Travel and design, reunited!

Hello, strangers! Long time, no see!

Before we know it, it's already December, it almost feels like it's fall in Houston (ahem, rainy and below 75F :) and we have arrived at a great spot to share an update of all of our recent trips and the few updates we made to our home!

If you have been following Instagram, you may have noticed it has been a busy few months. In this short timeframe, we managed to travel to Gulf Shores (hello, pretty beaches), Miami (hello, posh beaches), Portland (green, green, green!), Seattle (rain...) and Vancouver (even more rain...)! And, in doing so, we have been experimenting with different ways of commemorating the places we visit... Because it seems we are rather nostalgic and sentimental when it comes to travel memories and pretty pictures just don't cut it :).

So, while browsing one of the many museum gift shops we visited (yup, we love these... sometimes better than the museums themselves!), we came across the above incredible novelty... A kind-of-a-globe! But so much better!

So... we started a thing:

This concoction of organic paper, fun watercolor markers (to shade the countries we have visited) and white calligraphy (to showcase the cities in each country we visited) seems to be just the perfect fit for chronicling our adventures! 

Some of our favorite spots for each city are shown below... And, with all good intentions, I do hope to be able to take you on a quick tour of each... In due time!




And just because I really can't help but wanting to share... Other favorite outtakes from the trip! But, more on that later! :)

And... to finish off, there is one more, rather more indulgent and logistically challenging way of keeping up with our travels... Starbucks mugs!! Yes, we haul these from all over! In fact, I can recall carrying at least two of these beauties in my backpack on our way back from Vancouver! 

And, I have a suspicion we may be adding one more of these before year-end!! Let's hope we don't freeze in the process...

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Posted on December 4, 2016 and filed under Design + DIY, Travel Diaries.

Fall colors, the white way

There seems to be a running joke in this household.

"Sure, honey, you can choose any color you like.

As long as it's white." 


Yes, yes, white is quite abundant around here. But how can you blame us? First, there are an infinite versions of this color (and I am convinced that this household represents at least 94% of those). Second, it looks clean, bright and it forces you to get creative with texture so it's not a COMPLETE snooze.  

All that said, welcome to our version of fall decoration: a healthy amount of white and pale yellow gourds neatly (rather randomly) stacked in a glass container. It still feels like fall and it still fits this home. And, check out all those funky shapes and sizes! So much fun to put together and photograph! 

I think it's completely unnecessary for me tell you how easy this is to put this together (buy gourds varying in size, color and shape and insert into said glass container)... So instead, let's just thank Trader Joe's for their awesome and affordable decoration supplies and wish you one very happy Sunday!

Posted on October 30, 2016 and filed under Design + DIY.

How I built my first terrarium!

This terrarium is a desperate attempt at adding some greenery to the house without running the risk of killing the plants! Because, as it turns out, a closed terrarium is supposed to be a self-sustaining ecosystem. Let's hope it lives... I will make sure to update you if it doesn't :). 

So this is how this project started... With a bunch of pretty clear containers, some plants, and a terrarium kit:

And, as it turns out, making a terrarium is rather easy:

STEP 1: River Rocks

STEP 2: Active Charcoal

STEP 3: Potting Soil

STEP 4: Soak your sheet moss and apply.

STEP 3: Plant your goodies.

And, lastly, cap it off and enjoy! 

Easy, breezy, and rather pretty!

Happy Sunday crafting, everyone!

Posted on September 18, 2016 and filed under Design + DIY.

On Instagram...

Welcome, welcome!! We have just enough time for a quick re-cap of the week... (John Oliver, we miss you. When do you get back on air??). Let's start with the important announcements. This week, this blogger starts her new job... also known as, Katya's new and improved career, 2.0! In seven words, I landed my dream job rather unexpectedly. In a few more words, as all things wonderful, this opportunity come around in a rather unplanned and uncalled-for manner! But more words on that interesting story shall come some other time.  

Meanwhile... Also this week, as a last hooray before meaning real business, we took another incredible trip to DC! This city doesn't cease to amaze. I have a feeling that having the best tour guide in the world helps though... Either way, it is beautiful out there! Which brings us to the main story of the week...

A new Instagram approach! Or simply put, allowing two distinct and rarely overlapping passions to grow and become their own thing! So without further adieu... Make sure to check out:





Traveling and design. Each now belonging to its rightful world, topic of interest and audience! Such a little definition change yet so exciting to announce! And it has already been a bit addicting... the ideas keep on coming and I can hardly contain them all! 

So what prompted the change? Well, it was becoming rather obvious that the original Kaya Instagram account was turning into a travel diary. No complaints here... None. At all! But that also made the few interior design shots I dared to share really seem out of place. And, after the (very) kind and generous encouragement of friends and family, a new avenue to share design ideas was born! 

So... I hope you check it out!! Content will be featured (as it is with this blog :), as often as humanly possible! Well, as often as possible for this human :).

And now that we have covered all things important, we are moving onto some other fascinating to-do's for an average Wednesday... Such as selecting medical and retirement plans :). Happy Wednesday, everyone!

Posted on August 31, 2016 and filed under Design + DIY, Travel Diaries.

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.... 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!!