Tag Archives: Europe

Baggage Claims

10 Sep


The time i spent in Europe (Deutschland) was very influential in my perspective on life. Apart from the bicycle culture they live, the biggest influence was their grocery shopping lifestyle. Because of the small refrigerators you’re inclined to shop frequently ( once a week at least. )  With frequent visits to Edeka, Aldi, or your local neighborhood deli, toting a plastic bag would not only be a hazard to ecosystem but also not very cost efficient (as plastic bags differed in price depending upon the size of the bag.) It took me awhile to get use to planning carrying my reusable tote but you can see the difference in how clean & efficient things were in Deutschland. And now to see America is finally picking up a trend that can actually help our earth, is phenomenal. With my marketing mind and i’m sure the mind of some others, you’ll see a lot more bags dawning advertisements or cool artist collaborations. i say go for it, anyway we can make something positive cool while creating revenue, a PLUS!

check out some grocer chains reusable bag here


Living: The Bike

4 Jan

wvbikeSeeing as I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was twelve (Yeah i know lol), I was never too into bikes or riding bikes. Especially since, the city i grew up in, Altadena/Pasadena, California, a suburb outside of Los Angeles, is built in mountains and on hills. You would have to be in superior shape and love biking in order to make it up the hills. Going down is always the fun part! So when i got to Europe, i was surprised to see the bike as a major mode of transportation and a huge part of Life. Not only does the demographic of most European cities allow this to be possible with everything relatively close, but it seems to fit the very culture and mindset of Europeans. They live a very modest life, the apartments aren’t big, which makes the refrigerators smaller. You’d be hardpressed seeing an Escalade or Navigator on a cobblestone road seemingly designed specifically for Mini Coopers, Audi TT’s, and Porsches. And most importantly, no one would know what kind of outfit you dawned for the day if you didn’t get out and enjoy the unpolluted air.

The government has also made it more effecient for the bike to sustain its importance in transportation. Here in Germany, it’s very expensive to get a driver’s license and then to actually purchase a car, which deters the average family from pursuing vehicular transportation. The streets adhere to those bike riders much much more than in the States. They have bike lanes everywhere, from the small towns to the major cities with convenient bike racks about every kilometer that hold an average of 100 bikes. (yes i counted, test me) The bike enthusiasts are required, like the cars, to use signals whenever riding in the streets and each bike must have a working bell.

Oh man, the bell! I have a love/hate relationship with the bike bell. My first time in Munich i was taken on a bike tour around the city for three hours. They explained to us the basic rules and regulations of bike riding in Europe and the only rule i think i heard was, “if any pedestrian is on the bike lane or if any bike is moving slower than you are, ring the bell and they’ll move.” I loved it! Until I became one of the pedestrians and forgot where i was. The bells drove me completely insane. The other modes of transportation in Europe make it even more effecient and ideal to ride a bike.

You can get on a bus with your bike. And not always do you have to put it on the front or rear racks of the bus, but i’ve seen some get ON the bus with bike in tow. It’s also the same way on the trains which is the best mode of transportation in Europe because of its speed and the distance it covers. To be able to travel from country to bikingandsmokingcountry with a duffel bag, your passport, and a bike is amazing to me.

There’s no limit to who you’ll see riding a bike either. The two biggest characteristics i have adopted to my life from the European way of living is their fashion (which i was already intrigued by) and their humble and modest living. You’ll catch anyone from a CEO of a major company, a leading Art Center director, to a great grandmother grocery shopping, or a young socialite, pedaling their way to a destination. Biking is just the intelligent, cool, cost effecient way to get from point A to point B.

I’ve seen the affect and effect biking can have on an individual.
1) You have to possess some self-confidence to ride a bike. You’re exposed to the world! 2) It keeps you healthy, young, and in shape. Though everything is relatively close, to bike there still isn’t easy. Driving there just wouldn’t make sense. 3) It makes you look so much cooler. From fashion to function, it’s so much more personal riding a bike, which makes it so cool. I’ve never seen a suit in so much activity until i got to Europe. 4) You keep a lot more Euro in your pocket. Because the average bike is only 150 euro and to fill the innertube with air at any gas station will dig 50 cent deep into your pockets. The maintenance in riding a bike is staying in shape. No registration fees, no license necessary, no parking permits needed. Just you, your bike, a bike lock, and a plastic bag to place over the seat in case it rains or snows lol.

In my quest to live here permanently, for so many reasons, the culture, the atmosphere, the people, the humble and modest living, the Euro and Pound (both being stronger than the dollar), The Bike would be the glue that would hold my average, everyday life together in Europe.

a more in-depth article will be in my upcoming eMagazine, the Sophisticate™, February!
photographs taken from the Sartorialist

Credit or Debit?

3 Dec


“People still pull out the plastic, but often they’re not charging anything. That leaves banks scrambling to make up the revenue they’ve lost from their more-profitable credit cards.” (MSN Article)

i ran into an interesting article on MSN Money about the popularity growth in debit cards and the decline in credit cards since the stock market decline around the globe. I agree that it is much better, easier, and less stressful economizing with a debit card. But the American money system wasn’t built for you to economize. That’s why your credit score is, oh so important! I’ve been blessed enough to live abroad during this tumultuous economic time and a byproduct of that is being able to open up several accounts here in Europe. I’d urge any of you who can open up a foreign account, whether already abroad or in the States, to do so asap. The dollar is steadfastly depreciating and will soon be extinct. Too bad we’re not banks, we’d get “a bailout” plan.

Enjoy the article.

Do the Duffel

9 Oct

View all Dufflebags (Opens in Window)

As you begin to travel more (passport recommended) you’ll begin to notice that backpacks can get old, bothersome, and burdensome on ones back. Not that the timeless piece would every go out of style or functionality but sometimes you just need a change.

And what better to change to than the Duffle bag?! If your money doesn’t stretch far enough to purchase one of the designer Duffles you see in the slide-show or you’re like me and want to go cheap first to see if it suits you, Urban Outfitters and H&M are one of the few stores who have great quality, stylish, and affordable duffle bags to get you on your way.

To those in transition from fly & flashy to grown & sophisticated, i urge you young jetsetters to purchase a duffle bag. And to add even more flare for your individuality, tie your choice scarf, bandana, or shemagh around one of the bag’s handles. You may never go back!