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Two weeks ago, I landed at Ataturk Airport in Istanbul, Turkey. I arrived carrying a small suitcase and not too much in the way of plans. I travel a lot. It comes with the territory being a travel writer. And, occasionally, I just book trips without doing much in advance. Sometimes, it's fun to just walk into a city and see what it holds without studying it via a Fodor's guide first. That was Turkey for me. I planned to spend four days in Istanbul, wandering the streets with my friend Deb ... seeing what was there. I wanted to meet locals, chat, eat, drink and shop. Now home from this little getaway, I can safely say two things. One, Turkey is one of the most colorful places on the planet. Two, I would go back in a heartbeat.
What surprised me the most those first moments in Istanbul were not the protests (yes, I saw some). It was not the 14 million people living in a single city (this town is immense), and it was not being woken up at 5 a.m. by the loudspeaker calls to prayer at the mosques - which are plentiful enough to accommodate those aforementioned 14 million. What surprised me the most about Turkey was the sheer color of the place.
Tiny bungalow houses are decorated with hanging laundry, dripping Bouganville flowers and stray cats. The striking blue water of the sea is dotted with tiny, brightly painted fishing boats and the sunsets here will quickly make a romantic out of anyone. From Turkish Delight - their favorite afternoon dessert indulgence - to endless rows of headscarves for purchase, there are small, personal moments of color as well. I spent hours shopping for glass lanterns, fine leather goods and incredible textiles in Istanbul's chaotic bazaars and the experience did more than leave my luggage a bit heavier on the way home. My mind began considering how pops of color can change not just your outfit but also your mood. There's something classic-yet-exciting about a bright, busy scarf with a black leather jacket. I adore a colorful pair of heels with a simple skirt and top because it pulls everyone's gaze down rather than up. This fall, I plan to take a cue from the Turkish women and wrap my hair or neck in something exotic. I plan to experiment with pops of color in unexpected ways. Oh... and I plan to go to the gym. Turkish delight is gorgeous on a platter, but it's hard on the hips. Below, I've included a few of my favorite brightly colored items that can be purchased on www.shabbyapple.com. Happy Fall, Y'all!
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