The Ladybug living the Jordanian dream: Madaba and the Dead Sea

The Ladybug Chronicles Madaba Dead Sea (4)

There is no other way to call my journey through Jordan than a DREAM. First of all a dream coming true, because I have been dreaming of visiting Petra for such a longtime that I can’t even count the years; but it was also a dream itself, a place where I completely disconnected from the world and finally deeply connected with myself. I am not the same person who arrived in Jordan more than a month ago as this trip has changed me in a way that I didn’t expect: everything was suddenly finding its place in my life while new chaos emerged but it was a good chaos, a creative one, lifeblood for my thoughts and dreams.

It will be hard for me to give you tips and telling you the story of this trip without connecting it to the emotions that I felt.

For this reason I decided to split the journey in four posts, the main stops of this trip: Madaba and the Dead Sea, Petra, Wadi Rum desert and Amman.

Let’s start from day one: Madaba and the Dead Sea.

Once landed in Amman, we rented a car at the airport and started our trip towards the Southern Jordan starting from a quick stop in Madaba to visit the famous mosaic map of Saint Georges church and to buy kilims, the typical Jordanian rugs handmade here, another reason why this city is very famous. Situated at just 30 minutes by car from Amman I really suggest a visit to this lovely town as it gives you a delicate first approach to Jordan with its beautiful churches and mosques before getting to the “real” Jordanian adventure. We stopped here only a few hours in the morning (just the time to visit the oldest Palestine mosaic map in the world and buy a red keffiyeh and a kilim!). Madaba is hospital, peaceful and full of history, it was great to hang around visiting churches (they are all very close to each other) and to meet locals, who are very proud of their city and willing to give you all type of information! Artisan Street is perfect for your first shopping in Jordan and definitely cheaper compared to Petra.

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But it was when we left Madaba and started the Kings Road heading to the Dead Sea that we started understanding what to expect from Jordan. The most beautiful views were in front of us and they didn’t leave us until we arrived in Wadi Musa that night. I cannot describe the beauty of this road with canyons and valleys on one side and the beautiful view of the Dead Sea with its turquoise water and white salt on the other side. We stopped hundreds of times to take pictures or make videos or just stay there and admire the incredible work of the nature in silence. The first day in Jordan was already leaving us speechless.

We joined the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, around 400m under the sea level around two o’clock: as it is difficult to find a place to access directly to the sea we stopped at one of the many resorts along the sea, the Amman beach. We went for this one because it was less crowded with tourists and many Jordanians use to go there to enjoy a couple of hours at the beach. Floating on this sea was one of my dreams since I was a kid and studied it at school: the experience is incredible because the high concentration of salt in the sea not only doesn’t allow life in the sea but also won’t let you swim because you are constantly floating! Right on the other side you can admire Israel and if you are lucky enough (we were!) you can try for few JODs the famous Dead Sea muds on your skin. I suggest you try this because between the salt and the mud you will have the softest skin ever (I also had Turkish Baths, scrub and massages in Amman and Wadi Musa…I had the best skin I ever had in my life in just 5 days!).

After a quick late lunch and a last “bath” in the sea we took back the Kings Road to Wadi Musa: hours of silence and meditation along the most amazing road I have ever gone down. Jordan was already revealing its secrets and was starting to change my molecules…

We arrived in Wadi Musa just in time for dinner at the Red Cave: we ate mensaf, the typical Jordanian dish made with lamb, rice, yoghurt and pine nuts, Jordanian sweets and had a lot of Bedouin tea (I didn’t know yet that I was going to drink liters of Bedouin tea for the next three days!). Petra was waiting for us on the next day!

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The Ladybug is a vintage “Signorina”!

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“Signorina” is how we call not married women in Italian (or should I say we called as it feels a bit discriminatory now and we tend to call every woman Signora) but it is also the name that Madame Ilary gave to her newly born headpiece, a sort of 60s headband but with a big knot that comes in many different amazing patterns and colors. It was hard to choose my favorite one but I went for this emerald green floral pattern because I just fell in love with its tones!

You may think that it is an accessory for cocktail parties and special ceremonies but I am showing here that it doesn’t matter if the fabric or the design is elegant, you can put things in different perspectives depending on how you wear them!

It is not a coincidence that I am wearing it on a Saturday morning, paired with vintage and modern pieces.

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Vintage: the amazing 70s navy coat that I found at Humana Vintage in Milan as well as the Benetton white shirt with peter pan collar (this is from the 80s though). I bought these two pieces in different moments but in the same Humana Vintage shop near the Duomo in Milan. The coat was a “love at first sight” purchase, as I was looking for a navy 70s coat but I couldn’t find my perfect one as they always were too small or too big for me but with a bit of perseverance I knew that sooner or later Humana would come up with “the one”!

Modern: Massimo Dutti 70s inspired dark denim jeans and Ouigal electric blue ankle boots (my favorite shoes of the season!).

My hoop earrings are from Genny Pi while the small one is vintage and the one with little pearls is from Serena Ciccarelli LCS (I got in on her Instagram account with lovely jewelry from Naples).

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The Ladybug is a (curvy) model for a day!

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One of the advantages of having a creative mind as a friend is that you can always see, get inspiration and in this case also modeling for her!

I often go to visit Ilaria in her Madame Ilary atelier in Milan, just to watch her working or getting inspired by her new pieces. I love to watch “the process of creation” that is behind every single piece and to appreciate then the unicity of each turban or clothes that she makes.

She believes in real women and she wants to dress them, that’s why she says that her friends and customers are better than a model because they show how the pieces are on a real woman and sometimes I model for her, especially when she has brand new creations.

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It was the case of this wonderful brocade blue coat, a vintage inspired piece with amazing vintage trimmings. I have a thing for all her brocade coats because they have this “Renaissance” feeling that I cannot explain with other words!

We paired the coat with a new piece from her collection, the black jumpsuit with embroidered sartorial big pockets on the front. I love the shape of the pockets, they add an incredible touch to a simple yet elegant piece.

Of course we decided to add one of her turbans to the outfit and we went for this amazing structured fuchsia piece that I adore!

Total Outfit: Heka Couture

Earrings: Metalica

Curvy model: Me!

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The Ladybug latest vintage fashion taboo broken!

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When I look back at my old fashion style I realize – as everybody I guess – that my sense of fashion has changed over the years (even if some things always stay the same!). But also some of my fashion habits and credo has changed. An example of this is the vintage jeans: I have been convinced for years that vintage jeans wouldn’t fit me, that I preferred to buy modern ones etc. To make long story short I haven’t bought a vintage jeans for ages (it was a sort of fashion taboo!) until I realized (in a vintage shop in Barcelona last year) that vintage jeans are great on me and that they have shapes (depending on the eras) that suit my curvy body way better that the new ones.

I started with an 80s mom jeans then moved to vintage Levi’s, now I fell in love with a 90s designer boyfriend jeans from Jean Paul Gautier that I found on Opherty & Ciocci site!

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I loved the style but I tried to “work it my way” by wearing a vintage 80s blazer from Humana Vintage in Milan and a lovely printed tee by La Bigotta (she is an amazing tattoo artist and she created a clothing line with her most famous drawings; in particular I love these series that my friend Simona got for me in a vintage and handmade market in Rome!).

Final touch the ultra-feminine golden and black Baroque style turban handmade by Madame Ilary paired with a pair of huge hoop earrings from Gogo Philip. Snake-print ankle boots are from Zara.

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

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The Ladybug on her latest addiction to 70s fashion

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If I am asked the famous question “What is your favorite era?” I always need a bit of time to give the correct answer. If I think of vintage fashion in general I have a clear love for 40s fashion but when it comes to wearing vintage pieces I must confess that my favorite era changes almost every week!

It mostly depends on the vintage piece in my wardrobe that leads my choice. I just give you an example of what I mean: I bought this amazing checkered 70s coat during my visit at the Pop Up Vintage Fair in London last October and I love it so much that I want to wear it all the time! During the same time I got some 70s vintage coats at Humana Vintage because I love the way they fit, their shape and collars. But when you wear a coat like this you realize that you need to wear it trying to re-create the vintage style that “fits” these shapes.

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That’s why for example I imagined it with these Zara 70s inspired powder blue corduroy trousers and cream sweater or that’s also the reason why I added Selfridge white ankle boots to the outfit (they have a more 60s style maybe but I thought that with this outfit they could feel a bit 70s too!!).

To complete the look I picked up from Madame Ilary showroom a wonderful handmade turban that perfectly paired my trousers!

Huge earrings are handmade from Metalica Creazioni while silver rings are Berber finds from my last Marrakech trip!

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The Ladybug and the Mysterious Baths

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There is a mysterious place in Milan and I call it like that not only because its name is Mysterious Baths (Bagni Misteriosi) but also because many people don’t know the story of this beautiful place. A few years ago it was opened as one of the trendiest swimming pools and bars in town, a great location for parties, events and markets but not many people know that this place was conceived in the 30s and was already a famous space for sports and arts with a swimming pool already at the time.

I was so curious to see this space (possibly not during the crowded summer days) that when I knew from Ilaria that she was having a stall at the Wunder Mrkt (a famous handmade and vintage market in Milan held in different locations during the year) and that the venue for the event was the Bagni Misteriosi, I immediately went there to say hi, walking around to meet new crafters and vintage dealers and taking some pictures.

As you can see the space is very linear and has a typical 30s Italian style and I was not disappointed at all (except for the lack of courtesy of people running the bar during the event, but this is another story).

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As it was a sunny but quite cold spring day but I was spending it at the swimming pool (!) I decided to add a touch of yellow to my black outfit, starting from these amazing Miista yellow crocodile printed shoes that I got during the winter sales and that I love for their incredible vintage vibe and because they are comfortable as hell! I also wore a handmade big yellow brooch made with pieces of old fabrics and buttons that I bought during another market here in Milan from a lovely lady but I cannot remember her name. Last yellow touch my mustard turtleneck sweater from Benetton.

The other half of the outfit is absolutely black: from the Sportmax coat (a bargain from their outlet a couple of years ago!) to the Levi’s jeans and to the beautiful handmade headband decorated with small crystals from Madame Ilary.

PS: All my rings are Berber finds from Marrakech! Silver earrings are from Genni Pi.

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

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The Ladybug’s dream of Marrakech

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I still remember the day when we decided to travel to Marrakech for a long weekend: I was with my best friends, we were eating lunch during our work break, it was September last year. All of us had this little dream of visiting the town and we set-up March this year as the perfect time for our trip. Said and done: we got the tickets a few weeks later and in December all was planned for the Marrakech dream!

It was one of my biggest dreams, I don’t know why we never talked about that but the idea of traveling there, smell the perfumes, drinking mint tea, shopping in the souk, visiting this wonderful city has been in my mind for almost a decade!

I was a bit worried when we landed, as I usually am when I have big expectations because sometimes I think they may be too big and I may end up disappointed but Marrakech was definitely beyond my high expectations. We spend there only 4 days but I could have stayed more and when I left I promised to go back to Morocco because this country is really fabulous!

We arrived quite early in the morning and we decided to head to the new town to have lunch and then visiting the modern Marrakech before spending the next three days in the old city. The real reason why we started from there was another of my old dreams coming true: the visit of the Yves Saint Laurent museum and the famous Majorelle Garden. I saw so many pictures around but nothing compares to the real colors of this place: the blue Majorelle (as they call it) and the yellow, the amazing cactuses and other succulent plants, the fuchsia of the flowers and the incredible decorations of the Berber museum make this place absolutely unique. Even if you are not a fan of Yves Saint Laurent (better if you are because the small museum has some amazing pieces inspired by his love for this town) you will definitely enjoy the magic of the designer’s house in Marrakech (that’s where he moved since he first travelled there) even if the house itself is not open to visitors.

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After the visit we headed back to the old town to have a mint tea aperitivo on the Souk Café Terrace where you have a wonderful view on the Koutoubia Mosque (the view at the sunset during the prayer was breathtaking). We loved so much the Terrace that we decided to stay there also for dinner and to enjoy the typical tasty Moroccan pastries and a hot tea to close the first day!

It was hard not to stop at every shop to buy things but we resisted the souk one more day and we decided to spend the second day visiting the amazing Marrakech buildings and palaces. First stop the Koutoubia Mosque, the most important in town just near the famous Jamaa el Fna square, the biggest and more picturesque of Marrakech (even if I didn’t like it that much as it is full of tourist attractions, but still interesting to visit!). You can visit the mosque only at certain times of the day but the atmosphere and the whole building are worth a visit, even if you will see it from almost everywhere in town if you are on one of the many amazing Marrakech terraces.  From there we moved to the Marrakech Kasbah to visit another mosque, the Kasbah, and two beautiful places: the Saadian Tombs and the Bahia Palace. The Saadian Tombs date back to the end of the sixteenth century and are located in a closed garden. In the same garden you’ll see over one-hundred tombs that are beautifully decorated with colored mosaics. The Saadian Tombs are the resting place of approximately 60 members of the Saadi dynasty but the most important is the main mausoleum with the graves of the sultan Ahmad al-Mansur and his family.

Not far from there is the Bahia Palace, a building commissioned by the Grand Vizier Ba Ahmed ben Moussa, with eight hectares and 150 rooms that lead to various patios and gardens. The most interesting part of the visit is the harem of Abu Bou Ahmed’s four wives and 24 concubines. The ceilings and floors of this building are a blossom of Moroccan art and zellij (zellige) the typical geometrical mosaic tilework that has Berber and Moorish origins.

We stopped for lunch at the lovely Zeitoun Café in front of the Kasbah Mosque (the cous cous was delicious!) and after the intense day of walking and visiting we allowed ourselves a relaxing moment at the Ziani Hammam where we had a traditional Moroccan treat (hammam, sauna, scrub, full massage, shower, hair wash and of course mint tea) in a typical traditional space that is a sort of combination of tradition and modern. We enjoyed it so much that we didn’t want to leave anymore!

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We dedicated the last two days to wandering (and often getting lost) in the little streets of the Medina and of Marrakech huge souk. These two days were full of discoveries, beautiful surprises and crazy shopping of course! The smell of the spices and tea, the colored ceramics, the Berber jewels, baskets and rugs (I got all of them after long extenuating negotiations but I was super proud and happy!), the silver mirrors and teapots, the embroidered slippers…we couldn’t resist! I expected sellers to be a bit pushy but in the end it was fun to enjoy talks with them and negotiate for almost everything (it is almost mandatory here to negotiate, if you don’t do it they may get offended!).

During these two crazy days around the souk we stopped for lunch or dinner in three interesting places that I’d love to mention because they are definitely worth a visit:

          Dar Chérifa: it is a hidden gem of the Saadian era, a restaurant, a riad, a cultural venue, hosting regular international and national exhibitions, workshops, concerts and events. We stayed there for dinner and their Mrouzia sweet dish of lamb with dry raisin and almonds is to die-for (btw, I don’t eat meat but I couldn’t resist it) as well as their Moroccan desserts. Don’t forget to book your place!

          Le Jardin: our last dinner in Marrakech was in these lovely but huge open air restaurant in the Marrakech Medina; the food is very good and the decoration is lovely! It is recommended to book a place before you go, it is pretty crowded.

          Max & Jan: it is a famous modern concept store with a beautiful terrace on top and lovely decoration with Berber rugs that I adored. The space is definitely more interesting than the food or then the (expensive) clothes and accessories.

Last traveler tips: if you decide to spend a few days in Marrakech, the best place to stay is absolutely a traditional Moroccan riad. They are generally very welcoming and you can drink mint tea at every hour of the day or night, but more important they usually offer homemade Moroccan breakfast (you will love it) in their beautiful terraces and the décor is so typically Moroccan style that you will love it.

I had the chance to stay in the Riad Jnane Mogador: the location was perfect because it was exactly in the middle of everything (Jamaa el Fna square, Souk, Bahia Palace etc.) and you could easily go everywhere by walk from there. The internal court and décor was lovely and the rooms were comfortable and clean. Also they have a good restaurant and a lovely spa if you feel like having a good massage! The price was definitely very low for the quality and service that we received so keep it mind in case you are planning a stay in town!

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The Ladybug and another vintage Armani blazer!

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Not too long ago I was telling you about a great charity market where I was invited last year in December and where I found some great bargains. In particular, I was showing you my tartan Valentino skirt that I got for only 20 euros and that I totally love.

I also promised to show you more of my little bargains from that charity event, so here is another one: a vintage wool Armani jacket with a lovely shape that makes it perfect not only for work (as I am wearing it here) but also with denim and more casual outfits, depending on how you pair it and accessorize it!

This is my second vintage Armani blazer (the first one was from Opherty & Ciocci) and I find his vintage jackets amazing: the shape is so flattering and they look elegant without getting the “granny” feeling. When I saw this jacket hanging I started thinking about how to wear it, because it looked too old style for me but in the end, when I tried it, I realized that it was not the case at all!

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In this case, as I was wearing at work (another example of how to wear vintage at the office!) I added a red vintage shirt with peter pan collar that I bought at Humana Vintage and a vintage dragonfly brooch that I found on Ebay for a ridiculous price!

All the rest of the outfit is new, like my black culottes from Cos and my red ankle boots from Dixie. Golden earring are from Genny Pi in Milan.

Photo Credit: Milena Molinari

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The Ladybug and the story of a pair of thrifted boots (and vintage brooch, and thrifted blazer…)

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That day when I was getting ready for work I realized that I was wearing a lot of things with a long story to tell…my thrifted Texan boots, my vintage brooch or my thrifted navy blazer.

Let’s start from the thrifted boots:  I have a huge passion for Texan boots but I have never found a pair that stole my heart. I bought a few vintage pieces in time but I re-sold all of them for different reasons and it seemed almost impossible to find my perfect pair until I saw a wonderful pair on Red Poppy Vintage Instagram account. They were her own and not for sale but I asked about them and she was so kind to give me all the details: unfortunately they were from an old Golden Goose collection and it was almost impossible to find them online or anywhere else. I searched and searched for months but nothing. I was losing hope when one day I saw them used on sale on Ebay: perfect conditions, my size and one tenth of the original price! I couldn’t believe it! At the end of the auction I was the only bidder and I won the item BUT the seller decided that she didn’t want to sell them anymore! I just wanted to cry!! I was so angry and disappointed but I decided to restart my search. Almost one month later the seller contacted me to tell me that finally she decided to sell them and she was offering them to me first at the same price that I won the auction one month earlier. No need to say that I accepted her offer immediately! And so here they are, this fantastic pair of thrifted Golden Goose Texan boots, in amazing vintage leather. Super comfortable and perfect with everything, I am super happy every time that I wear them, especially if I think of how hard it was to put my hands on them! Or should I say to put my feet into them!!!

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The vintage brooch: this is a piece that vintage jewelry lovers know very well; the Elzac iconic brooch in brass and green ceramic is very famous although it is also very hard to find. When I first saw it online (on Ebay) I just fell in love with it and I asked my Blackamoor/Vintage jewelry provider Valentina from Déjà Vu Vintage if she could find it for me. She told me that it was a rare piece and that I’d better buy that one online if I wanted it. The problem was: it was already sold! Long months of Internet search and I finally found another one on Etsy: in mint conditions (the lady got it from an old stock of a jewelry seller so it was immaculate!) and for a very good price, it was finally mine! I prayed that it wouldn’t break during its long travel to Italy from the States and it finally arrived safe to my lovable hands!

The thrifted navy blazer: I was in NYC, April 2012, when I met the adorable Sammy Davis who told me one of the best kept thrifter secrets of this town. A Salvation Army big shop where I would have found so many bargains that I couldn’t even imagine. She was so right: three floors of clothing, homeware, books and accessories, I just couldn’t believe it. I think that I made most of my life bargains there! Among them this lovely double-breasted navy blazer, marine style with golden buttons that I paid only 5 dollars and that is still today one of my favorite vintage blazers ever. I wear it with everything and it is just the perfect shape and style for me!

I am also wearing Mango cropped jeans, & Other Stories floral silk shirt and pink golden hoops from Genny Pi.

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The Ladybug in 1976

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1976: the year I was born. Yes, I am a proud 40 something woman and I love the fashion and style of my birth decade. Super hippy and ethnic clothes and accessories are among my most adored vintage finds and I love to try a 70s inspired look every now and then.

That day I was getting ready with Ilaria for a very intense say: first stop, our new tattoo with the amazing Stefania Pallestrini!

I created the whole outfit starting from this little wonder, a 70s checked flattering coat that I bought in London at Pop Up Vintage Fair (spotted by my friend Sabrina who announced: I found the perfect coat for you! And to be honest it was one of the three perfect coats that I found that day!) for a bargain price and I couldn’t be happier than that! I am totally in love with its pattern and shape and it goes almost with everything! I decided to add another vintage piece found at the Pop Up Vintage Fair in London that same day: a golden Blackamoor brooch that I got for 10 quid and that is big enough to perfectly match my coats!

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Another 70s vintage piece that I added was the beautiful camel and ivory scarf from Humana Vintage that I wore as a headscarf.

All the other pieces are modern: cropped jeans are from Mango, turtleneck sweater is from Benetton and messenger bag is from L’Autre Chose (do you remember about my crazy shopping at their sample sale?!). Golden large hoops are from Gogo Philip.

Just a few words on the shoe-sock combo: I wore these shoes for the first time that day even if I bought last year because I wasn’t sure about how comfortable they would be. They are from Jil Sander and I got them at a sample sale here in Milan (yes, I am Miss Sample Sale!) because I fell in love with them  – and they were 70% off! I was very surprised as I wore them almost all day and they were just fantastic, now you will probably see me in them more often! I just paired them with my adored Bonne Maison green spotted socks (btw, did I tell you that I love Bonne Maison socks?!).

I’d love to always have enough time to get ready  in the morning to try fun combos but unfortunately most of the times I am still almost sleeping when I get dressed! And no, I don’t prepare my outfits mentally the night before because it happens that I forget about them the next day when I wake up!!! Another reason is that I like to dress with the mood of the day that may be completely different from the night before! I should only learn to get up earlier but I am not a morning person and I will probably never be…

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