Summer in Europe Part II

Summer in Europe Part II

I  hope you enjoyed my post last week recapping the first half of my trip abroad last month. As promised, I’m chronicling the second part now, including my time in Budapest, Hungary and a quick strop through London before heading home.

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After such a fabulous time in Croatia and Slovenia, it was time to explore Hungary, specifically the capital, Budapest. Budapest is an extremely modern and lively city, perfect for young travelers with plenty of shops and bars. On our first night, we had a much needed sit down dinner before watching the sun set on Danube river over drinks at a rooftop bar. Similar to Ljubljana, their are plenty of cobblestone streets with outdoor dining and gelato shops.

The following morning, we headed a little north to enjoy the famous Széchenyi Thermal baths for the afternoon. Budapest is known as a city of spas, with many places to relax, including this historic landmark.  I loved the architecture and culture of the area, with plenty of good people watching too. Budapest is also known for their “ruin bars” which refer to their bar scene of the old historic Jewish quarter. We headed to the very first Ruin Bar, Szimpla Kert to experience it all for ourselves. The historic district of Budapest has become extremely trendy and it’s the perfect area to stay in.

We broke up the trip to Budapest by doing a day trip to Szentendre on our last full day. The small beach town was full of great local vendors, dessert shops and colorful buildings. Even though I  love seeing the city life of a new country, often times I  can get a better taste of the local flavor in a smaller town. That’s where some of the best shopping is too! 😉

The last leg of the trip was a quick visit to our stomping grounds of London before heading home. With only 36 hours to explore London, we had to choose wisely. Plenty of walking around the city led to my favorite shopping at Spitalfield Market, followed by a tea bus tour. It’s the best way to see London while also enjoying a can’t miss activity! To finish off the last night of the entire trip we sat down to dinner at Duck & Waffle to look over the entire city.

The final dinner of any vacation is always a little bitter sweet, but it’s always fun to reminisce on the entire trip, talking about all the people we encountered and remembering our favorite moments. This adventure could not have been more perfect from start to finish! I can’t wait until the next, where new culture and experiences await.

More posts to come next week,

TW

Air BNB in Budapest

Restaurant and Bar in Budapest

Tea Tour and Dinner in London

Summer in Europe Part I

Summer in Europe Part I

It’s been quite a busy summer, specifically this past July! I’m still coming off a two week high from exploring eastern Europe with a close friend from my days studying abroad in London during our junior year of college. During our time abroad, we traveled as much as possible but knew that we’d need to make a return visit to Europe in order to cover all the ground we wanted to. 

With that being said, we began brainstorming on where we’d want to go on this return visit. We decided to start with Croatia, a coastal country that we’d both been eyeing for some time now. We decided to choose other neighboring countries and make this an eastern European adventure. I’ll be chronicling the two weeks of travel in a few blog posts, breaking down the trip in two parts! Part one begins with Croatia of course, followed by Slovenia. Part two, encompassing Hungary and London, will up shortly! 

 

 

Let’s get started, shall we? Like I mentioned before, Croatia was the first on our must list, as we’d been wanting to travel there for years. Surely, it did not disappoint. After what felt like a full days travel from Chicago, we made it to Split, a coastal town that I can only compare to as a lovechild of Greece and Italy. Split was full of charm, small shops and lots of outdoor eateries. 

The whole vacation was kicked off with a catamaran excursion around the Adriatic Sea, from sun up to sun down. We were given the chance to swim in the deep blue ocean and stop in Hvar, a ritzy island. (where I had the best pasta of my life) By the luck of timing, we got to watch Croatians celebrate their country’s World Cup Semi Final win. We loved watching the small beach town come to life that night.

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Although our time in Croatia was for only a split second, no pun intended, it was a great way to ease us into this adventure. From Split, we headed towards Slovenia. Some of you might be thinking, “what or where is Slovenia?” and I was right there with you up until planning this trip. Slovenia boarders the north of Croatia, and only gained its independence just 26 years ago. After being able to enjoy it for 3 days, it’s perhaps one of my new favorite places. 

 

 

Based in the capital of Ljubljana, we could not have loved our time there more. Unlike any other European city I’ve been to before, there was something about Ljbjanana that was unlike anywhere else. For starters, the entire city center was pedestrian only. Closed to local traffic, locals and travelers are free to roam the streets and enjoy outdoor eating and drinking. On our first night, we enjoyed a local street food fair and spent the night sipping on Aperol Spritz until sundown. Streets are full of colorful, Austrian inspired buildings. I felt like I had walked into a fairytale. 

The picture perfect surroundings didn’t stop there. The next day we took a day trip to Lake Bled, which was nothing short of stunning. The country’s lushest and ritziest lake town is centered around a tiny church, which you can only get to by row boat. For an even better view of the lake, we stormed the castle about Lake Bled. The view was breathtaking, and the photos don’t even do it justice. To unwind after such a busy morning, we took part in a wine tasting back in the city.

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The time we spent on this first half of the trip was fantastic, and we install fell in love with the charm of these two countries. There’s something about small European towns that feels effortless and begins to inspire me. More inspiration and photos to come in part two, coming soon!

-TW

Air BNB in Croatia and Slovenia

Restaurant and Excursion in Split

Day Trip and Wine Tasting in Ljubljana

De-Briefing

De-Briefing

One of my favorite things about fashion and clothes, is that with each new step in life, comes a new stylish privilege. Moving to Chicago from Florida meant getting a new coat, snow boats, and other winter friendly items. With a new job, came the valid excuse to finally get a work bag or in my case a briefcase. Ever since I could drive, I wish that I could have a bag to house keys, phone, wallet, and other essentials that wasn’t a purse or high school backpack. In Chicago and in my travels, I’ve seen so many great bags, backpacks and briefcases out there that have given me serious bag envy. Today I’m “de-breifing” you on the best bags and where to find them.

Briefcase:

Sometimes when you know a brand that kills it, it’s hard to go anywhere else. Fossil is that brand for me when it comes to leather! My bag(shown) is an older model but when it came time to find a work bag, I  only needed to check out Fossil! For your first work bag, black or dark leather is best. A lighter leather will eventually darker, keep that in mind! Similar style here. 

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Back Packs:

I’m seriously loving the fact that backpacks are no longer just made for the hallways of high school with Jansport emblazoned on the back. Leather backpacks feel like they’re everywhere, and my favorites are from Coach.

Although I  don’t have a a leather backpack now, it’s on my fashion bucket list.

Travel:

I  remember back in the 6th grade, walking past the TUMI store and seeing a backpack that I was ready to die for. $250 later, the bag was mine and lasted me 4 years. The point of this anecdote is that TUMI is a great place to look for a travel bag needs. Look for brands that either have a great warranty package, since travel bags are put through the ringer. Lululemon also has a great travel bag my friend recently turned me onto! Similar Style for Tumi. 

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Customize your look by monogramming your bag or adding a tag (my friend gifted mine from Coach) which is a super fun way to add a personal touch to your bag or backpack! Many bag companies can monogram for you, but so can many local shops.

Alrighty, maybe that wasn’t a “brief” post, but it sure was helpful, right? Now you know what to grab next time you need a bag! Enjoy the first week of Spring, hopefully it’s warmer than mine is here in Chicago!

-TW

Take Flight in Aviate

Take Flight in Aviate

Like many of you, travel is a big part of my life. I’m either looking for my next dream destination online or already sitting at the airport, deciding whether I’m going to eat Chili’s Too or if I’ll be dropping a small fortune on tabloids before boarding my flight.

Travel wear has seen its share of changes over the years. The original travelers dressed to the nines, even in coach class, but then came an acceptable norm to look like you rolled right out of bed. I’ve stared to notice that now we’re somewhere in between, with athleisure looks looking less slovenly. I myself have been known to wear jeans and Chelsea boots as I stroll through TSA precheck. So how can you be comfortable, somewhat stylish and look ready to fly? With an easy and travel friendly accessory.

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I recently found Aviate, a unique cap company dedicated to share your travel endeavors with simple yet fashion forward hats. Today I’m wearing their Chicago model, ORD, which represents the three letter code for Chicago O’Hare International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the country.

Loving the pop of color and how it shows pride for the city without spelling it out… in a more traditional sense that is. Choose your region and your go-to airport is more than likely available, custom orders can be made too!

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Wearing this has already got me brainstorming on my next trip! Something tropical, out of country perhaps? Who knows, but like Aviate states, play hard, travel often, a motto I  can definitely get behind.

-TW

Photography: Callie Craig 

Holiday Gift Guide

Holiday Gift Guide

The holiday season is fast approaching, seriously, I can count the weeks left till I  head home for Christmas on one hand! Since I’ve had some travel sprinkled throughout the last two months of the year, I’ve made it a point to get all of my holiday shopping done earlier this year! Take a look at what I’m gifting this year from some great places, big and small!

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For the Sports Fan: Designs by Patterson, created by couple Matt & Anna, creates unique stipple art of your favorite sports team’s stadiums. For the baseball lover in your life, in my case, my grandfather, this Yankee Stadium print will be perfect. Check out their Etsy shop for over 50 unique products and receive 10% off when you use the promo code WITTSTYLE at checkout until 12/6.  (Under $25)

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For the Traveler: If you follow me on Instagram, or know me personally, you’ve seen or heard me rave about the Wildsam Field Guides on my travels. These guide books are so well done, mixing facts about your destination with personal stories and maps for every kind of traveler. They’re fun to collect too. (Under $20)

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For the One Running Late: Watches are a great gift because everyone can always use a new one! I found Wolfpoint Chicago, an up and coming watch company that I’m partnering with this holiday season. After 20 years in the industry, Wolfpoint is dedicating its efforts to establishing itself as the premiere watch of Chicago. With a beautiful look and price friendly, I believe that’s possible. (Under $150)

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For the Fashion Lover: La Matera, an artisan leather company, reached out this holiday season to work together on Instagram and I’m loving what they sent over! The woven print stands out in my closet and works great with just about any pair of pants. Check out more from their website, including the Paloma Belt pictured above. You can use bakertw10 for 10% off your order until December 31st. (Under $150)

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For the Artist: Pennants are popping up everywhere these days! Whether in a boutique or at home, I’m seeing them created in great colors with cute sayings. I  reached out to Than and Chandler, another artistic couple, about creating some pennants this year. This Midwest mini pennant is a great stocking stuffer. Check out more of what they make on their Instagram page. (Under $20)

I love all of the gifts I’m giving out this year because they blend personal sentiment and quality materials perfectly. It’s been fantastic working with local and small businesses to create this guide. Can’t wait to see everyone unwrap their gifts this year!

Best of luck on your holiday shopping,

-TW

TW Goes West

TW Goes West

I recently read that “a great trip sets you down a path that doesn’t end when you return home” and that statement couldn’t ring more true with my first visit to California last week. I’ll be diving more into that “path” a little later on in the week, but for now, let’s get into my adventure on the West Coast, shall we?

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Inspired by both the need to see one of my best friends and the desire to live out my Ingrid Goes West fantasy, I made sure to see as much of Los Angeles as possible during my first visit to the West Coast. The agenda was jam-packed but I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

My personal philosophy during a trip is to get a lay of the land as quickly as possible with a sight-seeing tour. It may seem traditional, but any sort of classic sight-seeing tour allows for you to get in some history and understand the layout of a city before you start exploring it on your own. Since LA is extremely massive and diverse, a StarLine tour seemed crucial. Although the tour guide was a bit…. redundant, there were some highlights. Photos at The Hollywood Bowl, lunch at The Farmers Market and strolling though Olvera Street were great first moments in Los Angeles. As an aspiring “Bravo-lebrity” my first full night ended at Pump and Sur in West Hollywood, of Vanderpump Rules fame. People watching has never been better!

 

Day two took a detour south, heading to San Diego! After a scenic two hour drive down the California coast, we finally made it. San Diego is stunning. With plenty of sunshine, boats and friendly residents, I could have stayed longer. Before heading into the city, we stopped at Liberty Public Market, a food hall style epicenter with plenty of flower shapes and boutiques too. The true mission was to see Hotel Del Coronado, the famous hotel and San Diego landmark. Charming and quaint, yet opulent, the “Del” was picture perfect. Coronado Island is lined with trendy shops and restaurants. Before heading out of town, we stumbled upon Solunto in Little Italy for a late lunch.

 

Back in Los Angeles for my last full day, the morning began at Gjusta, a Venice bakery and deli known for plenty of local flavor. Following that was a scenic walk around Abbot Kinney Blvd for shopping and photos, it was nothing short of a Instagram gold mine. The afternoon was topped off at Nobu for drinks in Malibu, while jamming to California Girls and yes, Malibu, on the way to and from. A delicious dinner at Osteria Mozza was followed up by a drive to Griffith Observatory. If you find yourself in LA, I believe it’s a must see. You’ll be channeling your inner Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the City of Stars.

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As my trip wrapped up, my last morning was spent in Venice and Santa Monica. Venice is home to the laid back surfers and skaters that I’d seen plenty of times in TV and movies. After a breakfast at Rose Cafe and checking out the vintage shops in Santa Monica, I made sure to get a sushi lunch at Sugar Fish before one final drive through Beverly Hills.

All in all, California did not disappoint! Never short on good weather or a colorful photo opportunity, I couldn’t have asked for a better first visit. Having a local show me the ropes made the trip even better. Check out this map to see every spot I hit and stayed tuned for more adventures. I’ll be writing about past and future travels very shortly!

Happy Monday,

TW