Paris by Cinthia Contreras

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I have to admit I have been drawn to many countries and European ones haven’t really been in the mix BUT fashion week is always an exception to me and decided to take the leap and go to Paris. I couldn’t be happier about this decision, now I understand why people are so in love with this city! Everything about it is just a sight for the eyes; the buildings, the flowers everywhere, its wide streets, are just lovely and romantic. What I have seen in New York is just a miniature version of Paris majesties edifications and gardens.

I always have the hard duty of attending shows and of course touring around even if that means changing outfits several times a day and being exhausted all day long.

Novotel Paris Centre Gare Montparnasse

As soon as I landed I hit a show and then had a pleasant and luxurious afternoon tea at The Peninsula hotel. Towers of delicious pastries, chocolates and salty little dishes to nibble paired with rosé champagne was just what I needed it to forget the jetlag and enjoy the great adventure ahead.

During this trip I had the opportunity to stay at Novotel Paris Centre Gare Montparnasse, I’m a fan of this hotel chain, because they are modern and well located. Just like in Dubai my room had a view of the Tour Eiffel from the balcony, yesss a big open balcony! So bad it was cold, because otherwise that balcony would have been a wine and breakfast spot.

Another change of look and show later, I found myself in a night cab with my friends around la rue du Montagne, plaza Vendome, hotel Costes, fumoir restaurant, la tour Eiffel and a little bar I never learned the name.

The Peninsula

The rest is history! Louvre museum, Notre-Dame, Siena, Montmartre at night, the opera, Arc de Triomphe, Champs-élysée, Place de la Concorde, Le Marais, Centre Georges Pompidou, Moulin Rouge, Latin Quarter, Place de la Bastille, Place Vendome, Trocadero, were some of the places I was able to visit but Paris is overwhelming, too much to do and see, several trips are necessary to be able to finish and visit all the museums and galleries this rich city has to offer.

Obviously I have to go back and when I do I’ll visit the Yves Saint Laurent museum, Rodin museum, enjoy the Louvre, Les Invalides, Tuileries Garden, Sacré‑Cœur, Jardin du Luxembourg, Ile de la cité, pantheón, and everything else!

  Feta cheese and tomato tart (Halle Quattre)

Feta cheese and tomato tart (Halle Quattre)

If you are in a diet you can forget about it, eating there is a pleasure, I had most of my breakfasts at Halle Quatre and the rest everywhere else, keep in mind that a cappuccino is more expensive than a glass of wine….

ALBUM


MIAMI: SOUTH BEACH by Cinthia Contreras

 MY PHOTO: SOUTH BEACH, MIAMI

MY PHOTO: SOUTH BEACH, MIAMI

Usualmente mi deficinión de viajar es planificar un millón de actividades y volver a casa aún mas cansada, pero esta vez quise hacerlo diferente y aunque compré mi paquete de viaje solo dos días antes de irme, disfruté cada segundo de lo que llamé mi viaje de relajación y experimentación.

Conocer esa sensación de levantarme y salir a la playa sola y respirar yodo, y seguir así por las que fueron casi las 24 horas de ese lunes, porque como habran seguido mis historias en instagram, el domingo me quedé con amigas compartiendo. Me depositaron en Hollywood Beach, esta playa está mas al norte de Miami, nada glamorosa pero tranquila y agradable, luego nos fuimos almorzar/cenar sushi a Urban Sushi and Thai, en este restaurante preparan los rollos más grandes que me he comido en mi vida y ya por la noche tarammm a rumbear por downtown Miami, pasamos por  The Wharf, el “hot spot” y terminamos en “El Patio” este último un tanto escandaloso para mi gusto. Volviendo al lunes, me fui al hotel, perfectamente localizado frente a la maravillosa playa de south beach, mis ojos tenían un tiempo largo sin ver una playa tan hermosa, pero eso sí fuego! No se podía ni caminar en la arena, cuando no soporté mas el calor me fui al gimnasio un rato hasta que refrescase lo sufuciente para poder quedarme tranquila disfrutando del sol y así me la pasé por dos días hasta mi regreso a New York.

Le temo al sol y por ellos me llevé un protector solar de 50 para la cara y uno en spray de 30 para el cuerpo, que me retocaba cada vez que salía de la playa. De tanto en tanto me cubría completa con la toalla para no insolarme. Si el sol está demasiado intenso lo mas conveniente es retirarse hasta que baje la intensidad.

En cuanto a atuendos, opté por piezas ligeras, simples y fáciles de acomodar en un bulto de mano, siiii no lo puedo creer, viajé con un bulto de mano, me tocó planificar muy bien lo que me iba a llevar (todavía tengo mucho que aprender en esa materia), llevé espadrillas planas y de plataforma, una cartera de pajilla, vestidos ligeros de Raga, tres sets de trajes de baño, todos de una pieza, un cover up tipo camisa que no me quité jamas y una clutch.

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COMPRAR LOS LOOKS

Escaping Routine: The Williamsburg Hotel by Cinthia Contreras

 Williamsburg Hotel

Williamsburg Hotel

Do you ever feel like running away during the week and break the routine? Well, I do all the time! I used to be a zero routine tolerant but my life New York, has taught me, that to be able to reach goals and keep an organized and healthy life in every sense you have to create a routine and discipline yourself. That in my experience keep you afloat and “being lost free”, which can happen easily when you live in a tough city like New York. This is the life I have been leading for a few years now and is working for me, so not complaints about it, but I have to admit that time to time we need a break free from our own rules and live a little bit, which is why we chose to on a Wednesday stay for one night at The Williamsburg Hotel in Brooklyn, do our weekly photo-shoot there and enjoy from our balcony an amazing view of the world most famous skyline.

This small hotel boutique is cozy and has this warm feeling like, mmm how to explain it, friendly yes friendly. The balconies are very close from each other, and it can lead to a nice conversation and cheer moment with your neighbor. The room décor feels, fresh, modern and artistic, I personally loved the impressive roof lamp and the bathroom OH MY, a delight for the eyes!

The hotel is pretty new so for now they only have one restaurant “Harvey” with a menu that range from pizza to a tasty Dry Aged 16oz NY Strip Steak, accompanied with crack potatoes, charred lemon, roasted garlic and jalapeños, ahhh and organic wine. Their cheesecake is not like regulars cheesecakes, this one is more like a soft lovely cream but my favorite the Vainilla & Brandy Poached Pear! omgggg divine!

The Williamsburg Hotel is located near bars, restaurants, stores and Bedford avenue (Williamsburg most iconic area).

The enjoyment didn’t last for long but hey enough to feel new, inspired and with a desire for more!

See you in my next adventure.  

  Room View

Room View

Philadelphia For A Day by Cinthia Contreras

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Magic Gardens

Philadelphia

A two hours bus ride and 20 dollars is all you need to go to this colorful and vibrant city, replete of murals that reminded me of the African heritage in the caribbean. Glass, mosaics, plastic bottles, plates, utensils, etc are some of the materials used to create these impressive walls, that will leave hallucinating every step of the away. The top and center of all this art is the Magic Gardens a nonprofit art museum and gallery space located in Isaiah Zagar’s visionary art environment at 1020 South Street.

Spanning half a block, the museum includes an immersive outdoor art installation and indoor galleries. Zagar created the space using nontraditional materials such as folk art statues, found objects, bicycle wheels, colorful glass bottles, hand-made tiles, and thousands of glittering mirrors. The site is enveloped in visual anecdotes and personal narratives that refer to Zagar’s life, family, and community, as well as references from the wider world such as influential art history figures and other visionary artists and environments.

PMG has become a unique Philadelphia destination and hosts educational opportunities and diverse public programming to thousands of visitors each year.

Elfreth's Alley is a historic street in Philadelphia which is referred to as "Our nation's oldest residential street," dating to 1702. As of 2012, there are 32 houses on the street, which were built between 1728 and 1836. 

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Lunch Time

By a suggestion of a friend we headed to a restaurant called Le Parc, we didnt eat there but the surroundings are spectaculars, is like going to Paris minus the flight ticket!

We spent a lot of time walking around looking for places to shoot. From the Old City to the center and the feeling of every corner changes, it goes from artistic, to historical, to parisian, in a very small radius of distance, which made this trip very interesting and left me wanting to go back soon. 

MONTREAL by Cinthia Contreras

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Mount Royal

Shame on me! 7 years living in New York and I never went to Canada! But finally, as a way to reboot and refresh from my crazy and stressful life in New York, I decided to plan a quick escape to Montreal, a city I have heard nothing but amazing stories about. And people were right, Montreal is pretty cool and different, an old city full of history and religion which gives you the sensation of being next to Christopher Columbus or Queen Elizabeth. At certain moments I almost expected Napoleon to come and have breakfast with me! The street names were so French and sophisticated - “ Saint Laurent street” was my favorite jajaja - Notre dame and of course a lot more I can’t even pronounce or even write without looking at them.

I was incredibly surprised that over there the language that predominates is French not English! There were people that literally didn’t speak any English! The street signs are in French so you have to be incredibly attentive and read the GPS carefully to avoid getting lost or miss exits (which of course HAPPENED).   

My journey started with looking for a nice hotel with easy access and close to all my points of interest, like Mount Royal, the botanical garden, old Montreal and of course bars and restaurants. HÔTEL PLACE D’ARMES filled all those requirements, housed in three gorgeous 19th-century neoclassical buildings opposite the breathtaking Notre-Dame Basilica and a stone’s throw from the Old Port and Convention Centre. The Place d’Armes really is a treasure which embodies the city’s finest architectural traditions and close to everything!

LE PLACE D'ARMES HOTEL & SUITES

Old Montreal is a vibrant neighborhood, so different from New York in a good way, music everywhere, happy people, different music genres (“musiquita” included) and amazingggggg foodddd including THE dish to try, poutine which consists of French fries topped with cheese and gravy. I ate so much and so fast that I ended up feeling sick - but happily sick! And of course, there were so many landscapes I will never forget. It reminded me La Zona Colonial on my island.

An extremely short trip, that left me craving more and toying with the idea of going back before the summer ends. We’ll see!

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TWO COUNTRIES ONE ADVENTURE: DUBAI & OMAN by Cinthia Contreras

   The Palm, photo by me

The Palm, photo by me

And there I was again planning another trip to the country that stole my heart, with its vibrant city life and beautiful blue water beaches just minutes away from its metropolis Dubai keeps attracting me. This time around I decided to plan the trip carefully and with enough time ahead to really think and find out what else besides assisting the fashion week of course I wanted to do. A trip planned from the take off to the landing led, my niece, friend and I to have the most exciting and perfect experience ever.

The first task was to find a hotel! During my second trip to Dubai I stayed at a hotel around the Al Barsha area, which I really liked due to its close proximity to the beach and Burj Al Arab, a neighborhood surrounded by affordable beauty parlors, markets and small restaurants. So my first option was to make contact with that hotel which offered me a stay at their sister hotel right around the corner Novotel Al Barsha, a modern and beautiful structure with a young vibe, perfect for those traveling for business. The room provided was so amazing and big that we couldn’t believe our eyes, equipped with a desk, a dinning table with 4 chairs and a living room separated from the bedroom and restroom. The bathroom has two sinks, a bathtub and a shower. The room doesn't have concrete walls to not disturb the natural beautiful light coming from the sun and the view of Burj Al Arab. And the staff are so incredibly attentive and friendly that you feel at home.

THE H HOTEL DUBAI

Our first adventure was a relaxing and dreamy dinner at Scape inside nothing more and nothing less than Burj Al Arab, before taking off for Arab Fashion Week! Seeing this building from the distance is one thing but being inside is a must do if you have the chance. We reacted like kids at Disney World, but with cameras, cellphones and high heels. The sunset and the way the sun rests on the horizon is just surreal. Long chats and a few cocktails later, we had to leave the magic kingdom and go to the first day of fashion week, but not before squeezing in another reservation for the following day.

For our second day the plan was to spend a few hours at the beach, more specifically at Cove Beach. By coincidence we chose to go on a Ladies day, filled with rosé, sun, paddle boards and my beloved beach. 

Our third day was a day I’m going to cherish forever and will never forget! The day started with a visit to Parkers for breakfast at Dubaimall, and then to finally tick one item on my bucket list, a HELICOPTER tour over a super city! What an experience to watch The Palm and The World from above! Such creativity to build a resort area. Thank you again Helidubai for making this possible and for treating us so well!

NOVOTEL AL BARSHA

The fourth day came and between the jetlag and lack of sleep I couldn’t even wake up! I proceeded with the check out from super cool Novotel and moved to my new provisional home The H Hotel, my lordddd absolutely breathtaking, the décor of this hotel is the definition of Arabic meets this century, dark and sexy, with tantalizing perfumes coming from all over the corners and enough restaurants and lounges that you wouldn’t really need to leave the hotel.

The hallways to the rooms are like an entrance to another dimension with its trefoil and semi-circular arches; my room had a beautiful view to the pool and a bathroom you want to live in.

MANDARA SPA

That afternoon as part of my finally "lets rest" day I had a wonderful and necessary 60 minutes Balinese massage at Mandara Spa, accompanied by a few minutes in the sauna and an hour of laying down at their relaxing lounge drinking tea, eating dry fruits and engaging on instagram.

Our next day consisted of a trip to Oman for snorkeling. This country has the most interesting view I have ever seen and the heat is so strong it could melt metal.

I learned about a village with a population of 250 people that can only be accessed by boat, next to an exclusive hotel that consisted in what looked from the distance like a complex of big grey and modern houses. Being able to go snorkeling in another ocean was pretty amazing, even though we could barely see anything under the water except for a bunch of hedgehogs by the rocks not very happy with this encounter, I pretty much freaked out and started swimming the other direction.

And then day to leave arrived. Not that I was very happy about that but New York awaits with its complexities and complications.

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THREE YEARS LATER: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC by Cinthia Contreras


Despues de tres años distanciada de mis dos amores mi madre y las playas de mi isla bonita llegó el día en que finalmente pude darme una escapada de 10 días a tomarme un descanso, ser añoñada por mi amada madre y dejarme acariciar por la tibias y maravillosas playas del caribe , que a pesar del huracan que azotó la isla durante mi estadía y se llevó consigo el usual azul turquesa de las aguas de la costa, estas no perdieron su encanto. Largas caminatas por las nuevas plazas, visitas a restaurantes recién establecidos y el interminable deseo de comer y saborear nuevamente el estilo único culinario caribeño que había olvidado formaron los protagonistas durante calmados y reflexivos días junto a una madre que todavía me ve como su baby doll.