Wednesday, February 29, 2012

field guide to hungary :: cafes

budapest has a long and wonderful history of cafes and confectioneries. the art and literary scene of generations spent half of their lives there, wrapped in cigarette smoke and lively conversations while drinking small strong cups of espressos. during the communist years, many of the cafes either closed down or were re-designed to fit the new area. today the cafe culture has been revived, the cafes have been beautifully remodeled and sitting in any one of these places one is transported back to the last century. it's a special treat, the coffee is strong, the sweets are divine and it's a great way to escape reality for a bit.

If you go, try to visit one of these:
(click on names to visit sites)

New York Kavehaz 
Lotz Kavehaz
Central Kavehaz

Thursday, February 23, 2012

worth the schlep :: lisbon

while the rest of europe is battling with below freezing temperatures, i spent a warm and sunny few days in lisbon, portugal. the minute i walked out of the airport, the bright sunshine and clean air made me feel right at home. i found the city to be an interesting mixture of budapest and san francisco, cape town and barcelona. it's a little faded and run down, but with new forces of creativity visible everywhere. the tiny labyrinth of alleys and stairways up and down the hills, the shimmering ocean visible above the red tiled roofs and yellow cable cars criss crossing the city all create a magical charm. exploring the coastal town of sintra for a day was equally delightful. while i could see sintra a complete tourist trap in the summer, in february it was the ideal place to escape the winter blues. had i known what a great place this was, i would have planned to stay a little longer. now i'll just have to come back. and i can't wait!

if you go to lisbon, check out:

lx factory : a revived industrial complex with great restaurants, cafes, stores
tasca da esquina : fantastic dinner, great location, great food, beautiful decor
santini : organic, artisan ice cream

Thursday, February 9, 2012

sneak peek :: sidai project

right before christmas, i posted about my jewelry project in africa. i spent a month working there and i'm so excited to share with you my progress and offer a sneak peek now that i'm back.

the project started last august and it finally has an official name: sidai designs. sidai means good in the maasai language.

i work with maasai women in northern tanzania and i'm developing a line of jewelry based on traditional beading techniques but using modern designs. the goal is to sell the jewelry in the us and europe, thus creating a sustainable source of income for the women. from the proceeds, the women are sent to school to learn reading and writing.

i must say, it's an incredible adventure. i can't wait to have the full site up and share all the details with you. these photos are of some of the women i work with.