Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Quatiere

Last week the Salone del Mobile was held in Milan, and I could not help but daydream of one day attending the fair. My favorite shots from everyone's images are those of events held at the Brera District or Quatiere.


I remember when I went to Milan and visited this neighborhood, I fell in love. It is one of those places characterized by the arts and a bohemian vibe, and some people might even call it the Milanese Montmartre. The area is more sophisticated but still holds that air of free spirit and easiness.



One of my favorite places was the Brera Art Gallery, where I found my favorite painting in the world called The Kiss by Francesco Hayez. The painting is in the style of the 1600's and it's so realistic that you sort of feel that you are interrupting a very special moment between the couple.


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At night the streets come alive with romantic restaurants, trendy bars, novelty shops and even psychic shops. Living here is pricey, but building are known to have large luxury apartments housed in buildings with imposing facades with the occasional Italian celebrity.


Somehow, I know few people who have traveled to Milan and visited this beautiful part of town. Maybe next year the stars will align and I'll be able to visit again and submerge in the creative atmosphere surrounding Brera.

Have a lovely day!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Tribute

Today I'd like to pay tribute to those that were affected on the Boston Marathon last year. It is amazing to read the stories of the survivors and their spirits of not letting hatred rule their lives, as they know they are above it. These stories should inspire all of us to be better and to make sure nothing like that happens again.


Have a nice day!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Monday

I have always loved Easter time with its beautiful color palettes and cheerful decorations. Also, For many it is a time for reflection and to connect spiritually. For today's weekly links I want to focus on cheerful things that fill your spirits and may add a little activity to those who live in places where this is Holy Week and have some time off... Happy Monday!


This link is for a Natural Egg Dye instead of using those with harsh chemicals. I love the idea of playing with flowers and leaves to give eggs a different feeling and one children can experiment with.


One of the beauties of Easter is that flowers are everywhere and they are an integral part of the celebration. A Floral Wreath symbolizing the seasons finest is a perfect decor element.


Kids bring so much joy to any celebration and seeing them on an egg hunt is nothing less that tons of fun. This super cute Bunny Easter Bags are easy to do and children can make them too!


Finally, no celebration is ever complete with great food and a well planned party. An Easter Hunt Brunch is a perfect way to celebrate with family a friends.

Have a lovely week!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Choices

Rarely I do personal posts about my life beyond commenting on a little craziness here and there. But today, I'll be making a bit of an exception, maybe because I'm on a path of change, an uncertain one, but it is happening all the same. So, if you prefer to skip the stories, then go to the last paragraph for a happy weekend send off...


Last week I made the decision to end a business relationship that I knew in my heart I needed to be done with, but it was not easy at all and took a lot of effort. That same day I read an article about Saying No and despite the fact that I still felt stressed about what I had to do, I was certain in the long run I had done it to save me from something more difficult along the way.

 
A couple of months ago I was talking to a friend who is going through similar things I've been going through. He had a TV show purchased by a large network, but they pulled the plug on it and he has been trying to get another deal ever since. Connecting with him and having someone understand what I was going through was cathartic, and even though we are still trying to figure things out, we thought maybe we should find a solution together instead of isolated.


I'm not big on self help books because I've always been a "deal on your own" kind of person, but then I found this book about someone who has gone through some really tough times. Then I started reading his blog, and today I'm reading the book for the second time. Why you may ask? Simply because we always need someone who understands what we go through and made it to the other side, because sometimes we do need help, and because help may come from unexpected places.


I have no idea what the outcome of all of this will be, and can't deny I've been a little anxious about what I cannot control, but at the end of the day I still have that spark of faith that tells me things will be alright. Once more, I have to thank those of you who come by to visit me, even when I go MIA, and if I don't say it enough... THANK YOU!

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Oldest Barrio

One of my best friends is getting married this year in Buenos Aires, which has been one of those must wanted to visit cities in my life. I still have to make plans to see if I can make it, but no doubt I have looked into what places I would visit and one of them in Bario San Telmo.


This is one of the most visited areas in Buenos Aires as well as the oldest neighborhood in the city. Its buildings are in colonial style with cobblestoned streets it used to be the city's industrial area. After years of rise and fall the neighborhood became the home to the many immigrants into the country coming from Europe.

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San Telmo acquired a bohemian flair as it attracted local artists and the Museum of Modern Art was opened and the artisan guild was funded. Today you can find the area filled with tourists and locals alike that fill the cafes and bars along with antique stores, art galleries, museums and churches.

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For what I've been told the best day to go is Sundays to revel in the antique market lining the streets of San Telmo. The whole area becomes a huge party where you find a great bargain on a vintage item, enjoy of great food and even learn a little tango. We'll see if I can make it, but thing is for sure that This is a place I must visit one day.

Have a wanderlust day!


Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Design Budgeting

The other day I concluded the first phase of the apartment project I've been working on, and reviewed the budget with my client and the project came out right on budget. This made everyone very happy because all the money was sent wisely on the places where it needed to go.


Budgets are difficult to plan but necessary before any project as they will be the "reality check" to what your heart desires to accomplish. As a designer, I've never liked when clients don't have a budget because the chances of you designing up their high or low expectations are very small.


The first step to do a budget is to make a list of what needs to go into that project {I use Excel as it helps with the organization} like chairs, drapery, tables, rugs, etc. If you already know how much you want to spend, then put your total at the end of the list as it will determine the exact amount you should spend on each item.


If you still don't have the magic number, then start assigning a value to each item on the list. In order to do this you have to do some research on the cost of the things you like and that you know you can afford. For example, a restaurant chair that is durable and of a nice design would be somewhere around $350, so that is the amount I assign to my budget that will be multiplied for the amount of chair I will need.


Finally, add all the values for each item {don't forget to add any labor for services and taxes}, this way you'll get the magic number for your budget. If this number is not so magic for you, then start adjusting the prices and quantities for the items listed... this will require a little bit of compromise on your behalf. Once your happy with it memorize it, love it and befriend it, because it will keep you on track and if you stray a little bit from it, make sure it is because your flexible and not something else. if you need more advice just let me know... I'll be happy to help you!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Peppery Pesto

Last night I got a little creative in the kitchen, especially because there were just a few ingredients in the refrigerator... ha! Yes, it was one of those days when you have to make it work. Thankfully, I had a bunch of arugula that always goes with everything {check THIS previous post for recipes}.


Also, I got a little creative with my camera, who has been in a drawer for a while and its been a while since I did any food posts. So, with everything in hand, I decided to go for a pesto and started with some garlic, the mini food processor and olive oil.


Arugula replaced basil in the recipe and went into the processor with the garlic and olive oil. For this recipe I used one clove and a bunch of arugula without the stalks. I added the oil slowly until it formed a sort of paste.


For added flavor I added a tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, a bunch of almonds and a pinch of pepper flakes, which by the way is not typical in pesto recipes. For the pasta, I went with whole wheat penne cooked until "al dente".


I put the pasta and the pesto in a tossed them together so the sauce to warm up but not get to hot that the olive oil would lose its flavor. I enjoyed it with a nice glass of white wine followed by chocolate for desert... YUM!

Have a nice day!