Wednesday, December 8, 2010

DIY Bedazzled Pumps

I've been inspired by studded heels lately, especially upon seeing the new Lanvin for H&Mlightly bedazzled pumps. I decided to whip out the dusty bridesmaid shoes that I haven't worn since I re-dyed them black (they were teal before). I figured I might as well make them more appealing to wear so they wouldn't sit in the shoe box any longer.


1 pack of flat-backed Swarovski crystals
1 tube of super glue
black or colored sharpie (for coloring in crystals)
ribbon (optional)

I'm still debating whether to add a ribbon tie to these heels, like the ones by Lanvin for H&M. However, they may not look so hot with this style shoe. Feel free to experiment with an old pair of pumps you have lying around in the back of your closet or garage!

Pinkish Camel & Blue

Found this pinkish camel top with ruffled shoulders at the H&M on the Champs Élysées...probably the cheapest store on that street! I paired it with a navy BR skirt that I got from my sister as a bday gift and Charles by Charles David white patent pumps.
Photos above taken by my sis, Melody
gold bow-tie ring
This was in the clearance aisle at Target for 4.98! : )

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Bienvenidos a España!

The first day we arrived in Madrid was chilly! I ended up changing after this shot.
Local artisan-crafted jewelry
Handmade by an artisan at El Rastro Flea Market
A necklace I bought from El Rastro Flea Market. They had the most fabulous jewelry pieces made from metals.
Spanish gummies
Self-timer accident
We put the cam on self-timer and came across this happy accident!
I love birdcages.
Spikey berries
Afternoon break
Afternoon cafe break with bite-sized pastries.
Rolls of delicious leather...
Plaza Mayor
Plaza Mayor

Madrid Recs:
Churros con chocolat
San Gines for churros con chocolat. This is not your typical American churro or hot coco. The Spanish churros are thinner, crispier and not doused with cinnamon + sugar (though I like that combo just as much!). When accompanied with sipping chocolate, it's a real treat!

El Rastro Market - Open on Sunday, this market is packed with locals and tourists alike. You can find crafts made by local artisans that are unique to Madrid, as well as antiques, clothing, shoes, cheap thrifted items (I found a pile of clothes that were 2 for 5 euros!)

Palacio Real - Just as Versaille has its Chateau, Madrid has the Palacio Real (Royal Palace), which housed Carlos the III and IV. The interior decor is magnificent, especially the ceiling frescos on your way up the main staircase. Another fun perk is going into the old school Pharmacy, which stores many medicinal herbs placed in apothecary jars, just as you would picture it to be.
Palacio Real

Museo del Prado - We didn't know this, but found out while waiting for an hour to get into this museum...Sundays are free for all after 5pm, making it a great deal. After all, what's open on a late Sunday afternoon in Madrid anyway? One of the more famous paintings in here is Las Meninas, by Diego Velazquez...the questionable painting we learned in Spanish class with the artist himself in the background, 2 dwarfs, children, etc. Lots of beautiful paintings are found inside, along with Goya's "classier" paintings.

Next to the museum is a Botanical Garden (separate entry fee) that's filled with different plants, flowers, a greenhouse and mini-gallery showcasing actual watercolor drawings of botany from hundreds of years ago to the present. I wish I could've taken those drawings home with me!

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia - Another "free" museum if you are a student, professor, unemployed, or just free after 7pm. The cool thing about this museum is the old building mixed in with a modern, clear elevator. The MoMa of Madrid, it holds several of Picasso's paintings, including the Guernica. Another personal favorite of mine are Goya's creepy "Black Paintings," which were done later on in his life when he became a bit mad; quite a contrast to his light-hearted paintings found in the Museo del Prado. Salvador Dali and Joan Miro have some mind-boggling pieces as well.

Museo del Jamon - You really can't get any cheaper than this. For 1 euro, you can have a large croissant or bocadillo (small baguette) with prosciutto and cheese or several other choices on their 1 euro menu (think McDee's but better). For breakfast, you can have a freshly squeezed cup of oj AND a choice of espresso/cafe con leche or soda, 2 sunny side up eggs, 2 pieces of bacon ham (they're known for jamon in Madrid, so load up!) and a side of toast w. jelly for 4.50 euros. Beat THAT, Denny's.

Txirimiri - Don't ask me how to pronounce that name, but we had the best tapas there. If you didn't know already, most restaurants in Madrid open at 9pm, due to their siesta time. We were starving at 6pm and the kind bartender wanted to feed the hungry Americans. They had our tapas out in a jiffy. : ) We enjoyed the steak over roasted peppers + toasted bread, drizzled with sauce, fungi risotto and mushrooms stuffed with foie gras and cheese while standing up at the bar with a local beer and a glass of Tempranillo wine.

Mercado San Miguel - Located near La Latina, this indoor market is filled with little vendors selling everything from wine, anchovies, smoothies, desserts, fresh fruits and vegetables, ham, a variety of fish with bruschetta and more. It's a good place to get out of the cold and have a large selection of foods to try without having to commit to one place.

There was another little bar/snack place we stumbled across near the museums, which had a huge menu of bocadillo selections, including smoked salmon with cream cheese for 1.50 euros, wine and beer 1-150 as well. It seemed to be popular with the locals, but I can't remember the name...I'll have to look through my memorabilia and get back to you...

I know it sounds totally cliche-American, but stop by the McDonald's near the Metro exit to the art museums. It looks more like a Starbucks than McDonald's, and their helado con cafe (ice cream with espresso = 1 euro) will make you and your wallet happy.

This was both of our first times in Spain and overall, it was a good experience. The Spaniards are naturally warm and laid-back. Things are relatively cheaper than London and Paris. I could definitely get used to having afternoon siestas. Tapas are delicious and plentiful and for once, I was able to put my broken Spanish into good use. Con: Get used to inhaling second-hand smoke because the Spaniards enjoy smoking up a chimney and it hasn't been banned inside restaurants. Also, we thought we saw some casual hookers while walking around the Moulin Rouge of Madrid. We were only there for a few days, which was plenty of time to see most of Madrid. I'd definitely recommend Madrid as a stopover while visiting Europe. Next time: Barcelona.