Tag Archives: travel

What is #desertglam?

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So, in my last post I signed off quite mysteriously with the hash tag #desertglam. I mentioned that this upcoming weekend (in t-4days, in fact) I will be heading off on a camel into the sunset of a place that certainly makes up for the lack of sun that I have been experiencing of late (location to be revealed upon return).

As I was getting mentally prepared for my little get-a-way, I started feeling a bit thematic and, as almost any red-blooded girl I know, I decided that nothing in my wardrobe would suffice as acceptable for my new trip. After all, how am I supposed to channel the glamour of the SATC ladies with my last-season outlet clothes, impossible. So, new things were called for. But not just any new times, #desertglam new things. Just what does #desertglam consist of one my ask, from my own perspective it is a bit of a mix between Indiana Jones and Miss Congeniality (post-makeover).

Over this weekend between BBQs and bedrest (requires its own separate post: forthcoming), I set out to find my own #desertglam style, and below are three of the outfits that I came up with (thank you H&M / ZARA for making even babes-on-a-budget looks stylish).

Now, let me set the mood for each outfit (please ignore all wrinkles, this is what happens when you leave silky-type items in a bag for more than 24 hours).

Look 1:

Imagine: You are sitting on a brightly colored and jeweled cushion in the middle of a high-raised ornately carved ceiling dripping with sparkling chandeliers, surrounded by one thousand more cushions in this dreamy room which is distinguished only by the soft, glistening shimmers of hanging beads  the colors of the rainbow around its perimeter. You hear the faint but distinct jingle of wind chimes in the background while you inhale the sweet mystical aroma of freshly burning incense. All of a sudden, you see a parting of the beads and a young person dressed as a gypsy, glimmering just as brightly as the surrounding beads and pillows enters carrying a silver tray and teapot. This young person greets you gently and begins to pour your afternoon tea.

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Well, this was the outfit I would at least imagine in this scenario, so it was obviously a “must-purchase”.

Look 2:

Imagine: You are prancing through a busy market place. Of course, you are also accompanied by a big, floppy hat and large sun glasses that shade you from the over head sun beating down on the white and red earth. From vendor to vendor you go, looking, touching, smelling, hearing, tasting everything. It is an orgy of senses. Everywhere you look you become mesmerized between the colors of the bursting, ripe fruits and the miles and miles of fabrics glistening royally under the sun, the sounds of the vendors bargaining, the people laughing, children innocently playing on the streets, the drim and drom of pots being put to good use for the lunch time feast, the scents of essences of flower oils being ever-so gingerly mixed together in small viles, the garlic and spices being caramelized over open fire stoves,  fresh bread being leavened at its own pace on the counter tops of every home. The sensations are more vibrant and more vivid than the last. But, this doesn’t stop you from continuing to look and explore with growing curiosity as the moments dance by. It is a new world, very different from where you come from and you don’t want to miss even one blink by not participating in the liveliness with every ounce of passion that exudes from your soul.

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Well, this is at least the sensations I could imagine feeling, prancing around a busy and exotic marketplace in a light and airy, crazily-patterned summer frock. Again, a “must-purchase”.

Look 3:

Imagine: You are on the terrace of a large house. You are surrounded by hundreds and thousands of white, glowing candles. So many candles that you can not distinguish where the candles end and the night begins. In this case, you again are seated on a cushion but this time near a large table spread with a feast fit for a king. From across the table you are met with a pair of eyes staring intensely into your own. Before you know it, you are whisked off your feet into the perfumed air and begin to dance to the magical sounds of soft Arabian music wafting through the breeze. Back and forth you dance, between the fiery shadows of the candles that seem to be illuminating the white of your dress against the night. You capture this moment by closing your eyes and the next thing you know you are happily in the arms of your lover watching the sun rise from the desert horizon.

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This is what I imagine hope will happen to me in this outfit: hint-hint to the boyfriend! So, what can I say, I told you already that I am a big day-dreamer. How could I not also include this on the list of  “must-purchases”.

Have you figured out where I will be heading yet?

Did I more clearly define what I mean when I say #desertglam ?

Stay cozy, #teacups

Toodlez.

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More excursions.

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Hey all!

Well as you all know, I still have yet to see the light of the summer sun. However, next week, I will make up for that by going on an excursion to a very, very, very (almost exaggerating) sunny place. So, until then, I will continue to be a slave to science, hidden away in my office with highlighters and machine coffees a plenty.

But, in the mean time, here is a visual hint to where I will be, and yes, I will be donning my best #desertglam (I have also given in to the latest hashtag craze #noshame):

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Can you guess where I am going?

Stay cozy, #teacups.

Toodlez.

Cozy teacups went to Prague

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Just got back from Prague and let me tell you . . . it was fantastic. First and foremost, we were extremely lucky with the weather. All week long, we were obsessively looking at weather.com with optimism, just to be met with never-ending rain weather-icons ominously predicting rain until who knows when, which is quite problematic to the weekend traveller. So, it was a pleasant surprise that the weather that greeted us in Prague was absolutely gorgeous and summer-like (yes, I said summer-like, not spring-like because it was indeed that wonderful) which was a surprising and welcome change from the recent horrible winter-like weather that Barcelona was and still is experiencing.

Let me organize myself:

Day 1: we arrived to where we were actually staying in Prague around 9:30 at night, which seemed a relatively acceptable hour to us to grab our keys (we had our first airbnb experience), drop off our bags and look for a nice, cutie, cozy romantic place to have our first dinner. Well, the plan was good in theory but in execution had its flaws, as we sometimes forget that not all countries operate on the late-night dinner rituals that anyone who has found themselves upon the Iberian Peninsula is accustomed too. That being said, it was around 10PM when we were finally able to venture out into the wilds of Prague, which is just about the hour when the kitchens all close, every. single. one. of. them. So, in a bit of a mad dash, we finally found a place, where the waiters were already cleaning up BUT with a kitchen open until 11PM, in a hotel not so far from our accommodations.  The restaurant was in fact The Imperial Cafe on Na Porici. It had a beautifully decorated Art-Deco Baroque interior, the menu was definitely designed from the international tourist that wants a taste of the Czech cuisine, however overall it was a bit so-so. It wasn’t necessarily the quality of the food that was meh, it was just that we didn’t leave there thinking it was the best meal of our lives. Though, if you are hungry after 10 and want to sit down for a meal, I would definitely recommend it. There is no other option.

After dinner, we wandered around the Old Square awhile and then headed back since we wanted to take as much advantage of the next day as possible.

Day 2: We woke up pretty early and wanted to take a shower before we headed out for the day. This is point at which I am not 100% convinced with airbnb. Now, we did choose to rent a bedroom in an apartment instead of an entire apartment just for ourselves. This was because of our innocent hopes and dreams that our host would become our new Czech best friend and prance us all over the city as if we were his kinfolk. Though our host was extremely friendly and pleasant, he was more than anything, our host, whom we paid to use a bedroom in his house. Nothing more, nothing less. However, our host rented two bedrooms. Thus, it was not a pleasant surprise to wake up and have to wait to take a shower when you just want to start your day. That being said, we were able to get out of the house by 10:30, which between me and him is no easy feat, and this was included the waits for the bathroom. We paid approximately 30 euros a night for our room, next time, I do think it is worth it to shell out a bit more and have, at least, bathroom privacy, we all know that I am a bit freaky when it comes to public-bathrooms.

The morning started out a bit grey, but we didn’t think anything of it, walking directly to the Vltava River and hopped on the first boat for a river tour, which was a great way to start our sightseeing with views like this:

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So basically, it was fantastic. As the tour was around lunchtime, we were even able to grab some beers and sandwiches on board, to enjoy while enjoying the sights.

After the tour, we wandered around a bit more in the Old Town. We saw that near the Square, there were some stand with very very very long lines and smoky meat being roasted as we spoke. Of course, we got on line too, after all, who am I to deny hunks of slow roasted pork with potatoes? The result, a huge chunk of Prosciutto di Prague with Potatoes with cabbage and bacon, and of course a 1-liter beer to wash it all down. A meal doesn’t seem to be a Meal in Prague without an ice-cold Pilsner Urquell. As we were waiting for our second tour of the day to start, we ordered this “small snack” and ate it at a bar stool, while standing, just like the locals. One word of caution, in the more touristy neighborhoods, like the centric Old Square, I did have the sensation that these types of ventures do try to take advantage of the language/money barrier. For example, at the stand where we bought the Prosciutto di Prague and Potatoes, the prices that are advertised, seem very cheap, but they are the prices per 100g (which is not clear at all). So, in the end, your “cheap lunch snack” costs more than what you would pay in a restaurant as the “chefs” of the stands seemed to have very very very heavy hands and tend to lean toward very very very generous portions, if you catch my drift.

Later on that afternoon, we decided to go on a walking tour which was also fantastic. In the main square of the Old Town, it is quite easy to get bombarded with an over abundance of tour options. We decided to go on the walking Castle tour of Sandemann’s New Europe. It was advertised as a 3-hour tour, though our tour guide was extremely enthusiastic and kept us walking and talking for at least 5 hours, so it was definitely worth the corunas that we had paid (more or less $10.00 pp). On the tour we walked through the extensive grounds of the Prague Castle, which are enormous, as well as walked over the Charles Bridge, which is so ripe with history and anecdotes you could spend years listening to all of the stories and tales that this area is rife with.

For dinner, we decided to go to a Vietnamese restaurant that our airbnb host recommended to us. So, we wanted to be out of the house and in the restaurant by 9PM, to not have any “kitchen-closed”-esque problems, which we were able to easily do, though we were tired from our long day of touring. However, what was unexpected was that the Vietnamese restaurant was closed anyways, due to a private engagement. At this point, we were pushing 9:15 and had less than 45 minutes to find a cute, cozy, delicious, wonderful restaurant where we would have the best dinner of our lives. Easy peazy, except it was not.

Prague is a very wonderful city, though it is an extremely touristic city. So, as tourists, we were staying more or less in the center of all of the action, which is wonderful for site-seeing, but maybe not the best for culinary options as most restaurants seemed tailored for the over-paying, under-discerning tourist – and we are a very very very picky couple when it comes to food and moreso with our overall restaurant experience. We love to eat well and a lot. We enjoy food and a restaurant that also reflects that in its decor. Now, I don’t want to be mistaken that I want to eat a fancy, posh-type restaurants. In fact, the opposite. To me, the perfection is a good home-cooked  meal in a restaurant that could double for a kitchen in a cozy country cottage. To our surprise, at around 10 minutes to 10PM, we found something close to these requirements in Alla Stella Nera, near the Charles Bridge. I would classify this restaurant as Italo-Czech cuisine, which though was not the best in the world, BUT the ambiance certainly made up for it. Light jazz music floating in the background, sweet, lovely decorations like you had woke up in a different century.

The night ended with a delicious beer-tasting at the Museum of Beer on Dhloua Street, where there are over 30 beers on tap. A fantastic end to a fantastic day and night.

Day 3: We woke up to the shower situation, again, but today it was not as pressing of a matter as we were leaving in the evening and had to pack up our bags anyway. When we got out of the house, we went again, right to the river, and had a lovely breakfast overlooking the castle. Afterwards, we decided to take a walk to the top of the Old Tower in the Square. The views were magnificent and you had a bird’s eye view of the entire city which is truly precious. We then had lunch at a Bistrot where you can see the chef grilling the meat that you just ordered right in front our your eyes. I can’t remember the name of the place, but it was tucked away in a small corner and every single person that walked by stopped in.

The day ended with me getting a Thai massage (painful but luxurious) in a “typical Thai massage house” and then we stopped to have a cold drink taking in the last of the views before we had to pick up our bags and head back to the airport.

Overall, it was a fantastic trip to a marvelous city. We were only there for one weekend, Friday night to Sunday night, and though nothing felt rushed, I wish we could have stayed longer just to laze around the cozy winding streets, with a hot spicy wine and visions of the alchemy, astrology and mystery of the olden-days floating through my mind.

Cozy teacups is back.

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G’day teacup nation. Have no fear (not that you would over this blog :P) but the cozy teacups is back in action. Last week, I was on vacation and visiting my motherland on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Lots of food, family and fun prevented me from living my life through my computer screen, as per usual, and live and breath real life, like outdoorsy life, like actually talking to people face-to-face life, and what a thrill it was.

The last time that I was able to leap across the pond was around the end of October. As a native of the New York/New Jersey region, around the end of October 2012 was around the time that Sandy decided to unleash her wrath on my home state and surrounding areas. So, needless to say, that visit was not the relaxing cozy fest that it was intended to be. In fact, it was the opposite: dealing with overseas work deadlines and no electricity (meaning no internet connecton) for at least a 50-mile radius, no food to be found as the supermarkets could not guarantee the freshness of their product and thus were unable to sell said products, and it was freezing (no generator means no heat) and we all know very very well how I feel about being cozy.

This time was quite the opposite, (though only having 5.5 days). I managed to see friends, visit family, eat loads, laugh a lot, shop the shops, walk the walks and stay cozy all along the way. Thus, a giant success which requires a giant cozy nap. Nevertheless, the teacups is back to work (both for real and at her little itty blog) and I am sure there will be lots of random thoughts and coze that will spring up here.

But for now,

Stay cozy, teacups.

Toodlez.