Bright Shiny Things

While in Istanbul, I became fascinated with the Bohemian crystal chandeliers that seem to adorn many palaces, hotels, restaurants, and homes.  In the restaurant Pandeli, above the spice market, I spotted the first of many to be seen along my trip. Notice the etched tulip-shaped glass globes.  The tulip flower originated centuries ago in Persia and Turkey, and played a significant role in the art …

Bluebonnet Blues

As I was looking through some photos of past Spring Breaks, I realized that I am missing the blooming of the bluebonnets this year in Texas.  The desert in Arizona is starting to bloom, and I have begun to take some pics, but I am waiting until the palo verde and ocotillo bloom (and maybe the saguaro too) until I post the photos.  In the …

Iznik Tiles

Iznik tiles and pottery get their name from the town in western Anatolia where they were made in the late 15th century through the late 17th century.  They are beautifully decorated with floral and arabesque patterns in rich colors of blues, greens and reds. After our tour of the Spice Bazaar, we walked a short distance to the Rustem Pasha Mosque, which is known as …

The Spice of Life

It should comes as no surprise that I do not agree with Kate Moss when she exclaims, “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”.  One cannot truly experience a culture without gaining an understanding of the cuisine and its history, in my very humble opinion.  So one morning in Istanbul, I signed up for an off-site on the cuisine and spices of Turkey.  This included breakfast at Pandeli, a historic restaurant …

Istanbul Luxury Shopping Part 2

Known today as one of the most recognized brand names for luxury clothing, Vakko was founded in 1934 as a small hat shop called Sen Sapka (Merry Hats). The name changed to Vakko shortly thereafter and the company started producing scarves using Turkish silk, cotton and wool.  A small silk screening workshop was founded in the Kurtulus district of Istanbul, which Vakko still uses today.  In addition …

Istanbul Luxury Shopping Part 1

When in Istanbul, a tour of the local fashion houses is a must for exploring Turkey’s cultural heritage.  Two of my favorite are Armaggan and Vakko.  Armaggan has two locations, one in the high-end shopping district of Nisantasi, and a second on Nuruosmaniye Avenue, near the Grand Bazaar.  The multi-level store sells items as varied as Turkish crafts, towels and linens, leather goods, high-end jewelry, …

A Little Perk

This will be my first post after having returned from a week in Istanbul, Turkey.  As I start to organize my notes, I will start with a short post on Turkish coffee.  We were in Istanbul primarily for a conference, and it was through one of the many off-sites organized by the conference that we were treated to an introduction on Turkish coffee and the …

Aspen High Life

We just spent an eventful President’s Day weekend with friends who live in Aspen village.  This was a family trip so we avoided the late nights at the Caribou Club, and instead were fresh and ready every morning to put in full ski days while the kids were at ski school at nearby Buttermilk Mountain. As you can tell from my Telluride post, I love …

Tastes of Telluride

We have three family ski trips planned this winter/spring season, the first of which was to Telluride, Colorado.  Telluride is one of my favorite ski resorts in North America for its natural beauty, the charm of the old mining town with its rows of Victorian homes, and, most importantly, the on-mountain dining.  I fell hard for Telluride after Alpino Vino opened in 2009, and have …

Inspirations

After losing my mother to a terminal illness in June of 2011, I struggled, for the first time in my life, with finding joy.  Starting a blog is my way of letting go of the grief, and at the same time, celebrating everything for which I am deeply grateful: my four talented and loving siblings, my loyal and supportive husband, my three precious children, and …