Fashion

We've got rules

Harrods1
A few days ago, I was browsing the Harrods Website looking for Tube directions (we ended up walking) when I came across something very strange: Visitor Guidelines.

Yes, they actually tell you what you can and cannot wear. It's slightly ridiculous, I know, but at a place like Harrods can do whatever it wants!

I know. I couldn't stop laughing. Can you imagine if Macy's had a set of guidelines? I do NOT think this would go over very well at the Owings Mills mall in Maryland, although the clientele are a little                                                                                           different here.

Here are the guidelines, found on the Harrods Website:

At Harrods we are committed to providing our visitors with a wonderful experience that exceeds expectations.

Whilst we celebrate and embrace individuality, it is of utmost importance that every single visitor that passes through our doors has a positive and pleasurable experience they remember.

It is for these reasons that Harrods kindly asks all visitors to:

  • Ensure all clothing is clean and presentable and that the appropriate footwear is worn whilst in the store.
  • Refrain from wearing clothing which may reveal intimate parts of the body, or which portrays offensive pictures or writing.
  • Not wear crash helmets anywhere in the store.
  • To carry rucksacks in your hand rather than on your back or shoulder. This is both to prevent damage to displays and for health and safety reasons. Harrods provides a left luggage service at small cost, should the bag be too heavy to carry.
  • Refrain from eating and drinking, except in our cafés and restaurants. There are over 30 eateries in-store. View restaurants »
  • Not take photos in the Fine Jewellery, Banking Hall or Antique Furniture Department, the Fine Jewellery, Banking Hall or Antique Furniture Department, or in any area within the store where photography or filming may not be appropriate. This is for security reasons.
  • There are periods, when the store is at its busiest, that Harrods has to take the difficult decision to deny access to tour parties and larger groups of visitors. This is done in the interest of health and safety.

My favorite rule is the one about "crash helmets." I wonder if they've had issues with this before!

Fashion Food

The good, the bad and the itchy

Harrods2

Ha! From the title of this post, it sounds like I ate something amazing, realized it contained nuts and then got a strange rash, when I'm actually describing a day filled with delicious food, weird weather and a dress.

Let me explain...

Izzy and I decided we'd walk to Harrod's pre-interview, only to find that it was raining. We ducked into a little bakery on the way and munched on the most delicious pizza paired with...hot chocolate! We finished the meal with a shared slice of chocolate mascarpone cheesecake. I hate to say it, but this cheesecake totally outdid that of the Swiss boy. What can I say, my mother taught me well: chocolate is best. The cake was so rich, Iz and I couldn't even finish our slice. Leaving those few bites on the plate was a very difficult decision!

Throughout our lunch, we glanced out the window to watch the changing weather. We witnessed hail, sleet, rain and then bright sunshine. The sky was actually blue today, which is very uncommon!

Harrod's was definitely interesting. It's the kind of place that's so large, it has it's own maps! It's not like any department store in the US...

I think the best way to describe Harrod's is a museum for fashion lovers. It's crammed with art--some of it beautiful and some of it strange--and you simply have to find those pieces that speak to you.

To me, the greatest art was the quilted Chanel bags, Verseace evening gowns and the French Connection shoes.

Sigh.

I also had my interview at Armani today. After stressing for weeks about what to wear, I never even took off my coat. Ha! Here are some photos of what was hiding underneath:

Outfit1
Dress- FCUK, sweater- The Limited, tights- Ann Taylor Loft, boots- Target, belt- thrifted, bag- Coach, pearl earrings and ring, gifts from my parents

Outfit2
Outfit photos by Izzy (on my Canon point and shoot, no DSLR today because of the weather)

And just for fun...

Outfits-color
(Someone should be going out and seeing London instead of teaching herself how to use Photoshop and watching True Blood)

I was pretty happy with my outfit, although the dress turned out to be a bit itchy. This was only one small sacrifice I made for the sake of fashion- you should see the Dora the Explorer band aids on my poor, aching feet!

Sunday Confessional: A Swiss boy bought me cheesecake

Pink-chairs
I'm so cheating- this photo is in Israel haha

When I got a text message from a Swiss boy I'd met a few days before inviting me to get "the best Cheesecake in Kensington," the next day at 3pm, I couldn't refuse.

We sat and chatted for about an hour and a half, taking turns spooning off pieces of our shared cheesecake slice. Sure, it was a bit awkward, but I really think that's because of some sort of cultural barrier. I know that if he were American, the conversation would have been a lot smoother and more comfortable.

Still, I'd say it was a good experience. I'm glad to have met someone outside of my program who can show me more fun places around the city, even if he is an exchange student as well.

Oh, and you guys are going to love this. After walking me back to my building, we stood in the vestibule discussing what to do next. I told him there was really nothing to see  (although he was slightly fascinated by the fact that we have couches in our kitchens), and that signing him in would be a pain.

It was then that he said he wasn't sure what to do next.

"I don't know what you guys do. Do you shake hands? Do you kiss?"

In true Alana form, I simply replied:

"I guess we do both. It depends."

Thankfully, a girl from my flat walked in and our conversation came to a halt. I ended up simply waving to him as he left. It was probably the most awkward goodbye I've ever had. Great.

Fashion

Standing out

As promised, here are some lovely fashion photos from yesterday's trip to Trafalgar Square, courtesy of the lovely Isabel. Definitely check out her blog and leave her some comment love- she's just starting out and is a fab photographer. She's already agreed to help me with some daily outfit posts!

I had fun playing around with colors in Photoshop.  I have to say, a part of me is slightly sad, because highlighting a red coat against a black and white background reminds me of the little girl in Schindler's list...her red coat is the only color in the entire movie. Still, I'm pretty happy with the results of my newly learned Photoshop skills- thanks to Isabel for her guidance via instant message!

Red-coat
My new red coat, from JCrew, has been an amazing fashion staple. The ruffle detail, as well as the bright hue, are both very "Alana"

Red-coat2
Nice self timer skills, Iz!

Red-coat3
...so tiny next to the giant lion!

Red-coat4
Coat- JCrew, Top- French Connection, Belt-??, Jeans- Citizens of Humanity...found in my building's recycling room(!!), Bag- Coach

Red-coat5
Hat- H&M kids' section
. This photo seems very Betty-ish to me :)

Photog
Our favorite photo of the bunch!

Many of you have commented about my new header- it was a collaborative project! I did the text and BB shapes, my cousin Elyssa created the girl based on a photo of me. She's very talented and will hopefully be contributing more art to the blog in the future!
Food

The center of it all

Street-view
View of London from Trafalgar square

Today Izzy and I attempted to make it to Leicester Square with the hopes of taking photos of the big Times Square-esque screens on which we would later photoshop our own messages. Apparently, we walked the wrong way out of the Tube station, because we ended up in Trafalgar Square instead!

No worries, Trafalgar Square was pretty awesome and represents the center point of London. We took a bunch of photos and even climbed up on the monument surrounding Nelson's column. It was terrifying! Sure, it was only a few feet off the ground, but everything was wet and made out of concrete. I only felt fully comfortable after returning to the ground.

Bright-hair
Wowza- nice Sydney Bristow-esque hair!
Godzilla
 Godzilla and the Empire State Building? The man and lion look huge!
Pencils
An artist's pencils
Slisabel
My photography "sensei," Isabel, took so many photos of me today. Fashion post to follow :)
Asian-boy
Love the hoodie pattern
Blue
I just loved the blue peeking out from behind the tree
Weasleys
Mini Ron Weasley? Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum?
Coffee
Coffee after a cold photo shoot in the square. I've vowed not to purchase Starbucks while abroad.

Well, I have to get ready for dinner with my cousin Abby and her friends. Plus, Iz and I currently trying to plan a trip to Scotland for my birthday weekend, aka next week. I'm so excited!

Goo-goo eyed

The Foxes
The Foxes via

Last night, after successfully finding not one, but two winter hats at H&M (in the kid's section, apparently my head is small), I got all dolled up and headed to The Notting Hill Arts Club for "Death Disco." Sounds scary, right? It's actually a free event every Wednesday that features live bands.

We had our IDs scanned in a nifty machine and headed downstairs into what can only be described as a hipper BU frat house basement. You know, the thing I vowed to avoid ever since I became legal and could go to real bars? Well, this place was grungy...but in an ok way.

We'd arrived just after the opening band finished, and you'll be pleased to know that the band members were all my size and dressed in clothing I would probably wear. The only weird thing- they were all guys! Seriously, one of them was wearing a cropped black cardigan over a tight t-shirt and skinny jeans. He also had long hair- looking at him from the back, you could have confused him for a grungier version of a girl!

Because we couldn't find a table, Rach and I decided to sit on the edge of the stage, and I asked the cute British roadie if we were in his way. He responded by smiling and saying no, we were fine, but thanks for asking. He turned out to be the lead singer. I swooned as soon as he whipped out his acoustic guitar. I definitely had goo-goo eyes for the entire concert. (The Foxes were great- you should definitely check them out!)

Sigh. It was a fun night- I hope to do it again soon. Props to Isabel for starting a conversation with the lead singer post-concert! Because of her I was able to pull him towards me and say, in my most chipper American girl voice:

"Thanks for making our first night out in London so much fun!"

Ha. What I really wanted to say was:

"I have never seen a guy rock so hard with an acoustic guitar. Will you be my British boyfriend?"

Playing with Light

Here are a few photos from yesterday's boat cruise. To be honest, I spent most of the cruise in the indoor part of the boat, and only ventured outside and the beginning and end of the cruise, for fear of disappointing my photographer father.

I ended up getting a lot of cool shots, mostly by accident. I also had a little fun in photoshop- I'm still not very comfortable messing with photos. It seems weird to distort reality by touching things up too much.

London eye

Sunshine? What sunshine? London is so grey! Check out the London Eye- I can't wait to ride to the top and take tons of photos. The plan is to take a daytime ride at the beginning of the semester, and a nighttime ride towards the end!

Ben

Did you know that "Big Ben" is actually the bell within the Westminster Clock Tower?

Blurry-ben

Yes, I know. Lean the camera on the railing to make it as still as possible. Lesson learned, but still cool looking.

Lights

This was very fun to play with. I loved the colors!

A few lessons in London

Zebra chair
I'm cheating- this photo is actually in Israel. My London dorm room is NOT this fancy!

I've been in London for less than 12 hours, but I've already learned a TON:

  1. Queen's Gate (my street) is not the same as Queen's Gate Gardens or Queen's Gate Mews.
  2. It's very hard to remember which way to look before crossing the street, even if it's literally written on the crosswalk (look left, look right).
  3. Jacket potatoes = baked potatoes.
  4. Grocery stores and chemists (aka pharmacies) close ridiculously early on Sundays...like, 5pm early.
  5. The metal rack in the bathroom is for heating towels. Touching it is a bad idea (oops).
  6. A la cart samosas make for a very cheap and very delicious dinner.
  7. The Heathrow Express = a fast and easy way to get from the airport to central London. It's clean, comfortable, and they play BBC TV.
  8. Columbia Road Market is a really cool place that sells flowers and plants. It operates on Sundays because of an old act of Parliament that changed the day of the market in order to accommodate Jewish traders. (Thanks Heathrow Express/BBC TV!)
  9. The clothes I wore in Israel are NOT warm enough for London, as the temperature has decreased by close to 40 degrees.
  10. Apparently Flickr is an evil Website, as it is in violation of the Internet usage policy of BU in London. Not cool.

I still have another suitcase to unpack and need to figure out how to shower and dry myself off sans towel (I was going to buy one here, but everything is closed). I'll let you know how that goes!

(Also, I just wanted to thank you all for your kind words about all of my recent photos. You make me feel like a superstar!)

Fashion

Christmas Traditions

Christmas Eve

First of all, I wanted to wish all you Christmas-celebrating people a Merry Christmas. To my Jewish brethren and sistren (?), enjoy your Chinese food ;)

As the random lady at the nail salon said today, while Christian peopleare all freaking out about cooking and buying last minute gifts, we Jewish people can just relax. Well, most Jews can relax- I've been running around like a crazy person trying to see everyone and buy everything before I leave the country for the next four months!

I'm currently sitting in the airport waiting to board a plane to jolly old England. (Yes, that is the new JCrew coat I'm wearing- the Betsey Johnson number ended up being a tad too big. I think I made the right decision in keeping this one.) You see, traveling on Christmas has sort of become a tradition for me- last year I ventured to Victoria and the year before, I made my way to San Diego...on Christmas! The airports are always less crowded and the flight attendants (at least those on Southwest) are very festive and friendly.

So, as you snuggle up with your loved ones beneath the Christmas tree, drinking eggnog (what the heck does that stuff taste like anyway?) and waiting for Santa, I'll be watching in-flight movies and avoiding airplane food at all costs.

The next time I write to you will be from London, how crazy is that?

Fashion

Go buy yourself a new skirt

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Bailey and Daisy enjoying the snow- via

Hi lovelies,

I've been running around like crazy for the past few days, unpacking, repacking, buying last minute things, going to the doctor and playing with my puppies (who are adorably distracting, I might add). Today, I managed to squeeze in  lunch with Aunt Sandy, Gigi and Pauline at my Gigi's country club.

Picking out my outfit was slightly difficult- I couldn't wear the various mismatched sweats/jeans combinations I've been donning for the past few days (for fear or dirtying my good clothes before London), so I settled on something I thought was acceptable: a pink and black leopard print cardigan, denim mini, black tights, black booties and a pink bow headband. The outfit was cute, sophisticated and chic. It made my legs look long and I actually felt sort of tall. Overall, I thought it was a success. (If I wasn't so pooped I'd figure out a way to snap a photo for you to judge for yourself.)

After a delicious lunch, my grandmother called me over to her seat and slipped a bill into my hand.

"Go buy yourself a new skirt."

I looked down at my legs and smiled. My grandmother has never liked frayed denim, even if it's part of the piece's design.  My Gigi, the fashion critic- gotta love her!