Traditional Foods to Enjoy in Spain

Spain is known for its vibrant culinary scene, and there are many spots around the country that are considered to be top foodie destinations. From the sweet to the spicy, these traditional dishes should all make it onto your must-try list the next time you are in Spain.

gazpacho

Gazpacho
Spain grows the sweetest of tomatoes, and it is this very ingredient that is the star of gazpacho – a chilled tomato soup made with ultra-ripe tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, bread, peppers and cucumber. Blitzed until silky smooth, this tangy and refreshing soup is always popular during the summer months, and you will usually find a fresh jar of gazpacho on every tapas bar counter top.

Paella
Paella was born in Valencia in the mid-19th century, and Valencians today proudly claim that it is possible to eat a different version of this dish every day of the year, as there are so many varieties out there. While this may be the case, the most important element to a paella is the rice used, with bomba or calasaparra rice being two varieties that are grown on the east coast of Spain, and are known for being particularly effective at absorbing all of the other flavors in the dish.

chorizo

Chorizo
A flavorful pork sausage with plenty of garlic and Spanish smoked paprika, chorizo comes in many different forms, and is one of the most versatile foods in the country. From sweet to spicy to smoked to cured, chorizo is used in a number of different dishes, sometimes just for flavor but often as the star ingredient. While there are many different types of chorizo to be found in Spain, Chorizo Zamorano and Chorizo Riojano are both protected varieties, and most definitely worth trying.

Cochinillo
Known in English as suckling pig, cochinillo features a pig that has been slaughtered when it is under a month old, meaning that it weighs just six or seven kilograms, and, when slow-roasted, the meat is unbelievably tender. Roasted in huge wood-fired ovens, the meat is usually cut with the edge of an earthenware plate to showcase its tenderness, and, if you want to ensure that you are tasting an authentic variety, be sure that the pork that you are eating has come from a registered farm in the Segovia province, which is where the dish originated.

crema catalana

Crema Catalana
While many cannot tell the difference between the Spanish crema catalana and the French crème brulee, there are a few subtle aspects that set them apart. While the French version is served warm, the Catalan version is eaten cold, and features a custard that has been infused with cinnamon and lemon rather than vanilla. This makes it beautifully refreshing, and the perfect way to satisfy your sweet tooth on a hot Spanish day.

Pulpo a la Gallega
Pulpo a la Gallega is a dish that may not be as famous as paella and chorizo, but it is one that will truly excite each and every one of your taste buds. This dish originated in the picturesque Galicia region, which is known for their incredible seafood, and consists of Galician octopus that has been cooked with olive oil and paprika. While this may seem simple, it is the quality of the Galician octopus that makes this dish a stand-out, meaning that it cannot be authentically replicated with octopus from elsewhere.

Spain is home to a diverse and exciting culinary scene, especially in recent years as modern Spanish chefs have been taking traditional dishes to new levels. The way in which each Spanish dish has its own variety depending on the region in which you eat it is part of what makes Spanish cuisine so beautiful, so do take the time to enjoy the unique flavors that come with each dish.

The Real Spanish Tapeo

Tapas

Quintessentially Spanish, tapeo culture is at the heart of Spain’s heritage, and lively tapas bars can be found throughout the country. Rather than being a way of cooking, tapas is more about a way of eating, signifying socializing with friends and bonding with loved ones.

What is Tapas?
Tapas has made a name for itself all over the world, and is essentially a wide variety of small-portioned snacks that are traditionally served alongside alcoholic beverages. Tapas comes in all shapes and forms, from hot or cold to skewered or bubbling in clay pots to finger bites and sandwiches, and every region of Spain will have their own range of unique local tapas dishes.

The Best Time To Tapear
Tapas is such an important part of Spanish culture that there is even a verb, tapear, to describe the act of going for tapas. When it comes to the best time to tapear, this is usually in the early afternoon, between noon and 2pm, as this falls just before the Spanish lunchtime, and is when all of the local tapas bars compete with counters piled high with tempting fragrant bites. Each tapas bar will put their own unique spin on the dishes served, which is why visiting a few different tapas bars is always a popular activity in Spain.

Tapas Etiquette
Tapeo culture has its very own etiquette, and while a faux pas will not be frowned upon heavily, locals will appreciate your knowledge on this. It is usually customary for visitors to a tapas bar to not eat more than two tapas at one place, as the whole idea behind tapeo is it being a sort of gastronomic bar crawl. Since you are only going to be trying a couple of dishes at each place, you need to pay attention to how they complement each other, ordering dishes that work well together rather than those that feature opposing flavors. Tapas is usually eaten at the bar while standing, and, when it comes to paying the bill, Spaniards usually practice convida, which is where everybody pays for a round.

Popular Tapas Dishes
There are thousands of different tapas varieties out there, with the only limit being the chef’s imagination. Gambas are prawns that are sauteed in various sauces, from peppercorn to chopped chili peppers, while croquettes are a common fried dish that can be found in homes all across Spain. Patatas bravas are fried potato cubes that are usually served with a spicy salsa, and is another dish that is served up by the majority of tapas bars out there. Chorizo is another ingredient that is beautifully showcased in many tapas dishes, from chorizo al vino, in which it is slowly cooked in wine, to chorizo a la sidra, in which the chorizo is cooked in cider.

While tapas restaurants may be found all over the world, the only way to truly experience the tapeo culture is by visiting Spain. From the authenticity of the food served to the atmosphere of the bars, tapas culture is a Spanish tradition that is still thriving today.

Spain’s Influence on the World’s Fashion

Fashion model

catwalker / Shutterstock.com

When thinking about the different countries that have shaped the world’s fashion over the years, places such as France and Italy immediately come to mind. However, what many do not realize is that Spain has actually had a significant influence over the way in which fashion as we know it today came about, and is now recognized as being a cutting-edge fashion destination.

Spanish Fashion in the 16th Century
It was in the 16th century that the world really began to take notice of Spanish fashion, and many styles popular in Spain at that time were considered to be at the height of fashion, making them designs sought after by women all over Western Europe. From heavy capes and corsets to bell-shaped hoop skirts structured with wire, it did not take long for Spanish fashion to dominate Europe. Even though many of these designs were extremely uncomfortable and took hours to put together when worn, they were still preferred over simpler styles, mostly due to the fact that they were considered to be the most fashionable designs out there.

Spain Holds on to the Past
Spain’s fashion influence held strong well into the 17th century, but it was around this time that people began looking for styles that were bolder and different from the norm. However, Spain did not want to let go of their national fashion identity, and traditional clothing was still largely preferred in the country. This led to fashionistas flocking to new European cities, such as Paris, for their fashion inspiration.

Spanish Designers
While Spain may have struggled at one point to remain as a country that was leading in the fashion industry, the numerous talented designers to come from Spain have brought new international recognition to many Spanish cities. From Paco Rabanne to Prada, these designers put themselves at the forefront of the industry, and, by making their name known all over the world, placed the spotlight on Spain.

Zara store in China

TonyV3112 / Shutterstock.com

High Street Stores
Spain gave birth to stores such as Mango and Zara, both of which are recognized all over the world, and the latter of which is a brand that, after humble beginnings in Spain, now has 2000 stores worldwide. These stores made a name for themselves by putting forward a chic European style of dressing that many had never seen before, showing the world exactly how affordable fashion could still be incredibly stylish, as well as look expensive. Other brands that many do not realize are actually Spanish in origin are Desigual, Bershka, Camper, Massimo Dutti and Hoss Intropia, and, when you look at high streets around the world and see these names lining busy boulevards, you realize just how much of an influence Spain now has on the fashion industry.

While Spain may have almost given up their role as a leading fashion innovator in the past, there is nobody that doubts the huge influence that they have had in fashion. From filling the runways of major international fashion weeks, to lining the streets of cities all over the world, Spanish fashion can be seen just about everywhere, and shows no sign of slowing down.

Fall Wedding Inspiration

Bride holding a bouquet

With the natural warm colors and golden light that comes with fall, it is no surprise that this is one of the most popular seasons in which to wed. From picking the perfect location to choosing flowers, these tips will provide plenty of inspiration for a beautiful fall wedding.

Rich and Textured Flowers
While bright and pastel shades dominate the flowers chosen for a spring or summer wedding, fall provides you with the opportunity to be slightly more experimental in the flowers that you choose. Lush and textured arrangements, featuring a range of rich shades, is always popular in the fall, as is including a few non-floral elements, from hypericum berries to fiddlehead ferns to poppies that have a deep, dark center. For those that would still prefer to go with some classic roses, these can still be chosen with a fall color scheme in mind.

Open-Roof Ceremony
The gorgeous natural lighting of fall is a shame to waste, but the temperatures can often be too chilly, as well as too unpredictable, for an outdoor wedding. To make the most of the season’s beauty, try to find a location for your ceremony with an open roof, and bring in some space heaters to give your guests some extra warmth. This is also a great option for a fall wedding in the evening, as you will be able to have the stars twinkling down on you, without your hair being blown around by the wind.

Apple Bar
Apples are synonymous with fall, and bringing this element of the season into your wedding will really give the day a unique touch. An apple dipping bar is easy to set up, and will also provide plenty of fun for guests of all ages. With a couple of different dipping sauces, such as caramel and chocolate, and a colorful array of different toppings, the apple bar is bound to become a talking point at your wedding.

Fall Leaves
While you may try to replicate the colors of fall in your wedding color scheme, nothing says fall quite like the crisp texture and rusty colors of freshly fallen leaves. These can easily be added to different parts of your décor, such as bouquets and backdrops, or even sprinkled onto tables and other surfaces as a natural confetti.

Pumpkin Decor
Just like apples, pumpkins are an important part of the season, and can look stunning as part of your wedding décor. Whether you incorporate mini pumpkins into your bouquet, use freshly picked pumpkins to decorate tables, or display ornamentally carved pumpkins, this will no doubt add a fun and quirky touch to your wedding.

Fall is a gorgeous time of the year to tie the knot, and it only makes sense to bring some of the best elements of the season into your wedding. Whether this means opting for a fall-inspired color palette, making the most of the natural colors and lighting of the season when picking your venue, or using fall ingredients in unique ways, let the season truly inspire you when it comes to planning your big day.

Beauty Trends to Look Forward to This Fall

While it is usually the clothes that primarily dominate the fashion week runways, this is also where you can find plenty of beauty inspiration. From bold lip colors to fat lashes, these are the beauty trends that you can look forward to this fall.

Pink lips

Bold Lips
Bold lips are a trend that frequently comes and goes, and while it is usually the reds and pinks that are emphasized, this fall sees lip colors that are even more daring. From shades of black burgundy to bright grape to pale peach, these are not colors that you may be able to wear on a daily basis, but you can expect to see much more of them this fall.

Fat Lashes
For those who have been using mascara for years, it is likely that you take great efforts to avoid any clumps. However, you can do away with that this fall, as one of the beauty trends, which was seen in full force on the Dior runway, was thick, fat lashes, achieved with a heavy-handed swipe of mascara. If this is the look that you are going for, keep the rest of your makeup simple, but do opt for a dash of bold lipstick to help your eyes really stand out.

Bold lips and glittery makeup

Sprinkles of Glitter
It can sometimes take quite a bit of practice to master glitter makeup, and, if you have not yet managed to do so, this season is a great time to try again. From a shimmery dust running across the cheekbones at Burberry to a sprinkling of glitter around the eyes at Jenny Packham, this fall will be bringing with it plenty of sparkle.

A Natural Glow
While contouring and highlighting may have been all the rage this year, these trends will be taking a step back this fall in favor of a look that is much more natural. From Gucci to Stella McCartney to Valentino, healthy and fresh skin was seen across so many runways, so try to keep your skin natural this fall. While there are iridescent powders that you can purchase to emphasize this glow, there is nothing quite like the radiance that comes from a healthy complexion, so give your skin some extra care this fall.

Graphic Eyeliner
The graphic eyeliner trend has gotten even more creative this season, giving you the opportunity to really use your imagination when it comes to your makeup. Rather than simply drawing on a couple of cat eyes, be more adventurous and add in some graphic shapes. When it comes to the eyeliner that you use, black is always going to be the classic choice, but, if you are feeling bold, reach for a few brighter colors so that you can truly express yourself, whether this be blue, green, yellow or pink.

Beauty trends are always fun to experiment with, and there are a few this fall that really give you the chance to be creative. From a dusting of glitter around your eyes to graphic shapes drawn with eyeliner to lip colors that are darker or brighter than you have ever worn before, take the time to really express yourself through your makeup this season.

Most Wearable Trends for Fall 16

Each season brings with it a dazzling array of new fashion trends, but many of them end up being completely unsuitable for the demands of daily life. For those looking to update their wardrobe for the upcoming season, take a look at these ultra-stylish, yet totally wearable, trends for fall 2016.

Reese Witherspoon

Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

Sweetheart Necklines
Sweetheart necklines are a classic style, and are set to make a huge comeback this fall. From Kenzo to Dior to Miu Miu, sweetheart necklines were seen all over major runways, and were styled in many interesting ways. Whether you decide to bare some skin or layer it over another garment, this is an extremely wearable style to add to your wardrobe this season.

Statement Chokers
Statement accessories have been in trend all this year, and chokers have come into their own over the summer. This fall combines both of these trends, making statement chokers the hottest accessory to have this season. Rather than opting for the thinner, velvet styles of the 90’s, look for chunkier pieces that fully cover your neck.

Dresses Layered Over Turtlenecks
Layers are vital during the unpredictable weather of fall, but, if you do not want to put away your summer dresses quite just yet, then this is the perfect trend for you. Whether you opt for a low-cut cocktail dress or a long and flowing summer dress, this trend is easy to put together using items that you already own.

animal print dress

Animal Print
Animal prints frequently come and go, and, this fall, they will be back once again. From leopard spots to tiger stripes, designers such as Givenchy and Calvin Klein have some fantastic examples of sophisticated animal prints for this season.

Tan Shades
When it comes to neutral colors for fall, tan is one of the chicest, and can be worn in so many different ways. This fall, try to incorporate multiple shades of tan into your outfit, whether this be with your pants, skirt, top, knits and more, going with everything from a sandy khaki to a muted camel.

Metallic Gold
Gold is another fantastic shade to wear in the fall, and while designers such as Rachel Zoe and Suno may have used metallic gold in a way that makes it difficult to wear on a daily basis, you can still easily incorporate the color into your look yourself. Whether you opt for a metallic gold top that is paired with flats to dress it down, or metallic gold detailing on a classic black dress, this is a great way to add some bling to your look.

Off-shoulder dress

Off-Shoulder
Off-shoulder tops and dresses were a huge trend this past spring and summer, and will be continuing on well into the months of fall. The main difference this season is in the silhouette of the looks that they should be styled in, opting for a subtle but sexy silhouette rather than the boho-inspired summer silhouette.

While avant-garde fashion is always inspiring to look at, many pieces are often impractical when it comes to wearing them on a daily basis. From pops of metallic gold to subtle off-shoulder silhouettes, these trends are all easy to adopt, and will keep you looking stylish throughout the fall.

Stylish Senior Fashion and Bling

True fashion has no age boundaries, and there are many pieces out there that are easily able to work across different generations. From statement accessories to wide-legged pants, here is some fashion inspiration for all of those stylish seniors out there.

Mature woman wearing a pearl necklace

Statement Accessories
Styling your accessories in a modern and contemporary way can do wonders for your overall look. Rather than wearing all of your favorite items at once, try to stick to one statement accessory that really stands out and speaks for itself. If the rest of your outfit is relatively basic, then there is no reason why you cannot invest in some of the trendier accessories out there, as this will give your look a contemporary touch without making it seem as though you are dressing “too young”.

Wide-Legged Pants
Style icon Katharine Hepburn is a great example of how to wear wide-legged pants at a more mature age, even though this is something that many seniors tend to veer away from. However, with waistlines on the rise, wide-legged pants help to give the body a slimmer, more streamlined look, while also balancing out the hips to create an extremely flattering silhouette.

Mature woman wearing a bold dress

Bold Colors
It is not unusual for many seniors to stick to neutral colors, such as black, grey, beige and white. However, this can often end up making your outfit look quite drab, and there is no reason why you cannot continue to wear bold colors in the later years of your life. Jewel tones will always look classy, no matter what your age may be, while those who are more daring can opt for a bright pop of color in their outfit, whether this may be a bright red or even gold. For those that are slightly unsure about wearing too much color, start off slowly, choosing to pair a basic outfit with colorful bags and accessories, and it will not be long before you notice the impact that these vibrant shades have on your overall style.

Make Use of Layers
With fall quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to experiment with wearing different layers, especially if this is something that you are not used to. Layering your clothes results in quite a chic look, providing that it is done thoughtfully. Wearing a turtleneck underneath a classic sheath dress, or a cardigan over a light knit, amps up the sophistication of your look, while keeping it stylish at the same time.

While many brands tended to ignore seniors in the past, this is no longer the case, and there are several out there that now deliberately target this large portion of the population. From the older models seen on major runways, to the increasing number of senior street style blogs out there, senior fashion is undergoing quite the revolution. While many may let their fashion choices fall flat as they age, there is no reason that this should happen, so keep yourself inspired by all of the style around you, and discover new ways to work hot trends into your look.

The Best Type of Gold for Your Skin Tone

Women wearing gold dresses

Any piece of jewelry will always look quite different depending on who is wearing it, and this is largely due to skin tone. Since gold is most often worn against the skin, the easiest way to choose the most flattering type of gold is by taking your skin tone into account, and then opting for a shade that will best complement it.

Learning More About Your Skin Tone
Before choosing a type of gold, you need to first learn a bit more about your skin tone, which is something that is completely different from skin color. The easiest way to figure this out is by looking at an area of skin, in natural light, where the veins are most visible, which is usually on the wrist. Those with a cool skin tone will notice blue-ish veins, with a pink or red undertone, while those with a warm skin tone will have veins that look green, and have yellow or gold undertones. If you seem to have both warm and cool undertones, then your skin tone can be classified as neutral.

Cool Skin Tones
White metals and cooler types of gold will usually work best with cool skin tones. White gold is a great option, as the lightness of this will beautifully complement you. Combination pieces that contain both silver and gold are also suitable, as are those that contain red, purple or blue gemstones. When it comes to rose gold, this can work well with all skin tones, depending on how strong the rose color is, so, if you have a cool skin tone, opt for the lighter shades of rose gold.

Warm Skin Tones
A warm skin tone is highlighted best with the use of yellow metals, which includes yellow and orange gold. Opt for rich and earthy shades whenever possible, staying away from any white metals. Warm types of rose gold will also work well with your skin tone, but be sure to choose the deepest pink shades possible.

Neutral Skin Tones
Those with more of a neutral skin tone are quite lucky, as pretty much all types of gold can be worn, although some may look better than others. From white gold to a deep orange gold, experiment with all of the different types to find one that works best for you. To make it slightly easier to narrow down your choice, make use of a color wheel, as this will help you to discover which types of gold your strongest undertones will work well with.

Wearing a type of gold that complements your skin tone will make you appear much healthier, from your eyes to your skin, and you are likely to feel much fresher and vibrant as a result. However, if you wear a type of gold that is not well-suited to your skin tone, this can often end up highlighting any imperfections that you would usually choose to hide, such as wrinkles or discoloration, making it important to choose the right type of gold if you want to be looking your very best.

Stylish Ways to Mix Silver and Gold

Stylish woman wearing jewelry

There are many different so-called fashion rules out there, and, for many years, mixing silver and gold has been considered to be a big no-no. However, this is far from the case today, because, if you do it right, mixing silver and gold can look exceptionally chic and stylish.

The Stacking Trend
The stacking trend has been around for a while now, and is a great way to mix and match different types of metals. Simply stack, or layer, a few different pieces of silver and gold over each other, making sure to keep each piece within a similar style, so that it is only the metal providing contrast rather than the actual design of your jewelry. Whether you do this with delicate necklaces or chunky rings, stacking is a fun way to wear silver and gold together.

Combination Pieces
Combination pieces of jewelry, meaning items that contain both silver and gold, are an easy way to wear both of these metals together. This also then means that any subsequent gold or silver items that you wear will work well with your outfit, enabling you to really mix and match your accessories. For example, if you decide to wear a necklace that contains both silver and gold, then it would be easy to then style this with a gold ring and a silver bracelet, as the necklace would tie all of the metals in the outfit together.

Experiment with Different Ratios
When wearing gold and silver together, you will end up with different looks by experimenting with different ratios of the two metals. Rather than wearing an equal amount of each metal, try using mostly one, but also wearing a single item of the other, as this will add some contrast to the main metal that you have chosen.

Aesthetically Similar
As mentioned above in relation to the stacking trend, when mixing gold and silver, you should try to make sure that the pieces that you choose are aesthetically similar. This means that if you have chosen a delicate piece of gold jewelry, any silver that you wear should also be quite delicate. Likewise, if you have opted for some chunky, graphic items, make sure that all of the other jewelry that you wear is along these lines.

Bring in a Third Color
Another great way to tie together silver and gold is by bringing in a third color. Black is a great neutral color, and contrasts beautifully with both silver and gold on jewelry, so if you can find a piece that combines silver and gold with black, the black will act as an anchor, holding the other types of metal that you wear together.

These days, there are no longer any firm rules on which metals you should, and should not, be wearing together. While you may still prefer to just stick to one metal at a time, mixing silver and gold will give your outfit some stylish contrast, and you are also likely to have plenty of fun experimenting with different looks.

Fun Ways to Bond with Your Family

Family time

Spending quality time with your family can often seem like a rarity these days, especially when electronic devices often end up dominating the day. Whether you have energetic toddlers, sullen teenagers, or children that have grown up and have kids of their own, these are some fun ways in which you can truly bond with your family.

The Family Dinner Project
The Family Dinner Project is a grassroots initiative that aims to highlight the importance of family dinners, bringing this back into everyday life. While you may already frequently eat meals with your family, it is unlikely that they are meals in which everyone participates, and this is what The Family Dinner Project hopes to help with. Their website provides plenty of helpful resources, from learning how to get young children to have fun with food prep to listing some unique dinnertime games for adults.

Volunteer Together
Studies have shown that volunteering has a number of different mental and health benefits, from increasing happiness and decreasing depression to helping to extend your life expectancy. In addition to this, you will also be doing something good for others, which sets a great example for everyone else in your family. There are many different organizations that readily welcome new volunteers, so whether you spend some time with children in need, or participate in a beach cleanup, volunteering will bring a healthy dose of positive energy to you and your family.

Sisters clicking photographs

Learn a New Skill
A great way to bond with your family is by learning a new skill together, throwing yourselves into something that may be out of your comfort zone. While it may take a few tries to find a skill that everybody wants to learn, be it photography, glass blowing, painting or dance, you will end up with a shared hobby and passion that will always bring you back together.

Game Night
Game nights are another great way to get the whole family involved, and to make sure that everybody has a chance to participate. Game nights can be made into a regular event, whether it be every week or every month, with each game night featuring a different game. Whether you set up different board games around your home, head out for some evening mini golf, or get competitive at the bowling alley, game nights will be enjoyed by just about every age group.

Be Entrepreneurial
Being entrepreneurial with your family is especially useful if you have younger children, as it is also a great way to teach them about topics such as money, pricing and planning. There are many different options available to you, from building your own lemonade stand, which in itself is another bonding activity, to hosting a garage sale, each of which will teach your children valuable real-life lessons about business.

Family bonding is extremely important, leaving you with memories that you will cherish for a lifetime. While it may seem like unnecessary hassle rounding up the family for regular bonding sessions, it will do the whole family a world of good, and will help you to appreciate each other like never before.