Friday, September 25, 2009

Preparation for the National Women Show-Ottawa

As I previously mentioned, I am lucky enough to be involved with Starfish Events and Inspiration, which, as of tomorrow, will make one of my little tiny dreams come true, because I get to work backstage at a fashion show! I have been working hard with Samantha Moonsamy of Starfish and the beautiful stylist, Alison Hughes of Hush Clothing (www.hushclothes.com ) to put together some of the looks for the runway. I have a few pictures of our work in progress below. The show's theme is: "What Inspires You?"  To resonate with the theme all the looks are inspired by 6 different designers; Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Prada, Gucci, Louis Vuitton and my personal favorite, Chanel. If any of you reading are in Ottawa this weekend, the show takes place Saturday and Sunday at Lansdowne Park-come check it out!
Inspired by...
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Love K

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Life Update and LoveK's Personal Top 5 of Slovakia...long overdue

This is once again a very long and overdue blog post, but seeing as I have just moved to a brand new city (again-and hopefully for a while) and started my PhD...the delay seems somewhat justified. A note for my readers (however many or few there are:-) I will be changing the format of my blog a little bit to include some events, updates, DIYs, design and style and general babblings about the city of Ottawa, in which I now live. I am happy to say that I have become involved with a great events planning and inspiration business called Starfish Events (www.http://www.eventsbystarfish.com/), which is owned and run by my good friend Samantha Moonsamy-so I will be posting and blogging about some of their fabulous events. I will, whenever I get the chance, however still be posting things about travel and such but unfortunately with school and other commitments I may not be able to do as much travelling as I would like. I hope you understand and stay loyal to "LoveK". But without further interruption here is a pictorial (and editorial) list of my favourite sights, tastes and sounds of my birth country, Slovakia...enjoy!
Top #5: The Amazingly Fabulous and Delicious FOOD!!! (And cheap drinks!)
I feel that Slovakia has always been overshadowed by it's more prominent and popular neighbour, The Czech Republic. I mean let's face it when people say they go to Eastern Europe, one usually must make a pit-stop in the ever-famous Prague-I'm not judging Prague is an exceptionally gorgeous city however it is also super overpriced and extremely touristy, food is no exception (no matter how delicious there as well). Therefore, let me introduce you to the food of Slovakia-equally as delicious (because there is HUGE overlap) but also with it's own little subtle and delicious differences. The national dish is called "Halusky", which is basically potato gnocchi with crispy bacon (being a semi-vegetarian I tend to pick this out) a traditional Slovak sheep cheese called Brindza (kind of like Feta meets cottage cheese) and chives-it doesn't sounds like much, but believe me the combination is AWESOME! Further to this little gem, is the many meat dishes for all the carnivores out there, I'm talking grilled, sautéed, roasted, cooked, baked-you name it we got it! And of course there is the cabbage-central in any Eastern European Diet, this staple is also made in a hundred different ways. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful grandfather who has worked as a chef for a number of years so I took some pictures of some of the goodies he prepared, just to wet your appetite...enjoy!
Top #4: Architecture-the Dichotomy of Pre-communism, Communism, Post-communism and now...
I have to say that out of all the countries I visited in Europe so far, none have the opposing styles of architecture than those of the post-communist bloc. Unfortunately, one sees little of the original classic buildings in some of these cities, as they were converted into aesthtically-void blocks so common to the Soviet-style communist era. This is very much the case in Slovakia, particularly the city of Bratislava. Bratislava is divided by the Danube river into "old Bratislava", which thankfully withstood the communist aesthetic an maintained it's original charm, and the newer communist-era Petrzalka-a concrete jungle of low-to-medium rise grey blocks. The opposition of the two visuals is not only staggering but also phenomenally intriguing (what were the communist architects thinking???) I think in this case, I will let the pictures tell the story...





Top #3: Bratislava-Prague's smaller but equally as charming sister...
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, and aside from some infuriating, not to mention completely IGNORANT references by Hollywood (The Hostel and European Road trip) Bratislava almost always seems to be overlooked by the average tourist travelling through Eastern Europe. I must say, this should not be so! Although it is smaller than Prague, Bratislava is also less touristy, cheaper and has some great hidden gems that can give any city a run for its money. A personal favourite is Cafe Verne-a watering hole for the intellectual, artistic and quirky populace of the city. The decor is funky (a mix between old antiques and your grandma's hand-me-downs), the food is amazing (everything from all-day breakfast to traditional Slovaka fare) and the wine is CHEAP (about 0.80EU/glass...keep in mind a Slovak glass is MUCH bigger than a North American glass :-) plus the atmosphere is amazing. Another favorite is a Real Hot Chocolate shop under St.Michael's Gate, called "Cokolada pod Michalskou"-the entire menu is different kinds of Hot Chocolate-and I'm not talking your typical Starbucks milk with powdered cocoa-I'm talking REAL melted chocolate in a glass in a hundred different varieties and flavours-shouldn't miss this one for sure! Aside from these two treasures, Bratislava, as aforementioned, has gorgeous architecture, beautiful and affordable cafes and restaurants, fun markets and great beer and wine. In the warmer months, artists set up shop/s in the main square and in the winter months the Christmas Market is filled with spiced wine vendors, food and  Christmas cookie stalls and heaps and heaps of holiday cheer! Plus the view from the Bratislava Castle is fantastic!






Top #2: Rakovec and "Slovensky Raj" (Slovak Paradise In Eastern Slovakia)
What can I say, I spent my childhood summers here, I always feel at home when I come back and it's the one place in the world where I can just be...Slovakia, although small, has a rich and beautiful natural landscape filled with mountains (The Tatra Mountains being the most famous) lakes, forests and valleys. I know I am romanticizing, because the policies of the nation don't do much in terms of preservation-but it is truly a beautiful landscape. My own cottage is nestled between rolling hills, forests and an incredibly array of wild flowers-the smells alone leave me breathless-honestly. I won't blab too much about this aspect because seeing is truly experiencing and experiencing is truly believing-so in this case as well I will let the pictures do the talking...
*I also included some pictures of the interior of my family's cottage-just because it is so pretty...*










...and the #1 Personal Favorite in Slovakia...The People...
I realize that this is completely subjective and more personal than anything else-but I have to say that my friends and family in Slovakia are the most important and most favorite of all when it comes to my visits!  I miss you and love you all and can't wait until the next time I come to visit my motherland :-)  ... this being said Slovak people for the most part are very hospitable and friendly...although you do tend to get a few grumps along the way...hope I convinced some of you NOT to miss this little charming country on your travels through Europe-it's worth the visit!





Love K
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