Oh, hey, living room... And you thought you were done!

Another update to the living room! Because a home is never done. Well, at least this home is never really done - too many ideas, all competing for the little space available! 

So, the latest and greatest around here is this practical addition... Also known as, storage. Better yet, hidden storage! That also acts as a display for meaningful things that had no home before. Win/win!

I had been eying the IKEA's Besta series for a while. On Pinterest. In IKEA. Some more on Pinterest... But I never pulled the trigger for some reason. That is, until I voiced my idea, which was not only liked but rather enthusiastically embraced... Yes! All the encouragement I needed! Off to IKEA we went.

Here is what we came home with:

(x2) Besta Frames  (x4) Lappviken Doors  (x4) Besta Soft Closing Hinges  (x4) Nannarp Legs (x2) Blankett Pulls (not on the IKEA site but available in the store)

Some 2 hours later... and we had ourselves new, behind-doors storage for all sorts of unsightly things and convenient display for all things beautiful. What a great start for the week! 

Posted on August 24, 2016 and filed under Design + DIY.

Let's talk Capri!

Oh, wait... that's not Capri now, is it? 

That, too, shall come! Promise! In the meantime, as I was looking through the archives, I realized that this blog is turning into a travel diary and travel diary alone. Not that I am complaining (not even one bit)... but I thought it was time to go back to the basics and talk a little bit about interior design! So.. without further adieu, did you notice that brand new living room?? Let's take an even closer look... (oh, hey, Rebel!). 

Goodbye, old and beloved sofa! You will be somewhat, but not really, missed. Welcome home, sweet, beautiful, lounge-ful, comfortable, big-enough-for-two-(maybe three, if you count Rebel) sectional! What a difference!

This amazing home addition is one of those fine moments of opportunistic shopping I tend to enjoy the most. But first... What inspired even wanting a new couch? Well, apparently, the old beloved sofa was just not good (big) enough for two to lounge on comfortably. As simple as that. So, after observing a few data points (aka a few uncomfortable nights of watching The West Wing), a decision was made. And this was the plan:

The biggest and baddest IKEA sectional available, plus a few (well, 16) custom legs from Etsy... plus a new coffee table. And, yep... Yet another testament as to how design plans usually don't work out quite as you expect them to! And so glad they didn't! Because, as we were walking through IKEA (a rather distraught-looking IKEA, by the way - they have a habit of constructing right when you need them not to!), we stumbled upon this perfection of an As-Is sectional! At half the originally planned-for budget! 

Now we can't seem to get unglued from it. We love it so much! It's perfect for reading, Netflix binging, napping, cuddling... you name it. Pure perfection.

With that said... let's get back to business - diversifying some of this blog content! As I was working through my Italy recaps, two more amazing trips happened: Orlando, FL and Washington, DC. Both of which are well worth the share (and not necessarily aiding in this diversification effort...:)

I am also in the middle of amping up my cooking and reading experiments. Also, Chewie got his portrait hung in the entryway. Not sure how he feels about it...

Oh well... He will surely warm up to it. Eventually. 

Posted on August 2, 2016 and filed under Design + DIY.

Sorrento, eye candy... tomayto, tomahto

After spending two nights in Naples (which were, of course, educational in their own right...), it was time to move south and arrive at our resting spot for the next three nights: 

Ahhh... Sorrento.... 

...my hands-down favorite spot of the entire Amalfi Coast (or at least the small portion that I saw :). What a shame I have some OCD tendencies and have to go in order. Otherwise, I'd definitely save Sorrento for last. Alas. Second it is! Before I dive into my favorites though, let's pause for some more eye candy:

But wait... there's more...

This place is unbelievable, ins't it? I wish I could say these images were a function of the amazing photography skills of this blogger, but let's be real. That was not the case. Not even close. It's just that every turn, every corner, every lookout... all of it presents itself to be perfectly captured in a hard-to-believe completely perfect photograph. Every time. Even this shot below, courtesy of my iPhone's camera, is hard to believe. As evidence would point out... Sorrento boasts incredible vast skies, deep turquoise water, and the warmth of all those Italian rooftops. Also known as, heaven.

Right. So now that I am done selling you on the scenery... let's suggest a few things to do there, shall we?

1. Eat. Come to think of it, that is probably the only thing you need to really be doing there. Oh, and take pictures, in case I was not explicit before :). But I digress.. back to food. I have to tell you about this place. It's called L'Antica Trattoria, a Michelin-rated gem, in the heart of Sorrento, where everything placed on a plate in front of me deserved a medal of some sort and then would quickly disappear within minutes.

For the record, L'Antica Trattoria was the ONLY food reservation I made for the entire trip. And it was worth every drop of sweat and effort. I mean... who knew zucchini flowers tasted this good?!? 

Now, I would not let you assume that I am this pompous traveler who only knows the high life. Not even close. We just had a great reason to celebrate. Namely, this guy (happy belated birthday, dad!!). 

Which reminds me. The one thing I would suggest you should avoid in Sorrento: riding in a cab! You will feel greatly ripped off. There, I warned you! Even if the driver is charming (and rather handsome) and wants to woo you. Nope, do not do it! And also because the longest distance in Sorrento is 2KM max.... 

Ok, that said... I think I should tell you the second thing you should do when in Sorrento:

2. Visit Capri.

But more on that... next week!

Happy Monday!!

Ok, Italia... I can no longer keep you to myself...

Hello, sensory overload!

How hard it is to organize you into coherent thoughts! For three weeks in vain I have struggled to find a clever way to tell you the story of this trip (as evidenced by the complete and utter silence on here...). Oops! Well, it is time we gave it a try. So, here we go...

I thought I would break this down by city visited and spend some time telling you about each separately. That should keep us all busy for a little while, right?

Let's start with...

...the city that gave us this thing called PIZZA. Oh, and the city where you should always keep your eyesight at a good 6-8 feet above ground... Because the waste management company there is always on strike (at least that's what the locals would say lovingly/jokingly)!

What should you do in Napoli, you ask?

Eat gelato. And lots of it. Don't hold back at all! They have the most charming gelato stores I have ever seen, each with its own flavor and decor; each within a walking distance of each other. You can go on and sample for days!  

Visit Pompeii. Because it's impeccably preserved and absolutely stunning. It overlooks Vesuvius and has incredibly luscious gardens that you can walk through for days. Then eat pizza Neapolitana right outside the exit thus effectively avoiding paying for parking. In for the win! 

Stay at a local villa. We used Airbnb to find our villa that happens to be from the 17th century... Of course, with that come certain challenges, such as about a thousand steps to get to your room and very spotty wi-fi. But, hey, you do get the quintessential Italian experience! Oh, and they park your car for you. Which is where you hold you breath and pray that that scratch won't get noticed when you return your rental :-/.  

Eat at C&D in Portici. First taste of Italian food happened there. And it was glorious. I think I'll always remember that place for so many good reasons but mainly, for their seafood risotto.. Yum. And their welcome prosecco treat (Monday nights are rather slow in Portici, as it turns out :). 

Up next on our itinerary... Sorrento, or, the land of the lemons! But not until next week :) 

Happy Saturday and enjoy the rest of your weekend!!

Posted on June 18, 2016 and filed under Travel Diaries.

Off we go...

Ciao, America! 

I am going off to celebrate my dad's 61st birthday. Oh, and I published my first book. Well, not exactly but close enough. I'l tell you all about this little gift I put together for my family when I get back.

Until then... stay warm, Houston!

Posted on May 21, 2016 and filed under Travel Diaries.

Who knew! A different world, a mere hour away...

Galveston. 

The butt of almost every beach joke in Houston. And, historically speaking, not my most favorite place in the world. I have been pulled over on my way there (as I was speeding to not miss my race... yes, the irony is hard to miss :), I have encountered suspiciously large rodents there while chasing impossible to see meteor showers (because of the "convenient" light pollution), I have seen quite a few friends get their cars stuck in the sand there... Ah, the fond memories!

But you know what? All of that is now forgotten! Because a spur-of-the-moment decision sent me that way a weekend ago and I was able to see this historic little town in a whole new light. And it also made me realize that I have not given Galveston the time or attention it deserves. I think a historic tour of Galveston is in order the next weekend I'm around...

Perhaps by then, both Chewie and my car will have finally gotten rid of the pounds of super fine sand we dragged home? :)

Happy Sunday!

Posted on May 15, 2016 and filed under Travel Diaries.