Weekend Inspiration: Home Edition

weekend_inspiration_for_home

Happy Weekend Everyone! While I should be packing for my upcoming trips to Paris and Mallorca,  I have chosen to procrastinate (I loathe packing) and spend most of my day scouring the web for home decorating inspiration for my new apartment!

Here are a few links I love…

1/ This gorgeous Parisian apartment designed by Jessica Vedel has the most amazing chevron floors.

2/ If you don’t already know about School House Electric, you must check them out for their amazing  lighting selection as well as other home goods…I am currently coveting this pendant for my kitchen and this mirror for a pop of color in my bathroom!

3/ These Bococo pillows are so fun, and are a great way to transform the look of your living space!

4/ I recently acquired a mini fiddle leaf fig plant for my home with the intention of eventually attempting this DIY, Mid-Century inspired plant stand.

5/ This furniture.

6/ Could you ever live in a tree house? I could if it looked like this

7/ I had the privilege of working on a project with artist/designer Paula Navone in 2011 and have closely followed her work ever since. Her style is sophisticated, yet fun and quirky which I love! This home she designed is a perfect example of why I am totally inspire by her work – specifically the wood and tile floor!

8/ I love a good before and after, and this pantry renovation is perfection.

Enjoy your weekend!

Image credit: jurajtalcik/veronikademovicova

Summer Beauty: Body

Summer Beauty Body-1

I have been obsessed with lotions and potions from the time I was able to groom myself.  Any close friend of mine will attest to the arsenal of beauty products that line my bathroom shelves.

I want my shower experience to be spa-like.  I want to understand the latest skincare technology.  I want to smell like Jane Birkin by the sea holding a gardenia. No? 

This <ahem> lifelong interest of mine became a problem when I moved abroad this April. When the shipping container arrived, the limit on liquids forced me to take a hard look at these products that had amassed and start editing down to a critical few.

Criteria? My morning-routine goal is to be ready in 18 minutes like Garance Dore; therefore I need less products and more top-quality multi-taskers.   On a health note, I want my products to score in the green/yellow zone (between 0-5 on a 10-point scale from low to high hazard) on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Guide to Cosmetics.   Below are my current summertime faves for the body, top photo from left to right:

1/ St. Tropez Everyday Gradual Tan in light/medium, imparts a believable rose gold hue

2/ Naturopathica arnica muscle gel post water-skiing, or to cure your stiff neck from sleeping in a tent under the stars

3/ Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Or a multi-use dry oil with light-reflecting gold particles that make legs, collarbones + shoulders glow

4/ Parissa Hot Wax (trust us on this one) a hard strip-free wax that makes at-home bikini + underarm grooming possible

5/ Lavilin 72-hour aluminum-free deodorant I have tried every single natural deodorant on the market and this is the best!

6/ Mountain Ocean Skin Trip surfer-approved moisturizer that smells of coconut

7/ Burt’s Bees Coconut Foot Cream warning: super thick vaseline-like formula, so  for beach + yoga ready peds, apply at night with socks overtop

8/ Kiss My Face Suncare face factor SPF 50, or the ultra lightweight and minty-fresh sun spray lotion SPF 30 for body

This is the first in a three-part series on summer beauty products: bodyface, and tools.

Summer Beauty: Face

Summer Beauty Face-1

Pictured from left:

1/ Nivea lip balm with SPF …Jenna’s long-time favorite

2/ Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution this PH balanced soap-free water gently cleanses face and eyes, morning and night

3/ Coola Face SPF 30, unscented matte tint mineral sunscreen is a game-changer: mattifying, weightless, slips over makeup for everyday use, and does not clog pores

4/ Aesop Purifying Facial Exfoliant Paste use once-weekly for sloughing and removing summertime SPF buildup

5/ Aesop Fabulous Face Oil dispense three drops in your palm, emulsify, then press into dry areas of face for moisture, morning and night

6/ Sudocrem because in the summertime we are at risk of sunburn, our sandals give us blisters, we get cuts and scrapes at the beach, chlorine makes our eczema flare up, or we break out from perpetual SPF reapplication… and this little miracle-in-a-bucket fixes EVERYTHING

This is the second in a three-part series on summer beauty products: bodyface, and tools.

Nine Novel Hostess Gifts

Hostess Gifts

The next time you’re invited to a dinner party, think beyond the bottle of wine! From left to right, top to bottom:

1/ a classic linen apron

2/ the timeless waiter’s corkscrew in rosewood, better than any newfangled contraption

3/ japanese hand creme to soften dish-water ravaged hands

4/ high-quality incense in pinon from juniper ridge

5/ fresh and perfect for the kitchen, dyptique’s feuille de lavande mini candle

6/ ancient papier d’armenie to mask kitchen odors

7/ we think hendrick’s is the best base for a g+t, the off-duty drink of choice for chefs

8/ fresh limes to garnish

9/  tonic water for mixing

Barcelona Basics

Essential_Barcelona_MACBA_museum

Barcelona is easy to visit in a weekend. As a foodie mecca, a palm-tree paradise and a vibrant art scene, Barcelona has all the makings of the perfect vacation spot. Here is a short guide to one of the most chilled-out cities we’ve been:

1. Breakfast at La Boqueria Market

Escape the rising heat and cobblestone streets of La Rambla into the mouth of this sprawling daytime market, where you can find anything from fresh watermelon juice to meat-on-the-hoof. Travelers mingle with locals in the crowded aisles that weave the more than 75 stalls into a patchwork of sights and smells. Seek out Pinotxo Bar and saddle up to one of the ten grill-facing stools, where breakfast is savory. “Menu, por favor?” we ask. Our server (one of four guys who multitask as bar hands, servers and chefs) shakes his head no and taps his chest with a grin, “I’m the menu.” He gestures to the white bins in front of us, “Baby squid? Jamon? Steak? Prawns…?” Everything is procured from the surrounding market stalls.  The first thing off the grill is easily one of the best dishes I’ve ever tasted: chickpeas and baby squid grilled with sea salt, pepper, specks of flat parsley, olive oil and balsamic and a hunk of toasted baguette. Don’t be surprised when your neighbor orders a frothy beer to wash it down. La Boqueria Market, Rambla, 91 08001, tel: 93 318 23 84, open Mon – Sat 8:00 – 20:30).

2.  Late morning with Picasso

Nestled in the narrow streets of  the neighborhood of El Born is the airy brick museum housing the largest Picasso collection in the world. Picasso lived in Barcelona through his apprenticeship as an artist and maintained strong links to the city throughout his life. It’s fascinating to walk the progression of his art, from the masterful portraits and landscapes he rendered as a young boy to the almost rudimentary, beautifully warped style he pioneered as an adult. His blue period pieces were my favorite, but we joked he may have peaked at 15 years old.  The museum is contains a permanent collection and a temporary exhibition; go for the collection.   Montcada 15-23, 08003. tel: (+34) 93 256 30 00, open Tues – Sun 9:00 – 19:00, Thurs 9:00 – 21:30, closed Mon, collection: 11 euros, collection + temporary exhibition: 14 euros.

3.  Get lost in El Born

Wander the boutique-laden boho streets of Barri del Born, where around every corner you find a scene out of an indie movie.  The neighborhood is dense with cafes and shops and has a hip vibe, yet feels hidden from the tourist track.  Pause for an apertif at Super Super, where they serve a salty snack menu paired with the beverage of the moment: vermouth (vermut).  If you are extra thirsty, stay for a glass of Montenovo.  A white wine that is both fruity and dry, Montenovo is from the region Valdesil and made of 100% godello grapes.  It is claimed to be the oldest grape variety in the Spanish region, one that survived phylloxera, and according to our server there is nothing else like it. We agree – I couldn’t find it again on the trip. Before you depart give some love to the resident dog perched on the seat next to the bar, then step out into the sun for some more retail therapy.   Super Super, Esparteria 14 (on the corner at Calders), tel: (+34) 932 680 610.

4.  Seaside at Barraca

Overlooking the beach, Barraca is the perfect lunch or dinner place for a relaxed but memorable meal.  Their signature paella with its carmelized Bomba rice and sea-fresh fare will leave you scraping the bottom of the pan.  Just remember, dinner in Barcelona doesn’t start until after 8pm, so arriving early may mean you have to kick back and pass the time with cava and house-made olives like we did.  Restaurante Barraca, Basseig Maritim de la Barceloneta 1.

5.  Dinner at Mont Bar

For a slightly elevated dining experience free of pretention, book at Mont Bar.  The beautiful menu is a mix of modern and rustic tapas dishes with a Catalan-countryside flair, served up by their “young, eager and creative cooking team.”  The ingredients are seasonal, fresh, local and organic (often from their own farms) and the staff will help you navigate the fabulous wine list for a perfect pairing.  Mont Bar, Carrer de la Diputacio, 220. Reservations recommended. 

6.  Late-night gin and tonics at Hotel Arts

Barcelona is a late city; they rise late in the morning, they eat late dinners, and they stay out late into the evening.  If after dinner you in the spirit, stay out late and head to one of the top roofdeck destinations at the Hotel Arts Barcelona.   Perched on the waterfront and underneath a glittering giant fish (Frank Gehry’s Peix sculpture), the lounge setup is quite comfortable.  Here you can choose from a menu solely dedicated to gin and tonic with variations such as cucumber , ginger, and lavender.  Hotel Arts Barcelona, Marina 19-21. tel: (+34) 93 22 11 000. 

Apertifs at Super Super.

Apertif break at Super Super.

Investing in Some Ooh La La

Anthropologie_Underthings_Investing_In_Some_Ooh_La_La

It is my firm belief that us gals should invest heavily in those things that make us feel our very best. Whether it be a durable pair of skinny jeans, a morning latte, or a monthly yoga package, allotting income to spend on small luxuries is a must. For me, it’s fresh flowers from the farmer’s market, records from Amoeba Music, and lingerie. Nine times out of ten, you’ll find me dancing around my house to the sounds of said vinyl, wearing said underwear, whilst arranging said flowers. Currently I’m eying a selection of undergarments from Anthropologie.

Clockwise from Top: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Champagne + Homemade Rose Syrup

Roses_for_Rose_Syrup

Two things that bring an instant smile to my face are fresh cut flowers and champagne. I have a beautiful rose bush growing outside of my front windows and a healthy stock of champagne on hand so naturally, I began my quest to merge my two loves. I quickly landed on the notion of a champagne and rose cocktail.

Bottle the syrup, add a cute little label and gift to friends or hosts!

Champagne + Homemade Rose Syrup

Ingredients:
Roses (1 cup of petals)
1 cup Sugar
1 cup Water

Steps (Rose Syrup):
1. Collect roses from your garden. If you are buying roses from the store, make sure they are organic / sans pesticides.

2. Pull off the petals and wash thoroughly.

3. Mix 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup of petals in a saucepan and cook on low until the sugar dissolves and the rose petals have wilted.

4. Remove from heat and allow the syrup to cool.

5. Strain and pour into an airtight container.

Steps (Champagne + Rose Cocktail):

1. Add 1/2 oz. of rose syrup to champagne coupe.

2. Pour champagne over syrup.

3. Add rose petals to garnish.

A Guide to Oil Pulling

coconut_oil_guide_to_oil_pulling

When I began taking yoga regularly, I was inspired by my new yogi friends to find natural remedies to improve my health. One ritual I began incorporating into my everyday routine was oil pulling. The practice is an Ayurvedic method for detox and rejuvenation. It is simple and produces remarkable results — removing bacteria, toxins and parasites that live in your mouth, pulling congestion and mucus from your throat, re-mineralizing your teeth, strengthening your gums, and whitening your teeth. Oil pulling has even proved to be beneficial to my skin. Give it a whirl! I hope you love it as much as I do!

Steps:

1. Oil pulling can be done at any time of the day but for a more thorough detox, aim to pull in the morning before eating or drinking.Scoop 1/2 to 1 full tablespoon of  unrefined, high quality oil in your mouth (I use coconut oil). If it is cold, allow the oil to melt.2. Push, swirl and pull the oil between your teeth and around your gums, but do not gargle oil in the back of the throat.

3. Aim to swish for 20 minutes.

4. Spit oil out into the trash, not the sink — the oil could solidify and clog your drain.

5. Rinse your mouth out with clean water two or three times.

Peonies 101

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Bow down – the queen of flowers has arrived! The oh-so-short peony season is finally upon us and if you’re anything like me, you’ve been counting down the minutes until the lush, fluffy flower hit the stands at the local farmer’s markets. This past weekend, I exercised some serious self-control, only buying two bunches but I’m not so sure I’ll be able to contain myself next time.

Here are some tips for elongating the life of your peonies:

Buy fully closed blooms. They will open within a day of bringing them home so long as you keep them in a warm room.

Cut 1 inch off the stems at an angle using pruning shears if possible. But make sure to keep the stems long.

Use room temperature water in your vase.

Remove all foliage that will be submerged in water.

Keep the vase out of direct sunlight.

Change water daily and trim a half inch off the bottom of the stems each time you replace the water.

If your peonies start to look a little sad, dunk the blooms in ice water for 30 minutes. After an hour they’ll be back to their original glory.