Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last Minute Croatia

Back in 2002, I wrote my admissions essay for the Semester at Sea program about the city of Dubrovnik, Croatia.  Unfortunately, financial constraints precluded me from ever embarking on the voyage around the world. Ever since, I have been passionately interested in visiting Croatia in general. Tomorrow, I am happy to say that this dream will become a reality. 

  

             


Here's what happened. Today, I was taking a sick day (I promise, I really was and am sick!) when I was bombarded by some tempting flight offers.  Okay, well, I wasn't exactly bombarded by the deals, I went looking for them! Really, it's a wonder I haven't purchased more last minute deals since I've been in Israel, as there are multiple flights to various exotic European locations on a daily basis in the $200 range. I tend to say that my husband is the culprit for our not having traveled enough, since his passport has been held hostage at the US consulate during his greencard application process. I didn't really see that one coming when I moved here...



Wait no more, I could not. I think my breaking point was when I realized recently that the Keukenhof Gardens in Amsterdam have closed their doors for the year. You see, it's long been a dream of mine to see the tulips in springtime in Amsterdam....and this year was supposed to be the year, given that  I'm just a hop, skip and a jump away. Well, the gardens are only open 7 weeks a year....and they recently closed their doors in mid-May. Yeah...we were hoping to have my husband's passport back in time, but to no avail. So,  in honor of seizing the day, tomorrow I'm hopping on a plane...solo...and am planning to spend the next week in these beautiful locales:


ZAGREB





PLITVICE NATIONAL PARK




SPLIT & THE DALMATIAN COAST








DUBROVNIK:


   



Did you know that Croatia has 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and multiple more being considered for adoption? I think I'm gonna really like it there. Have a great week and I'll be posting upon my return!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Prachim Flowers

 

Every time I find myself in the neighborhood of Rehavia, I find that I somehow end up in front of Prachim Flower Shop (43 Azza Street) and am simply drawn inside to its vintage decor and sweet fragrances. Stepping inside the popular flower shop, it has a sort of shabby chic appeal to it. With its white vintage furniture and antique mirrors, you feel that you could almost be in Paris. Certainly, it's impossible to leave without purchasing a bouquet for the road, just so you might be able to bring a little bit of the Parisian feel home with you.


As we make our way through Rehavia, I am reminded how I love this part of town with its overgrown trees and shaded promenades dividing the center of every street. This neighborhood is a great place to be outdoors when the weather reaches a boiling point since you can actually sit outside comfortably in the shaded areas where warm breezes abound. Days like these make me think that a future residence in Rehavia is worth exploring for the upcoming year, price tag and all. Maybe we could even get really residential and get a dog :)

    

Once you arrive in the center of town, you see that you aren't the only one who loves this neighborhood, full of delicious restaurants, small boutiques, grocery stores, hair salons and other basic neighborhood necessities. Basically, it's not only livable, but it has a real feel-good air to it. Oh yeah, and it's pretty too, aptly named 'the garden district' of Jerusalem. Thus, people abound in the area (below: the intersection of Azza and Mitudela, appropriately right outside an ice cream shop where pedestrians fight the summer heat):

   

   

Somewhere down the street we have arrived at Prachim, its cool ambiance and refreshing scents drawing you inside:

   

Inside, the floral selections do not disappoint. Here are a few images borrowed from Prachim's beautiful website, see here.

   

   

   

   

  

I went in hoping for tulips, but apparently the season has passed (much to my chagrin...), so I settled on some blossoming peonies that caught my eye. The bouquet was quite a head-turner, if I might say so myself. The blooming peonies have been blossoming for days (who knew how big they got) and the fresh scent is intoxicating:

   
 
   

   

Do yourself a favor and visit Prachim today! If you don't want to make the trip to Rehavia, you may also visit them online either here or here. You won't be disappointed you did....and you might just find that it brings a little boost to your day.

      

       

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sara's Studio

I'd been eying a beautiful set of ceramics at the weekly Bezalel Fair in town, namely the artisan Sara's Studio whose characteristic look is an off-white or tan pottery base decorated with colorful and cheerful flowers:




I really wanted to have something in my home, whether it was a set of mugs, a centerpiece bowl or a fruit tray. Luckily, when my parents were in town last month, we fell in love with the vases and so after some discussion with the vendor, my mom gifted my husband and I with a vase (it would take a few weeks to receive) handmade especially for us. Last Friday, we finally went to go pick it up:

 

It's a little dangerous getting one piece, because it leaves you wanting to get an entire setting, with plates, bowls, cups and all. I've always had a soft spot for handmade pottery plateware, especially ones with a Mediterranean flair like the Marisol collection from Williams Sonoma (though it was on our registry, it was terribly backordered):

Marisol Collection - Williams Sonoma

I've also had my eyes on Rosanna's beautiful plateware collections for some time (see her website here). How can you not want to eat a cupcake off those plates, gelato out of those divine bowls, rerfeshing fruit from those red-polka dotted plates and fresh pasta off of those Italian inspired dishes:

   

     

Until my husband and I are officially settled, I'm staying away from purchasing entire collections; however, I'm so happy to have at least one cheery piece in my home, which brings a smile to my face every time I look at it!




   

More to come soon on my favorite flower shop in town, which always manages to transform my mood!