Explore: Portugal

    May 16, 2018

    The next stop in the whirlwind tour of Europe was Portugal! To be honest with you, I didn’t know much about Portugal. But so many people that I knew that traveled there had such great experiences that we added it to our trip!

    Day 1

    We landed in Portugal in the early afternoon and ended up taking a cab to our Airbnb. Our Airbnb was this cute cheery apartment in the older part of Lisbon, with an upstairs loft. FYI, most staircases in Europe are narrow and don’t have elevators, so if you do get an Airbnb be prepared to lug your suitcase up some stairs.

    We were starving and wanted to find some good food fast. We went to A Cevicheria, Kiko Martin’s restaurant, and the food was delicious, fresh and flavorful, particular standouts, were the ceviche with mango foam and grilled octopus, slightly chewy with a slight sweetness to it. The staff was friendly and helpful with recommendations and pairings.


    We then went for delicious gelato. Passionfruit is a popular flavor in Portugal, get it! It’s so fresh and delicious

    We then went walked around to a square to explore Lisbon, and Lisbon has HILLS, and lots of them, the streets are narrow, and hilly, so bring comfortable shoes and prepare for a good workout.

     

    We then went to Timeout, time out is a food hall of carefully chosen pop ups to present the best of what Portugal has to offer and doubles as a music hall to showcase different musical acts.

    Timeout market can be overwhelming, when we went in the evening, it was in full swing, bustling and CROWDED.  There’s also so many delicious stalls that it’s hard to make a decision. We finally decided on fish and chips and it was fresh and the batter light. Seating can be difficult  when it’s busy as it’s first come first serve.

    The next day we started out at Copehagen Coffee Lab. This cute cafe, has fresh homemade bread and delicious coffee. The bread was thick chewy, studded with seeds perfect with butter and jam.

     

    We then went to Santa Maria de Belem and Belem tower. It’s the parish and its respective fortified tower, the towers dating all the way back to the 16th century.

    Next was Pasteis de Belem to try the famed, “pasteis de nata.” Pasteis de nata is an egg tart, akin to a Chinese egg tart, but, the crust is crispier and flakier, the custard creamier and slighty sweeter and SO DELICIOUS. There is usually a long line, but it moves quickly. You can choose to get the tarts either to go or to eat at the restaurant. I suggest eating at the restaurant, it’s a big and airy room with yummy food and coffee. Use the cinnamon and powdered sugar shakers to liberally sprinkle your egg tarts. A generous sprinkling of cinnamon somehow makes it even more delicious!

    We then headed over to LX factory, the art district of Lisbon, housed in an industrial complex it’s filled with retailers, unique restaurants and pieces of artwork and sculptures on walls makes it unique and also very instagrammable.

    Here are a few of the places we found.

    Nanarella near our Airbnb has the BEST gelato

    Day 3

    The last day we took a tour to Sintra, it’s a town with lavish palaces and natural beauty. Our tour guide said that because of it’s hotter weather and natural beauty, the noblemen in Europe would build big summer mansions. All of the mansions are in different style reflective of the styles of noblemen’s countries in Sintra. It was nice to get out of Lisbon and see a different part of Portugal, get away from the city and experience more of the natural beauty. We then went to Cascais a picturesque town along the coast, with it’s sunny blue skies, and sails boats dotting the water, it’s a great escape from Lisbon. It has a cute  downtown square full of shops and restaurants.

    (pic 28)

    Cascais

    Off to Spain next!

    Friday Favorites

    May 11, 2018

    We’re trying a new Friday Favorites series where we go through a list of all the things that got our attention this week. Check out our thoughts on what really captivated us this week.

    1. We’ve been swooning over the Mara Hoffman Spring 2018 collection for quite some time now. We love the attention to detail, and how she layers pattern and texture with each piece.
    2. We’re still not over Femme Fair. And we were so pumped that our favorite jacket was featured on their Instagram.
    3. Intentionally Blank always comes out with the fiercest effing shoes. And they’ve opened a store in San Francisco! Let us know if you’ve went!
    4.  Can we talk about how Janelle Monae continues to kill the game? We love her take on the “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” theme by wearing a halo-mimicking hat meant to be seen in the front pew of church. Her homage to her earlier fashion choices of wearing black and white speaks to her love of duality: good vs. evil or even faith vs. religion. Janelle Monae always tells a story with her clothing, and we are here for it.
    5. We’re seeing the trend of flowers and muted pastels all over the place. We like how the soft tones bring a sense of balance to images; the dusty coloring seems to make everything else stand out. It feels so sophisticated.
    6. Are you like us and you’ve watched and rewatched the “This is America” video by Childish Gambino? There’s been so many think pieces surrounding the video, and if you’re like us, you’ve read through a lot of them and watched the video over and over again to catch something you didn’t see before. All we gotta say is that this video and song is real. Real and raw truth. Childish Gambino’s social commentary a true reflection of the world we live in; we want our entertainers (especially entertainers who are POC) to keep dancing and not comment on the social injustices of the world.  Millions (including us) are reflecting on the times we never paid attention to what’s really going on.
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    Femme Fair

    May 7, 2018

    Adrienne and I got the chance to attend Femme Fair last month, and  we are still feeling the positive energy of the event and all the women present. The event originally started out as a way for the public to shop their favorite bloggers’ closets, but it has since gotten bigger. We definitely felt welcomed and connected to the community; not only were we able to do some shopping, but we got a chance to meet other amazing women, share stories, laugh, eat, and find ways to support each other in future creative endeavors.

    We sat in on the morning speaking engagements. The first conversation centered around finding your voice in a sea of many. It was so inspiring to hear women in the creative industry talk about their own fears and vulnerabilities in this field, and how it’s so important to be your most authentic self. The second conversation was the keynote given by Chloe Elisa with the core focus on putting a light to sex trafficking. The topic hits close as a lot of my career focused on supporting young folks who have been abused and/or trafficked. Her words were incredible, and if you were to just spend 5 minutes talking to her, you’d want to get out there and serve the greater community. She also works for Selah Freedom, the nation’s leading anti-sex trafficking organization. Definitely check it out, and support our most marginalized groups of people.

    We were also in awe of the beautiful detail put into the event. Saying it’s IG-worthy doesn’t do the justice the hardwork the women of Femme Fair put into it. They really converted a space that was open, inviting, colorful, and effing fun. We were taking pictures like crazy and were also admiring all the care that brought everything together. Check out our photos below! Make sure you’re following Femme Fair. We believe it’s only going to get bigger from here. We can’t wait for next year, and we’re hoping to see more of our readers there!

    Photo Credit: Jess Onesto

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    Explore: Paris

    May 2, 2018

    Four countries in 15 days, sounds crazy, and it was, but it was so fun, fulfilling and memorable. What I love about traveling is it helps you gain more perspective and really helps to get you out of your own head sometimes. I also do feel you get a bit wiser each time. No matter how well you plan your trip, there are always a few curveballs.

    To help organize our trip, we did quite a bit of planning beforehand. We made an itinerary as we had a lot to pack in into the 3 days we were here and pre-booked a lot of the things we wanted to see, which was great at providing structure to our days.

    First stop Paris!

    Day 1

    Day one we hit the ground running. When we got to Paris, we compared prices to get to our Airbnb, a taxi to the city center was going to be 50 euros, by subway 11 euros. We decided to take the subway to give us a chance to familiarize ourselves with the subway system as that would we our main form of transportation.  

    We dropped out stuff off at the aribnb, and went to our first stop,  Arc de Triomphe. It stands as monument for those that fought and died in the French Revolution and Napoleans’ wars. It is a beautiful structure, in the middle of a busy traffic circle, and, as you would expect extremely crowded.

     

    Our next stop, just a bit further down was Champs de Elysee, probably the most famous tree lined, 1.2 mile stretch of cafés, theaters and luxury shopping.

    It’s Paris. It’s beautiful, chic and full of a bustling energy of one of the metropolitan cities of the world. Even if shopping isn’t your thing, it’s worth walking in the luxury stores because it all starts here. For most of these luxury brands, these stores are their flagship stores and it’s an experience in itself to walk in and experience where it all starts Particularly, Chanel and Louis Vuitton stood out for their beautiful window and floor displays.

     

    We then went to the Eiffel Tower, I would highly recommend getting skip the line tickets. The line was long and with tickets the line would have been at least 2 hours.  Our tickets also came with tour guide, who provided informative and color commentary about the Eiffel tower and its visitors. If you want to take pictures, it’s a good idea to get there early before your ticket time approach the park through the Champ de Mars, a large park that will give you a beautiful view and photos of the Eiffel tower.

    We booked out tickets right as the sun was setting, and I would highly suggest it. The Eiffel tower at night when the lights are shining, is breathtaking and has to be seen, it sparkles.


    Day 2

    Our day started off  bright and early with a trip to Chateau de Versaille and it’s garden. It’s about a 40 mintute subway ride from Paris. We again, went with skip the line tickets. Which we’re glad we did. The line was MASSIVE at 8 am in on a Snday morning, with wait times of approximately 3 hours. The price difference between tickets was I believe $40 dollars, but we were able to skip the line and it included a guided tour of the garden and a self guided tour of Chateau de Versaille. We enjoyed the tour guide as he was well versed on the life of King Louie XVI.  King Louis XVI’s identity was greatly tied to Versaille, and it’s beauty and size were intentional. It was meant to house all the nobles of Frances; to allow him to have grand parties but also to keep an on them.

    In early April, the gardens were just waking up from their deep winter slumber, an the best time to see the gardens in all their glory would be summer, when everything is in full bloom.

    The Chataeu is a study in excess and beauty. Everything was ornate, gilded in gold and no expense was spared to build this mini city. The chateau could hold approximately 3,000 people to give an idea of the size of the chateau.

    An interesting tidbit from our guide, every June there is a masked ball in Versaille, where everyone dresses in period costume of King Louie XVI and a highly sought after ticket.

     

    Next, it was off to the Catacombs. The subway in Paris is fairly easy to navigate, especially because we had a pocket wifi to help us navigate, but make sure you get their map, and utilize the information desk at the subway. They usually speak English and are a great resource in figuring out which lines to take.

    The catacombs, were one of the most memorable places we visited in Paris, it’s slightly macabre, so if this doesn’t appeal to you; I would skip it. The catacombs are underground ossuaries that were created to address the overflowing cemeteries in Paris, with the remains of more than 6 million people resting there. It’s eerily beautiful, with the femurs and skulls artistically placed, lining the walls and even arranged into heart shapes and barrel of bones. It’s dark and the ceilings are low, really making it seem other worldy, and for me slightly claustrophobic.

     

    Day 3

    We started the day at Louvre again bright and early. The Louvre is artwork in itself, with it’s two glass pyramids, that offer natural light into the museum. We again chose an early ticket time 9:00 am and we were happy to have done so, because the line was long, for people waiting to buy tickets. Must sees at the Louvre, include obviously the Mona Lisa, the staircase of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Virgin of the Rocks and the wedding at Cana.

    Then we went to Ladurée, Ladurée, is quintessentially Paris, and their mint green exterior and the colorful macaron trees are akin to something out of Alice in Wonderland. The macarons are undeniably delicious. We tried a few macrons (okay, a lot) and we can confidently say these are the best. Are favorite by far were the salted caramel, vanilla and pistachio.

     

    Our last stop was to head to Le mur des je t’aime, a wall filled of “I love you,” at the bottom of Montmartre. It’s a charming art district in Paris, at the top is the Sacré-Coeur Basilica, that offers an amazing view of the city. You can choose to take the funicular to the top or walk to the top. It’s a beautiful view from at the top  where you can see the Eiffel tower, and I think a great way to end the trip. Paris.


     

    Au revoir, on to Portugal!

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    Earth Day 2018

    April 22, 2018

    Photo Credit: Lacausa

    Happy Earth Day Everyone! Here at Style Approximately, one of our goals is to support ethical and sustainable brands. We truly believe in the “less, but better motto” and try to implement it in our every day practices. We think Earth Day should be recognized every day. If you’re starting to develop your own practices to make this world and our consumptions more sustainable, we’re all for it and we’re here to help guide you as well.

    Shout out to Ashley Gabrielle for this inspiring quote, ”You vote by where you spend your money. How and where you spend is you saying this is the standard of products I want.” Although it’s hard to have a fully sustainable closet, we think it’s important to put in some thought and effort into what we put on our bodies. Below are 5 of our favorite sites and brands that we think anyone would love.

    Garmentory

    While not a brand per se, Garmentory has been my go-to for finding indie brands that are focused on the sustainable movement. They’ve created a platform where consumers can find the ethical brands they love and purchase directly from the designer or indie boutique. I’ve found a few of my favorite brands like Intentionally __________ and Ace & Jig. The above featured dress is the Medusa Rosewater Dress from  Aurora Vestita.

    Redemption

    Redemption is a California based shop with the goal of selling products that are designed and made in California that keep to a sustainable and ethical production model. It’s also a local favorite of mine. They believe in selling the best products from the local community so that consumers can have a lasting and trusting relationship with the people behind the clothing.

     

    LACAUSA

    LACAUSA has been in on the sustainable game since 2013. They keep their production firmly in Los Angeles and will continue to do so. Their cause is to make quality pieces under ethical and sustainable practices. They’re taking that cause a step further by partnering with different organizations to raise awareness on environmental, human, and civil rights. Also SALE ALERT: they’re currently have a sample sale on their website. Marked down items are an extra 40% off with code SALE40

    Girlfriend Collective

    There’s so much I want to say about Girlfriend Collective and their collection. After reading more about the brand, I love it even more. The goal was to create women’s workout apparel with recycled, post-consumer materials (aka recycled water bottles). They also wanted a brand for the person who likes to casually workout with a minimalist aesthetic. Their pieces are also incredibly comfortable and I feel so wildy confident wearing my set.

    Allbirds

    Allbirds are the sneakers that have taken the shoe industry by storm. It isn’t hard to see why. Allbirds is incredibly transparent about their production and where they source their materials. Other than using ZQ Merino Wool, which “meets the highest stands of farming, land management, and animal welfare.” They’re also at a competitive price point with shoes starting at $95.

    Are you interested in getting more advice on living a sustainable lifestyle? We have a few ideas in the works. If you have any thoughts, let us know in the comments!

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