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.
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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.

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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:

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coco cabana

one thing was on my mind all week. Cuban food. Black beans, jerk-mojo spiced pork, Ropa Vieja, rice, fried plantains, croquettas.  I decided to create a probably-less-than-authentic-but-still-bomb version of some Cuban grub. So I got out my new *ombre-turquoise* Le Creuset pot and started a hearty black bean soup.

I have a soft spot for a warm, silky soup in the winter. I also have a soft spot for….toppings. Toppings can make or break a dish in my opinion.  I decided to make my version of a robust Cuban-spiced black bean soup, loaded with some of my favorite toppings: Monterrey Jack cheese, salsa, cilantro, avocado (because I put avocado on everything), and a mango-red onion salsa to amp up the Cuban-ness of this dish. It kind of steered off road, into the direction of a Mexican black bean soup.  If it was up to me, I would have put some jerk shredded pork or succulent mojo grilled shrimp on top of my soup mound to highlight some extra Cuban flavors. And some crispy plantains. Instead, I worked with what was available, and I loaded it right up with my toppings. I paired my soup alongside brown rice and some chicken fajita leftovers that I had.  I don’t ever use recipes (“what kind of food blog is this?”). Personally, I operate best by mixing, matching and playing around with my own ingredients and flavors. One day I will write my pairings down and create a recipe. For now, I will link some creative actual recipes for a mean black bean Cuban soup below.

My soup base consisted of black beans, fresh tomatoes, canned Rotel tomatoes, onions, garlic, shallot, chicken broth, 1/2 of a bell pepper, and lots of cumin, all simmered together and then blended into a thick soup. I chopped up a perfectly juicy mango, a handful of red onion, a few stalks of chopped cilantro and tossed it with lime juice to create a bright salsa for my meal.  In the end, my dish ate more like a burrito-bowl on steroids but it sure did hit the spot. (recipe links below)

Vegetarian Cuban black bean soup

Chicken & kale black bean soup w/ friend plantains

black bean soup with chipotle & chorizo

Pumpkin & coconut milk black bean soup

Sriracha, coconut black bean soup with sweet potatoes

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mango salsa prep

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AOE (Avocados On Everything)

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“I measure life by countries, not years”

This post is inspired by one of my favorite quotes, seen below.  These beautiful words sum up my idea of carefree, uninhibited happiness, while grasping the essence of my everlasting love for travel…

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Upon reading this one stormy afternoon, I felt inspired & excited for future adventures abroad, laced with a refreshing fear of the unknown & all of the endless possibilities that await. So I drew upon my own experiences to come up with my take on what Travel Is….

 Travel is the taste of fresh pastries in a hidden alley coffee shop. It’s a $5 picnic for two on the back of a train. Travel is getting lost on purpose and wandering the streets with no map. It’s meeting a complete stranger on the subway and spending the next 12 hours exploring with them. It’s the lively urban buzz that surrounds you at all times. Travel is a random Wednesday turning into one of the best nights of your life. Travel is the smell of street foods filling the smokey air. And Coca Cola cans printed in different languages. Travel is smiling and nodding and pretending to understand when someone’s accent is too thick. Travel is meeting your soulmate on a random street on a random night at a random concert in a random pub. Travel is flirting with foreign boys and getting them to buy you sandwiches. Travel is taking a nap in the sunshine on a park bench. It’s people watching all day. It’s chip flavors and candy bars you never knew existed. Travel is the taste of the unknown somehow mixed with a faint hint of familiarity of home. Travel is the sharing of stories in a hostel. Travel is jumping into the ocean with new friends in the middle of a storm. It’s blisters on your feet from walking, but not caring. Travel is a burst of energy every morning. It’s being at a music festival and as the sun goes down, in that very moment, realizing how beautiful life is. Travel is being in the countryside and looking up at the same night stars that you’ve seen all your life. Travel is getting lost and finding yourself. It’s crying from laughing so hard with someone who was born on a different continent than you. Travel is learning to appreciate how relaxing a hot shower really is. Travel is listening to a special song on your iPod while gazing out of the train at the green countryside passing by. It’s hiding out in the back of a Starbucks for hours to use the free WiFi.  Travel is learning to not take sh*t for granted. It’s is realizing that it’s okay to not know your path in life yet. It’s realizing that your 20s are your years to explore and figure things out. Travel is beaming with happiness and feeling alive every day.

A few of my favorites…

 

london calling

Ever since I ventured to London for the first time 2 years ago, a part of me was left behind there.  I was fortunate enough to live there for the summer, & London Town proved to be unlike anywhere else I have ever been. I like to think I am fairly well traveled, I’ve explored a good chunk of Europe with nothing but a small suitcase, my best friend, & the Couch Surfing app on my iphone. But something about London intrigues me like no where else. A city so alive & bustling with countless forms of vibrant energy, patiently waiting to be discovered inside every street market and ivy covered pub. Its like every Tube stop is a new realm of the city-with it’s own little story, just waiting to be unraveled & consumed by the eager adventurer. Whenever I visit london it feels like I’ve never been there before, in a sense. I love that about it, you can feel so comfortable but a complete stranger at the exact same time. London is a city with almost a magical quality, you never know what you are going to stumble upon and it becomes clear that even if you spend your entire life in this city, you will never see it all. I am captivated by a deep longing for adventure & exploration on a new level. For me, the phrase “anything is possible” truly comes alive in London. I become engulfed with the overwhelming sense of knowing that, at all times, even on a rainy Tuesday night, there is & will always be something going on. There is a certain lively urban buzz & always happening factor that defines London. It’s up to you to jump in and let the city take you on a journey.

When in London I also always seem to appreciate the beautiful yet simple things in life more…chic tucked away cafes with white tables & freshly cut flowers in glass mason jars, fashion thats weird in the best way walking down the streets of Shoreditch, the overwhelming aroma of robust spices & mouth watering curries on Brick Lane, freshly made baguette sandwiches & crisps in flavors like “Mozarella & Pesto” & “Lobster Bisque” lining the shelves at the corner shop, the buzzing of drunk people & slurring of different languages on the rowdy top deck night bus ride home, & a good afternoon rain storm while you are tucked away inside of a small cafe sipping tea & watching the world pass by outside. For all of these reasons, & many more, I always have a constant urge & longing to be back in my favorite city. Its like an itch that I can never get rid of, it always comes creeping back just patiently waiting for me to scratch. For now I will have to wait until the time is right to travel back across the pond, but in the mean time I thought i’d share my love, passion & deep longing for a place that is embedded in my soul via my first blog post. Enjoy