Last week I was fortunate enough to attend DC Fashion Week with my sister and friend.
How? Well, our dear friend mentioned to my sister and I that DC Fashion Week takes place September 23-29, 2013. They had various shows – some free, some you could purchase tickets, and some which required an invitation. My sister was hell bent on attending the Emirates Designer Showcase hosted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Embassy. After a series of fortunate events we were invited to the show.
There were three designers showcased at the show; Sugar Vintage Couture, House of Fatam – a fashion house founded by three sisters, Layma, Shaima, and Fatma – and Abeer Alsuwaidi. The MC of the show was Dana Al Marashi – the Head of Heritage and Social Affairs Department at Embassy of the United Arab Emirates.
Etihad Airways, the national airline of United Arab Emirates, was giving away two free round trip tickets to members of the audience. How did they pick the winner? They asked members of the audience to drop their business cards in a bowl and at the end of the show the Vice President of the company picked winners from the pile. Personal note – ALWAYS CARRY A BUSINESS CARD! I have not amounted to anything fancy yet therefore I don’t have a business card but my dear sister who is a physician failed to have one on her. Even if you don’t have a business card I suggest always carrying a pen around – you can always find something to write on. One of the winners wrote her name on the program and dropped it in the bowl. Moral of the story: always have a business card or a pen in your clutch!
As guests we were all given gift bags. The gift bags included a t-shirt from Sugar Vintage Couture, a goodie bag from House of Fatam, and a mask.
This was my first fashion show – ever – and it definitely was a memorable experience! A big thank you to the UAE Embassy for the invite!
I discover many things on Pinterest and Instagram. I have no shame in admitting that. I managed to discover Hillwood Estate, Museum and Garden on Instagram. I convinced my sister that we should go check it out and she happily agreed.
What is Hillwood Estate? As stated on the website of the estate; Marjorie Merriweather Post (founder of Post Cereal Company) bought Hillwood in 1955. Her estate has the most comprehensive collection of Russian imperial art outside of Russia, a distinguished 18th-century French decorative art collection, and twenty-five acres of serene landscaped gardens.
The estate is open Tuesdays-Saturdays from 10am-5pm and on select Sundays. There is a suggested ticket fee – which means they have set recommended prices – however you can pay however much you can afford.
An interesting fact about Marjorie is that when she passed away one of her requests was that every day there be fresh flowers in each room of her estate. When you visit Hillwood you notice that in every room there are flower arrangements in each and every room. The flowers are picked from her cutting garden and greenhouse.
Have you head of the Fabergé eggs? Well Miss Marjorie has two on display at her estate.
In addition to the vast art collection the estate has beautiful gardens. There is a beautiful rose garden, french parterre, putting green, Japanese style garden, greenhouse, and cutting garden.
The weather was exceptionally cooperative with us today therefore we decided to take a ferry to the Prince Islands. We took the metro to the Kabatas stop and got our tickets for the ferry at the port. The Ferry only costs 3 TL therefore it is definitely worth going if the weather is good. It is about a 1.5 hour ferry ride to the Büyükada also known as the Big Island.
There are no cars allowed on the Island. Therefore the only way to get around is by walking, biking, or going on a horse-drawn carriage. Once we arrived at the Big Island we got a carriage – which ended up being the carriage from hell. Our driver had some odd desire to go super fast and pass all the other carriages. Honestly I feared for my own safety. However he was a sweetheart and a Giants fan – see his picture below.
After a half hour ride the carriage stops and you are allowed a 10 minute break to walk around and take some pictures. If you want to go to the Greek Monastery of St. George you have to walk – carriages don’t take you directly there. Counselor and I were a bit unprepared in the shoe department – picture below – Doc was the only one with practical shoes.
Since 2/3 of the team was defunct we decided it would be best to just take pictures and take the carriage back down.
After our carriage ride we grabbed some lunch at a local pizzeria. We decided to try Turkish pizza – which was delicious.
After pizza we got some waffles. You already know how I feel about waffles. They are AMAZING. I wish I could have one every day!
After the hamam we hit the gift shop and stocked up on lots of goodies. The prices at this gift shop are extremely reasonable! We saw the same stuff at the Grand Bazaar and local stores for double and triple the price. The perks of purchasing from the gift shop is you get these gorgeous gift bags which we stockpiled on because we got a ton of souvenirs for friends and family.
We went back to the hotel for some downtime. Later we went to the Sultan Ahmed Mosque to pray. This was quite a spiritual experience for me. I really enjoyed going there and definitely recommend if you are able, to do your last prayer in turkey at Sultan Ahmed Mosque.
Afterwards we went to the hotel to tackle our suitcases. Which took a very long time.
There are many things I love about Istanbul – the food, the people, the history, the culture. But the best part of this trip was to experience it with my girls. Doc, Counselor, and my 3 Soul Sisters made this trip incredibly memorable and enjoyable! Mad props to my Uncle for putting up with 6 headstrong girls – I don’t know if any man could EVER do that! He is such a good sport. Istanbul you have been good to me and I will be back again.
Bye Bye Istanbul. Off to the Motherland!
Day 4 did not go according to plan. I had plan for us to go to Dolmabahce Palace, then head to the Ortakoy region, next take the ferry to The Prince Islands, and lastly head to Taksim square for dinner. Weather dot com lied to me and the sunny fifty degree weather turned into a cold rainy day. Therefore we had to improvise and change our plans since mother nature was not cooperating with us.
We started the day at Dolmabahce Palace. Tickets for the Palace are 30 TL, the Harem is 20 TL, and joint tickets are 40 TL. The Palace is located right on the Bosphorus. Words can’t describe how amazing this palace is. The palace is designed very symmetrical. There is two of everything!! There is no photography allowed inside the palace. A guided walking tour is given in the palace – no one gets to wonder off alone.
Day 3 started out with a quest for a Trojan horse that ended in epic failure. Regardless first went to the Istanbul Archeological Museum. The Museum is included in the Museum Pass we purchased therefore we decided to check it out. The Archaeological Museum housed some pretty cool artifacts such as the Alexander Sarcophagus. Though it is called the Alexander Sarcophagus, in fact, it does not belong to Alexander the Great. According to the museum website it is thought to be the sarcophagus of Abdalonymus, the king of Sidon.The museum also had the Sarcophagus of the crying women as well as the Head of Sappho.
The serpent head of the bronze serpent column is on display at the museum. I was a little too excited to see the serpent head because the serpent is my Chinese Zodiac Sign. Doc rolled her eyes at me when I stated this fact – she’s just jelly there was no bronze dog for her to take a picture with.
After the museum we hit the Grand Bazaar for some major shopping. Just as an FYI the bazaar is closed on Sundays and it is only open until 7pm. The Bazaar was huge! You can find everything there! We bought bowls, ceramic tiles, jewelry, plates, paintings, scarves and so much more. Between 6 girls we lost track of how much time we spent shopping – my uncle was extremely patient with us!
After all that shopping we had lunch at a cafe right outside the Bazaar, then went back to our hotel to unload all of our shopping bags. After a couple hours of resting we decided to have a girls night! First we had dessert at Hafiz Mustafa – honestly it is such a great place we couldn’t go anywhere else!
Afterwards we explored the streets of Istanbul, drank some Turkish coffee, and got some McDonald’s for Doc.
Oh and lets not forget Doc’s friend who claimed that everyone says he looks like Mel Gibson – you can be the judge of that.