Tuesday's Design: The Sanctuary At Ol Lentille

I know it may be hard to believe how much I love this space after seeing the bright boldness of my entryway, but I really do love this space!

The Sanctuary At Ol Lentille in Kenya (just north of Mt. Kenya) is my favorite type of vacation space. There are 5 guest houses that you can rent and the come with the full nine yards: car, chef, not to mention fab designs. Just having the chef alone is perfect for me. When I was in Zanzibar, a friend and I stayed at this super cool little rental and having someone cook just for you is really unbelievable (and I swear the food tastes better when the whole place is at a ridiculously low off-season rate)!

The owners of The Sanctuary At Ol Lentille work in partnership with the local community in not only making the business a success, but incorporating environmentally sound practices and conservation definitely add to the appeal of staying here.

This is exactly the kind of space for taking a very relaxing vacation...or maybe I can just have this for my bedroom instead?!?

And seriously, is there any other way to wake up other than with a view like this?!?

{Photos from Spendia and The Sanctuary At Ol Lentille}

Tuesday's Design: My Entryway

I little while ago, here, I mentioned my new found obsession with the color pink. What I didn't mention was that I have taken that obsession to my walls. I had seen this inspiration in House Beautiful a few weekends ago and literally couldn't get it out of my head. I already had a similar style mirror because I already knew that I wanted the space to feel a bit glamorous. When I saw this image, I just knew that this was the direction that the space needed to take.

Despite having bright bold colors all over my apartment (see turquoise bedroom walls here), I still felt like something was missing...that every nook and crank of this space wasn't reflecting me at some version of my craziest self; that I wasn't being as brave as I could be.

So two coats of Razzle Dazzle Benjamin Moore paint later, my gold mirror is looking exactly how I had envisioned it in my head. I picked up this antique desk hutch, provided a little t.l.c, and turned it into a entryway table. It has tons of little cubbies inside for mail and old magazines and the top is actually a lid with perfect storage for all those random manuals that I know better than to throw away. Two colorful balls picked up in Mozambique plus a flowery chipped pitcher-turn-vase for pink and white carnations add a few nice touches.

The space isn't quite complete yet...I want a small vintage type tray so that tossing my keys doesn't scratch the table and maybe a little bigger vase. The opposite wall needs some type of art and I already have the picture frame for whatever I end up making/finding something to go in it. I'm thinking bulletin board with maybe pictures postcards...maybe an Africa mask, not sure yet.

Keys and mail are already adding a little more personality to the space making it slightly more worthy of Apartmento magazine (my new favorite interior magazine find....if only I could get my little hands on it)!!! Now the heat is really on as to what is my favorite room. I really wish I had more reason to just linger in the entryway and absorb all this pink joy!

{Photos from House Beautiful & me}


Malik Nejmi

I love it when I'm digging around for one thing and get completely struck by something else. It always happens when I'm looking through photographs and that is how I came across this first image. It took me down the rabbit's hole that led me to all things Malik Nejmi!

This Franco-Moroccan photographer took a journey with his Moroccan father throughout Morocco and these are some of the stunning images that resulted in his book El Maghreb.

Nejmi has also done a series on the handicapped throughout various African countries. I particularly love this image below of the special chair with the Legos scattered on the floor behind.

What's your take?

{Photos from Malik Nejmi}

Alioune Bâ

There are so many things to love about Malian photographer, Alioune Bâ's work! I love the fact that he focuses his work on the hands and feet of his subjects and the stories one can learn about a person just through these two body parts! I love the simple grace and beauty that comes through the small parts of the body that he captures.

Since the early 1980s, Bâ has worked with the Musée National du Mali documenting the lives of Malians for current and future generations.

{Photos from Eyestorm, African Success, Afrique in Visu}

Loving This Smile!

Good Monday Morning!

How was your weekend? Mine was fantastic! A night of dancing (Friday) followed by two full days of relaxing with a few errands sprinkled in. Plus, I saw the cutest darn movie ever...Le Fils de l'épicier (The Grocer's Son) and gave my entryway a little shot of hot pink on the walls, it's now my favorite room in my little apartment!

So tell me, did you do anything fun this weekend? Or did you just kick back and take it easy like me??

{Photos from Sliding Liberia}


All About Michael.

Can you believe it?!?! MJ is gone! Boy or boy I don't even know WHERE to begin! I hope you get to go out and celebrate his life and music and enjoy all his fabulous beats. And let's just be honest, there is no better time than now to pull out your sequined glove and bust out your best moonwalk!!!

Have a great weekend!


The Painter in Me

A few months ago when my pottery class finished, I was debating which art class to take next. Part of me wanted to continue taking pottery, but another part wanted to explore something new. I was unsure of whether I wanted to "master" a craft before moving unto the next or testing out a few and then determining which one I liked enough to master. As this post proves, I've moved on from pottery. Since all the painting classes in DC are booked before one can even think about taking a class, I got on the wait list for a local painter, Dana Ellyn, who provides classes out of her small studio. After waiting and waiting and waiting, I finally got the nod that there was a space available for me. I got off to a nervous start last week but after doing a simple color while and painting the very first layer of my background, I realized that it was clearly too early to be nervous.

I went back for more yesterday and it was much better! My painting is slowly starting to come together and honestly a few "bad" strokes can easily make it fall apart but I'm having a good time and learning something new which is the whole purpose of me taking the class. I like all the little things that I'm learning to make. For example, there is a lot about layering on paint and using different shades and levels of transparency to add shade and depth to an object. I also like the challenge of being out of my comfort-zone. I swear I have no idea what I'm doing in front of the canvas, but when I put paint to canvas I just tell myself to pretend I know exactly what I'm doing and just to make it work!

The main thing I learned yesterday is was, much the way it is in life, one must step away from the painting to really see what is going on!

Anyway, are you taking any fun classes or doing something small that ruffles the feathers of your comfort-zone? I'd love to hear about it!

{Photo from Medici Club}


Surfing in Liberia

A few months ago, I randomly came across several articles about surfing in South Africa and the various organizations that are helping black South Africans get into the sport instead of joining gangs. Non-profits like Mahala Surf Co. gets used boards and wetsuits into community run surfing schools to help underprivileged kids.

I remember thinking that the idea fabulous and wishing there were more resources like this for kids in other African countries with coastlines. I know from experience that the waves in Liberia are crazy big and have heard stories of expats who would go surfing (pre-civil war) in Buchanan and other beaches. If expats can surf in Liberia, why can't Liberians?!?! I know, I know...that whole recovering from war bit....but still!

Well it turns out that I was not the only one thinking about this! Back when the fighting was still going on, a Liberian (Alfred Lomax) grabbed a bodyboard instead of his daily looting and that's where it all began. He has since brushed up his surfing skills with a surfboard and even has the requisite entourage of surfing friends. There are already surfing "resorts" - check out Surf Liberia and Robertsport Surf Camp where Alfred teaches surfing. While Liberia still has years of rebuilding ahead of it, I think it is so encouraging that not only are surfers from Brazil, Australia, and the U.S. making the journey to this non-touristy destination to check out the waves, but that Liberians also get to take part in the fun!!!

You can click the image above to see a trailer of the documentary about surfing in Liberia and you can also read more through the Sliding Liberia website. Click here and here to read more about Alfred and surfing in Liberia

View of a sunset in Liberia

{Photos from Sliding Liberia and BBC News}

The Thing Around Your Neck

June and July are all about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for me. Not only is my book club reading both of her novels "Purple Hibiscus" and "Half of the Yellow Sun," but now she has a book of short fiction that you know I have to read. I love love love short fiction as a genre and when you get a great writer, well, I'm just not sure if there is anything better! Now I have already introduced you to two of Ms. Adichie's short stories (here and here), but let's be honest, a whole book of short fiction is so much better!

For me, the best thing a writer can do is tell a story; one in which the reader fits into the shoes of the characters, understands them so intimately, that the end of the story feels like a personal loss. I know this may seem extremely obvious, but I have read many a books in which the authors did not realize that this was their task. Like an seasoned designer who automatically knows the perfect type of lighting a room needs, Adichie knows just what a story needs to take it from basic to brilliant. Before you can even think twice, she draws you into her tale, transporting you to Lagos, Maine, Connecticut or anywhere else her imagination has created.

In preparing for this post, I read the title story (here) and what I can say is that you will not under any circumstance be disappointed in the stories you find here. Here is a little sample:

"The first weeks you wanted to write though, because you had stories to tell. You wanted to write about the surprising openness of people in America, how eagerly they told you about their mother fighting cancer, about their sister-in-law's premature baby - things people should hide, should reveal only to the family members who wished them well. You wanted to write about the way people left so much food on their plates and crumpled a few dollar bills down, as though it was an offering, expiation for the wasted food. You wanted to write about the child who started to cry and pull at her blonde hair and instead of the parents making her shut up, they pleaded with her and then they all got up and left."

If running to the nearest bookstore to pick up this gem isn't on your agenda for today, simply take a few minutes to read on of the three stories linked above. If you have 5 mins and 39 secs you can also click here to listen to a nice interview of the author over on NPRs All Things Considered.


Tuesday's Design: Chandeliers


Recently I've been seriously loving so many chandeliers. I find them to be so elegant and they can glam up even the simplest and shabbiest of rooms. I certainly wish I could replace the overhead lighting in my apartment with some of these stunning chandeliers.

Here are some of my favorites for today (as I'll totally need to do another one of these chandelier posts again):


{South Africa - Hail to the Coke Bottle}



{South Africa}




{South Africa}

So which ones are your favorites??

{Photos from Flickr}

Tuesday's Design: Tropical Cathedral

So long long time ago when I was studying abroad in Spain, I use to love going into the cathedrals to see the beautiful architecture. I was always amazing at how much time and energy had gone into the construction of such incredible spaces. Despite all the beautiful chapels and cathedrals I saw in Spain and other parts of Europe (and Mexico), nothing compares to this tropical cathedral in Stone Town, Zanzibar!

Between the bright yellow and orange and sky blue ceilings and the pink pillars this place is truly amazing! I already don't do enough praying as it is, so I don't know how much praying I would be able to do in this space. I would seriously just spend whatever time I could analyzing ever single beautiful corner of this place!

Are there any tropical cathedrals near you? Have you been in a space like this before?

{Photos from Flickr}



Good Monday Morning!

I hope everyone had a great weekend. Let's get this week started with this very calm image by Ivorian photographer Lougue Issoufou Sanogo. Sanogo studied photography at the Abidjan Institute of Arts and has been an Agence France-Presse photographer for almost 20 years covering stories throughout Africa.

So the next time you pick up your favorite newspaper, check the name of the photographer under your favorite picture as it might just be Mr. Sanogo!

{Photos from The Guardian, Newsweek, and Washington Post}


Twit, Twit

Just a quick update: I have FINALLY joined the world of Twitter. To say that I have been reluctant would not even be the half of it. I can barely handle facebook, so the constant update on twitter always kinda scared me. At the same time, it's been fun checking out what some of my favorite bloggers are doing when they aren't blogging, so I figured I would at least give it a try. ANYWAY...you can click on the link to the right and see what I'm up to. I'm going to make a strong attempt to twit on a regular basis, so we'll see how this goes!


A Few Days Off...

Sorry for totally being M.I.A. today. A friend of mine made an unexpected visit from Kenya so instead of spending my time blogging, I'm going to spend it with her! I'll see you all right back here on Monday!

Have a great rest of the week and weekend!


Tuesday's Design: Cape Heritage Hotel

I love the soft orange against the patchwork cowhide

I'll leave you today with some all out boutique-style luxury from the Cape Heritage Hotel in Cape Town. Each room is so uniquely designed, yet they all carry the same relaxed tone.

How about a stunning gold couch for a little post-shower relaxing?

Not only do I love the tufted headboard, but the red pillows add just the right amount of color to the soft tones of the room

Just in case you thought that bathroom was small or that the gold couch was the only piece of glam!

I'm loving this chaise and I already told you how I'm feeling about pink lately!

The is something subtly masculine yet still soft and gentle about this room that I love!

{Photos from Splendia}

Tuesday's Design: Lamu Chair

About two weeks ago, I was on a full-fledged mission to find a lounge chair for my patio. I had visions of myself chilling on a comfortable chair, cool drink in my hand and book/magazine on lap. I ended up picking up a fun yellow Adirondack, but it was strictly because the Lamu chair is not sold in my neck of the woods.

This is exactly what I had in mind: roll out of bed is Lamu chair is right there waiting for you!

Don't they just ooze a sense of calm. I've sat in several of these and I can promise you, it is almost impossible to get up!!

{Photos: second photo Palm House third photo from White Rabbit Design Company; first photo I came across and saved a long time ago and now I can't remember where I got it. :( }