Eight30 Fashion Blog Is The First In Israel, And Among Only A Few In The World, That Translates Fashion Trends Into The Formal Business Dress Code. It Offers A Collection Of Lifestyle And Fashion Ideas, Inspiration As Well As Tools To The Working Woman Who Wants To Remain Simultaneously Professional And On Trend.
This week I‘ll be celebrating my 40th birthday. OMG!!!!!!!
How did this come about and where was I sleeping while all these years flew by? … Only god knows. Anyway, mentally – I‘m only 28.
Birthdays like these are considered milestones. On such an occasion, most of us will stop and take the time to conduct a vicious list of ambitions and achievements they‘ve yet to fulfill, and then there are those who will go through a crisis. My ”midlife crisis“ occurred when I was 36, by the way. I always was ahead of my time ;-)
I had quit my job and gone off to chase my dreams. In retrospect, that crisis was probably the best thing that ever happened to me.
If I‘m being honest, on birthdays I usually tend to look at the ”glass half empty“ and indulge in self-criticism. That may explain my need for large birthday celebrations – because there‘s really no other way to snap out of it.
This time, I decided not to follow my strict nature, and to actually conduct an optimistic list of things to do by the time you turn 40… Or at least before your 41st birthday –
To stop, once and for all, being bothered by what other people might think about you, and instead – find out what you think about them!
Like a horse with blinkers covering the sides of its eyes, we must remain focused solely on our own path and stay true to ourselves.
Because between you and me, by the time you turn 50 or 60 – it would be kind of sad to admit that you spent your entire life trying to please others.
Done! A few weeks ago, for the first time ever – I took myself on a vacation in London.
Over the years, I‘ve traveled abroad by myself many times. I went on work trips and even lived in the US for two years, completely on my own. But, as strange as it may sound – I‘ve never had the chance to take a vacation alone.
At first, I was a bit worried about the experience, but during a moment of honesty – I was able to understand what it is that feels right for me and brings me happiness, and so – I managed to put together a dreamy trip (for those who missed it… I‘m not quite sure how that happened, but you can see highlights from the trip on my Instagram story highlights).
Give up one bad habit and adopt (at least) one healthy habit
I already quit smoking when I was 30, so as I hit 40 – I‘m trying to get rid of bad eating habits… And boy, is it hard!
In the meanwhile, I‘ve adopted one healthy habit – starting each morning with a glass of lukewarm water and a positive thought.
Try a new look
Age 40 is the best time to adopt a new, light and fresh look. Otherwise, how will you be able to look at old pictures of yourself and mutter in complete shock – “I can‘t believe I used to look like that”.
In general, try to live – at least once – as a blond, brunette and a redhead… One should own a diverse photo album ;-)
Treat yourself with respect and schedule your annual medical checkup on time
In other words, stop postponing things and neglecting yourself.
Be proud of something you‘ve achieved with hard work
This is something I‘ve gladly accomplished – my blog brings me great pride!
Decorate your home in a style you like
Interior design doesn‘t have to be expensive. With the help of a few accessories, you can create a pleasant and warm atmosphere that will transform your home into your safe haven.
Keep a dirty secret
An exciting experience from a wild weekend or a really bad date… Whatever it is, you have to accumulate at least one trippy experience ;-)
Learn to accept compliments
Feel yourself! … Because no one else will do it for you.
My list goes on, but I think it‘s best to save something for the next decade.
Until then, may those who are celebrating their 40th birthday this year have the happiest of birthdays and… may it go by easily!
I started a new position as the Marketing Manager of a large, influential law firm called GKH Law (or ”Gross“ – as it is known within the industry). 170 lawyers, a large administrative team, in short – madness.
And so – the transformation is complete!
I‘m going back to a law firm, but this time – in the right position ;-)
I don‘t know about you, but I never quite knew what I wanted to be when I grow up.
My path led to law practice by complete chance – I was certain I‘d be a diplomat, and that‘s also how I built my career. But as they say, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans…
Over the past few years, I‘ve reinvented myself several times – each ”reinvention“ accompanied by the feeling that the process is covered by a great fog. It wasn‘t completely clear to me what role I was after or what I‘m aiming for, but I knew what feeling I wanted to wake up with every morning.
And now, with three years standing between me and that lawyer who dared to dream, while I’m facing a new era in my professional life, I‘ve decided to write a guide for those who are recalculating their route.
For the purpose of this very important mission, I‘ve recruited my personal expert for career matters – Shirley Glaz, Independent Recruiter for executive positions in the high-tech industry. The same person who two years earlier – recruited me to a start-up, and who also recently accompanied me in the process of finding the right position for me.
Armed with a wonderful ability to connect the dots and think outside the box. A creative individual, with the ability to listen and hold space that‘s usually only attributed to angels. Energetic and restless – with a magnificent smile. In short, Shirley is the right person to see you through a significant change in life.
Where can we find you every morning at eight thirty?
”Either working out, at the local cafe working on my laptop, or having a business meeting at a client‘s. I‘m a morning person, you‘ll always find me active at that hour. The great beauty about being self employed is that you can choose how to start your day, so I try to effectively take advantage of my morning – both on a personal and professional level“.
If you weren’t an independent Executive Recruiter for the high-tech industry, you’d probably be?
”Visiting hotels around the world. Wandering through different countries, hopping between resorts – and writing a blog about it“.
How should one start recalculating their career route?
”You start by listening to yourself. By trying to understand – what are the values you find important in life? What characterizes what you’d like to do? What areas in yourself do you find most important to fulfill? What do you like dealing with? How can you contribute more? For example, I chose to connect between candidates and high-tech companies because I like helping people. I like the connection I feel with them, but also – I love my freedom and flexible schedule.
It‘s important to determine deadlines for each goal that we‘ve set. To think where we‘d like to see ourselves five years from now and to take off from there. Another equally important issue – it‘s imperative to surround yourself with strong, positive, powerful people who will accompany you in the process.“
What are the three things every person who wants to make a career change should consider, before heading on the job hunt?
”To think outside the box – thought flexibility, openness to ideas and opportunities, letting go of definitions and patterns – because a job description doesn’t always reflect the content and potential a position actually holds.
Who said it would be easy? – A career change takes courage, leaving your comfort zone and venturing towards the unknown. When you head out on your journey, you‘ll have to decide on the right timing for you, and remember – this road might sometimes contain hardships and disappointment. So you can‘t forget your goal – or yourself.
Don‘t ”Just do it“ – Unlike the famous slogan, when you make a career change you should never ”just do“. You’re required to arrive prepared – gather information, research the market, acquire knowledge and professional tools – all of these constitute an important and compelling base. You should arrive to the process mature and able“.
What are the most effective tools for finding a job?
”Today, the world of job searching is more complex. To reach a desired position, you‘ll need a professional individual who will get to know you and accompany you in the process, who will know how to identify and make the most precise opportunity and connection for you. You should contact people who are well connected in the relevant field you’re aiming for. Spread the word. Use social media and designated platforms – like LinkedIn. If you don‘t have a LinkedIn profile, now‘s the time to create one. Today – everything happens online“.
Job interviews – do you have any tips on how to succeed on an interview? And what should you wear?
”Breath – feeling excited is totally natural. Today, unlike in the past, 70% of a successful job interview relies on personality evaluation. Companies have long since understood that training people and filling professional shortages isn’t as big of a challenge as it used to be perceived. The main (and most complex) challenge lies in the human capital, and that‘s where the emphasis is placed. Show up with a positive attitude, the energy you exude is just as important as the words you speak. That coincides with the fact that a good atmosphere and good people contribute to wanting to spend time at a workplace.
Prepare in advance, but try to be yourselves. Find out all the details you can about the position, in order to make sure it‘s what you‘re looking for. Search online for questions you might expect to be asked at job interviews. Prepare example answers and try to match – as much as possible – your personally to the job description. Remember, the person sitting in front of you is trained at spotting the gaps, so it‘s important to rely on real examples and to be authentic.
Dress according to the office drsesscode – physical appearance has a great effect on the first impression you create. So it‘s important to choose an outfit that reflects the character of the company and the position – to maintain a neat, conservative and pleasant appearance. But it‘s most important that you feel comfortable in what you wear“.
Do you have a tip for managing a successful career?
”Managing a career starts with a choice – It‘s important to choose a path that‘s right for you and that provides the satisfaction you seek on an occupational level.
It‘s important to accumulate vast knowledge in your field of practice – it provides you with both confidence and professional recognition. Invest in your professional abilities – observe, listen, ask questions and learn.
Networking – create professional connections. Every meeting is an opportunity to create a connection that might bring forth opportunities later on.
Bring added value – today, the competition is huge. It‘s important to stand out and be unique. Think of yourselves as a brand and take action to promote yourself“.
Starting an independent business – possible or presumptuous?
”Of course it‘s possible, but it‘s important to remember that alongside the many advantages there are to being self employed, there are also downsides and hardships. When you start a business – it‘s important to investigate and familiarize yourself with the expected difficulties, in order to know how to handle them. There‘s great responsibility resting on your shoulders. Starting an independent business requires great self-discipline, commitment, a willingness to apply yourself and lots of patience. You should know how to plan this step financially, professionally and personally“.
No matter what comes about and whatever road you chose – We wish you the best of luck!
For the past two decades or so – Tel aviv has been my home.
The city “where no one has a day-job” and where the espresso and sushi enthusiasts reside along with the “sour faces” ;-)
The past month has been particularly Tel Avivian for me. A combination of free time and seasonal changes led to spending time in many events and product launches, so I’ve decided to dedicate this article to local creations – a celebration of Israeli fashion.
To present to you some of the designers I truly respect, and that I believe make the Fashion industry in Tel Aviv unique, diverse and different.
The designs by the mythological fashion house Maskit, that was granted new life thanks to fashion designer Sharon Tal, are Israeli Haute Couture.
The new collection’s runway show, held as part of Tel Aviv Fashion Week, sent me on a journey of local elegance and prestige: suits and coats made of cashmere and wool, in a desert color scheme, were adorned with breathtaking embroidery that made me miss winter – which is actually refusing to move on from our region.
Blouses and soft silk dresses were combined with coarse elements – such as thick leather straps – or worn with pieces that were made of a textured fabric, created while drawing inspiration from the fabric Dior Fashion house had purchased from Maskit, back in 1964.
For the first time in Maskit’s history, items made of Denim were seen on the runway – items which I found wonderful soft and extremely form flattering (!).
The pièce de résistance was most certainly the white maxi dress that opened the show, characterized by an alluring sheer fabric – richly illustrated with birds and flowers, adorning other items in the collection – was truly a work of art.
I met fashion designer, Anya Fleet, for the first time in person after the bridal and evening wear collection, that was held during Tel Aviv Fashion Week.
Dressed with a winning smile and an infectious breeziness, she opened the door to her fashionable space, located in Jaffa, and told me all about the inspiration and creative process behind the designs she showed on the runway just a week earlier. A unique and diverse collection, that draws its inspiration from the world of lingerie with a prestigious expression.
I must admit, right after trying on the satin suit – designed as a man’s pajama set, I realized that’s exactly what I want to wear all day long, till I head back to the office. In fact, I was so in love with that idea that as I finished my meeting with Anya, I found myself desperately searching all over the net for high heeled shoes, with long feathered accents, without success – a basic commodity for any desperate housewife ;-)
Among the other designs that are part of the SS2019 Anya Fleet collection, you can also find skirts and little laid-back evening dresses, that create a current, timeless and effortless look, alongside sporty looking suits and handmade crochet knits. In short – I fell in love!
The ever so appreciated fashion designer, Ronen Chen, who was granted the Fashion Award on behalf of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, is one of the longest working designers in the Israeli Fashion industry, and also one of the most warm and charming individuals I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. So, it’s for a good reason that his designs star on my blog on a regular basis.
The launch of Ronen’s SS2019 collection was held separately from Tel Aviv Fashion week, so I got to have exciting and enriching meetings with him between shows.
Ronen’s designs usually draw their inspiration from the local (both still-life and human) sceneries, but the present collection, which goes by the name “Heat wave in Tokyo”, was inspired by Ronen’s visit to Japan last summer. The visit led Ronen to find similarities between the heavy heatwaves experienced in Japan to those we have here, and to design airy garments, characterized by loose silhouettes, breezy and laid back for the Israeli female crowd – that enjoy dressing in an updated, high standard manner.
As for me, I’ll admit that “loose and laid back” aren’t the choice of words I’d use to describe my personal dress style, but Ronen Chen’s uniqueness as a designer is that his designs enable adaptation to a wide array of styles.
When I saw this pink suit on the invitation to Maya Negri’s SS2019 collection launch – my jaw dropped. I admit, an intense color scheme really has a way with me, and Maya’s summer is exceptionally colorful and exciting!
Maya Negri, who has been active in the local arena since 2004, offers in her designs an aesthetic variety and a focus on comfort.
Maya’s summer collection was inspired by The Wild West. Bold textures, prints and leather materials that blend in perfectly with the summery ambiance, caress the female curves and accentuate her strength.
The collections color scheme is rich and classy – a sophisticated color palette, ranging between natural colors to bright colors and prints with animal motives and abstract artwork.
I was moved!
I’m thrilled to announce the return to activity of the luxurious Fashion Jewelry brand – Paula Bianco, designed by Smadar Azrieli. After being absent from the local design scene for several years, Smadar decided to return to the design table.
Luckily, she shared the exciting news before the official launch date, so in this article I was given the opportunity to be the first to wear these magnificent and bold, hand-made earrings that she designed.
My meeting with Smadar’s designs was exciting and exceptionally thrilling, as I find her unique designs to have a truly personal signature, resembling nothing I’ve seen before. I particularly loved the heart earrings, made from gold plated brass wire.
Wishing you the best of luck, Smadar!
That’s all folks, I hope I gave you the urge to shop “Blue and White”.
The Israeli fashion industry reflects the local way of life, allows us to be close to who we really are and encourages various beauty ideals.
Most importantly – Israeli design allows us all to create, evolve and encourages local manufacturing.
But who wants to venture out? Allow me to stay in my zone of comfort – so familiar and safe. No risk, no challenge, no effort – let me just scatter my days in the wind. As surprising as it may sound – most of us sin with these thoughts, and lately I found myself justifying – and almost convincing myself that the familiar and safe is the right place for me.
But the time has come to recalculate my route and reinvent myself. That’s how start-ups are – one day you’re a star and one day you run out of funds. Time to face complicated questions such as: what do you want to do? What do you love? What are your passions?
In the previous round, I quit my place of work after ten years, and went on a journey that concluded with me realizing that the world is my oyster and that my dreams have no boundaries. So, how is it that although I’ve accumulated so much experience, I still try to avoid making the first step and fear the unknown?
I guess a whole world of options is a confusing thing, and on the road to reaching our goals, benchmarks and fulfilling our vision – seldom do we stop and smell the roses along the way. We’re so concerned with the next big thing that we forget “life is a collection of experiences”, as my friend Vered so wisely says. We avoid appreciating what we have and cherishing achievements and little triumphs on the road to our destination… And the road – the road is long and winding.
While we’re on the subject of wondrous places, sometimes it seems as though my friends at James Richardson – Duty Free can read my mind. A knock on the door last week and one brown bag, made me realize that spring is near and along with it – the time of bloom and opportunity for change.
Mon Guerlain Edt Bloom Of Rose – the fourth perfume in the Mon collection that is being launched these days by luxurious beauty brand, Guerlain, continues to explore the different facets of femininity, this time focusing on “fulfillment”. The composition of fragrances celebrates the pleasure of being yourself, just as you are – living life to the fullest.
Femininity is ever-changing, changing form throughout life, according to Guerlain. There’s no room for fixation. The new fragrance represents the femininity of the freed powerful, daring and courageous woman, who’s also radiant, happy, individual and proud – in short, this perfume is the breath of fresh air I needed to stand up straight and let myself bloom.
Before I stop to smell the roses, allow me to share a few words about the French brand Guerlain, whose majority of products can be found at James Richardson – Duty Free.
For nearly two hundred years Guerlain have been concocting fragrances and producing – with love – luxurious skin and beauty products, that draw inspiration from women and various materials, the most prominent being the rose – symbol of femininity. A legacy of skin care, produced in France, which started with a meeting between two alchemists: bees – nature’s alchemists, and Pierre François Pascal Guerlain – alchemist of beauty. In 1829 (!) Guerlain manufactured perfume for the empress for her wedding celebration with the emperor – Napoleon the 3rd. He embellished the bottle with embossed bees and since then – the bee became the symbol of house Guerlain and it’s motive to committing to sustainable development.
Nowadays, Thierry Wasser – house Guerlain’s master of perfume, explores the world in search of luxurious materials to compose symphonies of scent.
In the new scent in the Mon series – Bloom of Rose, which can be found at James Richardson – Duty Free, petals of a Bulgarian Rose flower – considered to be of highest quality among the many rose types – were refined. The unique rose, that has a fresh and floral scent – slightly reminiscent of berries, was combined with Neroli (Orange Blossom) that adds “poetics and shine to the compound” = according to Guerlain. Its’ fresh and floral scent is reminiscent of freshly picked Orange Blossom, so the result is a perfume with fresh scent, cheerful and very feminine. A spring bouquet of white flowers, uplifted by Lavender and ruled by the Royal Rose.
As for the bottle that characterizes all the bottles that are part of the Mon collection, its shape was inspired by one of the iconic perfumes that were created by the company back in 1908. The bottle creates harmony through contrast, as if echoing the many facets of femininity – the sharp and taut lines of the bottle and the roundness of the lid, density and lightness, the transparency of the light that penetrates through the glass and the pink shade of the perfume.
As mentioned, the Mon perfume collection includes four perfumes, that can be distinguished by the color of the ribbon that wraps the bottle. In the collection you can also find the EAU DE PARFUM – labeled with a gold ribbon, characterized by lavender notes combined with sensual vanilla, that create a sense of valor and freshness. The Arabian Jasmin gives the perfume its’ softness and the sandalwood provides the power and maintains the mystery.
EAU DE PARFUM FLORALE – adorned by a light pink ribbon, is characterized by a dominant aroma of Arabian Jasmin and fresh Lavender, mixed with light Peony. A bouquet of sun kissed florals with a sensual note of Vanilla to power up the ensemble.
EAU DE TOILETTE – with a silver ribbon, offers a sparkling citrus (Mandarine) accord, that combines the freshness of Lavender with the depth of the Arabian Jasmin, with hints of Vanilla.
To sum things up, let’s celebrate our achievements (even the smallest) as they do at Guerlain.
Give ourselves an opportunity for change, to bloom and flourish.
For life is happening here and now.
Mon Guerlain - Angelina Jolie in 'Notes of a Woman' - Long Version - Guerlain - YouTube
Perhaps it’s the new year that just started, or the fact that in a few months – a new decade begins in my life (talk to me in June), I really don’t know… But lately, I’ve found myself calculating and measuring –
what have I accomplished over the years? What does the path I chose to walk down look like? What goals have I reached and what do the next decades have in store?
The woman who grew up in a home of merchants and swore she would never own an independent business started Kisim in 1999, when she finished her metalsmith and accessory design studio at Bezalel academy of Art and Design. Since then, she’s been operating – with great talent and an infectious smile – an elegant and clean design brand that preserves the traditional art of leather craftsmanship.
When I met Yael, mother of three, I knew I had to ask her how one success in managing a brand for two decades, in an industry so very few survive in?
So, what’s behind the name “Kisim”?
“A pocket is a space that is close to the body, that permits containing many things”, Yael explains with bright eyes.
At Bezalel, we often dealt with the connection between body and product, so it only seemed right and natural. to name the brand – “Kisim”
In the past, it was less common to manufacture handbags using soft materials, that address your body and adjust themselves to it, so I searched for new formative structures that can contain items – seeing as our handbag is so much more than the practical role it fills. We have a whole life inside it. A handbag is like a house on your body, a sort of container that carries very personal items”.
Twenty years is a very impressive period of time. It’s hard to imagine, nowadays, how its possible to build a brand in a world with no internet and social media. How did you spread the word?
“How did I actually do it?!” she laughs.
“I would take part in a lot of private (home hosted) sales, and sales held at cafes. Print out flyers, manage mailing lists – those really were different times. In addition, the brand was featured in various concept stores, like the Comme il faut shops, museum shops etc.
When I was nine months pregnant with my first son, I decided it’s time to establish the business – that’s when I opened the first Kisim store and studio on HaHashmal street (Tel – Aviv). I remember I’d show up at the store every day with the stroller (who even thought about maternity leave?!) and I was thrilled about every second. There was a feeling of pioneering and reciprocation in the area. Kisim was the fifth store to open in the Gan Hahashmal area, which sadly – has been greatly affected by the construction work for the light rail”.
How does one survive for two decades – as an independent business – in the fashion world?
“The key is to always evolve and stay in motion. That said, it’s important to maintain the brand’s language and values. Don’t be tempted to become too current or trendy.
It’s important to remain unique – to provide an alternate, meticulous, high standard answer to your clients, and of course – faith and perseverance!
The Kisim brand rests on the border between art and fashion design, so throughout the years we’ve collaborated with professionals from various fields and managed to stay relevant”.
Tell me about your partners along the way
“Over the years, I’ve surrounded myself with wise and talented women and nurtured a brand that is female in its core. Apart from our service providers and head tailor, almost the entire staff of Kisim is female.
I enjoy working with them very much, they are dedicated workers who are greatly connected to the brand.
When my mother retired, she too joined Kisim and my sister even designed our lovely shop on Basel square (Tel-Aviv).
In general, I’ve always been surrounded by women. I grew up as part of a tribe of strong, dominant women and my childhood friends are part of my life to this very day”.
Do you have a tip for a novice designer?
“It’s important to understand what unique message you’re offering, as a designer, to the audience of clients. What’s your contribution? And how does it differ from what already exists around you?
In addition – patience! You need to stop and take a breath, even in times when it seems like an earthquake is going on around you. I remember one day I found out that one of our manufacturers copied an iconic Kisim model and sold it to other stores. It was rattling. But most importantly, don’t settle for professionalism. Work with high standard professionals that will “deliver” – photographers, graphic designers – whatever you need”.
Do you have any pointers for a successful handbag purchase?
“Purchasing a handbag involves thought. In most cases, it’s not a whim, it’s a process that requires pondering. That said, there’s something emotionally freeing about handbag shopping, in opposed to shopping for clothing – for instance. The size isn’t relevant, there’s a lot of freedom in the process and the variety is infinite. So even the most conservative women could buy a bright colored handbag.
A handbag needs to be useful and able to contain your world. On the other hand, it will also attest to your personality – tidy, firm, soft or flowing.
The material also requires thought. Some women find it important and wish for the contact with the skin to be pleasant, so for them – it’s better to choose a bag made from breathing materials”.
During my series of meetings with Yael to prepare this article, I also met the lovely Aya, who’s been accompanying Yael at Kisim over the past few years. Meeting both of them inspired and left a strong impression on me.
The two smiling women – spreading warmth and love in every direction, proved to me that there’s no need in “sharp elbows” or strength to succeed. Confidence, perseverance and dedication lead to accomplishments, and sometimes – you need to detach your feet from the ground in order to rise up and touch your dream.
I don’t know many young women who maintain a twenty-year career with such passion and excitement – as Yael does. I wish to be in such a place over the next decades.
So, to celebrate the launch of Kisim’s glamorous birthday collection, I’d like to wish Yael and the wonderful women who are celebrating “twenty” great success, fulfilling productivity, excitement and happiness over the next decades as well.
No, I’m not talking about a sweater or a pair of socks your grandmother knitted for you. I‘m also not referring to a tablecloth or crocheted curtains. I‘m talking about coarse woven carpets, bean bag chairs, a swing and an array of products – woven in brilliant colors, using traditional technique and with style you usually encounter in top design magazines.
That‘s what my morning with IOTA looked like – a big surprise.
And hey – what do you know! Turns out I‘m pretty good at knitting :-)
I‘m already well-known as a ”grandma“, but what are the odds of finding more women who are willing to take on the knitting challenge?
Turns out it was pretty simple. One short phone call to my talented friends – Ray Segev, Shantih Gidron, Yael Kimelman and Sefi Erlich – and within minutes, I had a high-end knitting party organized with a group of creative women.
On a wintery Friday morning we were invited to the lovely home of Tal Zur, IOTA‘s Creative Director and Head of Design, to hear about the brand and it‘s important social activity, and to learn how to knit a hand-bag – created with our own two hands.
There, we met Noa Curiel – The brand‘s Product designer, and Shiri Shenhav – IOTA‘s knitting parties‘ organizer, who taught us how to knit in approximately 3.5 minutes (I‘m totally serious!).
A quick word about the brand – IOTA is a social Textile based Furniture Design Brand, founded 4 years ago by Shula Moses and Tal Zur. The brand‘s objective is to provide work, under fair wage to unemployed women.
The IOTA team teaches these women the skill of knitting and supplies work for them – enabling them to hand-knit the items in the comfort of their own homes.
So yes, the word ”knitting“ is frequently attributed to an outdated, archaic tradition, but don‘t let that fool you! IOTA has received raving reviews from magazines and leading design exhibitions around the world. And if that‘s not enough – the brand was chosen by Peugeot, to create unique carpets for its state of the art concept cars.
The products are made using unique textile, designed by the company and created exclusively for IOTA, making it unavailable anywhere else and an inseparable part of the brand‘s identity and language.
I don‘t know about you, but knowing that an item or piece of furniture was hand knitted especially for me, by a brand that promotes and empowers women – touched my heart. Particularly, understanding that there are Bedouin women in Hura, or Syrian refugees in Turkey, who are able to provide for themselves and empower their social status through handicraft.
To bring the audience closer to the tradition of knitting (because between you and me, most of us have already forgotten what handicraft is – apart form flipping through channels with the remote or scrolling down your smartphone‘s screen), our friends from IOTA organize knitting parties for men and women who are interested in trying out this handicraft, and meeting new people with shared interests.
I must admit that after a few minutes of experimenting with a crochet hook, I found that knitting is the new Yoga! There‘s something so relaxing about repetitive motion, allowing your mind to detach from your surroundings, your daily thoughts and worries and to make time for a moment of true bliss. A form of meditation, if you‘d like to call it that.
I hope I gave you the urge to challenge your creativity, because as far as I’m concerned – lounging around and knitting would totally be a dream right now.
It‘s a Friday afternoon, I‘m at home – reading newspapers, slowing down my pace and welcoming the weekend‘s ambiance.
Somewhere in the horoscope section, I see a ridiculous sentence that refers to my sign – ”An unplanned trip overseas awaits, paid by someone else – a business trip or someone asking you to accompany them“.
”Come on!“ I smile to myself, ”who believes this nonsense?!“
Two days later, an email from Malta‘s Tourism Authority arrives in my mailbox. On the other side of the keyboard, lovely Janet is inviting me on an official visit to the island curtesy of Visit Malta.
”Unbelievable!“ I think to myself, ”maybe it‘s time to stop being such a cynic and realize all my dreams are close enough to grasp“.
”What do I actually know about Malta?“ I wondered. Surprisingly and sadly, the answer is – ”not much“.
None of my close acquaintances or friends had ever visited the country and many of them didn’t even know where it‘s located. In short, an exceptional opportunity for me to visit a place many have yet to discover.
A few important facts about Malta, before we begin –
Malta islands – Malta, Gozo and Comino are located in the heart of the Mediterranean sea, close to the southern shore of Sicily. Their geographic location reflects well in the local culture, the language and even the weather – did anyone say 20 degrees Celsius in the middle of December?
The official local language is ”Maltese“ – a Semitic language, similar to Hebrew and Arabic, written with Latin letters and incorporating many words from English and Italian. A special, intriguing language – similar to no other I‘ve ever heard before. English, by the way, is another official language on the islands – a remainder from the times of the British Empire.
Another trait that remains from the days of the British Empire – In Malta they drive on the left side of the road… Or as the marketing manager of Hotel Corinthia, Mr Andres Galea told me – ”on Malta we drive on the “right” (proper) side of the road!“ ;-)
Speaking of vehicles, another fact that‘s worth knowing – the national airline, Air Malta, recently launched their Tel Aviv-Malta line and operates two flights each week to the destination. So basically, a three hour flight is all that separates you from a truly dreamy vacation, as you‘re about to discover.
A cute piece of trivia – throughout the years, Malta has served as a set for many movies and TV series we all know thanks to breathtaking views, fortresses and unique historical buildings that are present in the region. From children‘s movies such as Popeye (there was a movie like this way back in the seventies), large-scale productions such as ”The DaVinci code“ and ”By the sea“ – staring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, and of course – ”Game of thrones“!
This is undoubtedly quite the achievement for a country so small it could fit into Israel 65 times.
My visit to Malta started before I arrived on the island, upon receiving a detailed trip plan from Visit Malta, sent in advance for my approval.
I can’t remember when was the last time I traveled with a tour guide or when I actually followed to a formed plan, but it was a refreshing change that intensified the experience, as far as I‘m concerned. I was finally relieved from researching, reading, asking and coordinating. Dreamy! Add to that the fact that I really hate driving when I’m abroad, certainly ”on the proper side of the road“, so it was clear to me that a true vacation awaits.
My friends at Visit Malta deserve credit for skillfully cooking up a diverse trip plan, including cities and main sites, leisure and cultural activities – tailored to my needs, as well as mind blowing culinary experiences.
I wonder what would have happened if I arrived during the summer, when the weather permits Marine sports (Malta has a number of diving sites that are heavenly – for fans of the genre) and another sport – my personal favorite – idling in the sun, by the beach ;-)
I flew to Malta with my good friend Nimrod, who‘s also the talented photographer that‘s been taking my photos for the past three and a half years.
Happy and excited, we arrived to Malta Friday morning and after a short introduction with our guide, the oh so fun – Audrey, and our driver with a heart of gold – Ali, we started the first tour that focused on the capital city – Valetta, declared by UNESCO as a world heritage site and appointed by the European union as the culture capital for 2018.
Apart from Valetta being an exceptionally beautiful city, its small ground is home to many important historical sites. One of which is the breathtaking Saint John‘s Cathedral, where two of Caravaggio‘s most famous paintings reside.
In addition to the many historical landmarks that are concentrated in the city‘s small frame, it‘s a bubbly, lively city with magical alleys that very much reminded me of different cities in Italy. In town you can find restaurants, fashion stores and charming coffee shops that are filled with history, such as Caffe Cordina (that‘s been operating for the past 175 years), and you can taste traditional dishes such as the ”Ftira“ – a sandwich that is insulted to be called a sandwich, made from traditional bread filled with a mixture of tuna fish, sun-dried tomato paste, capers and a million of other good things. In short – it‘s highly recommended!
We rounded up our visit to Valetta with an impressive viewpoint from the upper Barracca gardens, overlooking the entire area. Personally, I enjoyed Valetta very much and given the chance – I would have loved to continue to stroll its alley ways for many more hours.
From there we headed to the city of Mdina – ”The Noble City“ (Città Notabile) – a historical city surrounded by a wall, located on the highest point of Malta. For years, Mdina served as the capital city and as perfect scenery for many films.
A stroll between the alleys led us to an old sign, written in Hebrew – ”The old Jewish Silk Market“. A remnant of the existence of a small Jewish community that resided there many years ago.
We finished the day with tea, sandwiches and cakes – refreshments that well suit the aristocrats we are, in the luxurious tea house within the magical castle – Palazzo Parisio. A highly recommended experience.
Tired but very pleased, we arrived in the early evening to the Corinthia hotel, located in Saint George‘s bay, close to the nightlife area of the island (or as Nimrod and I called it – ”the young people‘s area“), for a short walk around led us to the gloomy conclusion that all of that joy no longer suits our age ;-)
Nevertheless, we found great pleasure in the amenities the hotel had to offer – comfortable and spacious rooms, a rich breakfast menu, a luxurious spa and gym, six swimming pools, restaurants, a scuba diving club and much more, as well as highly courteous and professional service.
By the way, after falling in a tourist trap and eating a very dissatisfying dinner in one of the restaurants located in the nightlife area, we found out that by the hotel there are very good restaurants, one of which is even considered one of the five best chef restaurants on the island – Caviar and Bull.
I recommend ordering the tasting menu, which includes nine dishes and dessert, for an extraordinary culinary experience. You have my word!
We opened our second day in Malta with a visit to an archeological site – the temple of Ħaġar Qim, whose full secret is yet to be revealed. It was intriguing to see the ancient building methods and impressive architecture that characters the venue, and of course – the sculptures of the full-bodied women that were found on the premises, evidence to the fact that perhaps it was once believed that god is a woman (genius!).
From there, we continued to a tour in the photogenic fisherman village – Marsxlokk where we enjoyed several hours of sun and touring around the souvenir stands. I have to admit that at this point of the trip, I had already started asking myself how is it possible that I haven’t visited this charming place before?!
For lunch, we were invited by the gracious chef, Victor Aquilina, to enter the kitchen of Ta‘ Victor restaurant – which he owns, and to learn a bit about the traditional Maltese kitchen. The chef‘s hospitality was exceptional. In addition to his delicious food, it turns out that humble Victor has had the opportunity to entertain quite a few presidents and heads of states, and to cook at many events offering foods from around the world. His charming personality won me over, but it was his desserts that completely swept me off my feet!
By the way, during my visit I discovered that the Maltese specialize in baked goods – the bread is dreamy, as are the cookies – made of high quality, deliciously soft dough. But Victor‘s ”Bread pudding“ is a whole different story. ”Cleaning up the kitchen“ is the name of the bread pudding, made of leftover bread, dried fruits and other kitchen leftovers – because they don‘t throw food away in Malta.
Sounds weird? Maybe… But the taste is heavenly.
Happy and well fed, we drove to an alley tour and a cruise through the bay that connects The Three Cities – three ancient, fortified cities located North-East Malta – Cospicua, Vittoriosa and Senglea. An amazing experience!
After two days of visiting cities and villages from different periods, located on the island of Malta, on the third day we sailed to the island of Gozo – which is the birthplace of our guide, Audrey, so we had already heard many great stories about the place and were looking forward to our visit. After 30 minutes of sailing, we arrived at a calm, rural more peaceful island.
We visited the ancient Citadel of Victoria, which is part of the World Heritage site according to UNESCO, and heard about the many incarnations and uses that were made of it by residents of the island and the region, over history.
We continued to a tour of the picturesque alleys of the area. There, I was especially charmed by the colorful building facades and the symbols of religion and various sculptures the were incorporated in the residential walls.
We then drove to the north shore of Gozo to see the Marsalforn salt pans, that are part of a traditional salt manufacturing process the locals have specialized in for centuries.
To sum up our visit to Gozo, we stopped to admire the view at Dwerja, an area especially popular among diving fans, not before we had lunch at a lovely family restaurant name Il-Kartell, located on the Marsalforn pier, which offers a large selection of local dishes. I especial like the range vegetable soup.
As by now you‘ve probably realized, a visit to Malta offers a wide variety of sceneries and experiences, as well as culinary and cultural richness, mediterranean weather and there has yet to be a word said about the beaches and the night life on the island.
Speaking of breathtaking views, you can‘t leave out Golden Bay – the second largest sandy beach on the island of Malta and one of the most popular ones – thanks to amazing sunsets, the unique view, the endless greenery and of course – the beach facilities and water sports it has to offer.
Our forth and last day in the heaven which is named Malta was quite laid back.
After a breathtaking lookout over Golden Bay and the village that was built in the 70‘s for the production of the film Popeye, we had lunch at The Cliff restaurant, which offers seasonal dishes according to the produce that grows in the area.
From there we continued to a wine tasting at Meridiana Winery, a charming boutique winery that was built on the wreckage of an airport from World War II in order to produce Maltese wines that will win international praise.
The wines are made from grapes that only grow on Malta‘s soil, while each bottle receives a unique marking and the approval of Malta‘s government that it is indeed local produce.
The name ”Meridiana“ and the symbol of the sun that characterizes the mansion, drew their inspiration from the location of the winery and the fields – southern Malta. As part of the wine tour, we tried four types of wine, but if I had..
THE KEY FASHION TRENDS TO KNOW ABOUT FOR AUTUMN – WINTER 2018/19
It is now official – daylight saving time has begun and the days have turned a bit colder.
Although it seemed for a minute like winter has failed to arrive, there‘s a big chance that while you‘re reading these lines winter will have already landed in our region.
So yes, the Israeli winter is warmer compared to farther regions abroad, but there‘s no reason it should be any less fashionable and updated. So I decided to put together a follow-up article to the trend guide I posted a few weeks ago and set some order in the various fashion trends I haven‘t addressed yet.
Perhaps it‘s queen Elizabeth‘s surprise cameo in London‘s Fashion week, or Prince Harry and Megan‘s royal wedding… It doesn‘t really matter.
It seems that in AW2018/9 the plaid prints – which are greatly identified with the British and Scottish tradition – have taken over the runways and store windows.
The symmetric pattern, which comes in various sizes, colors and styles is your key to an updated wardrobe this coming season – peeking through a sweater or a jacket, adorning a dress or a skirt.
Unlike many other trends, plaid can work with almost any wardrobe and it suits all ages.
Personally, I found myself behaving like the last fashion victim as I bought a plaid shirt, slacks and shoes… Yes, I admit I may have gone a bit overboard with my new affair with House of Burberry ;-)
Speaking of Burberry, one can‘t ignore another trend that visited us this year –
50 shades of Brown and Camel
It seems that brown tones – camel specifically, are the ruling tones in AW2018/9 fashion, in spite of the old-fashion image that‘s associated with them.
Those of you who aren‘t ”Chocolate Girls“ (I can‘t begin to comprehend how that‘s even possible) can stick with one basic item like a classic trench coat – which will upgrade any outfit and is very suitable with the Israeli winter – while others can adopt a wide range of items in brown, brick and stone.
Black – backed florals
Floral prints are a fashion trend that‘s generally associated with the arrival of spring.
This year, the top fashion houses have updated the floral print, giving it a new and dramatic wintry interpretation by adding a dark background to the colorful flowers.
Dominant floral prints, filled with style, were seen on the runways of Balenciaga, Comme des Garçons and Gucci. And so, the black background persuaded me to gladly adopt a fresh floral bouquet on a cool winter day.
Turn on tweed
One of the most prominent fashion trends for AW2018/9, combining warmth with elegance, is definitely the return of tweed – a fabric made out of different blends of wool, spun from thick threads in a relatively coarse manner of weaving.
Tweed has long been considered a classic – identified with Chanel fashion house – but this year, the unique fabric has been spotted incorporated in garments on the runways of many other fashion houses, such as Miu Miu, Prada, Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein.
Now‘s the perfect time to add a sense of legacy to your wardrobe, when the best news is you can incorporate tweed with almost any item – from a pair of jeans to an evening gown.
For quite some time now, suiting hasn‘t only been considered to be the sole pursuit of career women.
But lately, suiting has received yet another fashion revival, following a trend led by the women of Hollywood, who are leaving their evening gowns behind in favor of pants suits at red carpet events, as an ideological and political statement.
“You’re saying there are women who drink whiskey?” – he asked, in shock. But before I unleashed a smart-ass, feminist speech, I looked into the surprised eyes of a man who just yesterday celebrated his 87th birthday, and who has obviously seen a thing or two in his life. He smiled at me warmly and added: “my children don’t even drink wine!” Right away I knew I was in for an interesting evening.
But before I tell you all about the launch of the QUEST COLLECTION, by Scottish Whiskey brand Macallan – a soiree I was invited by my friends from James Richardson Duty Free – allow me to pour myself a glass and proudly declare: my name is Kochavit and I love whiskey!
No, I haven’t watched Mad Men, I don’t have Scottish roots nor do I remember when I started finding an interest in whiskey. It might have been when I worked in finance, and we used to celebrate closing a deal or a work week with a glass filled with excellent spirit, or perhaps it was one of my exes who was interested in the drink and its rich tradition – and swept me along with him… I can’t recall clearly.
One thing is certain, whiskey is one of my favorite alcoholic beverages.
I don’t know about you, but I’m always curious to discover new flavors. So, when I was called with an invitation to attend an exclusive launch event of the QUEST COLLECTION, by the high-end Scottish brand Macallan, at the Norman hotel – I was thrilled to oblige.
When it comes to food and beverage I’m always happy to try new things and hear about the manufacturing process. For just like in Fashion, the whiskey world offers different brands, qualities, materials and even has its own trends.
I was glad to have been invited along with my dear friend Ray Segev – blogger, model and body activist. We quickly became the chatty girls at the table, while the adults (I’m referring to an average age of 65, yes?) showed extensive knowledge and challenged the Israeli Macallan brand ambassador, Saar Gavish, with information and facts regarding the brand.
The tasting event started with a fascinating explanation regarding the process of locating specific high-quality oak casks from around the world and the unique production of four types of single malt whiskey, which compose the series.
For those of you who are less familiar with the professional terms, “Single Malt” is a whiskey that is typically associated with Scotland, must be made exclusively from malted barley and must be distilled using
at a single distillery. This is what differentiates between single malt and blended malt (also called “Pure Malt” or “Vatted Malt”), which is made of a blend of different Single Malts.
As previously mentioned, the QUEST COLLECTION is composed of four types of whiskey, different from one another in flavor and aroma, while the base of the collection is the element of curiosity – the urge to journey further and seek the unknown.
LUMINA – a whiskey that offers a warm, smooth profile, infused with strong notes of creamy vanilla and wood spice. The whiskey is produced using three different types of casks and is beautifully packaged with a print of the map of Kentucky – the source of the oak tree one of the casks used in the aging process is made of.
TERRA – a whiskey with a balanced flavor and distinctive character of toffee, dried fruits and rich wood spices. The map on the whiskey’s packaging presents the city of Jerez, Spain, where the unique casks that give the whiskey its rich and powerful color are manufactured.
QUEST – a refreshing whiskey that offers a soft blend of citrus fruit, perfectly balanced with notes of vanilla. Macallan Quest is the pinnacle of four different types of casks used in the manufacturing process, each type bringing its own influence and unique flavor. Now’s the time to disclose that of the four glasses placed before me, QUEST and the ENIGMA (which I’ll tell you about next) were my top picks in flavor and aroma.
ENIGMA – a rich and intense whiskey that gets its deep, mature flavor from the unique oak casks used in its aging process. Despite its dominant flavor, notes of cinnamon, sweet vanilla and spicy dried fruits can be detected, which are associated with the unique casks from the city of Jerez, Spain, to which the whiskey is later poured. ENIGMA is a single malt that comes from one source only, a rare occurrence in the field, turning ENIGMA into a mystery.
After we tried the rich flavor of each type of whiskey, the table talk grew louder and needless to say – Ray and I had already felt slightly tipsy. That said, nothing stopped us from trying every dish that was served to the table and listening to various tales and stories told by the alcohol experts that we had gathered amongst.
At the end of the evening, when the last guest had left the room, our new fiend turned to me and said “I’d love it if you to attended the next event as well” ;-)
The Macallan QUEST COLLECTION is available at James Richardson Duty Free shop.