Hola & Adios Madrid

Jeni Madrid

Wandering Hotel Miguel Angel

Hello everyone! I’ve just returned from a 4 day trip to Madrid, Spain. My first visit ever. One of the best things about living in Europe is that traveling to other countries are convenient and often times tickets are booked at a bargain. I feel so lucky living in Europe again and very happy to have had the opportunity to visit Madrid. Barcelona? Maybe next year!

Before leaving, I brushed up on my “Espanol” and even wrote down key phrases on a piece of paper to carry with me. My advice? Make an effort to learn some phrases of communication for every country that you visit. This demonstrates respect and openness in learning a new language and I believe that the effort that you put in are appreciated by the people you meet.

I had a great experience staying at the Hotel Miguel Angel. Our 7th story bedroom was comfortable and offered a great view of the lounge garden you see pictured above and below. The staff was helpful and friendly and the breakfast buffet met our needs. Oh! Even if you decide against the hotel accommodations, I’d like to suggest dining in their outdoor restaurant. It was sooo fabulously adorable, offers a fine dining experience and literally served the best prepared calamari I have ever tasted. Period.

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I stumbled upon another one of my favourite paintings, the “Figura en una finestra,” by Salvador Dali. One of his most realistic and finest paintings created during his lifetime. It’s such an amazing piece! I was so surprised when I saw it at the Reina Sofia Museum. These little joys in life make me so happy!

Salvador Dali; Figure at the Window, 1925

Salvador Dali; Girl at the Window, 1925

 Plaza de Cibeles

Plaza de Cibeles

Must haves for keeping cool in this 100 degree weather. Hat & Water!

Must haves for keeping cool in this 100 degree weather. Hat & Water!

I haven’t felt this much heat since living in Sacramento, California! Our first night in town, Justin ran into a work colleague who reconfirmed Madrid’s typically hot summers. Muy Caliente indeed! I slathered on so much sun screen that I barely tanned. It made sense that on Sunday, we’d spend most of the day at the “Parque Del Buen Retiro.”

There were plenty of shaded areas in this expansive and beautifully landscaped park, yet the boiling sun was barely tolerable. So maybe the cocktails here and there weren’t such a great idea, but those sangrias? Hello! I’m in Spain! Anyways, there’s more juice than wine in those right? Oh well, water was plentiful and my second best alternative substitute while on vacation. Heat or no heat. We enjoyed every minute of our park adventure.

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Justin and I braving the heat like lions!

Entering Plaza Mayor

Entering Plaza Mayor

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Our stroll back to the hotel.

There’s always plenty to do and see and never enough time to do it all…

I had my 1st true tapas and sangrias experience, strolled down Paseo de Recoletos during the gay pride parade with thousands of others. Opened up a bottle of un-imported Spanish wine. Laid on the grass taking selfie after selfie with the one I love. Wandered through the opera area and unsuccessfully found a movie theatre (relief from the heat) filming the documentary, “Amy” about Amy Whinehouse. I practiced the action button on our camera while a guy practiced his air jumping in front of the Plaza de la Armeria. Went to the same taco place twice and ordered the same thing because it was just too good not have again. Explored the area of Sol by walking in and out of shops and where I decided to buy a winter coat. The irony right?

This is what I love about traveling…you get to experience many of the authenticities of the culture you’ve probably experienced second-hand in your own country. It’s hard to explain in words, but it’s different because the experience seems more pure or credible. But also, it’s comforting to know that you can be in a completely different country and still experience similar comforts  from home. For example, some of the things I mentioned above like watching an american flick or eating Mexican styled tacos. Just because I’m in a new country doesn’t mean I need to constrict myself to experiences solely belonging to that country, but that I absolutely include experiences that are novelty to the country I’m visiting.

You know?

Happy Woman!

Happy Woman!

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Oui! Aix Marks The Spot

Aix sounds like ex, as in “X marks the spot.” Aix is considered the city of art, light, activity and is famous for its many fountains! Aix is also a home of art schools and several universities, including some American where my friend attended college for a time. Truly a beautiful and ancient atmosphere which dates back to 123 BC when the name given by the Romans and comes from the Latin word Aquae Sextiae. Well, Aix is famously dubbed as “the city of 1000 fountains.”

Aix-en-Province is a provencal town with artisan flare, a noticably different french (southern)  accent. A place where people appear to give off more of a lax attitude. Makes sense? With so much water around like natural springs and the Mediterranian sea a short drive away, I can see why someone would want to spend the rest of their lives here. Located just 30 minutes from the busy port city of Marseille, which is the second largest city in France next to Paris, one could feel that Aix would be the perfect get-away from a busier life.

I hope you visit! I know I’d like to go back… find the other fountains…and maybe settle one day…

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One of the many fountains…

Fontaine des Neuf Canons constructed in 1691

Fontaine des Neuf Canons constructed in 1691

Jardin d'Albert

Jardin d’Albert

Current Style Favorites

I just wanted to share some of my current favorite ready to wear items in which I’ve worn out these days.

The black phantom bag is my second Celine purse. I can’t get enough of Celine’s beautiful and streamlined styles. But owning 2 is good enough for now and especially after patine her hefty price tags! But have you seen her 2014 Fall collection? Oh wow! I’m eyeing the belt bag  from that collection here!

The Kooples? Think edgy and chic rolled into one. The weather has been conducive for hat-wearing and best suited for me because I don’t like carrying umbrellas. So I think the hat is the perfect compromise for both protection and style. I’m slowly corroborating more off their fashions to hang in my wardrobe. With sales current in Paris until the 29th of July, I’m expecting prices too keep dropping before fall fashions take shift. IKKS and Sandro…please!

My crime leather tennis shoes are perfect for school and walking around Paris while looking casually chic. I bought them at a boutique in my neighborhood in search of a comfortable walking shoe that also looks stylish and are worn with, let’s say a blazer or cropped jacket and for a more dressier look.

How about the over-the-top rhinestone necklace from Zara? I know its huge! Its costume. But I make it work. At least I think the necklace works for dressing anything up! I love it! When I lived in Sicily in 2012, I thought Zara was my clothing heaven. Because whilst in California, the only Zara around was in Los Angeles and so I had to order Zara online. Soooo, kinda making Zara’s clothing brand unique. I don’t know about now. You’ll have to tell me. In Europe? BIG! In Paris? There’s a Zara in every arrondissement! I usually stick with basics especially since I’ve noticed they lowered their tariff for quality and make.

Just me Jeni

Just me Jeni