob marley... from here we started down montmartre towards the district of artists. we strolled this amazing neighborhood square where artists sold their modern and classic depictions of paris to easily persuaded tourists, but they were all seriously talented! naturally it was time for cocktails so we squeezed inside a bar halfway down the hill for happy hour where the drinks were sweet and the manager danced around while filling your order. after a necessary photo-op outside the moulin rouge, we climbed back up montmartre to find a spot for a classic french dinner. I enjoyed a glass of white wine, a plate of escargo and a few of mary beth's french fries on the side and felt quite adventurous.  exhausted from another "best day ever" we headed back to our place for the night where I dreamt about impressionist paintings and chocolate macarons...

le musee d'orsay
the carousel at the bottom of the eiffel tower
taking a break from my camera for a sketch
 our expert travel group : cary, marybeth, myself, caroline, clara, natalie and her friend kate
l'arc de triomphe!
 under the arch
 I'm glad I now know heaven comes in many flavors, including dark chocolate...
 le champs-esylee : the paris fifth avenue
le sacre couer from the bottom of montmartre
 the view just never stopped improving
crepes break before the mini hike

"je voudrais un crepe de nutelle et banane et un cafe s'il vous plait!"
artists' square on top of montmartre 
 I loved this split painting of le tour eiffel : it really played up the romance

vivid prints and the cobblestone street
my plate of escargo : yum!

 ending the night with a show! just kidding... 

day three }

we decided to end our trip on sunday in style at le chateau de versailles! we were all rightfully excited as it proved to be as jaw dropping and awe-inspiring as you could imagine... even though it was quite frigid with the snow, a starbucks warmed me up as we waited to get into the palace! it was one giant fairytale, a hollywood movie set or a reenactment, there is just no way the palace was real... in the spring I'm sure the gardens are lovely but we stuck indoors to avoid the symptoms of windburn & frostbite, but all unanimously agreed the hall of mirrors was the best room in the enormous estate! the chandeliers, ornate details and over-the-top everything left me wishing I had a huge wig, crinoline hoop skirt, some giant pearls and an invitation to a royal ball. our dream day would be spent in the queen's room sitting with the windows open sipping a bottle (or so) of wine with plates of seafood, crepes and creme brullee... I could simply not get over the fact marie antoinette had walked those halls or that anyone ever had actually called it home : definitely a burst of motivation to meet a prince!

I don't think paris was ready to see us go : it even cancelled our flight and stopped all metros heading to the airport. we had sprinted through security with just enough time for me to spend my last five euros on vogue paris before the city attempted stalling us further by taking a couple hours to defrost the plane on the runway! though the familiar intercom voice asking to "mind the gap" was a comforting sound on the tube today, I already miss the dreamy feel of paris. the city feels like one giant art gallery and I have barel walked through the lobby... 

outside the gates : yes, that's gold...
 just inside the gates : this is barely the middle section of the palace
 this is my favorite shot from the day with the geometric tiles against the elaborate architecure
the first and second story views of this ballroom 
 casual view of the edge of the garden's edge
 the hall of mirrors : the most incredible room I think I'll ever see
the queen's bedroom, I'm practically marie antoinette these days 
a close up of the chandeliers in the hall of mirrors
 au revoir paris, a plus tard!