Thursday, January 29, 2015

Outfit: Burberry and a Blogging Tip

Here's my first ever (and probably last) Blogging Tip of the Day:

If you tend to accumulate a backlog of outfit posts, try not to take them in front of seasonal details. Like, say, Christmas trees.

Anyway, better late than never, right?

I took a chance and ordered this dress online as it had been heavily marked down on sale. Luckily, the dress fits almost perfectly. I wore this dress when we went for dinner at Hawksworth in Vancouver. The food was good! We had the tasting menu and my favourite course was the wagyu beef. Yum.

I hesitated for a long time before buying this dress. It's the first "designer" piece that I've ever bought, and even on sale, it was way more than I've ever spent on a single item of clothing. Yes, the quality and the execution are impeccable, but was it really worth the price? I guess the bottom line for me was that I really liked the dress and will wear it often in the future.

Have you ever bought a designer item? Would you rather have one designer piece or multiple middle-of-the-road pieces for the same amount of money?

Outfit details:
Dress: Burberry (similar on sale)
Tights: Target
Booties: Browns', very old (similar but with buckles)
Purse: Sophie Hulme Twin Keyhole Clutch Shoulder Bag, sold out (similar)

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Outfit: Parque del Buen Retiro

I had lots of plans to take outfit photos in pretty dresses while I was in Spain, but the weather was not quite as balmy as I'd been hoping although it was pleasant when the sun was out. I ended up dressing for warmth most days. Also, we took these photos the day that we rented the electric assist bikes and pants were more practical.

The Parque del Buen Retiro was one of my favourite spots in Madrid. It is full of tree-lined paths, fountains, playgrounds, art galleries and a pond with boats. It is a very popular spot for tourists and locals.

Outfit details:
Sweater: Banana Republic (caution, sleeves run short!)
Jeans: American Eagle
Scarf: from Nepal
Coat: Banana Republic, Charcoal Wool Trench Coat
Purse: Chloe, Small Marcie (lots of colours, including black, red, green)
Boots: Stuart Weitzman, Lowland Boots

Saturday, January 17, 2015

And... I'm back!

A belated Happy New Year to everyone!

I was lucky enough to have a few weeks off over Christmas and New Year's, so we decided to go climbing with some friends in Spain.

Jeff actually flew to Spain two weeks before I did and was pedaling his bike from Barcelona to Madrid while I was stuck at work. This is the first time that I've been the one who gets left at home. It is not as fun as being the one who gets to go galavanting.

I stopped over in New York City on my way to Madrid. It was Christmas Day, and I had an amazing dinner by myself at Perry Street. Was it a little bit awkward? Yes, but the delicious food was worth it. I had a green salad, lobster poached in coconut milk with kaffir lime leaves and potato dumplings, and chocolate lava cake. The potato dumplings were probably one of the tastiest things I've ever had. 
Lobster for Christmas dinner
Next, I made a quick stop in Zurich to catch up with a friend. When I landed, I texted him that I'd arrived... and he sent back a message saying that I would soon be welcomed by the sights and sounds of Switzerland. There's a very efficient train that whisks passengers from the arrival gate to the baggage claim area, and this is what you see from the train:
And this lovely montage is accompanied by the sound of mooing and alpenhorns. Seriously.
We only had a few hours. Fortunately, there is a Confiserie Sprungli conveniently located in the terminal for all your Luxemburgerli needs.  See previous post about Luxemburgerli here.

Next stop was Madrid. Jeff met me at the airport and we caught a high-speed train to Alicante. From there, our friends picked us up and drove us to the casita we were renting near Alcalali, about an hour away. The casita was surrounded by fruit orchards and vineyards, with the nearest climbing just 10 minutes away.

We quickly established a routine of getting up in the mornings, having some fresh squeezed orange juice, and then going climbing.
Who needs the Dawn Wall? Jeff is wearing red and I'm the little pink speck
Tucked into the only shady spot on the cliff
Views of the Penon from the Olta climbing area
 On our rest days, we tried to do some sightseeing, which was kind of tough during the holiday season. Almost everything we tried to see was closed, including the castle at Guadalest. This is supposedly one of the most visited tourist attractions in Spain. We had the GPS give us directions from Alcalali, and the most direct route took us up and over the mountain pass on the left side of the picture. It was a single lane gravel road which was very poorly maintained and covered with snow at the top. I wasn't sure if our rental car would survive the trip but we made it one piece.
Since we couldn't go in, I settled for standing on the castle wall
We spent a few days in Madrid at the end of the trip. If you go to Madrid, my best tip would be to rent one of the city's electric assist bikes. These are available all around the city at little kiosks and the drivers in Madrid tend to be very accepting of bikes. With the electric assist, you can easily go around in traffic and zoom up hills without breaking a sweat.
View of the city from the Temple of Debod, a group of Egyptian ruins that were rebuilt in Madrid
We had two very memorable meals in Madrid. The first was at Camoati, a hipsterish restaurant in central Spain that had great wine and delicious roasted vegetables, among other things.

On our last night in Madrid, we ate at La Capilla de la Bolsa. The Epiphany (when the 3 kings were said to have visited Jesus) is a national holiday in Spain, and the restaurant was packed. My favourite dish was this salad with shaved asparagus, radishes, prawns and anchovies. I don't usually like anchovies, but there was something about the anchovies and the fresh asparagus that was really amazing.

And of course, it wouldn't be a trip to Spain without a lot of jamon iberico and tapas.

Meat candy!
Tasty little tapas
 I know I'm behind, but how were your holidays? Did you travel?