July 31, 2015


Hola, amigas y amigos! Long time, no talk - and I've missed this little space on the interwebs! I recently returned from an amazing trip to Spain (#katieinmadrid if you want to see more pics) - and I thought I'd share a bit of a recap (plus surprise fabric at the bottom!).

For a bit of the "why" - I went to Spain with my friend Virginia to study Spanish. A few months ago, Virginia expressed interest in doing a couple of weeks of classes in Spain. I've always been a bit embarrassed that despite 8 years of Spanish classes in school - I have no confidence whatsoever in speaking out loud - so I said "what if I went with you?" And with that, a trip to Spain was born!

Virginia and I stayed in Madrid for 2 weeks, in a great apartment in the Lavapiés neighborhood (this was after moving from a school sponsored apartment - and a bit of drama). We took our Spanish class through a school - AIL Madrid. Our teacher, Lucia, was amazing and I honestly felt like I learned more in 2 weeks from her than an entire semester in school. Virginia and I spent our whole trip happily talking to anyone who would listen in Spanish - ordering, asking questions, etc. Because of our work on conversation in class, it was wonderful to feel like I could finally (and confidently) use my Spanish out loud. And in case any of this sounds interesting, we really loved our teacher, but the school was semi-disorganized. However, it was still a great experience. I would just recommend finding your own housing (it was literally $12/each per day more for us to find a much nicer place on our own than what was provided through the school).

When I first started this blog, I had just finished my "Handmade Honeymoon" (blog/instagram). For that trip, I tried to create a mostly handmade wardrobe for Jeremy and I, but still had a decent amount of RTW clothes. While packing for this trip, however, I realized that without even trying, I was packing almost all me-mades! Besides one pair of shorts and a few basic white undershirts/tanks, everything I wore was made by me! Funny how far I've come in a year (and that I can keep track of it!).

While we were mostly in Madrid, we did take a weekend trip to Granada. I definitely recommend the bus (it was about $100/per person less than the train, and only and hour longer). We mainly went to Granada to see the Alhambra - which was amazing. We stayed in an airbnb in the Albayzín - the old Moorish neighborhood - with beautiful views of the Alhambra itself.
The food in Spain was amazing. However, I really do contribute our dining success to taking a Madrid Food Tour on my first night there (Virginia met me the next day). I have no affiliation whatsoever with them, but I cannot recommend the tour enough. The tour covered Madrid/Spain history, the unique eating style of Spain (odd mealtimes and amounts of food), as well as trips to 5 tapas bars for food and drinks. I learned so much about the food (including what and how to order), and at the end of the tour, they provide you with restaurant recommendations that we used our entire trip.

I also found the food and drinks in Spain to be extremely inexpensive - and we were hard pressed to pay more than €20/each for dinners, including as much as we could eat and drink. Lunches were great as most restaurants have a "menu del dia" which includes a drink (of your choice, including wine - which I had every day), two courses and dessert... usually for between €9-12. Also - they have such great markets, like the Mercado de San Miguel, where you can eat and drink to your heart's content all day from many different vendors for very little cash. So if you love eating delicious food while saving money - Spain is for you! 
And now for one of my favorite parts - it was (and is currently) the sale time in Spain - aka Rebajas. Because things in Spain (and I think the rest of Europe) are only on sale twice a year, there are so many great deals to be had. Now that I sew my own clothes, shoes are the final frontier for me, and make up the majority of my RTW purchases. I bought 4 pairs of shoes including leather boots, leather avarcas (the sandals with the back strap), gold leather sandals and espadrilles - all for under $100 total. Which made for a very happy Katie... (and a heavier suitcase).

And on the last day (which was probably best for my wallet), we stumbled on a fabric store for the first time! They had so much great fabric, but I really tried to limit myself to what I truly loved, and to what I felt to be a good deal. For example, they had a lot of great rayon prints, but they were a little expensive for my tastes, and I couldn't pick out any I really wanted. I ended up with an orange-y linen print for €5/yd and a graphic cotton sateen for €6/yd. The best part was that the fabric was cut by a very professional looking man in a suit!

Madrid was beautiful (and super hot - 102-106 F every day!), and I can't wait to take Jeremy there for another trip (and the rest of Spain too)! Plus - after spending 2 weeks in Madrid, I feel like I have a lot of information about it - so feel free to shoot me an email if you're ever heading there!

Now it's back to the sewing machine (I've had 4 weeks off now - crazy!)... And onto my fall/winter wardrobe! :D

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