FASHION

Theme 42: Pennsylvania. A weekend in Gettysburg

 Review on oldest inn in America - The Historic Fairfield Inn in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

There has been exciting changes in our lives. Ben and I are now proud owners of a beautiful white fluffy samoyed that we named Enzo (full name is Enzo Sir Lancelot of Pine, because let’s face it, I would never be satisfied with just one name!). We chose to get our samoyed from the breeder White Magic Samoyeds, and going to Pennsylvania to pick up our puppy was a main reason of our road trip adventure.

 Red door Fairfield Inn in Gettysburg
 My samoyed puppy

I have never been in Pennsylvania before, but there were quite a few places I was dying to explore. One of them was Fallingwater House designed by world famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The house named “best all-time work of American architecture” was a little bit far from our final PA destination, so we opted to focus on exploring the city of Gettysburg and the nearby areas. 

 Pennsylvania antique store
 Pennsylvania

If you follow me on Instagram or regularly read my blog, you might know that I am a big history buff, and as Gettysburg town played a significant role during the American Civil War, it has a great deal of historical monuments, wartime relics and is soaked with hair-raising ghost tales. Gettysburg also has this wonderful small-town charm, beautiful old Victorian style houses and one of the oldest inns in the whole America - The Historic Fairfileld Inn.

The Fairfield Inn that was built in 1757 was originally the Mansion House of Squire Miller, an original founder of town. The Inn is irresistibly charming and preserves all the flavors and details of the Revolutionary and Civil War eras. The Inn offers a few beautiful elegant and cozy rooms, but unfortunately, the Fairfield Inn was bully booked for the weekend we visited. I do recommend you to stay at the Inn (and I will certainly go back to do so!) as it is a unique and very romantic experience, and so much more intriguing than some little basic hotel room at a generic giant hotel chain.

Even though, Ben and I couldn’t stay at the Inn, we still wanted to explore it. Luckily the Inn has excellent dining options. We were lucky, and on the day of our visit there was a limited period dinner theatre experience, and I was obviously excited about it! 

 Dinner Theatre with Professor Kerrigan

The Inn was even more wonderful and detail-rich than I imagined, and as we arrived early, we had some great conversation with the host of the dinner theatre, Professor Kerrigan, who performs Civil War era magic, tells dramatic ghost stories, and is frankly, hilarious and fascinating at the same time!

The show was lovely, and truly gave us a little feeling of being immersed in another time. Food was beyond excellent! Don’t expect expensive fancy gourmet dishes as the Inn offers authentic, filling, delicious meals, that give you a taste of home. It is the kind of food your grandmother lovingly prepares specially for you when you visit, or what you imagine people eating on Christmas or big weddings in the 19th century. I had one of the most tasty soups I EVER had - a traditional Ham & Bean soup from the original recipe that was used to feed the Confederate Army in 1863! Then we tried Ribs and famous Chicken & Biscuits, that is prepared using the old recipe  passed through generations of innkeepers for centuries. But the absolute highlight of the my period dining experience was a freshly baked berry pie that I am craving every day since.

 Dinner theatre with Professor Kerrigan
 Fairfield Inn dining options

It was such a pleasant and warm visit, and now I really want to go back during Christmas time as they put out a beautiful Christmas tree and all the fireplaces are inviting you to warm yourself next to the crackling fire. How wonderful does it sound?

Discovering and sharing precious and under-the-radar places in America really gives me pleasure, and I can’t wait to explore more charming towns, rich with history and hospitality of their habitants. 

 

 Fsirfield Inn 1757
 Fairfield Inn building
 Fairfield Inn Decor 1757

Theme 15: Downton Abbey. The Exhibition in New York.

 Downton Abbey: The Exhibition Review. New York, 2018

When I first heard that Downton Abbey: The Exhibition was coming to New York, I was beyond excited! It has been years since the last season aired. Nothing could quite replace witty, funny quotes of Dowager Countess, the fascinating-to-watch competition between Mary and “poor Edith”, blossoming romances, emotional heartbreaks and seemingly never-ending miseries of upstairs and downstairs habitants of Downton Abbey.

Asking myself the iconic “What is a weekend?”, I decided to take my friend Allison, a fellow fiction writer and another die-hard Downton Abbey fan, to the exhibition on Saturday morning to explore and review it for my Pastiche.today readers. I already had a Downton Abbey theme running on my blog, and I knew that this experience will be a perfect addition to the collection of my articles about the show and looks inspired by the Downton Abbey’s characters. You can click here to see the rest of the posts inspired by the famous PBS show.

 Mrs Patmore's kitchen. Downton Abbey exhibition in New York.

From the very beginning, the exhibition immerses you into the Crawleys’ household and really makes you feel that you are stepping into the Highclere Castle, where the PBS show was filmed. It all starts with the warm welcome from Carson and Mrs Hughes, and leads you through an impeccably and very true-to-detail executed kitchen of Mrs. Patmore, where she ruled over a handful of kitchen maids and footmen. Then you continue to explore the detailed sets and costumes of the servants’ quarters.

 Servants Quarters in Downton Abbey. PBS show exhibition
 Downton Abbey cast's costumes on display in New York.

The second and the third floor explores the lavish and beautiful world of Crawleys. It felt almost scandalous to peek at immaculately recreated Lady Mary’s bedroom, where I couldn’t help to avoid thinking of Kemal Pamuk. Then there is of course a grand dining room. Empty, but all set for an exquisite dinner party that could arrive any second. Every detail is intimately familiar and gives such a surreal feeling of invading Crawleys’ home that I half expected the Dowager Countess Violet to appear in front of me with a suppressed, but visible mark of a humorous disdain on her glorious face:  “Oh, roll up, roll up, visit an actual dining room! Complete with a real life table and chairs!”.

 Downton Abbey: The Exhibition.
 Lady Mary Bedroom
 20s dresses in Downton Abbey. Period drama costumes. Fashion of Downton Abbey.

Slowly walking and taking in all the magnificence of the masterfully designed space by Imagine Exhibtions, Allison and I especially enjoyed all the interactive and smartly placed insights of the historic events and changes that occurred in daily lives of British subjects from Post-Edwardian Era to the World War 1 and the Roaring Twenties. I can confidently and sincerely declare that even those who haven’t yet seen the Downton Abbey would enjoy all the valuable and entertaining information if they have even a remote interest in history!

 Wedding hair in Downton abbey
 Downton Abbey. Edit's Wedding gown
 Downton Abbey fashion.
 PBS Downton Abbey fashion styles.
 Sybil's harem pants in Downton Abbey.

And how can I forget to mention the costumes and accessories of the Downton Abbey’s ladies and gentlemen! The abundance of wedding laces, strict lines of riding costumes and enchanting glitz of all the glamorous 20s gowns absolutely stole my heart. Even though sometimes I like slipping into pajamas at a Netflix kind of night at home, I desperately long for the times when an afternoon tea in a garden required a pretty hat, and for a 6 pm dinner you had to change into an evening gown and wear long elegant gloves.

 20s fashion in Downton Abbey show.
 Downton Abbey Exhibition

Lord and Lady Granham, Mary, Edith and Sybil, Tom Branson, Mr, Barrow, Isobel, Daisy and all other beloved and sometimes despised characters of Downton Abbey already felt so real to every fan of the show, but the exhibition immersed us into their world like never before. Allison noted: “The section with the gramophone and the visual explanation of social hierarchy reminded me of the circumstances these characters faced and the changing landscape they had to navigate. The characters already felt real and three-dimensional. All of this information along with the costumes, sets, and  props made them even more alive!”

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition has exceeded my expectations and truly made me feel like I was a dear guest at the Crawley’s, or a curious phantom wondering through the halls and sumptuous rooms of the family that quite honestly feels in a way like my own!


Theme 39. Arabian Adventure. Four Seasons Dubai, Sea Fu review

 Ulia Ali - travel and fashion blogger, fiction writer. Review on Four Seasons Dubai at Jumeirah. Sea Fu restaurant.

Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach - Jet Set Oasis

Dubai has made a name for itself catering to the luxury-minded jet set crowd over the years, so it was only a matter of time before the Toronto-based Four Seasons Hotels group installed their beach-side desert offering: Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach (FS for short because #carpaltunnel).

For those of you who have not had the privilege of gracing the threshold of a Four Seasons, let me be the first to tell you that you are in for a treat should the opportunity arise to visit one of their 109 (and counting) properties worldwide.

 Gorgeous Four Seasons
 Four Seasons Dubai beach

Like many of their locations, the FS exudes opulence from the moment you approach the grounds. A sweeping paver stone driveway lined with trees lifts you up and away from the bustle of Jumeirah St. Through gaps in the greenery as your drive deeper, you will begin to notice the neutrally colored, Arabian influenced lines of the main building. Terraced construction incorporating terra-cotta and neutral tones is the perfect complement to the landscape, causing one to forget that a city of steel and glass is only 15 minutes away. If you look closely at the buildings, you may notice nods to the Arabian culture in the form of Horseshoe Arches and large, ornate doors standing between you and marble lined lobby of the FS.

 Four Seasons Dubai Review

As one would expect from a Four Seasons, the lobby is the crown jewel. Every Four Seasons seeks to make the entry way to each of their hotels a statement. Dubai is no exception. With an attention to detail second to none, the FS unabashedly flaunts the line between palace and hotel. Gold trim, deep brown hues, neutral tones, complex light fixtures comprised of baubles and more flowers than Versailles in spring, the FS transports you.

Now, our engagement on this particular adventure was at one of the FS’s dining venues known as Sea Fu. The FS mantra is about experiencing sensory environments. So, if you can accept that the lobby overwhelms, Sea Fu relaxes, much to the same degree.

 Sea Fu Dubai, UAE
 Free People dress in Dubai
 Sea Fu menu, Dubai

Set in a quasi-outdoor, beachside setting, Sea Fu serves an Asian-inspired menu amongst pillars of wood and beneath umbrellas and billowing fabric. I highly recommend sitting outside as the breeze in winter or early spring is still pleasant. However, should the sun be too harsh, the interior of Sea-Fu is a perfect alternative and a welcome respite from the sun. There is something about an ocean breeze and eating lunch on a terrace that is just…pleasing.

The staff at Sea Fu was, for lack of a better term, phenomenal. From the moment we approached the host stand to announce our arrival, we were treated with near-perfect deference (I say near-perfect because I have a penchant for restaurants that maintain a dress code that includes white gloves for their staff, but that is a story for another time). The truly standout quality however, ignoring the smiles, friendliness and attention of the staff was something that I believe every restaurant should take to heart and do: responsive and thoughtful guidance on the menu.

 Best sushi in Dubai
 Sea Fu Dubai, Four Seasons review by travel blogger Ulia Ali Pillmore
 Four Season's Sea Fu review by Ulia Ali Pillmore.
sea-fu-review

This may sound like a simple task, but the vast majority of restaurants do not ensure that their staff knows the menu.

When I patronize a restaurant I like to ask the waiter or waitress to pick items from the menu that they believe will constitute a meal representative of the quality and diversity of the restaurant. Few get this right. More often than not, the selections are representative, but not of what is good, but what is popular, or what they think I will like based on their judgement. For those of you who know me personally, you will know that I drink and I know things. But you will also know that I eat. I love good food.

Sea Fu understood this. Our waitress selected dishes that complemented one another, were varied enough in their execution to not leave us bored and diverse in flavor to the point that we had to throw in the proverbial towel for lack of capacity. It was beautifully executed and showcased what I love best in a restaurant: mastery of a variety of techniques. 

In the words of Paul Prudhomme: “You don't need a silver fork to eat good food.”. Fine by me, the FS (and Dubai) happens to prefer gold anyway.

Until next time,

- BAP

 Free People dress in Dubai
 Desert in Dubai. Sea Fu at Four Seasons review.
 Lotus Flower Sea Fu
 Sea Fu review
 Impressive deserts of the world
 Dubai food - Sea Fu Four Seasons review

P.S. For the curious among you, here is what we had for lunch:

Small Plates: Edamame, Spicy Chicken

Sushi: Yuzu Tempura Roll

Raw Bar: Hokkaido Scallops

Main: Seared Black Cod

Dessert: Mochi Selection, Lotus Flower

 Four Seasons Dubai

SHOP MY LOOk:

My Dress - Free People (it comes in 4 colors and it is my favorite dress EVER!)

Bag - Louis Vuitton (It was a Christmas gift from my hubby)

Jewelry - Sequin Jewelry (My favorite Jewelry company! Everything is so gorgeous)


Theme 38: Exploring Williamsburg. Cinématographie

 Exploring Williamsburg by Ulia Ali. Leopard Jumpsuit.

I seriously should be hired to be a location scout for films as I always find the most interesting and not overused spots for my photographs. For the Theme 38 I decided to Explore Williamsburg and shoot my another PrettyMissy look.

 FSP heels and PrettyMissy leopard jumpsuit.

I paired this leopard jumpsuit with a red beret from Urban Outfitters (similar one for cheaper price HERE) and one of the most exquisite pair shoes I ever had - Femmes Sans Peur that remind me of Assyrian and Egyptian temple art.

 Femmes-sans-peur
 Ulia Ali wearing FSP heels.
 Ulia Ali in Williamsburg. YSL, leopard jumpsuit and red beret look.
 Ulia Ali blogger in Brooklyn, Williamsburg
 Ulia Ali NYC blogger wearing Femmes Sans Peur.
 Ulia Ali in Williamsburg
 Femmes Sand Peur heels
 Red Beret look by Ulia Ali.

Theme 36: Holiday Season. Where to get hottest boots for winter?

 where to get hottest winter boots? 

Every winter I face the same problem - where to get the best boots for winter? Of course they have to be warm. And comfortable. And super chic and trendy and durable. And also they have to go with all my outerwear! Not an easy task, isn't it?

This Week I will be adding the hottest boots you can and SHOULD get this season! And it starts with the most comfortable wedge biker boots from Loriblu. They are edgy, which I love and has all these amazing details: buckles, chains, decorated wedge.. They are now on sale on Sentiero Shoes!

 Loriblu Boots
 NYC blogger in a cafe in Brooklyn.
 Blogger in Brooklyn in Loriblu boots.

I have also linked other great pairs of booties below. Enjoy and DM me on Instagram your favorite pairs of boots this winter!