About

The enchantments of St. Petersburg, Russia

St. Petersburg is a place like no other. The distinctly regal feeling, the glamour, the imperial history and its long summer nights make this city an unforgettable destination. There is so much to see and do, you will probably need a few weeks there. I will list the highlights of our trip so you don’t get lost.

Let’s start with the Hermitage museum. One of the largest and oldest museums in the world, it was founded by Catherine the Great in 1764. Originally, there was only one building housing the collection, but nowadays the museum encompasses many buildings on the Palace Embankment and its neighbourhoods. The Hermitage has three million pieces of art in several buildings across St. Petersburg.

29 kilometers away from St. Petersburg, the imperial estate of Peterhof is one of the most popular day trips from the city. The Grand Palace is opulent and extravagant, but the highlight of Peterhof is the Grand Cascade – a series of about 150 fountains and canals behind the Grand Palace. Beyond the Grand Cascade, there are impeccably maintained gardens with fountains, gazebos and some smaller palaces.

russian

The view of the Grand Cascade with the Grand Palace behind is truly breathtaking.

russia2

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one the most famous sights in St. Petersburg. It is located where Tsar Alexander II was killed in 1881 and it features 7000 square meters of mosaics on the interior. The church was built between 1883 and 1907, funded by the imperial family.

church.JPG

church.JPG

Two of the best performances I have seen in my entire life were in St. Petersburg. Inside theNickolayevsky Palace we saw an unforgettable folkshow performance. Two hours of a dynamic and colorful show, with folk songs and dance.

russia3

The other grand performance was the russian ballet at the Mikhailovsky Theatre. The Swan Lake  has become a symbol of Russian art itself. A trip to St. Petersburg is not complete without seeing at least one of those performances.

ballet.JPG

 

And…if you are lucky enough…you will stumble upon a bear cub around the city:)

 

bear

 

 

 

Riga

Europe is overflowing with quaint, old, exotic and modern destinations. So many options for every taste and budget. One of the countries we chose to visit was Latvia. Completely understated and unnoticed, people normally do not consider Latvia as a destination. However, the country pleases nature lovers, cosmopolitans, culture and history buffs.

P1090170
House of the Blackheads in Old Town

 

 

Latvia became an independent country in 1991, when the Soviet Union dissolved, and for this reason, Soviet influence is still a complex subject of discussion there. Latvia’s long history is worth reading before travelling there though.

 

P1090171
St. Peter’s Church seen from Town Hall Square

 

 

The capital city, Riga, is the biggest city of the Baltics. It has very impressive architecture, offers a large variety of foods, and reasonable prices on most goods and services. Its medieval Old Town is part of the UNESCO World Heritage and is filled with old, well preserved buildings, castles, restaurants, and churches. Most historic buildings were bombed during WWII or destroyed by fires, but have been rebuilt after the fall of Soviet rule.

 

P1090492

 

The Historic Centre of Riga has the finest and largest concentration of Art Nouveau architecture in the world, with more than a third of the buildings built in the style. The competitor of Gaudi,  Mikhail Osipovich Eisenstein, was the designer of most of the Art Nouveau buildings in the city.

 

riga-1085269_960_720
Art Nouveau detail

 

 

 

P1090538

 

 

P1090500

 

 

The Daugava River, known as the River of Destiny, bisects the city, is 1,020 km long and drains portions of the countries of Latvia, Belarus and Russia before pouring out into the Gulf of Riga. It was the only route between east and west, “a road from the Vikings to the Greeks”.

 

P1090332
The Vanšu Bridge over the Daugava River

 

 

Outside the historic center, there are many other interesting things to do, like walking around Bastejkalns Park, where you can visit the Opera House, the Freedom Monument, the chocolate factory Laima, or Kayak along the Daugava River and Riga canal at night when the city’s bridges and fountains are lit up.

 

P1090410
Opera House

 

 

P1090392
The Nativity of Christ Cathedral

 

 

Outside Riga, there is a fantastic beach resort in the town of Jūrmala, perfect for a day trip in the summer. The area is famous for its curative mud and mineral waters as well its many activities offered such as art exhibitions, local and international concerts.

 

P1090080
Beach near Jūrmala

 

If you are not convinced Latvia is a fantastic travel destination yet, then watch this video!

 

 

The unexpected charm of Tallinn, Estonia

On the shore of the Gulf of Finland lies one the most interesting cities I have visited during my years in Scandinavia. Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, aka the Silicon Valley of the Baltics or hometown of Skype, has been listed among the top 10 digital cities in the world. Although Tallinn is not on many people’s bucket list, the place is not only remarkable for its technological and mobility infrastructure, but also for its history, art and architecture.

P1030722Old Town lookout (May 2008)

The Old Centre is a walled area full of old buildings and fortifications. It was first expanded by the Danish who arrived and started ruling Tallinn in 1219. The Swedes invaded the city next in 1561. Then, in 1710, the Russians. In 1918, Estonia declared independence from Russia, but fell to the Nazis and then the Soviets during World War II. Despite all the wars and invasions, Tallinn’s historic centre has survived remarkably intact. It is so well preserved that it has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

118_0300Medieval walled area

P1030840

If you are going on weekends, you have to get there early in the morning before the crowds to get the most of its medieval charm. It’s the best time to sit and marvel the beautiful architecture and to picture the life there hundreds of years ago.

118_0310Early in the morning near the Centre Square

100_0240Centre Square after 10 a.m.

talliinStreet made spiced almonds

 

Curiosities

  • For a period of time, Tallinn attracted many young men with the lure of cheap booze and prostitution. You can still see a great number of people taking the ferry in the Finnish capital and crossing the Baltic just to take advantage of the slightly lower prices of drinks, goods and services.
  • Estonian artists have recycled  13,000 mobile phones to make benches in the downtown area.
  • Not too far from the capital, there is a village called Kaali, on the Estonian island of Saaremaa. The last known occurrence of an impact event on a populated area happened there. The tourist area resembles a film set for The Game of Thrones. You can experience an authentic medieval meal at the surroundings.
  • Tallinn is the oldest capital in Northern Europe.

P1040005

A waiter showing one of the meals at the Olde Hansa restaurant.

 

P1040003

Our meal at Olde Hansa

Next time you plan a trip overseas, consider visiting an unpredictable destination like the Estonian capital. Just don’t forget the best time would be off-season when crowds are gone and you can dream yourself alive in a Game of Thrones setting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring 2016: Fashion You Can Actually Wear

Lets be honest, what trends we wear in real life are really decided by what looks good on us, and not because they are “trendy.” Choose the looks you love and feel comfortable in. Fashion is all about expressing yourself and feeling good while wearing it.

With Groundhog Day confirming that we will have an early Spring, we thought it would be appropriate to share some Spring 2016 Trends.  And good news, a lot of these trends are from previous seasons!  We have compiled a list of trends that are easy to wear and incorporate into any wardrobe.

Check out our top picks below:


Print on Print!

It’s back! This is a trend that just keeps on popping up every season. It’s an old trend made new. You take a tiny print and pair it with a bigger print, take a bold print and in and coordinate the colors and walk out the door!

IMG_7399

IMG_7407Dress – HepKat Vintage, Stockings – H&M, Heels – Le Chateau, Brooch – Vintage


Retro Chic

Whatever you want to call this trend, it is not going away! Vintage look and feel is here to stay.

winner  winner11Blouse – Winners, Trouser & Boots – Zara, Watch – Fossil


 

Sailor Stripes

Stripes and nauticals are returning this spring – and we are excited. However, wide stripes seem to be dominating the runways thus far.

 

img_4669

Crop Top – Forever 21, Maxi Dress – Winners, Necklace – H&M, Heels – Old Navy, Glasses – Polette Eyewear

img_20150812_155537

Cardigan – Winners, Dress – Forever 21, Belt – Joe Fresh, Necklace – Peoples Jewellers


Fringe Effect

Love your fringe bag, skirt, jacket or vest? Well the fringe is hanging around this spring, too!

img_0489

Jacket – Zara, Dress – Copious Fashions, Socks & Sandals – Urban Outfitters, Necklace – Forever 21


qqqq

Dress – Vintage, Fringe Vest – Forever 21, Watch – Fossil, Socks – Urban Outfitters


Floral Feast

Who doesn’t like flowers? Try a floral patterned full skirt or dress to satisfy your floral cravings.

img_1785-e1438790797285

Dress – HepKat Vintage, Necklace – Aldo Accessories, Heels – Winners


img_9148

         Dress – Sirens, Floral Jacket & Bolo Tie – Value Village, Tights – Calvin Klein  , Ankle Boots – Zara


XO,

-Country meet City

Timeless Winter-to-Spring Transition Pieces to have in your Wardrobe

I love fashion…and it’s even better to associate it with the most exciting transition of the year!

These are extremely versatile pieces that can be worn any time of the year, and are also perennial fashion items that are worth the investment.

 

Rain Boots

Hunter Boots

 

Leather Skirts

leather and faux leather skirts

 

Long Sleeve Dress

SpringTransition2016CollectionPreview
Le Chateau Dress

 

Cargo Parka

Military-style jacket | MANGO

 

 

Leather Jacket

Blog: Sasha Doll Fashion Closet

 

 

Ankle Boots

Blog: La Petite Noob

 

 

Chambray Shirt

J Crew Shirt