Keep Warm This Winter With a Parka

Wearing: Alice & Olivia Parka, Brandy Melville Top, Zara Scarf, J Brand Jeans, and Zara Boots

Location: Brick Lane, London

Wow, it's been quite awhile since I've posted a style post. We jumped right from summer looks to full on winter. Okay maybe not FULL ON winter. Because if that were the case I would be probably decked out in Patagonia and Canada Goose. Just kidding I'm not getting a Canada Goose, that would be CRAZY. 

Side note: I really want some more Patagonia stuff and I can't find a store in London that stocks the brand. So if you know of some secret store that I'm unaware of, drop a comment! You'll be saving my life. 

Okay onward. Today's post is all about parkas! Parkas are by far the most fashionably functional winter piece you could have in your closet. Now let's be honest with ourselves. Most "winter" wear that's cute, sparkly, velvety, and so on and so forth, is reallyyyy not that warm. Don't argue with me! You know it's true. That embroidered velvet coat you have from Anthropologie? Hell no you can't wear that in negative degrees! So being super warm and super stylish is not always super easy. UNLESS you have a super cute parka! 

Parkas match with almost about everything, depending on what color your parka is. Go with black. That's always the best choice. Versatility, my friends. Wear your parka with denim and sneakers, dress and platform heels, smart trousers and loafers, or even leggings and trainers. No matter what you're wearing underneath a black fur hooded parka will up your cool factor by 10 and up your warmth factor by 100. 

The one I have is from Alice & Olivia and it came with an insulated vest that you can't see in the photos. But, that extra layer really helps to add some extra heat. The fur is detachable and so is the entire hood, which gives me an easy way to create multiple looks with just 1 jacket. And unlike a fur or wool coat I don't have to be so careful with it. It's waterproof so rain, dirt, etc. comes right off. It's my perfect London accessory. I can also take it off in a few swift moves. This is pertinent in London. The underground, shops, restaurants, and bars all pump up their heat. So by the time your inside you'll be dying to rip off all of your layers. 

 

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Buying Jade at Hong Kong's Famed Jade Market
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Hong Kong Jade Market

The Hong Kong Jade Market is a place of wondrous gemstone marvels. There are stalls on stalls on stalls overflowing with jade beads, jade bracelets, jade figurines, and so much more. If you find yourself in the city and craving something a little special for yourself (or maybe a loved one!) you have to give the Jade Market a visit. 

The market is located on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong and open Monday through Saturday from 11AM to 5:45PM. It's super easy to get to! Just hop on the ferry that takes you from Central Pier No. 7 to Tsim Sha Tsui. From the Tsim Sha Tsui MTR station it's about a 20 minute walk up Nathan Road. Take a left at Gascoigne Road and then you'll find the market on your right hand side. 

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When I was in Hong Kong with Oliver and Florian we were sure not to miss out on perusing these gem stoned filled stalls. I went in with no intentions of purchasing anything. And of course, no surprise here, ended up getting a little something for myself. It's almost impossible to walk out of there with nothing! 

We got super lucky while we were there. We met a vendor who was 1. not screaming at us trying to obnoxiously sell us something,  2. definitely not trying to scam us, and 3. taught us how to parse through the jade and pick the quality pieces. Now, I'm passing on these tips to you! 

What Matters When You're Buying Jade 

1. The Stone Should Be Imperfect

Jade stones comes in all different hues and shades of green. There are bright green ones, dark green ones, green spotted ones. Now you may think because the stone is a solid bright green color that this means it's a good stone. Wrong! Jade is a natural gemstone that means it should be IMPERFECT. The bracelets and pendants that are solid bright color have been highly tampered with and most likely contains very very little real jade. The higher quality ones will have variations in the color, looking more like droplets of green food color diffusing through water. 

2. The Stone Should Be Clear Not Cloud

Opacity matters when you're looking at jade. It's like shopping for diamonds. Higher levels of opacity or simply cloudiness means the gemstone is of lower quality. To check this just hold the stone up to the light and see how clear it is. The clearer the stone, the higher quality it is! 

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3. Each Gemstone Holds a Different Meaning

The market sells much more than jade. There are so many different types of gemstones and mineral rocks that you can get here. I actually bought myself not jade but a little moonstone elephant figurine. Here are some examples of the different meanings different stones and different figurines hold. 

Jade is for protection
Graphite is for good blood circulation
Moonstone is for clarity of mind 

Elephants are for good fortune
Turtles are for good health and longevity

4. The Jade Should Change The More You Wear It

This is obviously more applicable for after you've purchased your jade. But it's still important to know! The vendor told us that jade is meant to be worn and meant to be touched. Our naturally occurring skin oils mix with the jade and changes it's color. The more you wear it and the more it touches your skin, the more beautiful the gemstone should become! 

 


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A Fried Egg in London That's Big Enough to Feed 6!

Florentine Restaurant & Bar in Waterloo serves up some massive portions. Here you can get plates such as an Ostrich egg paired with a full English breakfast or the dinosaur sized Tomahawk steak. 

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The Ostrich Egg with Full English Breakfast cost a whopping 75 Pounds and is said to feed 4. But, it was definitely more than enough food for 6! We were able to choose between having our Ostrich egg fried or scrambled. Our waiter told us scrambled was more popular but we decided that fried would be a cooler experience and definitely a more "instagrammable" dish. Usually you have to call in the order ahead of time to check if they have eggs available and to shorten your wait time but we said whatever let's just wing it! And it was successful! We did still have to wait the 30-40 minutes for the egg to be cooked. 

Now I've never had an ostrich egg before so I have nothing to compare it to. I thought it was pretty good. Not too different from a chicken fried egg. Although, the egg white had a somewhat curious consistency and texture. It was very light and bouncy. That's the best I can describe it. 

You can make a reservation with OpenTable


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Where to get an Authentic Austrian Homemade Meal in Styria
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Die Buschenschank 

Homemade meals in Austria are not just reserved for homes. Around the city of Graz you can easily get a hot home-cooked meal that is sure to make your mouth water.

Buschenschank

Buschenschank

There are numerous restaurants known as "Buschenschänke" that sit idyllically in the lush countrysides of Steiermark or in English, Styria, the southern forest filled Austrian state. They serve wine made from the grapes of their own vineyards and dishes made from home grown ingredients. They're also known to be quite affordable! We paid just a little over 20 Euros for 2 plates, 3 drinks, and 2 desserts. That's incredible! 

To keep it traditional order a "Brettljause", which an assortment of meats, cheeses, and vegetables served on a wooden board. You should also try a salad dressed with "Kürbiskernöl", pumpkin seed oil that is native to and quite popular in Styria. It's recently become one of my favorite ways to dress a salad. And don't forget about dessert! "Apfelstrudel" or a "Buchtel" is what we usually order. When we can't decide between the two, we just get both! Apfelstrudel is simply an apple strudel, puff pastry filled with delicious sweet apples. Buchtel (or plural Buchteln) is a fluffy and light sweet roll that is usually filled with some sort of cream or marmalade. We got one that was as big as a half liter mug! 

Buschenschank Dokter

Brettljause at Buschenschank Dokter

Brettljause at Buschenschank Dokter

Buchtel at Buschenschank Dokter

Buchtel at Buschenschank Dokter

Looking for where we went? Head to Buschenschank Dokter in Ligist. It came highly recommended by a friend and now I'm highly recommending it to you! Although the weather was not so great while we were there, everything else was! It had a great view and felt super homey and cosy. The servers were all friendly and very attentive. The food was absurdly satisfying, extremely filling, and surprisingly cheap. And it's totally accessible from Graz, just a 30 minute drive outside of the city. 


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21 Days From Sapa to Saigon | Photo Diary

An extensive photo diary of our time in Vietnam. August 18 to September 7, 2017. 

Let me introduce the boys: Oliver & Florian
They're pretty cool. 

The boys spent their time up in the North of Vietnam and I met up with them in the middle near Hue. From there we continued south to Saigon. 


NORTH: SAPA TO HUE


SOUTH: HUE TO SAIGON


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