Happy Birthday, PFB!

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Hello, lovely readers! Today marks the third — yes, third — birthday of Prada for Breakfast AND this will be my 100th post here!

I’m surprised I’ve been able to keep up with this blog for so long, and though I’ve enjoyed the ride so far, I still feel as though the best is yet to come. Blogging here has always been something I’ve enjoyed, even though it tends to fall by the wayside when I get overwhelmed with work (unfortunately). But I’ve always come back to this blog, which is significant considering that my other forays into the blogging world (all pre-PFB — and believe me, there were many) lasted less than a year.

I’m grateful to all of you who read this blog regularly, and those who just stop by every once and a while — every comment makes my day! And speaking of things that make my day, I thought now would be an appropriate time to share a couple blog awards I’ve received lately:

The Super Sweet Blogging Award, from the fabulous Standing Among Stars

As part of the award, I’m supposed to answer the following questions, so here goes…

  1. Cookies or Cake? Both? Both, obviously. But I’m probably a bigger cake fan as of late, or at least I prefer to bake cake — I find it a lot harder to mess up.
  2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate, duh.
  3. Favorite Sweet Treat? French macarons. There is an amazing food truck near my school that sells handmade French macarons…absolutely to die for.
  4. When Do You Crave Sweet Things The Most? Um, all the time.

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And second, the Very Inspiring Blogger Award from the lovely Stylish Heath (above)

I’m also supposed to share seven interesting facts about myself, so here’s a bit about what’s current in my life (in keeping with the nature of this post):

  1. Currently reading The Table Comes First, a food memoir (did you expect me to read anything else?!) by Adam Gopnik, one of my favorite authors. He has also written a fantastic memoir about his time in France called Paris to the Moon — I highly recommend it.
  2. Currently trying to keep up with my Italian through various iPad apps….not working as well as I had hoped.
  3. Just ordered these fabulous pumps from J. Crew — after many diligent months of online stalking.
  4. Finally acquired J. K. Rowling’s new book, The Cuckoo’s Calling (written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith) and can’t wait to get started reading it!
  5. Ordered a bunch of fonts (yes, you read that correctly) online because, well, I have my priorities.
  6. Newly obsessed with avocados — so good for you and so easy to incorporate into just about everything (need proof? look here)
  7. Working on more posts detailing my trip to Italy — get ready!

I think that about wraps it up. Thank you again to Standing Among Stars and Stylish Heath for the awards, and a huge thank you to everyone who has ever taken the time to read this blog! I can’t wait to see where PFB is a year from now.

{Image Source: Tumblr.}

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Year Two: A Reflection on Blogging

I definitely dropped the ball on this one, but Prada for Breakfast is two years old as of July 29th. It’s now almost December (so really it’s almost two and half years?)… and to be perfectly honest, I realize that I haven’t taken this blog as far as I could have in the time that I’ve been posting. I’m a bit sporadic, and if you’ve been reading long enough to notice, I am thoroughly impressed. I wish this is something I could change, but when blogging ends up feeling like a chore (which it inevitably does, from time to time), hiatuses abound. However, I do hope to post much more consistently in the future.

My blog is also a bit unfocused, which I’ve been told is bad for blogging and traffic, or whatever. I just can’t find it in myself to limit my blog to one avenue — be it travel, food, or style — because my own interests are scattered so far across the board. In many ways, this blog is a reflection of myself and what I find intriguing or beautiful — and it would almost seem like a false representation of who I am if I were to constrain Prada for Breakfast to one niche.

I’ve been fairly busy over these past months, from continuing to study Arabic abroad and keeping up with classes and extracurriculars. But although this blog has, admittedly, not been one of my top priorities at times, it has been something that I have loved doing. I plan on picking right back up where I left off, and you can expect more posts with a heavier emphasis on topics like travel, photography, and culture… I will still post about style, but those posts will probably be kept to a minimum. (NB: When I post about fashion, I like to keep things a little more substantive.)

Regardless, I won’t bore you with a long post. (And I would be surprised if anyone actually read through all that.) But this is just to let you know that I’m back, and am hoping to take this blog in a direction that will emphasis post quality over quantity, and supply you with interesting things to read and beautiful photographs to look at — hopefully provoking some thoughtful discussion along the way.

Thank you for reading; I truly appreciate the support of anyone who takes the time to click through my blog.

Abu Dhabi: The Grand Mosque

Early morning fog at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi.

I recently travelled to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates for a short trip and had an incredible experience. It was unlike any place I have ever been (especially considering that I haven’t been out of the States much.) The city was not as touristy as I had initially anticipated, which came as a surprise and relief — I wanted to experience the culture, not just become part of a massive entertainment industry. You can see two distinct cultures in Abu Dhabi: the old, or more traditional, UAE, and the new, modern city, still under heavy construction. There is a strong push towards the future in Abu Dhabi, especially when it comes to architecture, which is evident pretty much any where you go. But there are also pockets of traditional culture that are very interesting to explore. Although I have tons of pictures from the trip, the following are all from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, an absolutely stunning piece of architecture.

The domed archway to enter the courtyard of the mosque.

Beautiful detailing inside the dome — note the gold Quranic text.

I have hundreds of photos (so many beautiful things to see!), but for now I’ll just share a few of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a project begun by the late president of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan (whose tomb is also located on the grounds). It is actually a relatively new mosque, still under construction, and there is a second phase of building — for an Islamic center — that has not yet begun. I have a certain fascination with Islamic architecture, and the mosque is an absolutely breathtaking example. When you first walk into the courtyard area (the sahn), you are immediately left slack-jawed by the sheer immensity of it. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, though.

Looking into the sahn from the outside.

Inside the sahn.

One of the mosque’s four minarets — about 351 feet tall.

Beautiful reflection pools surround the mosque.

As our guide explained, the mosque is designed to be an international mosque, incorporating elements from countries across the world. Many of the colored precious stones inlaid in the columns surrounding the sahn and in the marble courtyard floor come from all over the globe (detailed above). After the sahn, we prepared to enter the main prayer hall.

The sahn was absolutely stunning, but the main prayer hall was just as cavernous and beautiful, with high domed ceilings and tons of small inset windows to let in natural light. Again, indescribable:

Inside the main prayer hall.

The main prayer hall is home to the largest single carpet in the world, made by Iran’s Carpet Company. The rug took two years to complete. If you look closely, you can see the small raised lines in the carpet that indicate where men align themselves to pray.

The qibla (means “direction”) wall of the mosque indicates the direction of Mecca. The qibla wall in the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque features Arabic calligraphy of the 99 names (qualities) of Allah.

One of the largest chandeliers in the world hangs in the center of the main prayer hall, suspended under the largest dome of the mosque. It is made with German Swarovski crystals.

The ventilating system installed above the columns.

The full main prayer hall. So beautiful.

The prayer clocks (adhan) around the mosque were made in London, England — again, embracing the international reach of the mosque.

Beautiful and sunny back in the courtyard!

Those are the majority of my best photos from the mosque, although I have plenty more from my trip to Abu Dhabi that I’m hoping to share soon. Have you visited before? What are your thoughts on the mosque and/or city?

Part II: view more snapshots from my trip here.

Photos taken by me. Please request permission before use.

9 Ways to (Tangerine) Tango

For me, orange has always been a love-or-hate color. I know people who are absolutely obsessed with it, and others (like myself) who can’t get anywhere near it. I do not own a single piece of orange clothing; I do not have a single orange accessory; I have never decorated with anything orange. Despite my love of pinks and reds, I have never shared the same affection for oranges or yellows (and perhaps justifiably so — they both look terrible with my skin tone).

That being said, I do believe that Tangerine Tango will be an excellent color to represent 2012 as Pantone’s Color of the Year. Honeysuckle pink was chosen for 2011 — a bold, energizing hue — and tangerine takes this concept even further. It is revitalizing and vibrant, perfect for a bright and sunny new outlook.

Despite my personal distaste for wearing orange, the pops of tangerine color that have been appearing on the runways as of late have been oddly appealing. Sometimes I think orange is incredibly ugly, but when used right, it can also be incredibly chic and refreshing. It looks amazing with some good color-blocking, and is a great burst of color in chunky necklaces or skinny belts, cinched at the waist. Fashion aside, it is also a great accent color for decorating (just don’t paint an entire room in Tangerine Tango — try a few squares of accent color instead).

Anyway, so without further ado — 9 chic tangerine pieces I found online:

And the all-important shopping information:

  1. Pleated Bib Dress, $25, forever21.com.
  2. Nantes Pennon Earrings, $98, anthropologie.com.
  3. Block Print Pillow, $20, worldmarket.com.
  4. Sparkle & Fade Suit Short, $49, urbanoutfitters.com.
  5. Roseblossom Kerchief, $14, madewell.com.
  6. Fire Ring Drops Earrings, $32, anthropologie.com.
  7. Qupid Athena Sandals, $29, piperlime.com.
  8. Edie Purse, $238, jcrew.com.
  9. Classic Wide Bangle, $28, jcrew.com.
And with that, I shall return to the comfort of my all-black wardrobe. This has been quite enough orange for one day.

 

So what are your thoughts on tangerine for 2012? Love or hate? (Please, I know there’s no in-between.)

 

{Image Sources: imagesmith.com, forever21.com, anthropologie.com, worldmarket.com, urbanoutfitters.com, madewell.com, piperlime.com, jcrew.com.}

Last Minute Style Ideas for New Year’s Eve

Hello readers! (And sorry for the terrible delays in posting. It’s atrocious, I know. Please feel free to email me and complain.)

I have always been somewhat ambivalent about New Year’s Eve/New Year’s as “holidays.” What’s the big deal? It’s just a date change on a calendar. We don’t celebrate the first of every month, do we?

Rant aside, NYE is usually filled with glamorous parties and bucketloads of sequins. As much as I am confused by the concept of New Year’s as a holiday, I will never pass up a chance to throw on a fabulous new party look. Here, in no particular order, are some of the chicest ways to ring in the new year — with inspiration shamelessly stolen from all corners of the blogosphere, of course.

1. Layering sequins. Anything sparkling and fabulous is always perfect for NYE, but it’s also possible to avoid looking like every other girl on the planet, in a plain sequined tank dress and pumps. Tracy from The Closet Shopper (one of my favorite bloggers — she is absolutely fabulous!) gave us a preview of her holiday party looks in a guest post at Tinfoil Tiaras. She smartly layered a shimmering jacket over a (slightly) more subdued black sequined dress and cinched it with a simple belt for a look that has just as much shine, but is so much more unique. Look for sparkly separates to layer and ground them with simple black accessories.

2. Ponytail cuffs. My older sister emailed me this DIY post from Oh the Lovely Things the other day, knowing I would love it. I’ve always been a fan of glammed up ponytails, and find them so much chicer than wearing one’s hair down. (My problem is that I have very fine hair, and my ponytails tend to lack volume and texture. Any tips to remedy this would be greatly appreciated.) And aren’t these ponytail cuffs just so gorgeous? Definitely one of the easiest ways to add instant glam to your NYE look.

3. Punches of color. As much as a strict palette of gold, silver, and black is observed during New Year’s, stand out from the crowd with a few bright pops of color: think bold lips, a red shoe, or colorful stacked bangles. Harper’s Bazaar offers up a few tips on getting the perfect red lip at every age.

4. …Or, just break out of the mold altogether. Who needs punches of color when you can rock a fabulous jewel-toned frock? Definitely a fantastic option for New Year’s Eve; just be sure to use sequins wisely (if at all) and accessories with some sparkly oversized jewels instead. P.S. I Made This has an awesome DIY for a totally over-the-top jeweled necklace.

5. Glitter-dipped nails. I’ve been seeing these around quite a bit lately, and, well, they are one manicure trend that I actually like. (I’m not so much a fan of crackle or magnetic nail polish.) Also one of the easiest manicures to maintain because chipping is barely noticeable. Try this simple tutorial from MaieDae and substitute your favorite colors!

6. Comfy (but chic) heels. If you’re going to be wearing heels for NYE, and you know you’re going to be standing in them all night, why would you wear a pair that is unbearably painful after half an hour? Wear your comfiest single-hued pair of heels for New Year’s (aka, your investment shoes) instead of the crazy sequined ones and you’ll be much happier. (On another note, I highly recommend the Mona pumps from J. Crew. So comfortable yet timeless, they go with everything, and they come in leather, suede, patent, and satin!)

Most importantly, though: experiment with fashion and have fun! Although it is a bit clichéd (and I will refrain from bitterness here), New Year’s is all about welcoming the new you (and all resolutions you’ll be breaking within the next week). Enjoy!

{Source: Images courtesy of Tracy at The Closet Shopper; 5 Inch and Up; Sephora; J. Crew (crystal Venus flytrap necklace, $85); J. Crew (Mona leather pumps, $198); MaieDae.}