Friday, June 28, 2013

My 1st Stitch Fix - Need your help!

Posted By: Leah

 I was sooo excited to come home to find a box in my mailbox with my very first Stitch Fix! What is Stitch Fix? It's an online company where you fill out a profile telling your size, the types of styles you like, then send links to your Pinterest boards, LinkedIn profile page, blog, whatever you think they should know about you. Then a stylist personally selects five items (clothing, jewelry, whatever you specify you want) and mails to you! You only have 3 days to review, try on, take photos (like I did!) and then send back what you don't want. It's $20 stylist fee, but they take $20 off if you choose to keep an item. AND if you keep all 5 they take 25% off everything. Pretty good deal... right?

Well... I'm not going to lie... I was curious, but also skeptical. I mean really... I don't even know my own style. How is a stranger going to pick out stuff that looks good on me? Well guess what you guys... she did! I'm still shocked over what I got! I took photos of everything so you guys can see and also help me pick what to keep.

 I opened up the box and this is what I saw... a letter from my Stitch Fix stylist and the absolutely most perfect, amazing, adorable top ever right under it! I could not wait to put it on!

But first I read the letter because I didn't want to accidentally mess this up and have to pay for the entire box or something.
In my note to my stylist, I indicated I was from North Carolina (I did a little research and heard if you don't specify the Stitch Fix people will send winter clothes and stuff year round). I said I wanted shorts and tops that covered my arms. I thought it was really nice that the note mentioned that there weren't any shorts this time, but I should request them again.

ANyhow, on to the cutest shirt ever! It is the THML Stellah Lace Stripe Short-Sleeve Top Do you see the buttons in the back? You guys, I was in love with this top the moment I saw it!
Oh yeah, another thing they do is on the tag, they include a note on one side with photos showing suggestions of how to wear the clothing item. Then on the back the tell you where to wear it (like to work, or a night out, etc). This one can go anywhere! 

 I put it on and... well.... I don't know I mean it's sooo cute. Like just crazy cute. But the sleeves are a little tight for me. I'm sure I could pull them down a little or do 2 seconds of cardio and it not be a problem. But I'm not totally sold on this top because of that reason.

Next is the Angie Delcan Crochet Insert Floral Print Top. I also really, really liked this one the moment I took it out of the box. I don't think I own any orange, but the shade is nice and the crochet is really cute. Not really a fan of the mandarin collar, but not a big deal either way.


Here's their suggestion of how to wear it... jeans again.  And I took a picture of the back of the card with how they described where to wear it:

And here it is on me! I kind of love it. 

Ok, next item I took out I was like ummm.... did somebody's grandma send this? It's the Nick & Mo Becket Multi Colored Dot Cardigan. 

On the card, they did make it look cute... but... I wasn't sure how it would look on me...

AND... I don't hate it, but it's a little more 'mature' than the look I am going for in my life right now...lol. AKA I'm 33 but sometimes old people think I'm around 25 and I'm okay with that :) 
But check out the necklace! That was in the box too, but I'll get to that in a minute. 

 So the next item in the box was this dress. It's the Lansome Beth Abstract ZigZag 3/4 Sleeve Dress. I have soooo many black/white dresses like this for work. The knit was actually super soft, though.  But I was not sure how I would like it, thinking it would be identical to 1/2 my closet.

 Yeah yeah yeah I get it, wear it to work with a blazer or out with heels or a pop of color...

HEY NOW! Can we just say this dress was SHORT! NOT  like what's in my closet. Yikes! I added my own belt, but dannngggg... Yeah this is what we call NSFW. I kept the necklace on for my 'pop of color' lol.

 And here's the necklace! 41 Hawthorn Mini Circle Cabochon Bib Necklace. It is $32 which I think is a little high. I mean maybe not, I don't ever buy jewelry, but I didn't think it was especially unique.

SOOO What do you think? Should I keep any of it or send it all back? I am a fan of the orange tunic, but what do I know? I could look super awful and there's no one here to tell me. (For my pictures I set up my camera with the timer.)

I put together a poll for your help. You can vote for everything or nothing... just let me know because by the time this post goes live, I'll only have 2 days left to decide... THANKS!!!

And do you want to order a Stitch Fix box for yourself? It's actually a blast and I was really surprised I liked anything in there at all. I know my stylist actually read my suggestions and gave me a few great things she knew I'd love, and sent me some items for fun for me to try I probably never would have put on in the store. 

Which of my Stitch Fix items should I keep?
 
 
 
 
 
  
pollcode.com free polls 

PS For fun I posted the above 5 items on my Blog's FB page, and 4 seems to be the winner! I might need to specify that I am looking for something that is functional... work... weekend... fancy... casual. Not so sure #4 fits the bill. But excited you all liked me showing some leg ;)

Oh and, I have some outtakes. I added some fireworks because seriously... why do I think it's so cute for me to do the side-ways upwards look for pictures? 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Budapest Shopping | Stitch Fix

Posted By: Leah
Remember yesterday's post when I was shocked about how super delicious the food was in Budapest? Today's post is about how amazing the clothes stores in Budapest are... and for the record... I'm totally not a fan of shopping. But just like everything else, Europe makes even the little things like going to the store super awesome and fun.

So when normal people go to Budapest, they tour fancy castles, look at cathedrals, learn about a post-communist country's history; educational stuff like that right? Not me. I was there for work and had a total of maybe 4 hours total to myself when I was there that week. Budapest is known for their baths, you know.... like a palace with natural springs and I heard they are like a fancy spa. Beats me! because even though I thought about checking one out, I ended up going shopping in my little bit of free time instead!

As soon as my conference had ended and I had the final group of attendees on the bus to the airport, I  started packing items up and filling out customs forms to get everything back to the US. It took me until almost 6:30pm but I got it all done and had a couple hours to myself in Budapest... hooray!

My hotel was right on Fashion Street, the shopping area of Budapest, so what better place for me to spend my last little bit of time? First I hit up Zara, which is sort of like Loft mixed with Forever 21.

As soon as I left Zara guess what? total downpour :( I mean seriously... can I get 2 hours of nice weather? So I went back to my hotel room kinda excited about what I got, but also a little bummed because of the weather. 
I ended up getting three scarves and four tops at Zara. The style was really fun and colorful. 
I had tried on everything except for the one shirt with the Asian girl on it. I mean the shirt was adorable and I had tried on enough stuff to know I'm a medium in European fashion. so I got the Asian girl shirt back to the hotel and just about fell on the ground laughing when I realized what it said "DFTBA" "Don't forget to be awesome." BAHAHA best shirt everrr!!!


Thank goodness the rain stopped shortly after that and I ran right back out for more shopping! I was so thrilled with my purchases and couldn't wait to see  other tores in Budapest! This time I put on jeans so I didn't look like I was in the middle of working lol! Plus my other clothes were soaked form the storm.
The tops on the upper row are from Promod, it's a French store in Budapest that I actually remembered shopping in before when I was in Paris. The bottom shirts are from a realllly inexpensive store that I totally forgot the name of, but they also had cute, bright, fun clothes. 

I got back to my room and was like oh yikes... in my little shopping spree, somehow I had 12 tops, 3 jackets and three scarves. I had unloaded some of the items I packed in my suitcase, but  I had to do creative Tetrus-style packing to get them all in my suitcase and back to the US. 

I know I could have looked up the exchange rate on my phone for Hungarian Forents and the VAT, but I figured it was all pretty inexpensive, I mean I sort of remembered 1,000 Forent bill = $2 US, and all the shirts were around 9,999 Forents, so that was a good deal, right? UMM yeah. no.

I pulled up my checking account when I got home and the shirts were a little more than I had thought, but whatever. I mean HI? I was in Budapest. Who knows if I'll ever go back. And I legit needed some new tops for summer and for work and that's what I got. So not really mad about any of it.

Another thing I got in Budapest is the bag above! I took this picture on my bed in my room and omg it looks photoshopped like I cropped out the background, right!? ANyhow the bag's amazing. It's really big and can hold my laptop and then the plaid bag inside is something I honestly have always needed. It doubles as the lining but also has a strap that clips on it and is long enough to be an across the body bag! In Europe, all the girls carry purses of course, but they carry them across their body. Not really an american style but I know it's done for safety. I was sooo happy when I was given this bag at my conference as a thank you. They knew what they were doing shopping for me :) It was absolutely perfect for me to take shopping that evening. 

So that's it for my Budapest posts. It was an awesome trip and I'm totally bummed I didn't get to really enjoy the city and relax like a tourist. I was there for work and truly, I worked just about the entire time.
Here's a quick shot I took on the phone as I flew away from Budapest. That's the Danube river, it separates Buda and Pest. Budapest is actually two cities separated by the river. I was in Pest the entire time, and I heard there was cool historical stuff in Buda, but I never went there so I guess I'll never know for sure.

Next week I'll post on a couple things I know you guys have been dying to hear about... how I ended up as a 'global event planner.' Like you know, how I got to where I am (I"ll give you a hint: it's networking. LinkedIn specifically). And also I've taken 4 trips on the airplane to various places in the US and Europe in the past three months, so I"ll do another post on travel/packing/ all the trips I wish someone had told me before I had to learn by experience. Anything else I can answer for you about work/travel? 

PS- Speaking of shopping... I have been off the blog game every since I started this job. So forgive me if everybody's already signed up for this and it's like last year's Birch Box already... 


BUT... have you heard about Stitch Fix? I seriously LOVE getting my monthly Ipsy glam bag (here's my most recent one... I mean omg best $10 a month I spend seriously!!!)

Anyhow, so on the heels of my getting rad clothes in Budapest, getting an amazing glam bag this month from Ipsy in the mail... I somehow came across Stitch Fix and signed up.

It's another subscription thing where they send you surprises in the mail. But this time it's for clothes. for this one they go through your pinterest, twitter, whatever you give them, in addition to filling in sizing and taking a survey of styles you like. 

ANYHOW the deal with this one is it's $20/month stylist fee. Not cheap, but I need nice clothes, always have gav, so I never get to shop and need a stylist (maybe!). They send jewelry, outerwear, jeans, dresses, pretty much whatver you specify and stuff they come up with. They send style suggestions and even a personal note on how to wear the stuff.

SO you get 5 items and if you want to keep any, the $20 is deducted from that item's cost. And if you keep all 5, they take 25% off. So the downside is these clothes are 'nice.' I'm not sure on the brands, but it's not exactly Target / Old Navy if you get what I'm saying. I don't even know if Stitch Fix is for me, but I figured it's worth a shot. So if you have an extra $20 laying around and need clothes, but never can shop and need a stylist to straight up pick stuff out/deliver it to you, sign up with me!  

I fully think I might cancel after this first month... but what if it's amazing and it's what's been missing in my life. I mean I'd hire a chef to cook my food, a housekeeper to clean my house, might as well try out a stylist to stalk me online and pick out clothes for me? And yeah, it's a referral thing (as all this stuff is). So thanks in advance if you sign up. for real tell me if you like it or not also.

And yes, duh, I'll somehow have a total photo shoot even if the clothes suck and I look awful. I'll be out $20 not you. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The food in Budapest... gorgeous, amazing, unexpected!

Posted By: Leah
My absolute favorite thing about Budapest... was... wait for it... the food.

Shocking, right? I don't know about your city, but my town doesn't have a Hungarian restaurant. Actually the name of the country ... "Hungary"... doesn't really make you think of delicious food.
But everything I ate in Budapest was sooo good and beautifully presented at every meal!

Those Europeans have style for sure!

My very first meal in Budapest was lunch. I arrived around noon, cabbed it to my hotel, and then went out exploring (get caught up on my fancy 5 star hotel post from yesterday here).

The one thing I knew about the food about Budapest before I arrived was that they do a lot of meats and sausages. I'm not a vegetarian, but I don't prepare meat at home, and eat a mostly non-meat diet.

So as I walked around the streets close to my hotel, I fully expected to see lines of butcher shops with linked sausages and upside down pigs in the windows. Not at all true! Ok, for the record, yes... the first deli I found did have rows of sausages and peppers, but I kept on walking and so glad I did!

I saw a kitty in the window drinking milk from a straw and had to go in! The name is Cserpes Tejivo and it is the absolutely most adorable milk bar ever! Yes... a milk bar! I didn't know this was a real thing but it is! I ordered cocoa milk with cream and a sandwich . No one working there spoke english (however the website is in english... tricky!) and they didn't even accept euro's. It was hungarian forents only for the currency and I handed them a 1,000 forent bill and got back 5 coins (later I learned my lunch was only around $2 USD!!!) 

And no, I honestly have no clue what was on the sandwich. It was the meat, and lettuce. Some kind of flavored sour cream, and shredded beats! With milk! Sounds really weird, but it was delicious... not to mention I was STARVING. 

Inside the milk bar were some chairs, and there was outside seating too, but everyone there seemed to be with their cute, Euro-Hipster friends and so I opted to take my meal to go and sat on a bench by myself. It was okay, I just watched kids play in a fountain and the overly friendly pigeons hoping I'd drop a crumb for them. 

Actually... let me back up a bit. I had not had a real meal since.. yikes.. days before. I had a 2pm flight from my city so I left work the day before around noon. I got into DC the day before around 3pm, then had a 5pm overnight flight to Brussels. I was served dinner on the DC to Brussels flight, then a bunch of hours later, they turned on all the lights and gave us breakfast (I snapped a quick shot below... my flight plan, arriving into Europe and some fruit and o.j.)
Needless to say, I was super hungry for the milk bar mystery sandwich for sure. 

After I returned to the hotel after having my Budapest lunch, I checked my email and my European co-workers were at the hotel and we met up... like for the first time ever! We chatted for a while and then we all got ready for dinner!!!

I mentioned this is yesterday's post, but the Danube river was flooding all over Europe and had flooded in Budapest as well. One co-worker insisted we all eat down by the river anyway and I'm so glad we did! We found the most amazing outdoor restaurant called Kapatia etterem. Live gypsy musicians serenaded us and we ordered almost everything on the menu. It was so much fun! 
Pictured is some of the appetizers we ordered, notice the meats, however, there were tons of good vegetables and the light green peppers are actually paprika! I always thought it was some red tasteless spice that went on deviled eggs, but you guys... paprika's the bomb.com. True story!
Imagine a pepper less hot than a banana pepper, but more flavorful than say a red or green pepper. 

Anyhow after that we walked back, through a lovely street festival and we all wanted to stop for gelato... it is serious business there! But we were just too full. 

I was hoping to get a good night's rest... everybody always says to prevent jet lag just stay up the whole first day you're in Europe or take a max. 1 hr nap, go to sleep at a normal time and you will wake up adjusted. Um false. I couldn't go to sleep, then I woke up on my own at 6am. It was good, because I had to pack up and switch to the hotel where I would be holding my conference. BUT the 'European plan' breakfast was included at my hotel for 25 euros a night ($33.18 USD) and you KNOW I was getting in on that... It was at ES Bisztro & Terrace at the Kempinski Hotel. 
For the record, I don't really like breakfast. At all. I don't really like eggs or breakfast meats or cereal or whatever else people eat for breakfast.  Well here's the thing, I don't like American breakfast. But I LOVE European breakfast... OMG!!! YOU GUYS>>> It was AMAZING! 

So breakfast in Budapest was this buffet, which sounds lame... but hear me out. It had a HUGE selection of fruits, pastries, yogurts, breads, cold meats, cheeses, and a hot selection of potatoes, tomatoes, and everything that breakfast should be!!!

I became hooked, I'm talking obsessed with the paprika chili paste (bottom of above photo). I put that stuff on potatoes, on bread and cheese and it is straight heaven!!!  (yes, I found it in a market before I left and brough home 5 jars in my suitcase. true story). 


The other thing they are super big on in Hungary is honey. Who knew!? So in addition to the zillions of amazing, delicious fresh breads and pastries, they had crazy large selections of honey. EVEN A REAL HONEY COMB!  I was geeking out!


And admittedly, I had set up a breakfast meeting because that's how I roll. Fortunately the dude I was eating with also recognized the awesomeness of this breakfast and didn't hate on me for my 5 trips to the buffet and obsessive picture taking hahah. I would fly all the way back to Hungary just to eat breakfast again at ES Bisztro. I know my photos/description don't do it justice. It was so beyond amazing. 

AND.... I actually ended up (after a few more meetings and a pile of work for the conference) not having lunch and it was around 2pm. That same dude from breakfast (also an event planner like me, but more big time) had the room service people bring us lunch so we had a working lunch. I ordered another sandwich because I was obsessed with the good bread (and meat!!) and he ordered... wait for it... pate! (you know, goose liver). I was like eew gross sick. But he let me try some on toast with this fig jelly and it was actually pretty amazing! I mean yes it tasted like straight up fat off a goose's liver. But it's sorta like sushi... I mean it seems so wrong to eat.. but tastes so good. And now I'm officially a pate fan.


So the conference officially kicked off that day and we had a welcome reception with Hungarian dancers and a whole pile of food. The servers and banquet staff at the Le Meridien Budapest were just amazing. Actually, the restaurant inside the hotel where the event was held was called Le Bourbon. It was an amazing French restauraunt, so all of the items were 'French Inspired.' However, I've been to Paris (I know, you all officially hate me now, just keep reading), and I think the Hungarian food was much better because it was a lot more flavorful, spicy, savory, sweet, and just had more intense flavors overall. 

The head guy (who looked like Bates from Downton Abbey and  sorry I didn't take a picture), was just a doll and prepared me a little 'to go' plate for after the event. As the planner, I mean I can eat and mingle a teeny bit, but I'm there to work, which means not so much food. Normally I am okay with this... but in Hungary... I needed this food set up to my room! So Bates (that's not his name at all) sent me up the above lovely plate with 2 pate (either side, the round things) on toast with fig, then I forgot the rest except for the amazing white paprika pepper. They look green like this in the summer (or now) when they're in season. They can be sweet and hot. IDK why we think of paprika as a red tiny spice. I mean some varieties are red. But the kind you eat raw is green. 

Ok, sorry for the pepper history, but it is important to me everyone knows this stuff so when they wind up in Budapest they know what to order. 


So the Le Meridien, my hotel where the conference is also had a European Plan breakfast, and it was very good, however not as over the top at the Kempinski... so they had a menu as well... BUT! I was able to get a real european style waffle. If you've followed my past few travel posts, I had a mickey waffle at disney and a libery bell waffle in Philly. So clearly when I had to choose a city for my layover I chose Brussels for a Belgium waffle (true yet embarassing story). WELLLL the Brussels airport is very fancy, imagine a Dean & Deluca designed airport with luxury cars and fancy boutiques thrown in. That said, they had a Godiva but no waffles.
SO clearly first chance I had, I got the above waffle at my hotel on one of the mornings. I put a bunch of types of jelly in the middle and syrup too... because I could. 

Ok, so by then my conference was in full swing, so I ate the conference food but was too busy to take pictures of every little thing. I did manage to get the above shots of one of our afternoon sessions. It was a 'future' theme, however they had it sort of gypsy, terot card, insense and real candles burning in the room type of thing. Super unique and against every fire code I've ever known :) 

This is me at the Gundel, it looks like a wedding reception, right? OMG it was absolutely spectacular. It has won all these awards including the best restaurant in all of Hungary and a top restaurant in the entire world (what!? amazing). Apparently all these celebrities, presidents, and even the Pope have eaten there. It was fancy, but not in a you only get 1/8 a shrimp and a sprig of a leaf sort of way. We had a great dinner and a wonderful time. I never had goose before, or maybe I've had duck, but this was my favorite... it was like a think almost luncheon meat size slice. And it was pink like turkey, but so sweet, yet savory. And I don't even like salmon but it had this vanilla crusted something fancy... and the dessert... omg I have totally not talked about the Hungarian desserts! Their chocolate is crazy rich, but not overly sweet. Fabulous you guys, big time delicious. How am I so lucky? I don't even know.  Once in a lifetime opportunity for sure.

Ok so enough about my work stuff. Fast fwd. to the end of the conference and everybody left. I had a super early morning flight and had to get dinner on my own. I strolled down a couple streets near my hotel (found the paprika chili sauce, score) and was like "OK Leah, you don't know anyone in this city let alone country, I think you will be okay to eat dinner by yourself anywhere you want."

So that's what I did! I found a really cute Italian cafe called Cucina and had myself a little last night in Budapest party for one. I ordered myself salad, bread, beer, pasta with tiger prawns (big shrimp), dessert. AND Because Budapest is adorable, the waiter brought me a super soft fleece blanket as the sun set and it got cooler. I mean how fantastic is that? 

As I walked back to my hotel after dinner, I saw Cyrano, another spot I had actually gone to earlier that afternoon with my new UK work friend before she left, and snapped a quick photo. Notice the blue fleece and white fleece blankets all over?  It was like 60 deg. out, I mean not freezing, but what a nice touch! I later heard they do this in the UK as well. So so so so thoughtful you Europeans are!


Ok last meal in Europe (aside from my illegal Kinder eggs I will not mention, nor if I was or was not able to successfully bring them into the US, as they are, as I mentioned illegal). 

SO last meal was at Ritazza. And it wasn't really a meal, it was a quick breakfast only because I needed somewhere to hang out in the Budapest airport, because I arrived so early, they weren't even checking bags yet. I know, crazy american getting there 2 hrs early for an international flight. 

ANYWAY Ritazza was the one place I made a (small) mistake. So after instagramming the above photo, I of course clicked on the 'location' to see other photos taken there... UM life fail. ALL I've ever wanted is to have someone make a fancy coffee swirl for me. I don't ask for much, but I seriously don't even know where to go to get this. Apparently I was RIGHT THERE and ordered a stupid macchiato instead of a 'flat white' whatever that is, or I could have gotten THIS:
 
or this
 
or even teenage lion style JESUS!
(sorry in advance for those instagram photos I have 'borrowed' above. 
Everyone just know this is from Cafe Ritazza)

So if anyone knows where they have baristas of awesome in the US just tell me already so I can make a special trip. thanks! 

Sooo this was back in the US in my kitchen (obviously, HK explosion)
and BF and I got a bunch of fancy cheeses, bread and I got to eat my paprika chili paste.
OMGGG delicious.

Tomorrow's post... my Budapest Shopping Spree!
yup, a fashion post!

**UPDATE: So I said there were no Hungarian restaurants in my town, which is correct. However, I did find this website that has links to European Markets in the area... so if I run out of my paprika chili I will be okay :) http://www.nchungarians.org/etelekEng.htm*

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Last week I was in Budapest!

Posted By: Leah

When I interviewed for my job earlier in the year, during the very first phone interview it was mentioned that I would be traveling for this position. Actually, more than that, I would be in a "global client facing role." Um.. it's me you guys, I'm from North Carolina. I'm that girl who's worked in non-profits since forever. When  I got the job they said I would go to Budapest... honestly... I had to google it (It's in Hungary, just FYI).

In accepting the position, from day one, I was busy. Busy planning the weekly or even 3 events a week schedule of conferences. So busy I didn't have time to think about, let alone plan anything for my trip to Budapest. All I knew was that I'd be putting on a conference there. Lucky for me, putting on conferences is what I know how to do best. I've done event planning for over a decade... stick me in a room with some people and I'll get everyone organized. And happy. And make sure their belly's are full.

So when it was time for me to actually travel abroad to Budapest I honestly didn't know what to expect. I knew nothing about the food, language or culture. Something about it being in Eastern Europe but to be honest, I only even looked at it on a map the week before. Sometimes having super low expectations is the best, because you can't be let down. And I for sure was not let down traveling to Budapest. It's actually one of the top 10 cities in Europe to visit, right up there with London, Venice, Paris... you get the idea. Budapest is awesome. And I recommend everyone going there. Yup, it's that awesome.

I am breaking up this post into three parts. There will be the hotel, the food, and the fashion. Yes, me Leah the non-fashionista scored big on shopping over there. Not cheap stuff either. After I get these three posts out, I'll do a travel post. Like you know, how to pack, what to pack, and what luggage / packing style actually works (yes, I made a $300 investment in one piece of fancy luggage that was a dud. Live and learn). And I probably owe it to you all to give a little bit more of a 'How Leah Got to Be an International Event Planner" post. I get questions about it all the time. It's pretty much every girl (or guy)'s dream job, right?

But first... back to Budapest. The post today will be about the hotels where I stayed. I don't know about you, but for me the hotel makes or brakes a trip. It's where you rest your head, relax, unwind.

The Kempinski Hotel was my first hotel experience in Budapest. I arrived before my conference began and there was not room at the host hotel so I stayed next door. I'm a self-admitted hotel snob and was actually super thrilled to get to stay at multiple hotels while in Budapest. The first night I was in a suite overlooking the Fashion Avenue area of Budapest. The Kempinski hotel chain is NIICCEEE!  It was a super fabulous hotel and they thought of every detail.

Check this out - you go into your room and you have to put your key card into that little slot inside the room for the lights to turn on (ok this was new to me, but apparently this is the norm in fancy hotels). Well as soon as the key was in the little holder this soft classical music would come on and appropriate lighting for that time of day would come on.  There was even music in the bathroom! Of course it was all marble and a zillion mirrors and huge tub with jets and more exciting stuff I of course didn't take pictures of because I was too busy. But trust me when I say it was crazy nice and I had a super nice suite overlooking their Fashion Ave.

I wouldn't go as far as to say it's like Park Ave in NYC. I mean there was high-end shopping, but it's a very touristy area so no need to dress up to go to any of the stores.  And they speak okay english over there. Most people spoke Hungarian (duh I was in Hungary), and the other language they all seemed to know (except me) was French. But I was fine, I didn't run into any issues, and I just smiled and pointed and usually got what I needed.

The money over there is the HUF or hungarian forent. I had exchanged my dollars for euros and forents in DC during my layover, but really all I used was my credit card and it was fine. SOmetimes they would even show me the exchange rate in dollars.

Anyway, this is the street view below my window at Kempinski. It was under a huge umbrella when I hung out with some coworkers, but we'll get to that in a moment....


So as I mentioned, I work for a global company aka there are people all over the world who work with me. It was really cool getting to meet so many of them at this conference, because I had only emailed them or had conference calls where I would try to figure out their accents (Czech? German? British? Dutch?) We all met and it was really cool! I hadn't showered in 2 days (crazy overnight flights), and I looked a mess, but they didn't seem to care and were all sooo kind! 

We ended up taking a walk to the Danube river (which was very close to overflowing onto the city streets) and had dinner at a lovely place right by the water. There were live musicians and we ordered just about everything on the menu. When the sun set, we found outself overlooking the palace in the photo above. It's actually where their royal family lives. Impressive stuff.

I will just tell you now I got zero sleep in Budapest. Not because I was jet lagged, but sorta. The deal is I had 7am meetings each day. Um.. 7am = 1am North Carolina time. Pretty much the time I was getting to sleep, it was time for me to wake up. I was fine, I mean I was downing coffee and the event kept me on my toes. But because this wasn't an actual vacation I didn't get to sleep in or enjoy my room as much as I could have.

Anyway, the next day I had a FABULOUS Breakfast at the hotel. I can't wait for the food post. Seriously. And omg can we just discuss the 'European Plan" for breakfast. That means they include this crazy huge and amazing breakfast with the room. No continental breakfast Holiday Inn  continental breakfast crap. Like for real good breakfast stuff artfully displayed. 

Anyway, sad news I had to check out of the amazing hotel and go to my host hotel for my conference. I got to check in and get everything ready for my conference at the Le Meridien directly next door. I thought the Kempinski was nice, right? UMMM the Le Meridien was REALLY nice, like same level fancyness. EXCEPT my suite in this hotel had a terrace overlooking castles and stuff! WHat?!?!? 

I am the worst for not taking more pictures of the room. But here's the bathrobe in my room at Le Meridien. I mean of course there were two... and two sets of brand new slippers. But because they knew I was single-girl traveling it up, this is how it was set. So adorable, right?  (and no, don't freak out, they knew I was the conference planner. Not like stalked my personal history. And no, BF wasn't there he had his own event in Pennsylvania so he couldn't go to Budapest with me). 

Out the otherside of my terrace was what is called the Sziget Eye. It's like a mini London eye. You know, the Ferris wheel! I was bummed I never got to ride on it. I set it up so come attendees could go, but you know, I was there to work and didn't have time for any fun stuff.

So back to my bathroom (because I kept taking pictures in there lol) I had a fancy bathtub, steam shower, and this cool detachable shower thing in the bathtub too. I was trying to have relaxation time however the metro was like 8 floors below me in the bottom of the hotel so every 5 minutes that thing would go by and of course shake all the stone everything. 

Oh! And next to the toilet was another one of these detatchable shower things. I was like hum, maybe this is if you want to hook it up to the shower. Then I realized... it was a BIDET!  Yup, you know, one of those things to was out your undercarriage as they say. and NO I didn't use it lol.

SO I get a grade F- on taking hotel photos. Seriously... send me to Budapest and I take the most random/not showing anything photos. Oh well, good news is I kept it professional, and that was what I was there to do. I did like this thing in the picture above. It was like these weird butterflies on this tree. You pick out your favorite one and it says stuff about you. Sorta like a horoscope/personality indicator deal. 

Here's one of the few photos I took of the bedroom area of my suite. Something is seriously wrong with me... I mean I had maid service. Yet I still left crap EVERYWHERE. There's like 3 pairs of shoes on the floor, some bags, an ipad on the bed, a backpack (ruck sack as they say in Europe) on the bed, etc. Oh well, it was a nice room, you can just take my word for it. 


On the last morning I had a 4:15am wake up call and I was honestly shocked to look out my window and see that it was already light out! crazy super north sunlight all the time place!
And yes, they had the name of the hotel in the window like etched, facing me in my room. I guess so I wouldn't accidentally walk out? That's St. Stephen's cathedral with the crane and the building thing in the front was actually a stage. Trust me when I say there was music there all night everynight. I mean not a problem because I wasn't sleeping anyway. And hard to tell but there were skateboard ramps all throughout the park. Sorta different than what we are used to in the US but still really cool.

Ok tomorrow... the food!!!!!



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