Category Archives: Interior Design

Seek the Unique

Daring enough to decorate differently, and in search of something special?

What you COULD do is bypass the beaten path, and seek other sources for home goods.

Here are 3 places that I turn to for unique pieces to add to my home:

1. Travel: I love finding decorative objects, while exploring other countries, and bringing them home with me. They add interest to my space, and serve as a souvenir from my trip.  Love that!

IMG_8896While vacationing in Greece, I found a ceramics shop in Chania, Crete, where I purchased this little lady…

IMG_8893She currently lives in my master bathroom, along with some other Mediterranean and Moroccan treasures, for an exotic spa feel.

2. Independently-owned import stores:  I love supporting small businesses.  Oftentimes, the owners will personally travel to specific countries to select the ethnic handicrafts that fill their stores.  I can get lost while shopping at these types of places because I feel like I’m treasure-hunting in foreign lands!

IMG_8898I long to return to Morocco.  Until then, I live vicariously through the Van Lith family; and explore their showroom at Tierra del Lagarto.  As I drooled over the contents of their most recent Moroccan container, I was fortunate to find this beautiful plate in a rare teal color.

3. Ethnic restaurants:  On more than one occasion, my husband has taken me out to dinner, and I’ve fallen in love with the decor.  He usually ends up negotiating the sale of an item with the owners, and having them add it to our bill.  Poor Hubby!  Lucky me.

IMG_8331 After dining at a Kurdish restaurant in Agoura Hills, California, I was convinced that I needed one of their beautiful table cloths…

IMG_8409What can I say?  I love ethnic textiles…*sigh*

So, the next time that you’re looking to add some accents to your abode, think outside of the big box stores, and seek the unique!

XOXO

 

A Healing Oasis At Home

Me in my master bedroom on Mother’s Day 2014.

During the weeks prior to my surgery, I was in major nesting mode.  Seriously!  You would have thought that I was having another baby!  NOT!!!  Since I knew that my hospital stay would be short-lived, in comparison to my recovery time, I planned to create a “new and improved” environment  where I could rest and recover, while surrounded by friends and family.  Although I added extra errands to my pre-surgery schedule, I was quite pleased with the results.  In fact, I was so excited to get home to my sanctuary, that it motivated me to do whatever was necessary to be discharged from the hospital as soon as possible.  Here are some things that I did to create a healing oasis at home:

1.  Add aromatherapy:  I purchased an aromatherapy diffuser and a “Calming” essential oil blend of lavender, bergamot, and clary sage from Desert Sage Herbs.  I plugged the diffuser into the wall and took my room from blah to spa!  In addition, I treated myself to Cire Trudon candles in the Abd Al-Kader and L’Admirable scents, and placed them in my entry and living areas.  *sigh*

2.  Plant placement:  What better way to liven up a space than with plants?  I visited a local nursery and brought home a Dracaena ‘Janet Craig.’  Low-maintenance, air-purifying, and health-promoting, I am loving it, and I look forward to adding more greenery to my mix.

3.  Bring on the bedding:  Knowing that I would be spending a lot of time in bed, I felt that it was important to make mine as comfortable and inviting as possible.  I managed to keep things budget-friendly by doing a “spruce-up,” as opposed to an “extreme bed makeover.”  I bought this sheet set in Midnight/Ivory during a sale at West Elm.  Yesssss!  Then, I found a Peacock Alley coverlet set at Tuesday Morning.  Score!  Finally, I purchased a duvet set at Home Goods, which had all of the right colors to tie my master bedroom together.  Gotta love it when that happens!

4.  Clear out the clutter:  I believe that clutter to the eye is clutter to the mind.  So, I purged and organized my space before surgery because I knew that I wouldn’t have the energy to do it afterwards.  I’m so glad that I did because I am enjoying my space that much more.  For me, a clutter-free, organized space produces a calming effect.  Ahhh…

5.  Let there be light:  I sleep next to a large window in my bedroom.  Everyday, I open my shutters to let in sunlight and to enjoy my backyard view.  It’s so simple, and it [literally] brightens my day!

6.  Soothing sounds:  I have surround sound speakers in my master bedroom.  So, I asked my family to play smooth jazz, classical, and relaxation music for me to enjoy.  One of my favorite Internet radio stations is Calm Radio Om.  Sooo nice!

How do you create a healing oasis at home?

 

 

My Moroccan-Themed Birthday

So, what does a world traveler with a baaaaad case of wanderlust do to celebrate her birthday?  She picks a destination that’s high on her bucket list, and lives it up locally until her desire manifests.

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A day trip to Tangier, years ago, has me longing to return to Morocco; and I have yet to do so.  My birthday theme was driven by my desire to check out Joya Spa at the Omni International Hotel Montelucia Resort in Paradise Valley, AZ.  Joya Spa is the only Arizona spa to offer a hammam-inspired treatment.  So, I booked their “Hammam Experience,” and added 50-minutes of massage to it.  BAM!!!

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Before entering the spa, I had fun setting my intentions by placing three stones in the blessing bowl.  Unable to settle on just one, I chose rhodonite (work), rose quartz (love), and hematite (health).  What can I say?  I have a lot going on…

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Then, I placed my hand on the crystal just outside of the spa entrance and said, “Buh-bye” to any and all negative energy, as I made my way closer to bliss…

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Here, I was slathered with a soap that felt like melted butter, then scrubbed with a Kassa glove and black soap.  Afterwards, I was doused with 3 buckets of warm water.  My skin felt sooooo smoooooth…

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After doing a circuit from the steam room, to the cold deluge, then the sauna, I entered this room.  Here, my massage therapist worked her magic with a flower essence-infused oil that helped me to put things into perspective.  Zzzzz…

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Shhhhhh…this is the Whisper Room, where I luxuriated on one of these beds, underneath a cozy throw.  I need some of these linens in my life…

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“Cheers!”  The staff at Joya Spa offered me a complimentary glass of champagne, in honor of my special day.  How could I refuse?!?!  I graciously accepted, retreated to the spa terrace in my swimsuit, and “marinated” poolside.  I was able to soak up some much-needed vitamin D, while chatting with other patrons, and enjoying this view.  Ahhhhh…

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There…that’s MUCH better!  If you are in the Phoenix area, and looking for an exotic spa experience, with lots of amenities, then jump for Joya!

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After an awesome experience at Joya Spa, I drove over to this Phoenix gem for lunch. Don’t let the humble exterior fool you!  Owner, Zhor Saad, of Alzohour Market & Restaurant offers authentic Moroccan fare that will transport you to Marrakesh in a matter of minutes.

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For my birthday lunch, I ordered the Kashkbadem (roasted eggplant sauteed with garlic and mint), Harira (traditional hearty soup with tomatoes, lentils, garbanzos, and cilantro), homemade Moroccan bread, and pita.  LOVED IT!

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Of course, I had to order dessert, riiiiight?!?!  I splurged and chose the Kunafa, which was rich, sweet, and creamy, with tons of texture.  Mmmmm…

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And here I am with my lovely hostess, Zhor.  She works hard (often by herself) to serve home-style cooking that is fit for a king.  Just like my day trip to Morocco, I enjoyed my visit to her restaurant, and I look forward to returning.

Shokran to Joya Spa and Alzohour Market & Restaurant for making my birthday special!

 

 

 

 

 

31 Rue Cambon

“In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.” – Coco Chanel

Fashion lovers and Francophiles unite!!!

During a trip to Paris, I had the rare opportunity to tour 31 Rue Cambon and the private apartment of Coco Chanel.  This experience was one that I’ll never forget.  I shared it with my cousin; and now, I am going to share it with you.

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Just standing outside of the building at this famous address is enough to excite any fashionista.  We arrived early enough to take a couple of deep breaths, calm our nerves, and prepare to savor this incredible moment.

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In the lobby, we waited for our guide next to a console with a picture of Coco hanging above it.  It was almost as if we were checking in with Chanel before entering her domain.  It reminded me of how I felt on my wedding day:  I was excited and overwhelmed, yet determined to focus, so that I would not forget any details.  So, I whispered a quick prayer for calmness and clarity, then braced myself for all sorts of fabulousness…

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The Haute Couture salon is absolutely STUNNING in black and white!  This is where approximately 200 clients worldwide are shown exquisite pieces from Chanel’s Haute Couture collection, and have them made to order.  I could have luxuriated on the couch for a while; but there was so much more to see.

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The mirrored staircase (designed by Chanel herself) is truly spectacular, and I was more than happy to make the climb.  This is where Coco debuted her collections.  I’m told that there is a clever way to take a picture of the staircase where a heart shape is formed behind the subject.  I now have an excuse to return…

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The fifth step from her apartment is where Coco Chanel sat and watched her shows, spied on her guests, and observed people’s reactions to her collections.  Retracing her “steps” was such a rush, and I couldn’t stop smiling.

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Upon entering Coco’s apartment, guests are greeted by a pair of blackamoors.  Chanel referred to them as her “friends.”  Life-sized and impressive, they really make a statement in the entry.

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Coco’s use of Asian screens as wall treatments, her eclectic mix of furnishings, and one-of-a-kind pieces made especially for her by friends (i.e. Salvador Dali), lends a world traveler vibe to the place.  Love that!  As we sank into the silk-covered chair in the entry, we were convinced that we each *need* one in our lives.

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Chanel did her own thing, both in fashion and in home decor.  She had her famous over-sized suede sofa custom-made for the salon, which was considered radical back in her day.  Numerous celebrities,  politicians, and royalty have been entertained in this room.  I felt honored and quite comfortable.

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This gorgeous custom-made chandelier was hanging over my head, while seated on the sofa.  Adorned with amethyst crystals, CC’s, and 5’s (Coco’s lucky number), it had me completely mesmerized.  *Sigh*…

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Fresh camellias, Coco’s favorite flower, are placed on this table daily.  Although this is routine for the staff at 31 Rue Cambon, as a visitor it seems as though they are making preparations for Chanel’s return.  The bouquet was so beautiful and inviting, that I felt inspired to place fresh flowers in my home on a weekly basis.

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Coco Chanel’s apartment has amazing statuary throughout the space.  There are so many stories behind the items and their placement, and the vignettes are captivating.  I would love to have just one of her fabulous pieces!

171Notice anything unusual?  The apartment does not have a bedroom.  Coco used this space for work and entertaining, then left to sleep in her suite at The Ritz.  In lieu of a bedroom, there is a lovely sitting room.  I had no problem finding a seat and basking in the ambiance.  Once again, Coco made use of screens as wall treatments:  beautiful, meaningful, and functional, just like the pieces in Chanel’s collections.

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Guess who’s coming to dinner?  I pulled up a chair at the dining table, topped with gold dishes and lions (Coco was a Leo).  But with the gorgeous chandelier, Italian mirrors, statuary, and screens, there was so much to take in.  Who could eat with all of that eye candy?!?!?  I can see where Chanel’s current designers draw their inspiration for each season’s collections.

During our visit, Karl Lagerfeld was working diligently in his 4th floor studio to prepare for the Chanel fashion show during Paris Fashion Week.  We had hoped to meet him personally; however, it was not meant to be.  Still, we could feel the creative energy flowing.  Next time…

As we descended the cream-carpeted stairs, said our thank-yous and goodbyes, and left the building, we couldn’t help but feel a little sad that our time had come to an end.  Once we were outside, it hit us…DID THAT REALLY HAPPEN???

It’s good to be back on the blog.

Bonne Semaine!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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