Saturday, July 19, 2014


In September 2013, I traveled through Bosnia and Hercegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia with my friend Trisha.  This turned out to be the most thought-provoking, interesting, beautiful and enjoyable trip of the many that I have taken.

Our first stop was Sarajevo, a city that is difficult to separate from its war-torn recent past, but that is so much more.  This is what I remember most about the city that I quickly came to love.  The morning call to prayer from the neighborhood mosque awakening me each morning.  The narrow, cobblestone pedestrian streets of the Old Town.  The wide, tram-tracked streets of the modern area.  The warm and friendly people, who spoke English but patiently welcomed my broken Bosnian.

The understandable anger that lingers.

The romance of the old architecture juxtaposed with hundreds of gravestones.

The grim dilapidation of the Yugoslav architecture, sometimes bearing scars of shelling and shooting.

The cake.  All day, at any time of day, the people of Sarajevo seemed to be eating cake at outdoor cafes.  We eagerly joined in on this cultural pastime.

The group of well-dressed older gentleman gathered around to watch a huge game of chess. 

The thick, strong Bosnian coffee.  

The stunning view from above, made chilling by the knowledge that snipers used the same vantage-point to murder citizens during the siege.  

The quiet beauty of a 18th century garden and home-turned-museum.   

The emergence of the sun and clear skies that lifted our spirits.

The 1984 Winter Olympics bobsled course in ruins.

The delicious blackberries.

The local couple who came to this vista with lawn chairs, a bottle of Jager and a boom box.  

The gut-wrenching exhibits on the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia and the Srebrenica genocide.

The quiet public parks and green spaces.

The two quirkiest quirks: the borderline absurd pedestrian situation and the cat graffiti (!).  

As tourists, we barely scratched the surface of the city and would like to return to experience more.  After four days in Sarajevo, our next stop was to Mostar via bus.  To be continued...


Halvat Hotel - a lovely inn near Old Town with welcoming proprietors and breakfast in the morning.

Sarajevo Funky Tours - goofy name, fascinating and friendly tours.

Svrzo's House - the aforementioned museum.

Restoran Kibe - the best meal of the trip.

Dveri - another delicious meal.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Still Life

These are the results of the still life assignment for my photography class.  I wanted to capture flowers in traditional north-facing window light, but then the vase tipped over on the soft bed, leading to something less expected.

{Taken with Fujifilm X-E1 and Lightroom VSCO Kodak Portra 800}

Monday, January 6, 2014

Simple Black


Experiencing DvF wrap dress fatigue after so many holiday parties, I chose a simple black outfit with an edge for my friend's birthday dinner party on Saturday.  I found this long Helmut Lang draped jersey skirt at Nordstrom Rack in the fall.  Although far outside my usual style, the skirt felt so good on, I had to make the purchase, promising myself that I would wear it.

The black color makes it easy to fit with my usual pieces while creating a totally different look: I threw on a black Spanx top (fancy!), lace tights and boots, topped with a Miss Wu leather jacket and a Marc Jacobs bag before heading out the door.  Also! deep purple lipstick.

Although I've worn the skirt only twice so far - and it could be worn with more natural aplomb by the likes of Odyssey or Pret a Porter P - I still love how it feels on (far cooler than my usual self).  I like knowing I have an outfit like this to pull out of my closet when needed.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Untitled Interior (Blizzard)

As I browsed the Fraction sale early last month, the print by Sarah Malakoff "Untitled Interior (Blizzard)" caught my eye.  The photograph has a magic and intrigue that I knew could hold my interest over the longterm.  After a hint to my husband ("hint" being an emailed link), I received the signed print as a Christmas gift, even more captivating in person.

In a different light…

The print is from a series by Malakoff of untitled interiors.  From her website about the series: "Boundaries between inside and outside, shelter and vulnerability, the real and the imagined all become blurred. Malakoff’s formally precise compositions set the stage for viewers to imagine the characters that reside within.”

Today I find myself curled up by the window, watching snow pile...

…grateful for the very real boundary between inside and outside.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Fleurette Winter Coats

Living in Chicago requires serious cold weather style.  Like, really really really cold weather: Monday is to be a high of -8 F.  My first winter here six years ago, I followed the crowd and bought a puffy down coat that resembles a sleeping bag more than a garment.  The coat is super warm and still in good condition, but every time I wear it, I feel blaaaaah.  I know that thick wool can be as warm as down, since I wore a thrifted wool coat while studying abroad in St Petersburg one winter, so I decided this year to find a wool coat that is true to my style.

Today I had the day off work and headed downtown to wander around the Art Institute.  I donned my puffy coat and braved the elements.

The dramatic temperature change from outside to the lobby of the museum caused my poor lens to fog.

While downtown, I took the opportunity to shop for wool coats.  I had been obsessing over Fleurette coats on Nordstrom's website, but decided to try Nordstrom Rack before heading to the real thing.  Thank goodness I did!  I found two gorgeous Fleurette coats in my size for a whopping 75% off each.  A red all wool coat and a camel all cashmere coat, both made in the USA of Italian Loro Piana fabric.  Since I was prepared to buy a Fleurette coat at full price, I easily justified buying two for the equivalent of half of one at retail.

The red wool Fleurette coat:

I wore the red coat home and can attest to its excellent warmth.  

The camel cashmere Fleurette coat:

Oooooh, I've wanted a pure cashmere coat all my adult life, but it always seemed like an unattainable luxury.  

For my outfit under the coat, I wore a cashmere sweater, wool skirt and wrapped a silk scarf around a necklace my friend made.

I also snapped up these wool/cashmere gloves with iPhone touch technology.  Very soft and warm! A nice little luxury to save my fingers while waiting for the L train.

Goodbye, puffy coat!  I vow to use it only in the most dire of circumstances.  :)