Detail of the Week: Madewell Sloane Satchel

Some people collect bags and some people collect shoes, but I don't feel like I have a particular affinity for either. I've developed a much more utilitarian approach to my accessories and after a series of impulse purchases, I've learned the importance of investing in quality materials. This makes the most sense when it comes to bags and shoes. I use my purse every single day, and I'm especially hard on my shoes (for some reason). 

This is my second Madewell bag and I'm absolutely smitten. Last year I treated myself to the Lovelock Satchel, which is a bit larger with one more pocket. I spotted this bag in the Madewell store on Walnut St. on Black Friday, and after I checked online and saw that it was sold out I convinced my mother to let me buy it and put it away until the holidays. I secretly pulled it out of its wrapping and preemptively used it for an interview, but as soon as I got home I tucked it away until Christmas and pretended to be surprised when I opened it.

I find that I don't use the front pocket, because it's rather inconvenient to open, but it's large enough to fit a wallet, phone, keys, headphones, lip balm, pen and a small planner with room to spare. That extra room is often taken up by a packet of almonds. Just in case you were wondering.


Buda + Pest (Part II)

Our antics from the night before coupled with the relentless heat made us decide to take our second day in Budapest at a slower pace. We wandered through town, along the river, until we needed to retreat into some stores with air conditioning. Even though the apartment our hostel was hosted in was stunning, with tall ceilings and beautiful moldings, we were roughing it without AC.

It turned out that my favorite treat from Prague, a trdelník, was also called a kürtőskalác in Hungary. This one was the best I ever had, period. Imaging a hybrid between a donut and a croissant, wrapped around a wooden spool where the outside became crispy before it was doused in cinnamon sugar.

At the end of the day, before we caught our night train home, we stopped at a craft fair that was being held at what I think was a local university. I picked up a couple of really cool printed, with images printed on pages from a Hungarian dictionary, and a pendant as souvenirs for family friends back home.

If I learned anything from this trip, it was to pay up for a full bed on a night train. If I thought the cramped bunker I had to share with 5 other girls was tough, I was in for a rude awakening. Our train coming home was overbooked and so we were demoted to a pair of upright seats for the 7-hour journey home. I can confirm that it was just as bad as it sounds.

At times I regret only being able to visit Budapest for such a short amount of time, but I choose to see it as an opportunity to pay it a visit again in the future.


Buda + Pest (Part I)

Budapest Keleti Station
Heroes Square
Just last night I met up with a couple of friends who spent the summer abroad with me. We picked a local beergarden, or biergarten, themed restaurant to pay homage to the foreign adventures that made us closer friends. Of course I was feeling all nostalgic and just a teensy bit tipsy, so as soon as I got home I started to flip through all of my photos from the summer. At that point, I realized I had forgotten to even write about most of my trips.

On our last weekend in Prague, a friend and myself took a train to Budapest, Hungary for the weekend. The city was beautiful and I refused to let the oppressive heat or the uncomfortable night train ride ruin the joy of exploring a new city. I don't remember where I heard this, but apparently Keleti Station is modeled after Gare du Nord in Paris, and it's the site of quite a few movie scenes as a stand-in for the Parisian location.

Budapest reminded me so much of Prague, in the architecture, the food and even the language. I spoke no Hungarian and neither did my friend, but we recognized that most people were using the word "prosim," a commonly used Czech work that meant pardon and you're welcome among other things.

The courtyard of the building where our hostel was located
Our train arrived at about 8 in the morning, so once we checked into our adorable hostel, we were off on our first day of exploratory adventures! We walked all the way to Heroes Square, but by the time we reached the monuments we were ready for a break from the heat. We coerced a clerk at the national art museum to give us the European Union student discount, and we took a respite from the heat inside the museum's collections.

City Park was home to scenic lake full of swans a boaters, a beautiful castle, and most importantly, ample shade. Did I mention it was hot? Because it was really hot.

That night we went to a couple of strange little bars on an island in the middle of the Danube. One, a beergarden called Wnderlnd, hosted resident artists who took turns redesigning its interior. When we arrived, the entryway was made out of bicycle frames and the central lamp post was surrounded by a fan of crash-test dummy limbs.

From the island in the center of the river, we could see both sides of the city, Buda and Pest, illuminated against the night sky.