Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Bargain time

It is that time again where Summer is not yet over but we are starting to think about Fall ( or at least in the Northern hemisphere). Normally, I would be mad at shops for displaying Fall clothes when it is so damn hot; then I would try and make a list of all my Fall must have items.

But this time, I will not. My new normal is to spend the last moments of Summer wrapped in the Monsoon' fog. Because here in Pune, India Summer has passed during the scorching months of April and May to make way to Monsoon till October. It is raining every single day and the temperatures are low. Winter will start in November and even then, it will never be that cold (only nights maybe).
All that to say that I probably do not need to make a Fall must have list (or purchase sweaters and such)

But wait, there are things that I may need ( Translation: want) in this season. And since it is bargain time in Pune, (all stores be it at malls or just markets are having huge sales with price cut of 50% to sometimes 80% off) what better time to go for them?

So, after boring you with all my excuses for shopping, let me excite you with what I want:

Lace top and/ dress:
for the girly girl in me


Printed Pajama style

This one from Zara

With a stripes on the side

Something similar can be found at Splash

Colorful Blazer:
For a touch of sophisticated fun (a printed one would not be so bad either)

Raincoat or windbreaker:
Because the rain never seem to cease here

Panties: because according to the hubby, I have been wearing the same ones for a while now (and if he notices, then it is a bad thing)


Loafers (glittered, studded, printed or simple)

Printed wedges
Small clutch:
Therapy Therapy Small round studded cross body bag
Studded Crossbody Bag located at a random store in FC road 

 And finally, an Indian suit:

This pink cotton on from Melange at Lifestyle

So what you think? What is your Fall or Monsoon wish list? Or what are you planning on getting via sales this season?

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Istanbul - last days

On our third day in Istanbul we decided to rest in the morning. The kids woke up super tired and begged us to stay in the hotel to watch cartoons. At midday, I went back to the restaurant near the hotel to order some lunch: cheese pizza for the kids, chicken platter for myself, chicken steak for the hubby always assorted with the red rice and some salad. We had a little nap then headed back to Istikal Caddesi to buy some Turkish delight, baklavas and tea.
 At night, we took a stroll in residential areas and had a glimpse of where Turkish people lived. It was night but the streets were packed. Kides were playing soccer under their parents' watch; people were eating in neighborhood restaurants and they were no tourists in sight. We wanted to have some seafood at Kumkapi; another tourist trap but the kids did not want that. We took pictures of the bustling restaurant avenue and headed home. Close to the hotel, we stopped at a small eatery where the kids and the hubby ate Shawarma. I was still full from my lunch and only wanted some salty yogurt drink: Ayran (must try). We arrived in the hotel at almost midnight. Another good thing about Istanbul is that it is relatively safe. You can walk around till the wee hours with no problem; and in some areas you can still shop as some street vendors will lay their stuff out at night.


So much lights; it felt like Christmas

Our last day in Istanbul we planned to go to the Princes Island for some beach fun until we realized that we had to catch our plane the same day at midnight and not the following night like we earlier believed. We changed plans and decided to go shopping on the streets next to the Bazaar. The hubby bought some shirts and pants. It was crazy packed and super hot but the shopping experience was worth it: I regret not waiting to shop for my business here. They are so many opportunities in the market and the vendors are open to bargaining. Next time!

Shopping streets between Grand Bazaar and Spice Market

Window display: I am not sure what the costumes are for but I saw many young boys wearing them in town.

We rested the entire afternoon before we headed to the airport. I felt sad leaving Istanbul. 5 days are not enough. But I am hoping to be back for a long vacation in such an idyllic place very soon.
Oh, and for the last day I wore my maxi dress but forgot to take a pic. Sorry!

On my radar: Ankle strap heels

Ankle strap heels have been the rage for a while. It seems that everyone from celebrities to fashion bloggers is sporting them. And we are far from seeing the trend disappear anytime soon.

I rarely wear heels so it is normal for me to overlook them. But I have to say that these shoes add a certain sexiness to an outfit. And right now, that is exactly what is missing in my daily style.

Now, for me to succumb to the trend, I have to find the perfect pair. It has to be comfy, not too high either,  in bold colors or neutral and at a good (aka cheap) price. It also has to be sturdy particularly the heels. I am not planning to power walk in them but If I want to keep the shoes for a while I have to bank on the quality.

Now here are some choices to consider: all under 2000 rupees

HM Ankle strap sandal (Rps 1790)
Zara (Rps 1190)

Inc 5 ( Rps 799)

The hunt is on. Are you going to succumb like me?

Friday, July 19, 2013

Istanbul- Day two

View from our hotel roof
Day two in Istanbul and we made the most out of it. We woke up feeling sore due to all the walking and climbing (Istanbul is a hilly city) of the previous afternoon. After a simple breakfast at our hotel we set off by tram to explore the city on the other side of the bridge. We went to Taksim square which was devoid of all kind of protests and harbored only police vans.

Taksim Square

We walked down hill toward a posh shopping street called Istikal Caddesi. It had many international brands such as Zara and Mango but also some cheap stores and cafes. Behind the streets, in smaller alleys you can find some vintage shops and also music shops. The atmosphere is very fun.

Galata Tower

Kebab anyone?

Pickles from a gift shop (specialised in food) in Istikal Caddesi

Evil eye charms at a gift shop in Istikal Caddesi

My boys
We walked all the way down to Karakoy station where we caught a ferry to the Asian side of the city . The ferry ride was peaceful and restful after an entire morning walking. We did not explore much of the Asian side because they were some protests. Peaceful as they may we decided not to take chances and went back home. But not before we enjoy a simple meal in a cafeteria style restaurant. I had some kebabs with broiled veggies and red rice and my son enjoyed some baked mushrooms with mashed potatoes and cheese on top. The vegetables were so fresh and tasty. The meal could not be complete without complimentary Turkish tea and some Baklavas.

View from the ferry

Protests on the Asian side

Late lunch

Another view from the ferry

We went back to the hotel for some needed rest only to head back hours later to the Blue Mosque for the evening prayer. The Mosque and the square around it was packed. I could not believe my eyes when women sometimes barely dressed made their entrance to the Mosque. No one told them anything. It made me think that Turkey was a very tolerant country. They may be Muslims but never extremists. I had rather mixed feelings when I saw women wearing tight fitting clothes roaming outside the Mosque. After all it is a place of worship, and out of respect they should be properly covered. But who am I to judge? I was wearing a maxi skirt that was see-through with leggings underneath it. My summer sweater did not cover my neck but my scarf manage to hide all my hair. The entire day I was dressed in the previous day outfit but at night, I changed into a maxi pleated skirt. I loved the whole ensemble but the skirt is a bit long and makes it hard to navigate around town.
Blue Mosque

What I wore

After the prayer and some pictures, we went to have late diner in small restaurant next to our hotel. We had Lachmacun, which is the Turkish pizza, light, fluffy with well seasoned minced meat. Absolutely delicious! We ended the meal with some Apple tea on the house. I loved every sip of it. We went home and slept barely minutes after our heads touched the pillow for Istanbul had tired us all.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Istanbul- the posh city

Update: this post and the following about Turkey were written a month ago when we touched down Istanbul in mid June. I just got around to posting them now.

We finally made it to Istanbul after a long trip. We arrived mid day Saturday and checked in our hotel: Recital hotel, which is a small boutique hotel located near the old mosques and Topkapi palace.

Recital Hotel

 We rested a bit and had lunch in the neighborhood. The kids had rice with minced meat and eggplant topped with baked mashed potato. The Hubby and I tried some chicken rolled with veggies in a light tomato sauce.

What the hubby and I ate

Then we went on a stroll near the Spice market and bridge. The place was packed since it was a Saturday with tourists, families, young couples, friends. The main activity seemed to be shopping. The weather was very complaisant: not too hot, not too cold. It is Summer but it felt like Spring (European summers are usually like that).

A view of the port

I was overjoyed to be back in the city. Not many things have changed since the last time we were here in 2010\11. It is still a pleasure to realize that Turkish people are very welcoming, very friendly. They still love children and mine were getting all kind of attention from pats on the head from men to pinches and kisses on the cheeks from grandmas. But what I liked the most from all this joyous atmosphere was the fashion. Women here are so stylish. Only the tourists seem to be frumpy. Turkish women were wearing colorful and trendy outfits, sometimes sexy, sometimes modest. And their shoe game is crazy; I noticed many platforms with tribal tones. It was a feast for the eyes. I could sit in a cafe, sip some Chai and do people watching for hours. I say people because the Turkish men are dapper as well. They are not afraid of wearing colored denim, matching them with their suede loafers. It was so unusual for me because most people in Pune do not dress like that (they are more formal and traditional).
As for myself, for my first day back in the city, I wore my jeans with stripped dress and layered with a red open cardigan. No fuss. I felt under dressed compared to the women around town, but the outfit held its purpose as I was roaming on the streets hassle free.

What I wore.

Plus the accessories: Indian ring and Dior bracelet

We ended the day with Turkish ice creams.  We were still full from our five o'clock lunch that we could not eat diner. The kids ate the ice creams which by the lick of it tasted great. The hubby and I got Baklava to eat back at the hotel with tea. I was so tired that I barely made it to bed after my second cup of tea.
 What day two has in store for us? I cannot wait to find out.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Outfit planner: Istanbul (remix)

It is Summer again and it can mean only one thing for the family: going back home (Senegal, West Africa for those who do not know). We will travel back home via Istanbul. It will be the second time we are stopping over this city. The first time was in Winter 2010.  The trip ended up being fun, but it was way too cold for sightseeing.
 I am hoping the weather will cooperate this time (and also that the protests will stop soon)

Anyway, since it is a stopover on my way home, I may need to pack different sets of clothes. Didn't I tell you that I dress (or try) different back home. Casual won't do in my lovely country Senegal where a woman is well dressed and made up just to go to the corner store. I will have to pack more Senegalese outfits and nice looking clothes like blouses.

But first thing first: let us start with what I will wear for 4 days, 3 nights in Istanbul Turkey

Maxi dress, Striped dress
Buttoned down shirts, Brown blouse
Jeans, Black leggings,Leopard pants
Pleated maxi skirt
Red cardigan, Brown knit, Kimono jacket
White tees

Scarves, Tote Bag
Wedges, Flats, Chappals

As always the key to pack lightly (and I wish I mastered that already) is to get items that are versatile and can be styled easily. One pair of jeans can be worn with different tops or a short dress, a maxi dress can become a skirt. It is also important to keep the clothes in the same color palette to make it easier to style. I should not forget to pack other essentials that will make my outfits interesting like scarves, sunglasses, funky jewelry, and bag.

Is that too much? I am not even sure I will not change one or two elements before the trip. I do not know what Istanbul has in store for us this time around but I would rather be prepared. Furthermore with all the protests, I am bit worried we may not be able to enjoy it fully. Whatever happens, I am sure we will try to make the best out of it.


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