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Alfred Tea Room

It’s no secret that everyone in LA needs their caffeine fix—the city seems to literally run on coffee and tea. So, when one is trying to decide on a favorite café in this town, the thousands of choices can be a little daunting!

That’s why I was thrilled to discover Alfred Tea Room, which just opened last year and is essentially the café of my dreams—it’s delicious, gorgeous, welcoming, and in the perfect locale! I love that it’s all about tea, coffee’s healthier cousin. Nestled in the heart of Melrose Place, this lovely tea shop—of the same ownership as Alfred Coffee—provides the perfect atmosphere for blogging inspiration and a much-needed break from work.

My Cup of Tea

While a lot of the city has become almost obsessed with coffee, the health benefits of tea make it so much more appealing to me. And, if you never thought you were a tea drinker, check out Alfred’s extensive menu. With everything from boba to loose leaf to blended drinks, Alfred is sure to make some concoction that tickles your taste buds.

If you don’t know where to start, try my absolute favorite: their chai latte (it’s simply to die for)!

Pink Perfection

One of my favorite parts of this café, maybe even more so than their delicious drinks, is the gorgeous pink (some might call it ‘blush’) and black décor. It reminds me of that classic pink Chanel suit with black lapel worn by Jackie Kennedy. The colors just feel so simultaneously glamorous and fashionable.

Plus, there are so many additional sweet elements throughout the café, such as amusing puns (“I love you so matcha”), mirrors, gentle lighting, and—best of all—fresh flowers!

A Shopper’s Retreat

I absolutely love popping in here to rest my feet after a long day. (I can’t do Melrose without at least swinging by Violet Grey and popping in at The Apartment by The Line)—the location simply couldn’t be better! It feels like a secret garden hidden in the middle of the big city, with fresh tea leaves, blooming flowers, and a soothing atmosphere.

Their gift area even offers little pieces of this heaven to take home. I love their cute logo and fun motto (“Tea, yes. You, maybe.”) so much that I find more and more of these adorable mugs adding a splash of color to my kitchen!

West Hollywood’s Hidden Gem

The next time you’re hitting the shops, stop by this hidden gem to take in the delicious blend of tea and fresh flowers. Then check out their fancy pink tea menu, daily specials, and classic items to treat yourself to an unparalleled cup of tea.

 

Featured Lifestyle

Switzerland, City by City: 48 Hours in Zurich

Although I feel like a child of the world in many ways, Switzerland will always have a special place in my heart. After all, there’s no place like my home city of Zurich to learn about Switzerland’s rich cultural history, eat like a queen, and get in some shopping while you’re at it!

While one could literally spend a lifetime exploring all that this beautiful city has to offer, I’ve put together the perfect itinerary for a busy but fun 48 hours in Zurich—filled with all of my favorite spots!

There’s no better place to begin your acquaintance with Zurich than the chic Bahnhofstrasse fashion district (more on that later!)—complete with Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Dior. Treat yourself after your shopping spree at one of these delightful restaurants: Rive Gauche in the heart of the city, George Bar & Grill sailing high above the rooftops, and Hiltl vegetarian restaurant in Sihlstrasse—famous for being the longest-running vegetarian restaurant in the world. Finish off your whirlwind 48 hours with coffee and macarons at the decadent Spruengli.

There’s plenty more to see and explore in this luxurious city—voted one of the wealthiest and happiest places in all of Europe! In between the top spots listed above, take your pick of the entertaining activities below to make the most of your two days in Zurich.

Breakfast on the Limmat River

Take in the local scene and the gorgeous Swiss sunrise at an open-air restaurant along the Limmat River. Then, enjoy a sweet treat from one of the many food carts along this striking and breezy river. The bustling pedestrians and bikers combined with the Limmat’s fresh breezes are the perfect welcome to Zurich!

While I highly recommend one of the Limmat River cruises if you’re in town for more than a couple days, walking the length of this river and along Lake Zurich—which feeds the Limmat—can make for a rich experience and a perfect taste of this city’s wonders.

Build an Unbreakable Love at the Muhlesteg Bridge

There’s no time like late morning to revel in love—your early morning sleepiness has dissipated and the day still feels fresh, new, and full of possibilities. After your river stroll, cross the deeply romantic Muhlesteg Bridge with your beloved, one of several love-lock bridges found across Europe. While this bridge serves the practical purpose of taking you to the Bahnhofstrasse shopping district, it gives you the perfect excuse to celebrate your romance along the way!

Bring a padlock with you to act as a symbol of your love. Together, walk this bridge before offering a sweet kiss to one another and the lock before affixing it to the railing. Then toss away the key (in a waste bin please!) to symbolize your love’s eternal nature.

Shop the Luxurious Bahnhofstrasse Promenade

There’s nothing like a little shopping to bring a smile to my face—especially when traveling! I love opening my suitcase after a trip abroad to discover the lovely pieces that I brought home with me. Each item carries with it the memories of the location I visited!

Bahnhofstrasse, the Swiss German word for “station street,” provides the ultimate shopping experience in Zurich with everything from well-known luxury brands to chic local boutiques.

Plus, did I mention that Bahnhofstrasse is both gorgeous and pedestrian friendly? With numerous benches and parks, the promenade provides a welcoming and awe-inspiring outdoor environment. I recommend starting at the Laderach Chocolatiers on Banhofplatz and following the promenade all the way to Tiffany and Co. on Borsenstrasse—a mere 1 kilometer stroll with a well-deserved lunch detour in Altstadt (Old Town).

Rejuvenate in Altstadt

German for “old town,” Altstadt and its architecture date back to before the middle ages—this small area encompassed the entire city up until the late 1800s. With winding streets, local shops, and street side cafés filled with international delights and local delicacies alike, Altstadt offers a Swiss heritage site replete with national and global significance.

Enjoy classic Swiss cuisine at one of the area’s many restaurants before taking in the historic buildings, graveyards, hills, and fountains. Visit St. Peter’s Church to see the largest clock face in the whole of Europe—installed in 1366—before returning to Bahnhofstrasse to continue your fabulous shopping spree.

Grossmunster Church

Local legend says that the breathtakingly beautiful Grossmunster Church was founded when Charlemagne came upon the graves of Saints Felix and Regula. This Romanesque architectural marvel, erected in 1100 AD, is just a short walk across Munsterbrock Bridge from Bahnhofstrasse.

With astounding twin towers, Grossmunster may be the most recognizable feature in all of Zurich—its ancient peaks tower above the skyline, embodying the timeless grandeur of this historic city. Wander the church grounds to find architectural delights in every nook and cranny before stopping in at one of the local eateries, popular among University of Zurich students, for a quick bite.

The Kunsthaus Zurich Art Gallery

Featuring art by such internationally-acclaimed painters as Monet, Chagall, and Picasso, as well as hundreds of local artists, the Kunsthaus Zurich is the foremost art collection in Switzerland and one of the most renowned in all of Europe. Whether you enjoy ancient or contemporary works, or any art period in between, the Kunsthaus is sure to blow you away.

Conveniently located next to a Zurich tram system stop, this gallery is also extremely accessible. Take in the museum’s grand exterior, designed by famed architects Karl Moser and Robert Curjel, before entering. Then, once you’ve explored every exhibit, simply hop on the tram to return to your hotel after a long day of walking and wonder. You may even choose to dine at the elegant and gourmet Kunsthaus Restaurant!

For Art Lovers 

For those of you who are art lovers like me, be sure to also check out Galerie Peter Kilchmann and the Rietberg Museum—and drop into the Starkart Art Gallery in the evening for some amazing contemporary urban art exhibitions. You could fill an entire day just with art!

Plus, if you just happen to be visiting in the fall, consider coordinating your trip with the Contemporary Art Fair Zurich, a stunning display of contemporary art which typically takes place over a weekend in September or October.

Stay for a Day or a Lifetime

While I recommend taking at least a week to roam all of my gorgeous Zurich, this lovely city can also make for a truly romantic (and very busy!) 48 hours. It offers a wonderful glimpse into the whole of Switzerland with highlights in art, history, and cuisine. I can’t wait to hear what you think!

Featured Lifestyle Travel

Hottest Travel Destinations

While I love travelling, sometimes figuring out the best place to go to reignite my passion and satisfy my fashion cravings can be difficult. After all, we literally have the whole world to wade through!

Taking style as my guide, I’ve put together a list of six fashion-forward cities that are travel musts for 2017. These six hot destinations offer some of the most beautiful, artistic, and fashionable places on the globe—I’ve already booked my tickets!

Ibiza, Spain

Those who’ve heard Mike Posner’s hit single, “I Took a Pill in Ibiza” know that things can get wild at this gorgeous tourist attraction and party city. While Ibiza is well deserving of this reputation, there is far more to do in this historic town than simply drink and dance. Popular among beautiful people from the world over, this island city is known for its breezy bohemian fashion in addition to being a world heritage site featuring architecture that dates back as early as the 7th century BC.

Sip at a classic Mai Tai and browse the shops—don’t miss Charo Ruiz, Ibiza’s most famous fashion brand—to discover the perfect boho chic ensemble for a night partying under the stars. Plus, the Ibiza Fashion Festival returns this June 9-11!

Tokyo, Japan

Even if you aren’t the “big city” type, Tokyo’s many districts offer a smaller community feel in the midst of this sprawling metropolis. As one of the largest metropolitan regions in the world, Tokyo’s diverse neighborhoods are a dream for any fashion diva! Take in Harajuku street fashion, enjoy a martini at one of the jazz clubs near Tokyo Tower, visit the upscale shopping district of Odaiba, or have a ball at Shibuya’s entertainment district. Chances are that you’ll find plenty of inspiration and more than one on-trend piece to add to your wardrobe while visiting this magnificent city, famous for its street fashion!

The biggest celebration of Japanese style is Amazon Fashion Week Tokyo, coming up this October and featuring the latest in Tokyo street style and top Japanese designers!

Havana, Cuba

One of the more fabulous effects of the U.S. improved relations with Cuba is that the breathtaking capitol of Havana is now open for all tourists to visit! Stepping onto the streets of Havana feels like stepping back in time, with colorful buildings and vintage 1950s automobiles all around. The perfect environment for rocking a pin-up aesthetic, I love drinking a virgin-mojito and waiting for an impromptu street party to begin!

For a day of romance and sightseeing, check out the architecture and history of Habana Vieja (Old Havana), with one of the area’s many walking tours. Or visit the Museum of Rum for a taste of the island’s most popular libation. Who knows, you just might stumble upon a clothing shop offering some killer vintage finds!

To see and be seen in what is perhaps THE hottest travel destination this year, book your ticket for the 19th Habano Cigar Festival, running Feb. 27-March 3.

Hollywood, California, USA

Repopularized with the success of 2016’s La La Land, Hollywood remains as fresh and vibrant as ever. Whether you visit the sets of some of America’s most iconic films, enjoy a scenic hike above the cityscape (Runyon Canyon and Los Leones Trail are two of my frequent haunts), or enjoy a delish meal at one of the city’s posh restaurants (Gwen and Norah are hot right now!), there’s truly something for everyone. I might be a little biased since I call L.A. home these days, but there’s no denying that it’s a trendy city when it comes to the fashion game.

Don’t miss the luxe Rodeo Drive shopping district for VIP treatment from the top luxury brands, and stroll along Melrose Place for access to some of the chicest fashion houses—Marni, Isabel Marant, and Zimmerman among them! While you’re in West Hollywood, be sure to stop by my favorite little coffee shop, Alfred Coffee & Kitchen. After the sun sets, enjoy drinks at one of L.A.’s iconic music venues. Plus, the city’s fashion district is a wonderland of wholesale finds featuring the latest designs at manufacturer prices.

You don’t have to be a movie star to feel like one amidst the glitz and glam of Hollywood!

Melbourne, Australia

Established largely during the 1850s gold rush, Melbourne remains as vibrant as ever with an influential flair for fashion that is quickly catching on the world over. Make sure to check out the the hottest Australian brands this year, from Ellery to Dion Lee and Jac and Jack—shop them and other top Aussie designers at the Bourke Street Mall or High Street Armadale. Visit the majestic Block Arcade in Collins Street to see some of the most beautiful mosaic floors and 19th century architectural details the world has to offer. Fitzroy is also a must-see: an up-and-coming neighborhood known for street art, dive bars, and fabulous music venues.

And, if you want to catch the largest consumer fashion festival in the world, grab tickets for this year’s Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF), which runs March 1-19, before they sell out!

Tangier, Morocco

Known colloquially as the “door to Africa,” Tangier boasts a rich and complex history dating back millennia. Featuring posh beachfront resorts and mountain views, Tangier has all the beauty of the natural world, as well as some of our favorite urban luxuries. After spending a morning basking by the Mediterranean Sea, get in some amazing shopping and discover great deals on everything from custom-made handbags to ceramic tableware—the stunning Moroccan rugs are my favorite!

Before you head home, you just might want to stop off in Marakesh for a visit to some of the top Moroccan designers, including Bakchic and Kaftan Queen!

 

Travel With Style 

While I like to bring fashion with me wherever I go, there’s absolutely nothing better than building up my wardrobe from inspiration received while travelling abroad. By glimpsing all of the wonder that the world has to offer, we learn about new colors, fabrics, and styles that can help boost our fashion to a whole new level.

Take your fashionista spirit with you as you enjoy the delights that these six destinations have to offer!

Featured Lifestyle

Setting the Mood

There’s nothing like some lovely company over a sweet delicacy to cap off the perfect Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart. With the right china, a perfect dessert combination, and a few glasses of chilled champagne, your table can set the mood for a wonderful evening rich in romance. I’m excited to share the perfect love-themed dessert setting to enjoy with your beloved this February 14th—all it takes is a few treats and some luxe table elements!

Start off with some classic flavor combinations—the light sweetness of colorful macarons leads into a luscious chocolate cheesecake, finished off with chocolate-dipped strawberries, the perfect aphrodisiac! Don’t forget to toast to your romance with a few glasses of champagne and some gorgeous flowers that scent the air between you, dressed in an elegant vase.

While the company and the dessert will make the night special, the right décor helps set the perfect intimate ambiance. That’s why I chose to complement these delectable sweets with gorgeous dinner plates from the fabulous Lionel Richie Home Collection—the LOVE theme is the perfect embodiment of the everlasting flame that burns between you and your beloved. If you’re an L.A. local, you’re in luck—Geary’s Beverly Hills just happens to carry this ornate plate set, along with the entire Lionel Richie Home Collection!

This sweet, playful “love” plating conjures up memories of countless moments spent together, evocative of Robert Indiana’s famous LOVE statues the world over. Looking at these plates, I’m reminded of stopping to admire Indiana’s iconic statue at 55th and 6th Ave in Midtown Manhattan. If you’re like me and you love to travel, these lovely dishes might even spark a memory from a romantic trip to Tokyo, London, or any number of destinations across the globe.

Indulge in some sweetness this February 14th by re-creating this exquisite dessert setting for your lover—it has all the makings of an unforgettable Valentine’s Day!

 

Featured Lifestyle

The Year of the Rooster: Celebrating Chinese New Year, LA Style

Last Saturday on January 28, Chinese New Year came fire-cracking in—cymbals clashing, brightly scaled dragons roving the streets, and the most vivid explosions of all shades red and yellow. Traditionally, these celebrations last up to three weeks, and welcoming in 2017 means that we’re celebrating the year of the proud, crimson-combed rooster.

I’m excited to share some fun facts about Chinese New Year and the Year of the Rooster with you—and some savvy locals-only tips (shhhh) for how to continue to ring in the Chinese New Year, LA-style!

What exactly is Chinese New Year?

Historically, China followed its own calendar—different than the one developed by the West. The Chinese calendar dates back to around the 14th century BC, making it much, much older than the Gregorian calendar used in the U.S. and most of the world. And although the modern-day Chinese no longer use the traditional Chinese calendar, it still holds cultural significance and determines the dates of celebrations like Chinese New Year. Read on for more interesting nuggets about this celebratory time of year!

The Myth of Nian and the Birth of Chinese New Year

Legend has it that many centuries ago a great monster called Nian, or “Year” in English, ravaged a small village in China towards the end of the winter months when food was scarce, feasting on the people who lived there. One day, a brave old man visited the village, decorated himself with bright red paper, armed himself with firecrackers, and went to brave the beast. Everyone else in the village thought he was a lunatic and a fool.

But the loud noises and the color red drove Nian away, much to the villagers’ surprise! Every year thereafter at this time of year, the villagers would festoon everything in red and set firecrackers hissing and screaming the air. Nian never returned, and the yearly ritual eventually turned into a celebration observed throughout China—and around the world.

What is the Chinese Zodiac?

The Chinese Zodiac features twelve animals, one for every year in the lunar calendar, making up a twelve-year cycle. The ancient tale of The Great Race tells of a dozen animals who all set out to cross a stream. The quickest one to make it across was the Rat. Then came the Ox, Tiger, and Rabbit. Next, the Dragon flew over, followed by the Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and, finally, the Pig. They all tried different ways of getting across the stream, with some of them helping each other or lingering along the way. The order that the animals made it across determined the order of what is now known as the Chinese Zodiac.

So, if you were born in the following years: 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, then the Rooster is your Chinese Zodiac sign. But remember that your birth year needs to be based on the Chinese, or lunar, calendar instead of the Gregorian calendar. The lunar year generally starts between January 21 and February 20 of each year, depending on the moon cycle and whether it’s a leap year or not—check out this guide for more details on how it works!

According to the Chinese Zodiac, the year of your animal may be filled with bad luck, so be careful about your decisions and actions during that time (hint: it might not be the best year to make any dramatic changes in your life)!

What are the Qualities of the Rooster?   

According to the Chinese Zodiac, those of you lucky enough to be born in a Rooster Year are hardworking and honest people who are confident in your abilities, love to talk, and enjoy spending time with others.

But because in Chinese culture every year is not only associated with an animal, but also an element, if you’ve just had a little one or know of someone who has, then he or she is a Fire Rooster. And if you were born in 1957, you’re a Fire Rooster also!

In addition to the qualities of the Rooster I’ve already mentioned, a Fire Rooster is even more active, motivated, and successful, but with a fiery temper to accompany those traits, and a zeal for his or her own ideas. Watch out, new parents!!!

How to Celebrate the Chinese New Year in LA Style

If you’re anything like me, you’ll take any excuse to celebrate! Let’s talk about some great spots in L.A. to dazzle and be dazzled in celebration of the Chinese New Year. These are some of my personal L.A.-local favs!If you’re a lover of the arts, the galleries along Chung King Road in Chinatown, off the 110 Freeway by the Hill Street exit, feature a fabulous variety of styles and pieces. This narrow street is mostly quiet by day, but these galleries have been known to throw some unforgettable parties for the art aficionado crowd by night. From the Charlie James Gallery to the Red Pipe Gallery to Automata, your creative side is sure to be sparked by these innovative spaces!

Another one of my frequent haunts is the Chinese American Museum, located at 425 N Los Angeles St. The museum is housed in the oldest structure of L.A.’s original Chinatown, and does a lovely job curating and preserving the rich heritage of Chinese Americans.

Finally, no celebration is complete without some fabulous food. Luckily, L.A. is home to some of the best Chinese restaurants in the country. Yang Chow is a beloved fixture in the heart of Chinatown that’s proven its mastery of Chinese cuisine over the decades. And for some amazing dim sum, don’t miss Lunasia—it’s well worth the trek to Alhambra!

I hope you enjoy the scenery and soak up the history of Chinese Americans’ deep roots in L.A. Wishing you a Happy and Prosperous Chinese New Year!

Photos: New Land MagazinePaolo Camera, Maridethsisco.com, Time Out

DYI Featured Travel Tutorial

3 Packing Tips

Whether traveling  for business or pleasure you must travel in style, and travel light.
Once you’ve managed to edit down your selection, you still have to make it all fit in your luggage…

My Packing Tips…

  • I personally love to use clear, travel or packing cubes to keep organized. You can label each one for clothes, shoes, accessories, beauty, etc. and being able to see through each cube allows for quick accessibility. Rolling items like knit tops, denim, workout wear and pajamas save you tons of space as well.
  • Ask Siri about local temperature of your final destination. (for next 5 days)
  • Try to pack based on the weather at your destination as well as the activities and events you will be attending so no item goes wasted. Repeat wears is a good thing and you can find creative
    ways to style your outfit using the same pair of pants or basic top. For women, your go-to LBD is a must have for nights out and layered with sweaters for a more casual look. When packing my shoe staples are always black and nude pumps, black denim pants, a t-shirt, blazer, leather jacket and lots of accessories to dress up basic outfits.
  • Always keep a copy of your passport in your phone in case you lose it or in case you have to fill out forms and don’t want to be digging through your luggage.
  • Another thing to always keep in mind is to keep your most expensive jewelry in your carry on. You never want to lose your most precious possessions in a nightmare ‘luggage gone missing’ scenario. In case of missing luggage, I also keep my curling iron and day makeup in my carry on for easy access as well.
  • Indulge in a little in-flight beauty regimen to relax and refresh. Use makeup wipes from Neutrogena to take off your make-up and find a great hydrating cream like Aesop or Lancer to nourish your skin. Aromatherapy oils on your temples is another great way to relax during your flight. You could even do a sleep mask. When I land, I love to spray another hydrating mist on my face for that fresh, dewy look to rejuvenate before my trip.
  • Try packing a candle from home with you when traveling. Nothing makes you feel more at home, relaxed and comfortable than a great smelling candle in your hotel room whose fragrance is familiar to you and reminds you of home. My candles are inspired from the destinations that have meant the most to me – Manhattan for its melting pot of cultures, Swiss Alps because that is where I am from, Beverly Hills which is where I currently live & St. Tropez as my favorite summer travel destination.

Photo: Naadine Koi

Even if you’re a frequent traveler, packing is the worst… if you ask me..

 

Read the featured story : 4 Packing Tips to Prevent Travel Hassels

 

 

 

 

Featured Lifestyle Travel

The Intriguing Charm of Abu Dhabi

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The Intriguing Charm of Abu Dhabi

Fusing breath-taking skyscrapers, cosmopolitan scenes and luxury shopping, Abu Dhabi has an air of grandeur. Like many major cities around the world, this stunning location offers you an array of exquisite attractions, whether you’re searching for tranquillity, excitement, or elegance. If you’re planning your next escapade or have a layover, relish the opportunity to explore one of the most decadent places on earth and consider visiting these Abu Dhabi landmarks.

Things to do

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center

The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Center, adorned with marble, semi-precious stones and chandeliers could easily be the eighth wonder of the world. Holding space for 40,000 people, the mosque offers self-guided walks alongside free tours in both English and Arabic. The dress code is Arabic dress or you can loan an abaya on entrance. This magical experience is even more beautiful at night.

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Yas Island

For thrill-seekers, look no further than Yas Island. This exhilarating, adventure land promises attractions that you’ll find nowhere else in the city. Live concerts, formula 1 racing and the world’s largest waterpark are some of the key attractions to visit. Alternatively, head to a haven of serenity with a spa day or dine in one of the 90 restaurants. The stunning beaches and sensational hotels like the Yas Viceroy make the island an idyllic setting for a vacation.

The Galleria Mall

Located on Al Maryah Island, The Galleria is undoubtedly the home of luxury shopping in Abu Dhabi. Featuring the crème de la crème in designer fashion, brands like Balenciaga, Dior, Gucci, and Lanvin are just a handful of notable names occupying the mall. Grab a coffee at Magnolia Bakery as you explore the finest in retail, or partake in a dining experience at Rosewood or Cafe Milano located inside of the four Seasons Hotel next door.

 

Art & Galleries

Art is a popular pastime in Dubai so the N2N Gallery is the perfect place to visit. Combining art collections from Abu Dhabi and Europe, the gallery showcases over 170 pieces from 13 artists. As well as viewing sculptures, contemporary art, and paintings, N2N also offers art classes, providing a pleasant opportunity for you to immerse yourself in the local art scene.
And The Louvre Abu Dhabi, opening in 2017 is a universal museum in the Arab world. It’s  intended to be a place of discovery, exchange and education.

emirates-palace-abu-dhabi-dream-design-discover

Where to stay

The Emirates Palace

A regal, seven-star hotel, the Emirates Palace is set in 85 hectares of lush greenery and is the world’s most expensive hotel. Decorated in marble, silver, and gold with Swarovski crystal chandeliers, the 200 fountains, 114 domes and 2000 staff members make this hotel one of the grandest locations in the city. The world-class caviar bar (all though I don’t like caviar) serves a traditional caviar menu with champagne, set against a backdrop of live music, while each room boasts 24-hour butler service, iPad mini, and wi-fi of course. Experience fine dining at one of the 14 restaurants, or relax in the spa and swimming pool.

 

What to wear

The culture of Abu Dhabi is rooted in Arabic traditions. While nationals of UAE wear traditional dress, visitors are welcome to wear liberal clothing. However, any short or tight clothes may be deemed unwelcome so dress appropriately and respectful.

img_4930Btw. This is what not to wear to the Mosque (but for shopping perfectly fine)

 

xoxolisa

 

 

Featured Lifestyle Travel

Ferrari World – Formula 1 in Abu Dhabi

abu-dhabi skyline Formula one Dream Dream Design

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Speed, Thrills & Fun: Ferrari World – Abu Dhabi

Nico Rosberg’s Championship victory and final race at Abu Dhabi last week wasn’t the only thing that travelled 100+mph. With some time off pre-race, I visited the ‘Middle East’s Leading Tourist Attraction’ and no, it’s not the Burj. Nestled on Yas Island, just 30 minutes by car from the city centre, Ferrari World is the world’s first and only Ferrari branded amusement park.

What is Ferrari World?

The park opened in 2010 and has quickly become a ‘must-visit’ for anyone travelling in the Middle East. The park is roughly the size of 7 football pitches and boasts not only the largest space frame structure ever built but also the world’s fastest roller coaster. The ‘Formula Rossa’ is the crowning jewel of the park with an exhilarating top (and world record holding) speed of 149 mph.
The park is quite surreally magnificent, mainly because everything you see, touch and ride is traditional racing car red with the iconic Ferrari stallion emblazoned across it. Everything is pristine and stylish in design as you would expect from a super-brand like Ferrari. Fortunately for me, on Grand Prix weekend the entire park access, so I was able to enjoy the park to quell my sorrows that Lewis Hamilton didn’t win the championship. Maybe next year…

Lionel's Show at Ferrari GP Formula 1, Abu Dhabi

Lionel’s Show at Yasalam After Race concert, Abu Dhabi

A theme park for the whole family

If you’re after even more speed (as if a Formula 1 race wasn’t enough), Ferrari World has enough rides to satisfy all thrill seeking needs. If you want something a little slower, the park is surprisingly excellent for toddlers and teens with rides, shows and attractions to suit all ages and heights (be aware that height restrictions are strictly enforced so do some planning in advance to avoid waiting in a queue and being disappointed).

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Ferrari World’s Best Attractions

The park really has something for everyone, regardless if you even care about cars or not. My top attractions in no particular order were:
Galleria Ferrari – a Ferrari lover’s dreamland, this exhibition showcased a wide selection of classic and modern Ferraris. I can only describe it as somewhere between an art gallery, a motoring museum and a fashion show.
Tyre Change Show – this might not sound particularly glamorous but it was one of the highlights of my trip. This is an entertaining show with some Italian comics combined with a cpit stophance to try your hand at a F1 pit stop For the record, don’t wear heels when trying to change a formula 1 tyre!
Mamma Rossella – a lovely open-air trattoria for a relatively reasonable cost for lunch/dinner. There’s a wide range of Middle Eastern, African and European food available
Driving Experience – the highlight of the entire trip was a chance to get behind the wheel in a Ferrari California (in red of course) with a trained Ferrari driver. Family can sit in the back so you’re not on your own as you revel in the sheer beauty and opera of a 4.3 litre monster supercar.
Overall, the park is one of the best theme parks I’ve ever been to and had enough to keep everyone entertained.

 

Ferrari World - Abu Dhabi UAE

Ferrari World – Abu Dhabi UAE

xoxolisa

Featured Lifestyle

Dior’s new Home Collection

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior

Dior’s new Home Collection

A large number of people are aware of the Christian Dior the brand, but few have any idea about the man who gave his name to one of the leading fashion houses.
Christian Dior was a French designer, who founded the world renowned fashion brand Christian Dior in 1946. Although, he died in 1957, his legacy as a designer and artist is alive even though more than half a century has passed since his death.

Christian Dior has had a lifelong passion for arts and during his youth he used to sell paintings of the likes of Pablo Picasso and his own sketches. Over the years he was also associated with other leading designers of the 20th century such as Robert Piguet and Pierre Balmain.

Dior Home Collection

Christian Dior and Arts
Christian Dior was passionate about arts, fashion and design. His talents as a gifted artist were visible since his schooldays. He shared a special love for nature and is reported as saying that

“After women, flowers are the most loving thing god has given to the world”.

 

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior

Christian Dior shared a lifelong fashion for arts and in his free time he was often seen decorating his Paris apartment, paying minute attention to every aspect of the house, curating his gilded chandelier, medallion chairs. During his stay at his country houses, he even tended to care for flowers in his gardens as his love for flowers and nature is also cited as a reason by many for his success in fashion and design.

“Living in a house that doesn’t reflect who you are is askin to wearing someone else’s clothes.”

This quote explains his passion and love for interior design which was an emerging field in post war Europe. This desire to design their own houses was also present in many other artists of Avant Garde and Modernist era, although few were as successful as Christian Dior.

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior

Dior’s New Home Deco Collection
Dior’s New Home Deco Collection can be considered as the best tribute to its founder as it contains many elements modelled after Christian Dior’s belongings and have a feel of minimalist and natural design. Indeed, Dior’s newly opened 4 story store in London has been modelled after a conservatory, using greenery and light. Few know that Christian Dior himself preferred a natural way of life and the new store in a sense resembles a tribute to his love for flowers and greenery.

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Dior

Guest Writer Hamza K.

 

Featured Lifestyle Travel

Venice – Ti Amo !

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Venice Travel Guide

We have all seen the beautiful and magical pictures of Venice, but nothing can beat seeing its unique beauty in real life. The romantic and glimmering surroundings of Venice makes it a city like no other.

 

Capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, Venice is built on more than 100 small islands in a marshy lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. With no cars or roadways, Venice is enveloped with tranquil alley ways and shimmering canals. The Grand Canal winds through the city, often filled with small boats, water taxis and of course, Gondolas.

 

The exquisite palaces and churches reflect centuries of history and a once wealthy trading center between Europe and the Orient. Exploring the narrow alleyways is a quintessential part of Venice, and it is one of the only few cities where getting lost may actually be a positive.

 

Finding sweet Italian shops and iconic bridges is all part of the Venice experience. However, at some point you may find yourself in the Piazza San Marco, where tourists and locals congregate for a coffee or an aperitif.

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Why Go To Venice

Listed as one of the most beautiful cities in the world to visit, the mesmerizing buildings and setting of Venice is something that can truly mesmerize people. As one of the most popular tourist destinations to visit, the charm and passion of the city can never be truly reflected in pictures.

 

The Rialto bridge and Palazzo Ducale are simply unforgettable, and with every twist and turn you are met with a beautiful alley or tranquil canal. If you are not sea sick and have the time for a gondola trip, this can be one of the most beautiful and raw ways to see the streets of Venice.

In 2008, the city was struck by catastrophic floods that left little in the city undamaged. As of today, the lagoon that has protected Venice from countless foreign invaders is the biggest threat to its survival. .. the city will eventually sink.

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Taking a water bus around Venice is an exciting and fun way of seeing Venice, and if you love to stay outdoors then a picnic by the Grand Canal is a great option. If you plan to wonder the maze of streets at night-time, make sure you take a stroll by the most beautiful church in Venice, St Mark’s Basilica. The marble pillars and towering breath-taking architecture is something you have to see!

 

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When To Visit

If you are expecting good weather, the best time to visit Venice is during late spring and early summer. However, bright sunshine can also be matched with heavy crowds and long waits to iconic land marks. Booking trips and finding accommodation can also be quite challenging, along with the rise in prices.

During late summer, you can also expect Venice to be packed with tourist. Venice can become very hot and the canals can begin to give off a rather unpleasant odor, along with the bothersome mosquitoes.

 

The fall can be a wonderful time of year to visit, as the crowds begin to diminish and the temperatures drop, which can make it a much more pleasant trip. However October through to January is usually considered a high water season, though flooding can occur at any time.

Venice is a beautiful city and should be a must-see on your places to visit. Filled with beautiful buildings, winding canals and gondolas, Venice is a truly mesmerizing city.

 Ciao!

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