lavender visions

one of the most important things in life is drawing inspirations from daily surroundings.  Always take note in the little things-baby buds blooming on a tree during your Sunday afternoon stroll, the way the sky looks at certain points during the day, the icing details on beautifully crafted desserts in the bakery window. Small details like this are what drive design inspirations for me on a daily basis.  This leads me to my latest enthrallment: the color purple.


Untitled presentation (75).png

At first mention, purple might seem a bit passe’ and outdated.  However, purple is making a major comeback and has bloomed far from that stark, in your face, unicorn-mane color we all remember from 7th grade.  Purple is on my radar right now because of its versatility-play with deep, cooler shades of purple paired with blue hues; take it down the pastel road for a fresh spring look; or style purple in more magenta, vibrant shades alongside bohemian oranges and yellows. Whether it be via interior design, beauty, fashion, food-there is a purple hue for every occasion.  Pair deep plum alongside white in your home for an elegant, refined look; style amethyst jewel tones with neutrals and pastels for a bright change of pace in your wardrobe this spring; or incorporate bright magenta throw pillows outside on your porch for a boho-chic tropical feel.  Untitled presentation (76).pngUntitled presentation (77).pngUntitled presentation (78).pngUntitled presentation (80).pngUntitled presentation (83)Untitled presentation (82).pngUntitled presentation (86).pngUntitled presentation (85).pngUntitled presentation (87)Untitled presentation (84).png

chairish X uptownBoho

Chairish is a brilliant concept-an amazing online marketplace for buying and selling vintage furniture. They have tons of beautiful pieces-from luxurious designer pink velvet sofas to funky pillows-there is something for everyone.  I also immediately downloaded their handy app so all of my interior design needs & wants are now right at my fingertips (voted #1 must have decorating Iphone app by Architectural Digest!).

The Chairish collection boasts some unique beautiful vintage bar stools (you can shop the entire Chairish bar stool collection here!) After much browsing, I chose my personal favorite vintage bar stool-the Phyllis Morris Silver Bamboo Bar Stool. I then created a style board & room vision to compliment my selection. The room concept for this project was based upon the hip idea of a “woman cave”-a place similar to a man cave, where guys get to gather around to watch football, drink beer, play pool & do whatever they do.  Another brilliant idea-every woman needs her own girly space also-to unwind, grab a cocktail, & soak up good vibes in.
Untitled presentation (67).png

I was inspired by the bright blue patterned seat & the playful bamboo detail of this bar stool. My design aesthetic morphed into what I’m calling Boho Tropical-filled with natural elements (such as bamboo, bone inlay, and wood), paired with dreamy details & bright pops of colors evoking nature.

Untitled presentation (68).png

I sourced a tall table made of reclaimed wood to act as the bar, alongside a bamboo bar cart and a set of vintage industrial iron pendant lights to hang over the bar (also from Chairish). I included a beautiful crochet indoor hammock to hang in one corner of the room to fully embody the relaxing oasis feel I was going for.  And what girl doesn’t want to sip a cocktail while lounging in a hammock after a long day?? (I recommend a tasty pineapple coconut mojito).  Lastly, a fun Vintage Rattan Hoop Chair from Chairish paired with a bohemian designer tie dye pillow (also from Chairish) is the perfect place to curl up with a magazine in my ultimate woman cave.

shop the complete look:

Untitled presentation (69) 1       2       3

Untitled presentation (70) 4        5       6

Untitled presentation (71) 7       8       9

Untitled presentation (72).png 10      11      12

Untitled presentation (73).png13        14       15

la vie boheme / the bohemian life

Untitled presentation (65).png

from sun basking on a serene island to stunting at trendy city spots, here are my must have fashion details to rock a hip bohemian-chic look all summer long:

SHOES THAT WRAP  //  PATTERNED NEUTRALS  //  ROMANTIC LACE & FRINGE  //  GEOMETRIC PATTERNS  //  POPS OF METALLIC  //  FUNKY PALAZZO PANTS  //  BEADS & STONES

-island loungin-

Untitled presentation (51).png1. Crochet Razor Back Jumpsuit, Mara Hoffman  2. Amorgous V-Neck Swimsuit, Zeus + Dione   3. Leah Embellished Clutch Bag, Boohoo  4. Shield Collar Statement Necklace, Rov + Pearl   5. RI Resort Blue Bikini Top & Bottom, River Island  6. Tasssal, Steve Madden

-tropical wanderer-

Untitled presentation (63).png

  1. Gold Tone Statement Choker Necklace, River Island  2. Coral Lace Longline Bra, River Island   3. Palazzo Trousers, Nicole Miller  4. Sunkisd, Steve Madden  5. Fitted Midi Dress, Mara Hoffman    6. RI Resort Blue Printed Coin Cut Out Swimsuit, River Island  7. Soho Bangle, Aurelie Bidermann  8. Aloha Fox Embroidered Bag, Spell & The Gypsy Collective  9. Cropped Crochet-Knit Top, Missoni

-hip romantic-

Untitled presentation (54).png

  1. Light Blue Frill Bardot Neck Bodycon Dress, New Look  2. Christey, Steve Madden   3. Delia Necklace, Vanessa Mooney  4. Black Tropical Longline Bikini Top, River Island  5. Embellished Gold Tone Hinge Bangle, Michael Kors  6. White Lace Bodycon Midi Dress, New Look  7. Green Printed Culottes, River Island  8. Sultans Gate print silk maxi dress, Camilla

-urban edge-Untitled presentation (64).png1. Starbasket Sarong, Mara Hoffman  2. Bow & Arrow Choker, Vanessa Mooney  3. Beige Cornelli Bralette, River Island  4. Make a Peep Black Palazzo Pants, Nasty Gal   5. Jeopardy Tie-Leg Espadrille Sandals, Asos  6. Cut out Back Bustier One Piece, Mara Hoffman  7. Blue Printed Weekend Bag, River Island

spain grubbin’

One of my all time favorite warm weather, outdoor patio, breeze blowing, happy dishes is Paella, a heavenly classic hailing from Spain.  I fell in love with it when I visited Barcelona for the first time. It consists of rice, primarily seasoned with saffron and paprika, and a variety and/or combination of meats (usually chicken or chorizo), seafood (mussels, clams, shrimp, lobster, calamari) and vegetables.  Bits of rice on the bottom of the pan that get crusted and crispy are called socarrat, considered a delicacy in Spain. I made up my own recipe and included shrimp and a variety of vegetables (olive oil and lemon roasted artichokes, butternut squash, onion, garlic, asparagus, & mushrooms). I absolutely love Chorizo and if I had some I would’ve added it. I also love to add freshly squeezed lemon juice & Spanish olives atop my paella, but this is optional. Below I have linked some variations of this beautiful dish for upcoming Spring patio weather & entertaining. e n jo y ! 

my roasted vegetable & shrimp paella //

IMG_9939.JPG

Roasted veggies / not pictured: roasted artichokes & mushrooms

IMG_9937.JPG

one pan shrimp: cook the shrimp with the rice, allowing the juices to infuse for extra flavor

IMG_9829

Final shrimp & roasted veggie paella!

IMG_9944 (1).PNG

other variations of paella //

Skillet-Grilled-Seafood-and-Chorizo-Paella-1.jpg (600×900)

grilled seafood & chorizo paella, via Half Baked Harvest

Chicken, chorizo & seafood Paella via Mogwai Soup

 

 

oh the places you’ll go

My new bucket list goal is what I’m calling 30 under 30-to travel to 30 countries by the time I turn 30 years old. I’ve already made it more than halfway, but here are a few of my top must-see travel destinations for the upcoming years.

Untitled presentation (31)                                                                               

Untitled presentation (30).pngAny place where you can order an entire meal for 1 U.S. dollar is high on my radar. Additionally, I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about the freshness and quality of food in Vietnam. Pho-ck yeah. Add on beautiful turquoise bays, lush greenery, and rich culture, and you’ve got a country that easily makes it’s way onto my list.

wanderlust1 (1)

                                                                                 

Untitled presentation (33)A few years ago I visited France for the first time.  One thing I missed, however, was the experience of the French countryside, most evident in the southeastern region of Provence–characterized by vast fields of purple lavender, the smell of fresh thyme, and picturesque villas and ruins. Provence is also famed for its world class antiquing, wine tasting, and food. My mom is the ultimate shabby chic vintage lover, so this is a trip high up on my radar for a mother-daughter getaway. My dream trip to Provence would include renting a car and cruising through the stunning French countryside. And lots of wine.

wanderlust6.png

                                                                                  

Untitled presentation (34).pngI honestly don’t know that much about Morocco, but I do know that I’m obsessed with interior design and Moroccan elements speak my language. I’m absolutely head over heels with Moroccan architecture, patterns, colors, materials, and design elements. Ornate patterned tiles in shades of blue and yellow. glass plated silver lanterns, unusual shaped windows and doors. My reasons for visiting Morocco lie in the design field, but I would also love to experience the foods, vibrant villages, and markets that make up a place unlike anywhere I’ve ever traveled.

WANDERLUST4 (1).png

                                                                                

Untitled presentation (35).pngRocky coves, sandy crescents, the infamous blue and white clad hillside villages, and grilled octopus that is practically still swimming–these are some of the reasons why Greece has been on my travel list for years.  I absolutely love the simplistic architecture and design elements that capture Greece, along with knockout food and a relaxed vibe every day of the week. The Small Cyclades are a particularly remote group of 4 islands, away from the larger and more touristy destinations of Greece.         wanderlust9.png

                                                                                  

Untitled presentation (36)The next continent that I plan to take on is South America. I am particularly drawn to Columbia for it’s less-touristy, bright and bold atmosphere.  Cartagena is the “queen of the Carribbean coast”       (-Lonely Planet), a gorgeous fishing town with old-world colonial charm.  From people watching in chic cafes in the old town, to soaking up the history lining the cobble-paved streets, or relaxing on the pristine, high-class beaches of Bocagrande to the South, Cartagena is a vibrant mix of old and new, of fast and slow.  I can’t wait to experience such a rich culture first hand.

wanderlust7.png

                                                                                     

Untitled presentation (37)Quite possibly one of the most magical places on earth, Cinque Terre is a group of 5 fishing villages nestled side by side on one of the most stunning coastal backdrops known to man. Marked by steeply terraced cliffs dotted with mystical shades of color, Cinque Terre is an absolutely stunning getaway. Loads of history, arts, and a rich Italian culture put this magnificent little corner of the world at the top of my wanderlust list.

Untitled presentation (38).png

                                                                          

Untitled presentation (39)My perception of South America as a whole can be captured in this one city: bustling, energetic, seductive, and sexy. Old neighborhoods lined with coffee shops, romantic cafes lit by candles, people doing the Tango all through the night, and stunning architecture are what draw me in. The city itself is said to have a European feel to it, with a fiery Latin American twist.  Additionally, Buenos Aires boasts a heavy artistic scene, creating the ultimate creative playground for adventure seekers like myself.

Untitled presentation (47).png

                                                                      

Untitled presentation (41)An island nestled in Indonesia, Bali is best known for its pristine beaches, a plethora of lush greenery and sprawling rice paddies, juicy fresh fruits & juices, volcanic mountains, and coral reefs. From my experience island-hopping around Thailand, I’m already well aware that the islands sprawling across SE Asia have a magical & surreal element to them. I can only imagine the rich, bustling culture, vibrant markets, and emerald-turquoise waters that make up this tropical paradise.

WANDERLUST5.png                                                                           

Untitled presentation (42).pngPortugal has made it onto my list for it’s diversity: some of the most stunning beaches in Europe, on the Southern coast of Algrave; hiking amidst granite mountain peaks and jagged cliffs; exploring through colorful small villages and rich historical towns; all night drinking and dancing festivals; and a vibrant food scene featuring fresh seafood, crusty breads, olives, cheeses, smoked meats & red wines. Enough said.

Untitled presentation (44).png

                                                                                         

Untitled presentation (45)I had a layover once in the tiny, 4 room airport in Reykjavik, Iceland and ever since then I’ve been intrigued by this country. Maybe a somewhat strange place (the national food is a hot dog..) but also a beautiful country with insane, one of a kind landscapes and natural phenomenons that can’t be found anywhere else in the world.

wanderlust2 (1).png 

 

Untitled presentation (4).png

Following my trip to Thailand, I came back not only bloated on noodles and rice, but with refreshed design visions and inspirations, triggered by my everyday surroundings while in SE Asia. I found inspirations in the vibrant life and culture of Thailand, from the silver-etched cups they drink out of, to the eye popping colors present in food markets, orchids, and lush jungle surroundings. The patterns, textures, and natural tropical elements of the country deeply spoke to me, and have molded my personal style in fresh new ways.  I now love incorporating the stylistic elements of such a vibrant country into my interior design aesthetics. Here, I’ve put together my go to list for an instant tropical-bohemian feel.Untitled presentation (27).pngUntitled presentation (26).pngUntitled presentation (28).pngUntitled presentation (25).png

taste of the tropics

I decided to take some of my favorite flavors and marry them into the goodness of a bowl…pina coladas, coconut shrimp, avocado, and ginger. The result was a beautiful bowl delight which I’m calling a Pina Colada Shrimp Bowl. I hand breaded and baked my own coconut shrimp for a healthy version of the deep-fried, crunchy island classic. I then built a bowl with my favorite salad ingredients, and I tied in a ginger-based dressing for an Asian kick. Coconut shrimp paired with citrus is a no-brainer, so I threw together a quick pineapple basil salsa. The final product was a tropical infusion of Island-Asian flavors. I also added some peanuts last minute to bring in some crunch, but next time I would opt for Macadamia Nuts instead. Though I didn’t follow a recipe, I’ll list the ingredients below, along with approximate amounts and steps.

FOR THE SHRIMP:

1 pound (20-25 count) large shrimp, butterflied
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
~10 crushed whole grain crackers (1 cup ground)…(this is the healthy version, use Panko bread crumbs if you aren’t into the healthy sh*T!)
Olive oil for spraying the baking sheet
Salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.   2. Line a baking sheet with non-stick foil, or spray a sheet with olive oil   3. Put the crackers in a sealed ziploc bag and crush them (with a rolling pin or meat-pounder or some other heavy object) until they resemble finely ground bread crumbs.    4. Set up your breading station: place the flour in a bowl; whisk the eggs and put them in a separate bowl; and mix the coconut and bread crumbs and put them in a bowl.   5. Sprinkle the deveined and butterflied shrimp with salt and pepper.   6. Working in batches, first dip the cleaned shrimp in the flour, and shake off excess; second dip the floured shrimp into the egg mix; lastly dip the shrimp into the coconut-crumb mixture, making sure to press the coconut onto the shrimp so it sticks in place. 7. Transfer breaded shrimp to the baking sheet; Bake for about 15 minutes,until coconut begins to lightly brown.

PINEAPPLE SALSA:

1 cup chopped fresh pineapple
Handful of basil, thinly sliced
1/2 small cucumber, sliced
Juice of 1/2 lime

Mix all ingredients in a bowl together. Add more lime juice if desired.  

DRESSING- to make a tangy vinaigrette, I combined:

~1/4 cup of my favorite ginger dressing
2 tablespoons of water
1 tablespoon of honey
1-2 tsp of rice wine vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime

This is an approximation, so if it tastes too much like vinegar or lime juice, then add more water and honey. If it tastes too much like ginger dressing, then add more of the other ingredients until you reach a good balance.

OTHER BOWL INGREDIENTS:

A handful of lettuce leaves, thinly sliced
Few thin slices of red onion
~4-5 jalapeno slices
~Handful of peanuts OR macadamia nuts
1/2 Avocado, sliced
Sesame seeds for garnish

Arrange all of the ingredients in a bowl, except for the nuts and sesame seeds. Drizzle the salad mix with the dressing until evenly coated. Next add the pineapple salsa, the coconut shrimp, the nuts and the sesame seeds and enjoy.

NOTE: this will make a large batch of coconut shrimp. I ate them as leftovers with a BBQ-jerk dipping sauce. They would also go well as a snack alongside a mango chutney.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset

Ingredient Prep

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Coconut shrimp breading station [flour dust, egg wash, coconut]

Processed with VSCOcam with m3 preset

Final coconut crusted shrimp ready to bake

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Final Pina Colada Shrimp Bowl: Lettuce, cucumbers, red onion, jalapenos, & avocado slices drizzled with a lime-ginger-honey vinaigrette / pineapple-basil salsa / baked coconut shrimp / roasted peanuts & black sesame seed garnishProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset