A Day in Prague

Prague city street

What if you only have a day in Prague? There’s so much to see in this medieval city that it’s hard to narrow down what to do if you only have a day in Prague. For backpackers and day-trippers there are some must see spots. If your trip is longer in this magical city, take your time and enjoy it. There’s lots to see.

Old Prague city entrance

The entrance to old Prague is marked by a medieval tower, known as Powder Gate, which was once the watchtower to the walled city. Walk a few blocks from there and you will make your way to the Old Town Square. This is a good place to start your day trip, especially if you’re coming from the train. Keep to the left and follow the signs to the Old Town Square, where you will find cafes, shops, tarot card readers and street performers. It’s still the heart of the city a thousand years later. Climb the 200-foot tower of the former Town Hall for a breathtaking 360-degree view of the city. Take in the sight of the many cathedral spires and red rooftops. Along the side of the Old Town Hall building is the famous 600-year old astronomical clock, which displays the motion of the planets and the twelve apostles. One of the best times to visit is early December-early January for the open-air festivities and musical performances that take place around the giant Christmas tree. And I’m not just saying this because it’s when I went. Prague is noted as one of the best cities to visit during Christmas. No wonder there were so many tourists.

old town hall prague astronomical clock Prague Old Town Square Prague

Take a walk across Prague’s beloved Charles Bridge, where the locals will let you know how beautiful it is {more on this crazy story later!}. Although Charles Bridge is one of fourteen bridges that cross Vltava River, it is the most iconic. The view from the foot of this pedestrian only bridge on the east-bank, coming from the Old Town Square, is quite remarkable. Thirty-six Baroque saints line the sixteen arched Gothic style bridge. When we arrived on the Lesser Quarter side of the bridge we were welcomed by a small band of elderly men dressed in medieval clothing playing their trumpets from the tower.

Prague city view

Prague Castle is known as the Castle District, since consists of a collection of buildings and courtyards that sprawl around the hilltop castle. There are also hotels, shops, two museums and the beautiful St. Vitus Cathedral. The largest and most important church in the country, it houses the tombs of many Bohemian kings and Holy Roman Emperors. The massive vaulted ceiling and stain glass windows influenced the development of late Gothic style cathedrals throughout Central Europe. From there we headed back to the train station to Dresden, as our day in Prague was coming to an end.

Prague Castle district

If you still have time, or would like to make a pit stop along the way to the Castle District like we did, pay a couple euros to take a peek inside the St. Nicolas Church. It is the most famous Baroque church in Prague and took nearly 100 years to construct by three generations of architects. Inside the architecture, paintings and statues are monumental. The larger than life saints and figurines will have you looking up toward the heavens, which is exactly what they wanted.

St. Nicolas Church Prague

There’s more to see and do and Prague than this, but these key highlights show the history of the city and its diverse culture.

Prague

Note: There are lots of boutique shops in Prague, so if shopping is your thing you might want to factor that into your day.

Fashion Quotes from Fashion Icons

Having a sense of self means living by your rules, and some of those are fashion rules. Some of my favorite pieces of fashion advice come from non other than the fashion icons. All of these women created their own rules at the time and dressed how they wanted to, not how society thought they should dress, and that’s what has made them icons.

“A woman’s dress should be a like a barbed-wire fence: serving its purpose without obstructing the view.” – Sophia Loren

sophia loren style icon

“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.” – Lauren Hutton

Lauren Hutton fashion icon

“Beneath the makeup and behind the smile I am just a girl who wishes for the world.” – Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn monroe fashion icon

“My look is attainable. Women can look like Audrey Hepburn by flipping out their hair, buying the large sunglasses, and the little sleeveless dresses.” – Audrey Hepburn

Fashion icon

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Coco Chanel

fashion quotes

Note: Channel your inner fashion icon this weekend.

Sense of Self

Natalie Notions fashion blogger

I’ve been digging deeper into the yoga philosophy and really concentrating on myself lately. How can I make myself a better person? I need to do what’s healthy for me physically and emotionally. I have my yoga final in two weeks and I’m sad it’s coming to an end. It’s like when you graduate college. You’ve worked so hard and learned so much, and were stressed {and still stressing}, but you’ve grown so much along the way and made great friends that you don’t want it to end. That’s how I feel right now. My sense of self and understanding of the body and mind has grown immensely in the past five months. Every day I have to work on myself to be a better me. Living with non-attachment and in the moment is one of things I’m working on. It will help bring me peace and happiness. And we can all use a little more of that.

Halogen cashmere infinity scarf J.Crew school boy blazer sole society hatNatalie Notions bloggercooperative ruffle shirtsense of self

Sole Society Hat, Halogen Cashmere Scarf, Cooperative Ruffle Shirt, J. Crew Blazer, Target Belt, Hudson Jeans, Latigo Boots

Note: By contentment, supreme joy is gained. {Yoga sutra 2.42}

L’Amande French Bakery

L'Amande French Bakery Beverly Hills

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of sitting down with French pastry chef and owner of L’Amande French Bakery, Goncalo Moitinho de Almeida, to taste some delicious treats and learn about the art of French baking from a master chef. Moitinho de Almeida started his career as a pastry chef in his native city of Paris. With over 35 years of experience, this international pastry chef has now settled down in Los Angeles with a bakery in Torrence and one in Beverly Hills.

A total of 72 hours. That’s how long each and every L’Amande French Bakery croissant takes to be meticulously handmade in-house from scratch and from the simplest ingredients: flour, butter and salt. L’Amande’s very own laminating machine, which I was able to see in action, is like a giant rolling pin and it ensures each croissant has perfectly consistent, delicate layers. The croissants must rest three to four times during this process before finally entering the oven to be baked at an impeccably even temperature. Everything is made precise and in the bakery. Nothing is outsourced. L’Amande, which means “the almond” in French, then adds almonds, house-made jams, custards or glazes to select croissants. And when they are finished, they are worth every second of those 72 hours.

best french toast in LA

I ordered one of their raved specialties, the French toast. It was the best French toast I’ve ever had. Literally, it beats out any competitors. Made with house-made pain de mie (the soft part of the bread) and served with fresh fruits and 100% maple syrup, I was in heaven. But I couldn’t eat the whole thing, as much as I wanted to. I still had to try the raspberry and cream cheese croissant and the papillote. I had never had a papillote, which refers to the method of folding the pastry into a pouch and then baking. This delicately made pastry is filled with a creamy custard-like filling, which was so exquisite it’s hard to even explain the taste. It was light with a hint of cinnamon and paired nicely with my latte, which by the way had the best foam.

french bakery beverly hills

L’Amande French Bakery is more than just a bakery. It’s a hybrid between the French bakery and a bistro. It’s cozy, yet modern. Around every corner there’s a hidden design detail and every item on the menu will leave you wanting to try more. “Everything at L’Amande is crafted fresh, from flour to plate, we like to say, just like the bakeries in France,” comments Moitinho de Almeida. “It’s a difference that sets us apart here in Southern California. You can see through the glass windows when you walk into our bakery that our busy artisans are hard at work hand-preparing our specialties. Furthermore you can actually taste that effort and commitment to authenticity.”

best french bakery in Los Angeles

Next time you’re in Beverly Hills or craving a perfect French pastry, you have to go to L’Amande. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed in the slightest.

Note: This would be a great spot to treat out of town guests or someone you would like to impress. Good food always impresses.

Berlin Photo Journal

Berlin in winter

I was finally getting used to using my camera on this trip and I was able to take some really great shots. I still want to take a photography class and learn more about my camera functions and how to take better pictures. It’s one of my New Year intentions. In the meantime, I’ll be playing around with ISO.

Berlin in snowBerlin glass dome Berlin parliament buildingSnow on trees The North Face hooded puffer jacket North Face hooded puffer jacket Berlin Bradenburg gateIMG_2114 Berlin wall madness Topography of Terror Museum Berlin

Note: Glad I had my North Face jacket that day, it was even colder than the day before.

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