After a brief break for a very important post about shoes from Sarah Jessica Parker, I am back to finish telling you about our awesome cruise vacation. I still have two more islands to go! Today I want to share our fun time in Cayman Islands and our visit to the Stingray City.
This weekend I went to see a new shoe and accessory collection by Sarah Jessica Parker. The line is exclusive to Nordstrom and was being presented in their pop-up location in Manhattan. It's a trumendous shame that there is no actual Nordstrom in this city, but to compensate for that, they rented a space for three days where Mrs. Parker was presenting the SJP collection herself.
After about a 45 minute wait, I was finally in front of the door about to go in! Nordstrom provided us with coffee and hot chocolate to keep us warm and make the wait more bearable. The line was full of bloggers and fashion enthusiasts. I met one young lady named Hillary who is an aspiring shoe designer. So while some people were coming out of the store with shopping bags, most were there for research and to meet Mrs. Parker.
Our first stop on the cruise was Jamaica. It was our second time visiting this island, and, to be honest, we weren't exactly looking forward to going back there. We had a horrific experience the first time, where the locals hustled us for money and we barely got back to our ship. A Jamaican entrepreneur named Cool Richard who was in charge of driving us to Dunn's River Waterfalls on our first visit decided to show us "an amazing view" on the way back from our excursion. He took us to the top of a hill in some village, and then asked for more money to take us back down to port! Once he got us back to the ship, he blocked the doors of his cab and wanted more money yet again - this time to let us out!!! That's how we learned only to book excursions and transfers with reputable companies and avoid dealing with unlicensed locals!
So on our second trip, we were a bit apprehensive. Nevertheless, we booked a wild river rafting tour which sounded like too much fun to pass up and it turned out to be wonderful!
Cruising has officially become our favorite way of travelling. Every day you wake up in a different port with something new to look forward to. (more on that in the next posts!) It was our second cruise and this time we got to enjoy the Breeze - one of the newest boats in the Carnival fleet.
I have absolutely no fear of flying, I very much enjoy it (perhaps because I do not drive, so unlike most drivers, I am ok with not being in control of the plane and feel comfortable entrusting someone else with my life.) Every time the plane lifts off I feel a sense of freedom (must be because I loose cellular and wireless service, therefore I can't do any work even if I wanted to) and allow myself just to sit back and enjoy the ride. Truth be told, it's one of the very few situations where I feel completely relaxed, usually I am a knot of nerves :)
This year, the plane took us to Miami, where we were to board a cruise ship called Carnival Breeze and embark on an adventure-packed journey. More about that later in the week, but for now I want to share with you some breathtaking views from the top!
It's time to bring the BrandNamesUS blog is back! Since December I was super busy re-building and updating the website and our shop in particular, so I had to put the blog on hold. But now I am back from vacation, finally caught up on everything and ready to start writing again! However, before I tell you all about our wonderful trip in the next post, I wanted to share something we can all relay to - affordable It-Bags by Michael Kors.
By now, this American designer has entered the closets of nearly every fashionista around the globe. Whether you need a perfect bag for work, an clutch for a special night out or an ideal pair of riding boots, Michael Kors has a winning design for every occasion. For seasons now, I keep posting these bags in my blog and it really delights me too see how popular they have become.
I am a supporter of American designers in general - names like Diane Von Furstenberg, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren. I appreciate the practical and affordable styles they create, as oppose to European designer pieces which often are just too pricey and fancy for everyday life. It is clear that Michael Kors has carved out a solid corner in the American fashion market, more than that, the brand has now spread globally. Well done, Mr. Kors!
Hard choice, isn't it?
Which one would you go with?
Today is BrandNamesUS's Birthday - it turns 4 years old today! :)
Four feels like a big number. A lot went into these four years and its a remarkable feeling to kick back today and write this post with an overwhelming sense of pride. I mailed hundreds of packages, made dozens of friends around the world, and built this pretty cool website that is finally beginning to come together! It took so many hours of work to get it all done, but the result feels awesome and well worth it!
Thank you everyone for helping me get here, especially my husband and my parents!
Please check out all the new features that were added to and improved on the website over the last two months!
Where I come from, we do not celebrate Christmas. We celebrate New Years. Santa called Ded Moroz comes on the 31st of December and drops off the much-anticipated presents. Ever since I was little, it was my favorite holiday :) I wait for it, dutifully, every year,.
For New Years, we also put up a tree and decorate it with ornaments. We make special dishes, which no one in America dares to eat ;) and we pop champagne at midnight. There are fireworks and confetti and lots of gifts under the tree. The whole family gathers together at a big table and everyone shares a meal and celebrates. It's magical.
When we left "the old country" more than a dozen years ago, we left behind lots of things and memories. Among them were our tree decorations - glass, hand-made, delicate, unique, fragile and absolutely not transportable. It's one of the things about "back there" that I missed the most.
About four years ago, when my husband and I first moved in together, I made a wish to one day have a decorated tree in my home that would remind me of the one I grew up with. I wished to have lots of ornaments on it that were special, that would mean something.
For the past few year, during each holiday season, we got new ornaments - some of them were made by my husband's nieces and nephews, some we picked out at a local shop, one is actually a favor from our wedding and the rest of them my husband got me for every Christmas as a gift.
Slowly, my dream came together piece by piece. And this year, when I put everything together and finished decorating, I realized my tree, finally, felt like home! :)
May all your wishes come true!
Happy Holidays and Have a Magical New Year!
Happy Thanksgiving! Did you gobble up the turkey or go out early bargain hunting?
A few years ago my husband came home after Black Friday in-store shopping with bruised ribs and no TV to show for it. Ever since that incident, I insist we buy everything online. It seems there are many other shoppers who share my attitude because it is so much easier than trooping to a store and braving the midnight cold and crowd.
Stores are welcoming the change and finding new ways to reach their customers. Last night through the whole Thanksgiving meal my phone was filling up with emails offering me to shop here and save there. While we were still eating turkey, stores were begging to open and encourage shoppers to abandon their thanks giving and do some buck saving instead. With that in mind, let's just say neither Thanksgiving nor Black Friday are quite what they used to be.
Two years ago I stayed up all night bargain-hunting on the web. This year, some sales started as early as mid-November. So for Black Friday this year I slept in. And when I woke up - there was even more deals to go around! Here's a few of the best ones:
Forever21 got some crazy doorbusters plus an extra 50% off all sale items, plus an extra 50% off all shoes and bags! I know it's a love/hate thing with Forever21, but at these prices it's worth at least a look :)
There are some benefits to being a girl. Guys let you go first and even open doors for you. You can hide blemishes with a concealer. You can have as many shoes as you want (or can can afford to stuff in your closet ;) And you can have jewels, and they are pretty and sparkle and make your eyes shine!
You can also be silly, which is probably one of my favorite perks of them all :)
Sure, there are some downfalls like financial inequality, monthly stomach cramps and years of oppression and domination by the opposite sex, but I don't want to talk about that today. After all, must it always come down to men, money and periods? No. Sometimes you just need to enjoy being a girl. So put your favorite necklace and some heels on, darling, you are so lovely today :)
Peplum Sweater: Ted Baker
Skirt: Raoul (old)
Necklace: c/0 Capwell.co
Clutch: Rebecca Minkoff c/o Bluefly
Boots: Elizabeth and James