I’ve missed this place! It’s been a while, I know. As much as I absolutely love and adore blogging, sometimes other things require more of my time than usual. In this case, it’s been work, something I rarely talk about here.
I own and run a brand called Tiklari – a brand of handcrafted jewelry + textile goods with a happy soul. Tiklari brings different cultural influences together in a harmonious line, combining the magic, talent and handwork of designers, artisans and jewelers from several parts of the world. It started off as me bringing in some bracelets and necklaces from Turkey and selling them to friends. Now it has turned into a real business for me – a full-on job that doesn’t feel like work because I enjoy it tremendously. Simple perfection.
One of the things I do is travel every now and then to work with jewelers and artisans on new designs. I was recently in Turkey – a country I fall more in love with every time I go. Not only is Istanbul an intriguing, powerful city - – but its people are just amazing. I work with quite a few people there, and they’ve been more warm and welcoming to me every time I go back, which makes me want to go back again and again.
Something I love about Istanbul, which makes it very similar to Mexico, are the street food vendors. Men carrying fresh bread, lemons – others selling candy, toasted nuts, fruit, roasted corn, salep (a traditional Turkish beverage), and fresh juice. You can find all sorts of goodies on the streets – I just can’t photograph them enough.
Food on a stick is quite popular these days – and you know how much I love colors, so it makes sense when I tell you that my favorite in Turkey is the “Osmanli Macunu.” It’s basically, colorful sugar on a stick. Men stand around, stirring this gooey candy in a metal pot, which they twist and twirl around a wood stick and finish it off with a hint of lemon to create a colorful (and extremely sweet) “lollipop”. Now, when I say extremely sweet, I mean I couldn’t even finish half of it (and I’m the kind of person who can eat, drink and breathe dessert) – but, it’s definitely picturesque and worth trying.
Then there’s the markets – in particular, the Spice or Egyptian Bazaar in Eminonu – nuts, spices, herbs, tea, coffee, Turkish delight (candy) – so much flavor and eye candy! As you can see, Istanbul flourishes with culture and flavor – and it’s hard to get enough of it.