Marauding through Marrakech

IMG_9681I just can’t stop reminiscing about my African experience in the city of Morocco. My last post highlighted the trek to the Sahara, but I didn’t even get a chance to show you the beauty and charm of Marrakech. Saint Laurent’s secret garden is filled with lush greens, vibrant cobalt and accents of canary, a shop filled with towering stacked cones of soft hand spun alpaca yarn, treasured horizontal hand-loom textiles woven with cactus silk, basket and tins filled with rich fragrant spices also used as dyes. Although exhausted from haggling, Le Souk was still luring me in with all the mesmerizing shops. We explored the labyrinth of alleys and found some hidden gems and delicious treats along the way. Oh, yes… I fell into that category of being that typical tourist and there was nothing to be ashamed about. I do hope you get to experience the culture in the near future. It was well worth the experience. Cheers to fun times!IMG_0384IMG_0437DSC00454IMG_0821IMG_0767IMG_0562DSC00360DSC00143IMG_05555IMG_0558IMG_0263DSC00572IMG_0548IMG_0351

Soaking up Sahara

IMG_9611A recent visit from Abdou Chaair, our fave tour guide from Morocco, brought back fond memories. A three day trek to the Sahara desert with Joe and 5 friends.

Along our route to Sahara from Marrakech we stop by Ait Benhaddou a 16th Century UNESCO site known to be one of the best-preserved kasbah. It was extraordinary how some of these decayed structures were still standing. We were invited to see some of the indigenous Berber people’s homes in the underground Kasbahs, it was a humbling experience.

We made our way to climb the sand dunes of Erg Chigaga, where we watched the breath taking sunset. After dinner we learned to play the drums with the locals and danced around the bonfire. It got chilly at night but the nomad tents kept us perfectly warm. We saddled our camels bright and early for a short trek before we headed out. Great company calls for fun times. It was hard to say good-bye.IMG_9224IMG_9230IMG_8942IMG_9010IMG_8944IMG_9120IMG_9334DSC01194DSC01197IMG_9514IMG_9120 copy

DIY Carnaval Mask

DIY carnaval mask (2)DIY carnaval mask (3)What you’ll need
Mask
Hot glue gun
Appliqués
Felt
Feather trim
Pencil
Glitter
Elmer’s glue
Flat paint brush

DIY carnaval mask (4)1 Take mask and remove unwanted embellishments. You can also find a plain mask.
2 Using the felt hold it up against the mask and mark the width with a pencil. Then create a semi circle to the height which you’ll like the feathers to sit. Fold in half and cut to create symmetry.
3 A-Take your ribbon of feathers and place it up again the top edge of the felt. Ribbon and bottom  2″ of feathers  should sit up against the felt. Mark and cut excess off.
B-If you’re using a loose bag of feathers line the 1st layer of feathers on the top edge of the felt. 2″ from the bottom of the feathers should sit on top of the felt.DIY carnaval mask (5)4 A-Using glue gun apply hot glue to the ribbon and place into top edge of felt.
B-Pick up each individual feather one at a time and apply hot glue.
5 Create 2nd row of feathers:
A-Take feather trim and place above 1st layer. 2nd row of feathers should overlap and cover about 2″ of the 1st layer. Mark and trim away accesses.
B-Take your individual feathers and overlap about 2″ of the 1st layer.
6 Glue down with hot glue gun. Same as step 4.
7 Last low of feathers: I like to use individual feathers to prevent bulkiness. If the feather’s quill  is too long, you can trim before gluing onto bottom edge.DIY carnaval mask (6)8 Back side of felt. Take trim of feathers or loose feathers and place right up again the top edge of felt. Top of feather should overlap felt about 1/2-1″ I also prefer to use loose feathers to prevent bulk.
9 Once the back side is all covered with feathers, it’s time to glue your masterpiece to the mask itself!
Squeeze a line of hot glue about 3/4″ height across the top edge of the mask. Quickly take front side of feathered piece and place bottom edge right above 3/4″ glue strip.
10 Almost done… Here comes the fun part.Time to decorate the mask itself.Take your appliques and play with the placement before using glue gun to tack down the position. 11 Apply Elmer’s glue to the whole mask using a brush. Pour glitter over mask until covered. Let dry for a couple of hours until set and Presto! You’re ready for to host your own Carnaval party.DIY carnaval mask

Los Carnavales

carnival (2)One thing on my check list is to check out Carnival. Joe and I drove down to DC 2 years ago, some how we missed the West Indian parade. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise, turns out there was a shooting that went on. Yikes! But the after party was just as exciting.

One of the biggest and most festive Carnival in the world was just celebrated in Colombia; Carnaval de Barranquilla. Upbeat music and dancing filled the streets of this industrial port city north of Columbia. The high energy festivities lasted 4 days showcasing decorative costumes and headpieces covered in vibrant feathers, beads and all things shiny.

Even though I couldn’t make it to the lively streets of Barranquilla, doesn’t mean I have to miss it completely. Libation down in LES will be dedicating this Friday to the fun festivities with a New York twist featuring Que Bajo. I love nothing more then the excuse to dress up! My head piece is ready to go. Saúde, to the fun things in life!carnival (4)carnival (3)carnival

Don’t let Love go

loveJust because the Valentines day past, doesn’t mean we should give up on Love. Love is a constant emotion. The agenda for today is to make someone happy with a random act of kindness. Send a love note to a stranger by leaving it on their doorstep, windshield or even a bike rack. I’m sure this will brighten up that someone’s day! It’s nice to know that someone out there is loving you.

This idea was inspired by the lovely Hannah Brencher. My ambitious friend Grace got a group of friends together to come up with some sweet messages along with quick little doodles. A stack of empty cards, envelopes, stamps and markers were set aside for us to get creative. Little smirks and burst of laughter was shared throughout the night amongst the group, as we shared our hand written love note. Brighten someone’s path by showing them a little light of Love.love (2)love (3)love (4)love (5)love (6)love (7)

All You Need Is Love

Happy Valentines Day!our forevers go togetherI admit, I’m always the 1st to weep when it comes to sappy movies. My emotions just comes over me without control. Like a magnet, I’m always attracted to happy endings. It’s just Something that never grew old for me. Here’s a little something for those hopeless romantics, cheers to the month of Love.a dance in the stars2Was it faith?
Deployed 1/2 way around the world wearing digital desert camis, he stood up to protect us.
Gazing at the stars each night above the dark clear sky, we met there for a dance.
A dance in the stars.
Hand written love notes were sent out daily.
It couldn’t arrive quick enough.
He held the letters close.
Closed his eyes inhaling the sweet scent of comfort, it warmed his soul.
With patience, prayers and numerous wishes made for  his safe return.  There wasn’t enough wish bones or candles to blow out to make my dream come sooner.
To be able to walk hand in hand under snowfall, laugh until our cheeks went numb & dance like there’s no tomorrow.
I couldn’t have made a better decision than to be with you.

There was slight fear that living two separate lives would effect our bond. But that was not the case, now that he’s back, it’s like he never left. It was just like I remembered, from the gleam in his eyes, the dimple from his smile, to his little subtle gestures. We beat distance… Time spent apart just brought us closer together.all you need is loveThis was the perfect post that inspired me to create these layouts. The hubble site offers their amazing photos for free download, so you’re half way there!

Snake Charms

photo(11)We slithered our way through the crowd on Mott street to get to the center of the gem. There was a shower of bright Confetti and streamers gliding across the clear blue sky. The beats of the drum and the cymbals got louder as we approached the festivity. Step by step the heavily decorated lion dancers show off their martial art moves as they blessed each business in exchange of a lucky red envelope. This year I was fortunate to have a lucky parachute effortlessly land into my hand while we were following the parade. The parachute came from a confetti shooter which took the place of the traditional firecrackers. Usually you’ll see a crowd surrounding it for the chance to snag the prize. What a great way to start off the New Year!photo(12)photo(10)photo(7)photo(8)photo(9)

Lunar Celebration

cny (2)Gung Hay Fat Choy! Excited for the weekend to come. Sunday, February 10th marks the Lunar New Year. In celebration of the snake year there are many traditions each family follows. Positive thoughts, and random acts of kindness are some of the best practices to kick off a great year. I’ll be jazzing up my mani/ pedi with some red glittery polish. Shades of Red symbolizing fortune and luck. Blooming flowers represent rebirth, growth and love. Gold coins/ rings represent good wealth and longevity. To celebrate the occasion I put together some fun juxtapositions of the adorable “red” envelopes I recently purchased for the kids. I want to take this time to wish each one of you success, happiness and good health for the new year. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit.cny8cnycny (4)cny (3)

The Overall Trend in 2013 Year of Snake
“The 2013 Snake of year has ability to read complicated situation quickly in a controlled manner which is good for business. Signing documents of any kind requires very thorough attention. 2013 horoscope predict it is a good year to begin important detail work. Research and investigation are supported. The Snake has sneaky energy that can be to your advantage. Look for the holes in the loop. A new-found ambition to greatness will inspire you to be all you can be, and provide you with the follow through to actually achieve your goals, And, 2013 year of the Snake also supports added responsibility,
But 2013 Snake need to watch for fanatical commitments since Snakes inclination to spend money quickly than earn them may produce tensions in personal relationships. Create a safe space to work from this 2013 year. The Snake likes protection, needs to feel safe and secure to utilize its special analytical skills. This is the year to make headway in slow and methodical ways. Things will definitely be accomplished as you focus forward.”

Stark Visual Contrast

black & white stripes (2)A classic pairing of black and white stripes is “Oh, so chic!”  Not only trending in apparel but also lends a great decorative touch in the world of interior. Let’s make a statement piece with a DIY painted black and white stripe canvas. It’s “Oh, so simple!”

What you’ll need:
Stretch cotton canvas (I have a 10″ x 12″)
Flat paint brush
Black acrylic paint
Paint palette
Pencil
Ruler
Masking tape

I’m painting an even 3/4″ black and white stripes.
1- Using your ruler and pencil make 3 tiny marks from the sides and the center. This will be the indication of where you will place your masking tape.
2- Place tape right under pencil marks.black & white stripes (3)3- Continue process until you get to the bottom of the canvas. You should be creating an alternating pattern of stripes with the tape and the exposed canvas.
4- Squeeze out some acrylic paint onto the paint palette.
5- Apply paint with a flat brush onto the exposed canvas.black & white stripes (4)6- Allow 1st layer of paint to dry.
7- Apply 2nd coat.
8- Once paint is dry, remove masking tape carefully.black & white stripesTaaaAaaa-DaaAaaa… Your master piece is complete. My stripes are a little uneven, but I like how it gives the canvas a more playful painterly look.

Black and white stripes will give your place a POP and a modern day chic aesthetic. Have a little fun with it by incorporating the canvas to a collection of frames on the wall, it can be  a back drop to your accessory collection, on a vanity table with a vase of fresh blooms, against a book shelf or even by your mini bar. The possibilities are endless.