Thursday, February 28, 2013

Thursday Travels: Berlin

After a long Thursday Travels hiatus, we are finally back with our post on Berlin. To be honest, we didn't find the German capital the most charming of cities, but as we were only there for two days, we're willing to believe that a longer stay would have revealed some of the hidden charms that all cities have if you seek them out.

The centre of a metropolitan region of nearly 5 million people, it's a bit of a sprawling, concrete jungle at first glance. The first of its sites we saw was part of the famous Berlin Wall, constructed in 1961 to separate the communist East Berlin from West. It officially came down in 1989, with dismantling beginning the following year, and today only a few parts - enlivened with very high-calibre graffiti - remain. 

{The Berliner Mauer, as it's known in German} 

{Vicky and I randomly selected this colourful mural to pose by...}

{...while Becky's backdrop of choice was a bit more profound}

On our second day, we went on a walking tour that took in the major historical sites: the Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag building as well as a few World War II-related places of interest. Our abiding memory of Berlin is how hot it was...we were there in early June, and it was already scorching before noon. Funnily enough, we've heard people who visited in winter claim they've never been so cold in their lives! 

{Early morning Brandenburg Gate}

{Side view of the Reichstag building - the seat of German parliament}

{Squinting in the sun}

We then paid a visit to the poignant Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe: 2711 concrete slabs arranged in a grid pattern which you can walk around.

{The 'stelae,' as they are known, range in height from 8 inches to 15'9}

{The ground is sloping in places and is meant to evoke confusion and unease}

Our next stop was the sinister-sounding Topography of Terror: an outdoor museum on the grounds of what were once Nazi headquarters. Well laid-out displays in both German and English chronologically guide you through the city's troubled past in a very moving way. 

{The thousands of Holocaust-related photos made for a tear jerking experience}

Our last cultural port-of-call was Checkpoint Charlie - the crossing point between East and West Berlin overseen by American soldiers during the Cold War. There's not a whole lot going on there now, however - just Berliners posing as US soldiers and holding American flags. There's also a museum, but we didn't get a chance to check it out.

{Checkpoint Charlies}

{Hot and famished, but smiling bravely}

At this stage in the day, we were starting to get mighty hungry and weary from walking around in the heat, so decided to retreat to the cool depths of a mall. We happened upon a big, airy one that seemed to fit the bill nicely, until we realised, to our utmost horror, that it was nothing but car showroom after showroom...all 5 levels of it.

{Definitely not our cup of tea...}

{...but we tried to muster up some enthusiasm}

At long last, we finally managed to find an actual mall mall, and were delighted to discover the wondrous "Pasta Deli" chain - basically a food court place that serves delicious, restaurant-quality pasta to order at super reasonable prices. 

{Trying to keep a straight face while holding up PastaDeli's rather harshly-worded manifesto}

We didn't really do a whole lot more in Berlin after our daytime exertions. We went on a pub crawl around grimy little dives in what was once East Berlin, but ditched midway in favour of kebabs and chips, the finest way to end a night.

While Berlin didn't rank up there as one of the favourite places we visited, we're willing to believe that it's definitely worth a second trip. It's not as instantly attractive as say, Paris, but it has a certain edgy, cool, buzzy vibe that has its own distinct charm. 

{Goodbye to Berlin!}

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Five Laughs

Happy Tuesday, guys! We hope these last few days of February are going well for you. Crazy how it's nearly March already, right?! How did that happen?! We couldn't be happier about the arrival of Spring...longer days, sunshine, flowers...what's not to love? (Except Vicky, snow fiend that she is, is a bit disconsolate about the fact that with each passing day, the likelihood of getting snow dwindles...we haven't had any at all this winter in Victoria, which even I have to admit is disappointing). On that sad note, here are some laughs to brighten the mood...although to be honest, the first one is actually rather heart-rending :'-/


Seems legit.


excuse me rocks


Monday, February 25, 2013

Oscars 2013

We had high hopes for Oscar Night in terms of dresses, being pretty disappointed with the lacklustre apparel of the Golden Globes, as noted here. We truly hoped that the starlets were simply saving up their style for the biggest event of Awards Season, but sadly, this was not to be, as last night's Red Carpet proved to be pretty underwhelming. There was a plenitude of metallics, whites, and nude tones and few bright colours or risky patterns, so even though we couldn't muster up a Top 5, neither could we condemn any dresses other than Anne Hathaway's as being downright awful. So here are our favourite three looks of the night, and, in our opinion, the only true miss...or Mis, if you prefer! We'd love to hear your thoughts on the night's fashion - which were your favourites/least favourites?


{Stacy Keibler in Naeem Khan}

{Catherine Zeta-Jones in Zuhair Murad}

{Octavia Spencer in Tadashi Shoji}

{Anne Hathaway in Prada}


Friday, February 15, 2013

Liebster Award

Hey guys! Happy start of the weekend (and for some lucky souls, Reading Break)! The lovely Athena of Glimpses of A has nominated us for a Liebster Award - so exciting :-) We had to write 11 facts about ourselves and answer 11 questions, then nominate 11 bloggers to write 11 of their own facts and answer a new set of questions of our choice! 

As copied from Athena's blog, here are the official rules:

1. 11 facts about yourself.
2. Answers to the 11 questions the person who nominated you has provided.
3. Provide new questions for bloggers you nominate the award to.
4. Choose 11 bloggers with 200 or less followers to nominate the award, and link their blogs.
5. Contact each blogger via whatever network you like and let them know you have nominated them.
6. Thank the person who nominated you and link their blog.

Sounds fun, right?! Soooo here goes! 

11 Facts About Ali
1. My legal first name is Alison, but when I was about 5 or 6 I 'changed' it to Alexandra because there was another Alison in the class and I hated having the same name as her! Somehow it stuck, although pretty much everyone calls me Ali, which can handily be short for either name.
2. I don't have any piercings (nope, not even my ears!)
3. I have terrible eyesight.
4. I had braces for a year when I was 19/20, which was awkward.
5. My hair has been pretty much every colour at some stage or other (blonde, black, brown, orange...I even managed to -accidentally- dye it grey one time. It's now back to its natural brown though).
6. I used to have a sweet rather than savoury tooth but it's now the opposite, for the most part. I'd far rather have a slice of pizza than a slice of cake.
7. I was born in Ireland but moved to Canada when I was 3.
8. I've lived in 4 countries, 7 cities/towns, and 16 homes.
9. My claim to fame is that I 'starred' in a film with Farrah Fawcett when I was 14. But it was just a super minimal extra role in a made-for-TV movie called 'Hollywood Wives: The New Generation' that no one has ever seen or heard of.
10. I don't have one favourite colour (I like all the colours!) but three of my all-time favourites are mint green, lilac, and cobalt blue.
11. I really wish I had a signature scent, but I can never commit to just one perfume. Right now I alternate between Jo Malone 'Lime Basil & Mandarin,' Marc Jacobs 'Daisy,' and Narciso Rodriguez 'For Her.'

11 Facts About Vicky
1. I am beyond obsessed with absolutely any kind of animal there is! And for the record, I had heart attacks over sloths before Kristen Bell did!! :)
2. Because of #1, I am a vegetarian!
3.  I LOVE snow but I don't ski or snowboard - I just appreciate its beauty and the snow days it brings! (And I feel absolutely ripped off that it didn't snow ONCE in Victoria this year!!)
4. I would like to rival Ali's awkward braces fact by pointing out that I had braces in grade 11 and 12 (got them off 2 days before graduation) and most of that time was spent waiting for a canine tooth to grow in!! VERY few pictures were taken during this time!
5. My chihuahuas Lulu and Chichi are like my children - my Instagram is basically devoted to them! Chichi sleeps on my bed every night and her loud snoring bothers everybody but me!
6. Though I am in no way, shape, or form an Adele fan, I aspire to have eyeliner as perfect as hers!
7. Winter is my favourite season (see #3!) and Summer is my least!! I can't stand anything hotter than 20 degrees, I don't swim (not because I can't - I just don't like it!), and I only burn in the sun so there's really nothing to like!
8. When I started university I wanted to go to medical school. Since then I have considered business, clinical psychology, and organizational psychology, but now I've decided on fashion merchandising or buying!
9. Bread used to be my favourite food (yes, literally plain bread!) but potatoes have recently become my #1!! (In case it wasn't clear, I live for carbs - the blander the better!)
10. I change my nail polish colour at least once a week - as soon as I get one chip I'll change it!
11. I love travelling and have been to 17 countries so far! I would LOVE to see Greece or anywhere in Asia next!

Now here are our answers to Athena's 11 questions for us:

1. How much time do you need to get ready in the morning?
A: A lot! I wash my hair nearly every day and it takes FOREVER to dry. (Not to mention straighten/style). In an ideal world, I'd have a nice, leisurely hour and a half to get ready, but as I'm definitely not a morning person, sleep usually wins and my appearance suffers!
V: I always set my alarm so that I have a perfect 2 hours from the time I wake up to the time I leave the house! On a good day it takes me an hour but I allow extra time for days when my winged eyeliner just won't match or I need to try on every single item of clothing I own before deciding on an outfit!
2. What is your favorite ice-cream flavor?
A: Anything chocolatey...DQ's Brownie Batter Blizzard is my current fave.
V: Mint chocolate chip! Actually, absolutely anything and everything that doesn't have caramel in it!
3. Would you rather be able to Stop Time or Time Travel?
A: Time Travel! Hands down!! How amazing would that be?!
V: I agree with time travel!!
4. One thing in your room that couldn't do without?
A: My bed! Haha other than laptop?
V: Hair straightener!! And the presence of at least one dog snoring away on my bed :)
5. What is your 'statement piece' referring to fashion?
A: Hmm...not too sure about this one. I wear a lot of dresses and skirts though - I have about 50 skirts and only 2 pairs of jeans! And I like interesting tights.
V: I've never really noticed it until now but I wear a scarf with every outfit! It's the easiest way to brighten up an otherwise ordinary look :)
6. What is your greatest accomplishment?
A: Getting my BSc in Psychology.
V: I don't know! Graduating from UVic with a BA in Psychology next year WILL be my greatest accomplishment :)
7. All time favorite book?
A: Noooo, don't make me pick ONE! I have a few: Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Little Women, David Copperfield, The Catcher in the Rye, and the Shopaholic series! And I could easily add another hundred to that list...
V: I'm honestly ashamed to say that I almost never read anything besides my textbooks! I started reading The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (at Ali's recommendation) in June and didn't finish it until December but I enjoyed it! 
8. What you'd most likely say to avoid a date?
A: 'I like you as a friend, but...'
V: I agree with Ali, just keeping things friendly is the easiest!
9. Top 5 songs listening to at the moment?
A: 'I Love It' by Icona Pop feat. Charli XCX (such a kick-ass, getting sh*t done kinda song)
     'Feel This Moment' by Pitbull feat. Christina Aguilera (I love a bit of A-ha sampling)
     'Heatwave' by Wiley feat. Ms D (because I'm craving warm weather right now)
     'Into White' by Cat Stevens (the most relaxing song ever, with seriously bizarre lyrics)
     'Sister Wife' by Alex Winston (I love this creepy little song but Vic absolutely hates it!)

V: 'Anything Could Happen' by Ellie Goulding (I've been listening to it nonstop since December and it still hasn't gotten old!), 'Feel the Love' by Rudimental (after being long forgotten it came up on shuffle yesterday and I've become reobsessed!), 'Whistle' or 'I Cry' or 'Let it Roll' or absolutely anything and everything by Flo-Rida (I don't think anyone understands - myself included - how obsessed I am!!) 

10. Coffee or Tea? (if none, what else?)
A: Both! Coffee first thing in the morning and tea throughout the rest of the day. Green tea if I'm feeling virtuous (which is rarely).
V: As much as I appreciate the idea of it, I just can't make myself like the taste of coffee! I do love hot chocolate though! 
11. What is your desktop background?
A: It alternates between 3 stock images: the Grand Canyon, a dock leading out to the ocean, and a forest. Boring, I know.
V: This ADORABLE pic I found on Pinterest! It flawlessly combines 4 of my favourite things: birds, bread, snow, and rodents holding things!!

We'd like to nominate these fab bloggers to take part:

1. Patricia - The Pollyanna Project
2. Mayu - Sunlit Daydreams
4. Sarah - Sarah Kate Style
5. Alice - sweet dreamer
7. Sthephany - Brunette Obsession
9. Allison - Mercuteify 
10. JJ - The Beautiful and the Damned
11. Vanessa - thepinkmateproject

And here are our 11 Questions!
1. What's your favourite Disney movie?
2. What's the one make-up item you can't live without?
3. Favourite colour?
4. Favourite book/books?
5. What's your idea of a dream holiday?
6. Accessory of choice?
7. Sweet or savoury?
8. Favourite flower?
9. Would you rather live in a big house in the middle of nowhere, or a little flat/apartment  in a big city?
10. Winter or summer?
11. Favourite meal of the day?

Thanks for the nomination, Athena! We loved writing up this post, and hope the 11 bloggers nominated will too :-)

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Ten Laughs: Valentine's Edition

Happy Pancake Day, y'all! We hope your Shrove Tuesday was as yummy and carborific as ours was. Since pancakes don't particularly induce laughter, however, we've decided that this week's Laughs should have a Valentine's theme...hope you enjoy!


We Do Love Our Steak

But the very next day you gave it away....

A Valentine's Day Message From Sweet Brown - BuzzFeed Mobile


be mein | Tumblr



I'd be flattered to receive this!

You're welcome

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Teal Tale

Teal is a colour I rarely gravitate towards when it comes to clothes (for no good reason other than being put off by the Aer Lingus vibe the shade evokes). But after happening upon this little dress in Vicky's wardrobe, I began to see the appeal of this most versatile hue, which pairs beautifully with gold jewellery, hot pink lipstick, and lilac nail polish (or so I choose to believe!)

Teal dress - Forever 21
Gold spiky necklace - River Island
Owl ring - Aldo Accessories
Black tights - Express
Black heels - my Fergalicious Louboutins
Lipstick - "Schiap" by NARS
Nail polish - "Lilacism" by Essie

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Five Laughs

Happy Tuesday, guys! We hope everyone's first few days of February have been good. But, just in case you're feeling a bit under the weather - whether you're flu-ridden or just experiencing a bit of SAD due to the dreary grey skies of this time of year - we hope these five laughs will perk you up :-)

This is amazing

The neighbor got a wireless printer…

That's pretty much the whole movie.

In a parallel universe


Monday, February 4, 2013

Shop Spotlight: Part 3

Here's our long-due third instalment of Shop Spotlight, featuring three stores all owned by the same company (fun fact!) Now, since Vicky works at Banana Republic and Ali works at Gap, we may be just a tiiiiny bit biased towards the Gap Inc. franchise, but we've tried to be as fair as possible in our assessment of them. Enjoy! And happy shopping :-)

Background: Founded by Mel and Patricia Ziegler in Mill Valley, California in 1978; bought by Gap in 1983.
Where: 600+ stores in North America, the Middle East, Asia & the UK.
Price Range: $$$
Pros: Well-made clothes in classic styles; frequent sales and promotions; Petites section. 
Cons: May be a bit conservative/mature for some tastes. 
Great For: Quality workwear items (skirts, trousers, blouses, cardigans, etc.)
Not So Great For: Unique, quirky pieces.

Background: Founded by Donald and Doris Fisher in San Francisco in 1969.
Where: 3000+ stores worldwide.
Price Range: $$
Pros: A one-stop shop for all ages; have really re-vamped their somewhat drab image of the past few years.
Cons: Some of their items (ie. dresses, shirts) aren't very petite-friendly, as their XS is roughly equivalent to a Medium elsewhere. (Though if you're dainty, it's worth checking out the Kids' section - their XXL size is generous and they often have fantastic stuff at a fraction of the adult price).
Great For: JEANS! Also sweaters, tees, and active-wear.
Not So Great For: Cutting-edge trends.

Background: Founded in 1994 as a less-expensive offshoot of Gap.
Where: 1000+ stores across North America.
Price Range: $
Pros: Cheap and cheerful basics for all the family.
Cons: Some of their stuff can be a bit bland/frumpy.
Great For: Bright tees, sweaters, sundresses, shoes, and, their latest addition - jewellery.
Not So Great For: Long-lasting, high-quality items.

Friday, February 1, 2013

10 Things to Do in February

Happy February, everyone! We had a lot of fun compiling our list of things to do in February (and we've actually managed to post it on the first and not the last day of the month for a change ;-) We hope you enjoy!

1. Welcome Spring

In Ireland, the 1st of February (St Brigid's Day) is considered the first day of Spring. While it may seem a bit premature to some, we are all for welcoming the new season as early as possible, and what better way to do so than buying a bunch of fresh flowers to brighten up your living space?

2. Watch the Super Bowl

Ok, ok - this is something we felt obliged to include, as we realise that the Super Bowl is Kind Of A Big Deal for some people. But to be honest, we don't even know who's playing, and to be really honest, we don't care. What we will be doing, however, is keeping a beady eye on Beyonce's performance during the Halftime Show, on the look-out for any potential lip-syncing.

3. Celebrate Chinese New Year

Sunday, the 10th of February ushers in the Chinese Year of the Snake. If, like Ali, you were born in a Snake Year (1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001), then an extra special Gung Hay Fat Choy to you! (Sorry for that butchering of your language, any Cantonese speakers out there!)

4. Indulge in a Pancake Feast on Shrove Tuesday

This year, Pancake Day aka Shrove Tuesday, falls on the 12th. Whip up a batch of the ultimate comfort food and serve with as many decadent toppings as you please, especially if you'll be partaking in #5 on our list.

5. Give Up Something For Lent

While Lent, the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, is observed by Christians as a time of abstaining from vices, you don't have to be religious to give something up in the time leading up to Easter. It'll make that chocolate binge all the sweeter if you've been deprived for over a month! (Although you're technically allowed "dispensations" on Sundays and feast days, ie. Valentine's Day, Paddy's Day, least in our books you are ;-)

6. Celebrate Valentine's Day

Whether you're loved-up or single, celebrate the day of love as you see fit, whether that involves a romantic candle-lit dinner or bingeing on heart-shaped chocolates. And no, we don't care if it's a cheesy, commercialised Hallmark Holiday. We like Hallmark Holidays. 

7. Partake in Random Acts of Kindness Day 
50 Random Acts of Kindness

Sunday the 17th is the official Random Acts of Kindness day, though, obviously, every day should be one, right?! The url under the picture is a link to a fantastic list of 50 ideas for simple acts of kindness - definitely worth checking out.

8. Celebrate Family Day

Even though Family Day is officially a Canadian thing (taking place on the third Monday in February), there's no reason why you can't enjoy some time with your family wherever you are in the world. Whether you see a movie together, go for dinner, or simply have a Skype session, it's nice to spend time with your folks (even if they're as dysfunctional as the Griffin family). 

9. Watch the Oscars

Sunday the 24th is the 85th Annual Academy Awards, and, of course, our eyes will be glued to the screen. While we don't have any favourites we'd like to see win (of the movies nominated for Best Picture, we've only seen Les Misérables, which none of us particularly enjoyed), we're still looking forward to an evening of Hollywood glamour.

10. Have a Home Spa Day

Run the bath, light the candles, dig out the body lotions and face masks...this is the perfect time of year to indulge in a relaxing few hours of pampering in the comfort of your own home.