Something recently reminded me of how I had once resolved something which had been troubling me a bit, through a walk (or a series of walks) through the streets of Paris 2 summers ago. I’d gone to Paris (alone) to celebrate the end of a busy, yet fulfilling, semester of design school, to visit or revisit my favorite sites there. I had a good friend I would be staying with in a lovely and convenient area of the city, and I was content on walking from morning until night each day to get to destinations I had planned to visit, and mostly ones I would have the pleasure of just stumbling upon. I remember buzzing with an incredible enthusiasm which kept me going on very little sleep, and little/nothing could have crushed my “Paris High,” yet there was one issue I had been holding onto for a while, which I knew was taking up precious space in my heart and head. So, in one of the most beautiful places in the world, I decided to take my thoughts and walk and walk, while trusting that I would go home at the end of the week with all of the answers I needed to move forward. I came back to NYC feeling refreshed, restored, beyond inspired, and with clarity on this one thing I was seeking guidance on…Amazing! Walking has possibly always offered this type of clarity for me, as long as I am able to get out of my head enough, and I think its the change of scenery (get out of your norm) as well as the beautiful scenery whether it be nature, artwork, architectural, city streets, or just life moving around you.
My life in New York as seen on a walk:
Central Park: the prettiest commute I could ask for. I walk through the park to & from school and work each day, as long as its still light out, and as long as its not too painfully cold (think windy, snowy and temps below 0 degrees…) Viewing so much lush greenery and nature really helps me ground and replenish while moving through my day.
The Upper East Side: Endless design inspiration is found walking through these tree-lined streets filled with incredible townhouses with such elegant details like intricate brass door knobs, brightly-colored lacquered double doors, manicured gardens and curvy wrought-iron gates, etc etc. Also, a great place to take a break and put everything in the day into order and perspective.
The MET: One of my top 5 favorite places in the world… Its a place I go on days when I need to replenish, unwind, not talk but just absorb the beauty and rich history that cocoons you so nicely there. Visiting on a Friday or Saturday evening when its open late is amazing as there aren’t swarms of people & as it gets later it’s as if your the only one in the entire museum with all that art to yourself…
The Frick: Another of my favorite refuges in NYC…The Frick has a restorative quality to it, with its in-depth collection of classical art and antiques, not to mention the unbelievably gorgeous interior courtyard and fountain.
The Upper West Side: My lovely neighborhood of 8 years…
Greenwich, Connecticut: There’s an amazing scenic trail along the water I like to walk along in the summertime.
*All photos taken by Sarah Elizabeth
The past few days before I left California were too good not to write home about. Marveling at the differences between East coast verses west coast living, I find that there are great things, as well as challenges (if you want to look at them that way), with living on either coast. While having the privilege to experience such beautiful, unique towns and places while here in California (photos below!), I have decided to be at peace with my NYC life, and have dismissed all fantasies of moving back to CA (at least for now). I know we all like to visit new towns, states and even countries, and fall in love with how we feel there, while pondering how our lives would be much better, different, more full in these new found places. I would slip into the same mesmerizing fantasies, but it is not the place people fall in love with, but the permission we give themselves to relax, unwind, be ourselves and actually see all the beauty that is around us…
One of my all time favorite quotes: “The grass isnt greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it.” -Unknown
Now for the photos:
PS. These photos are raw, straight from my iphone, no editing needed! : )
My lunch at Tout Sweet on the 3rd floor of Macy’s in San Francisco’s Union Square where I worked on my blog while being pleasantly distracted by the incredible stop I had for people watching… Also, if you need a last minute gift or just craving some macaroons or pretty French deserts, I’d recommend stopping here while in SF.
A very cool sculptural cube coming out of the side of a classical structure which is The Contemporary Jewish Museum of SF. The SF MOMA is currently closed for renovation, so after realizing this, I began walking a bit aimlessly while passing such lovely architecture, like above & below.
The breathtaking entrance of the Jewish museum listed above. I find some of the most interesting architecture to be when a classically designed building has a purely modern section or decorative element added to it. Think: The Louvre Pyramid at the Louvre in Paris…
A very sweet surprise. A flower delivery for me, as well as one for Karen’s family, sent from Moussa who had to stay on the east coast for work this week.
Yours truly sleeping on the job : )
Moi in front of a lovely garden in the town of Half Moon Bay. The colors of the bogenvia plant I’m in front of are just incredible.
These 3 photos (above) of the sea were taken while we drove up the coast, still in Half Moon Bay, having just had the most delightful brunch at a highly recommended cafe called 3-Zero Cafe, located on the tiny airport in town. The interior has an airplane theme throughout (surprise!) and has the yummiest french toast and Eggs Jeanine (eggs florentine plus avocado and tomato) I’ve had in a long time…
The 3 photos above our of the most delightful beach-themed store, Seascapes, in Half Moon Bay. As you can see above, the store is filled with baskets of tiny shells (at .75 cents a scoop), small and large starfish, exotic shells, coral, and anything else you can imagine from the sea. We were led to this charming boutique when we had searched several stores in the town for a shark tooth (Moussa’s one request for me to bring him home from CA). Finally someone recommended we try this shop in a small shopping center up the street.
For one of my last nights in SF, my dearest friend Karen said she wanted to treat me to dinner in the city. I had been to Farallon restaurant years ago back when I lived in San Francisco and it left quite an impression on me, to say the least. For those of you who dont know about this magical, ocean-inspired restaurant, make me a promise that you’ll book a reservation when your on the west coast next… The photos above dont do the restaurant justice, and since I cant give you a bite of the delicious oysters and fish we ate, you’ll just have to believe me. Also, the service is 5 star, and I dont remember having such attentive and knowledgable waitstaff (even when it has been a 5 star restaurant…!)
Thanks for reading! Where’s the last place you vacationed at? And would you recommend putting on our bucket list? Please do share!
*photos taken my me for www.7dayobsession.com
It’s my last day in the Bay Area (has it really been 10 days…?) and wanted to share a few pics from the walk (or run if I feel so inclined) that I’ve been going on in the mornings to start my day while in CA. I remember running through these fields & shrubs as a child, then checked over for ticks by my mom before I was allowed back into the house, but now it’s a bit different : ) I also don’t remember seeing the mountain lion and rattlesnake alert signs while exploring the dirt trails in the hills, we all just knew they were there and to kinda be aware. I did dodge a rattlesnake once in my teens while on a run, as I took a shortcut through the dry grass, as well as was several feet from a mountain line in our yard as a child, but those stories are for another time…
Things I’ll miss when I’m back home in NYC:
-the smell of the air with wild licorice, eucalyptus, and lavender clinging to it.
-the big smiles people have on their faces and how strangers wish you a great day or ask how you are doing.
-the steep hills of SF
-the design stores which all seem to be a bit more rooted in tranquility & sustainability, using lots of local artisans & recycled elements in their designs.
-my best friend Karen!
-glasses of wine (even in fine dining restaurants) priced at $9-$13 a glass rather then $15+
-SF coffee shops
-Mill Valley & Half Moon Bay (I’d be happy living part-time in either town) : )
-the beautiful, raw nature
-being so close to the ocean, bay and lots of reservoirs, rivers, etc
And now the photos from the top:
Where did that reservoir go? Oh wait, the thick blanket of fog rolling in quickly covered it from view… : )
Bon Voyage & hope to see you all in NYC soon!
As some of you may know, I slipped on out of NYC for a 10 day vacation in California, where my 2 dearest friends on the planet live. I am staying in the bay area where I couldn’t have asked for clearer blue skies, with the air so clean & fragrant with plants and blossoms… While living in California most of my life (until my jump to NYC 8 years ago), I hadn’t realized the full impact & magnitude of innate beauty this area so effortlessly holds. The way the cities mingle and intertwine so well with the trees and forests seemingly steps (or a quick car ride over the bridge) away from incredible natural beauty. It has been a refreshing week to say the least, and I am so grateful to have this time to spend with dear friends, as well as have some down time to relax and reflect on my own.
A few highlights of my time in the bay area that I wanted to share with you thus far:
- The De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park
- Marnee Thai Restaurant in Sunset district of SF (I used to eat there on a weekly bases without exception!)
- The Palace of Fine Arts
- Emeryville Yacht Harbor, where one of my best friends lives on a lovely sailboat part of the year
- Water Dog Lake Park (in Bellmont where my best friend lives)
- Jane Cafe on Fillmore St in San Francisco
- Barbara’s Fish Trap in Half Moon Bay
And now for some photos…!
Moussa and I at a lovely party on a sunset cruise around Manhattan which our friend threw the night before I flew out.
A truly incredible breakfast Karen prepared for us the first morning I was staying with her.
A lovely vignette with fresh cut roses from Margie Villanueva’s garden…
A romantic vision of the Golden Gate Bridge (photo taken by Karen Villanueva).
Pretty plantings outside Abode home decor boutique in Half Moon Bay. I highly recommend visiting this tranquil shop.
Yours truly at the Chez Shea where I had a mind blowing California burger! I would highly recommend visiting this noteworthy organic cafe in downtown Half Moon Bay… Im craving their delicious offerings as I think back on this gem.
These worn roots would make an incredible centerpiece for my dining room table… The natural beauty of the beaches around Half Moon Bay is breathtaking…
The sandstone bluffs over the beach… I think I can smell the fresh salty air just looking at this photo!
View of the harbor from Barbara’s Fish Trap. Best fresh Halibut I’ve ever had! Another must!
An invigorating view from a walk I took in the hills of Bellmont, CA where I have been staying.
Bon Voyage & stay tuned for Part 2!!
In honor of a few of my girlfriends who have recently announced they are pregnant, I became inspired to share with you my musing on some of my favorite children’s clothing lines. Working as a nanny to pay my way thru design school, I’ve worked with many lovable, beyond adorable children, and found that while spending time with these cuties, one of the first questions I find myself asking, usually out loud to the child’s parents is, where did you buy you daughter’s/son’s (insert item of clothing here)? It seems children’s outfits, and the way the little ones can throw things together effortlessly & without a care, often leaves me wondering if I can duplicate the chic looks for myself…
Below are some uber chic children’s clothing lines I’ve recently discovered along with a favorite look from each line. Enjoy!
For the girls:
For the boys:
For the girls:
For the boys:http://www.bonpoint.com/us/
For the girls:
For the boys:
For the girls:
For the boys:
Crew Cuts (jcrew kids)
For the girls:
For the boys:
H & M
For the girls:
For the boys:
Over the weekend I was asked by a friend if I would be interested in redesigning her partner’s kitchen and bathroom in a one-bedroom pre-war midtown Manhattan apartment. The details are few thus far, but the givens are that they’d like polished concrete countertops and stainless-steel accents and appliances in the kitchen. For the bathroom, they’d like to see some ideas I have with a modern, minimalist, sleek esthetic in mind. Here’s what I’ve got so far, let me know what you think…!
*All pictures via pinterest.
Today my boyfriend and I took a long awaited trip to The Duke Farms in Hillsborough, NJ, which happened to be a 15 minute drive from his house. We had briefly read about the park on their website but it turns out neither of us had any idea how spectacular the place would be in person… We were able to park quickly when we entered the grounds, then walked through their information center, which was a lovely, newly constructed building surrounded by meadows, gardens and wilderness left to grow as intended. The building and grounds are operated with sustaining and enriching the environment (and all animals’ habitats) as their sole mission. The history of the park as well as its generous benefactors, Doris Duke and her father James Buchanan Duke, is so interesting in itself, that I’d highly recommend reading a bit about it. It seems Doris and her father were environmentalists long before it was a trend, and put hundreds of millions of dollars into preserving this park to keep it a thriving and enriching resource for the public to enjoy. The park (and bike rentals) are 100% free, and there is a lovely cafe in the information center with healthy options to choose from, as well as a farm stand where you can buy fresh produce. The property is immense and has a 12 mile bike path to ride along, which we did (you can also walk or take the tram to tour the park). Below are some of my favorite shots and memories from the day. Enjoy!
Yours truly in the Duke Farm’s Orchid Garden (which gives the NY Botanical Gardens a real run for their money : ) !)
While on our bikes we followed a sign that read: Hay Barn ahead, which led us under the most dreamy (and massive) ivy-covered archaic arch, which then led us into an enclosed oval-shaped sculpture garden. Each goddess-like structure stood beautifully amongst the trees and ivy, and at that moment I thought it might have been the closest Ive been to the feeling I get in Paris while viewing art… (one of my top 3 favorite things to do in life!) Another must for all Classical art + nature lovers!
*The lovely photos are courtesy of Moussa Ousmane (the incredibly talented Bf)
What: Ivory-colored lanterns as far as the eye can see… Could not take my eyes off the photos of Blush Nightclub. The ceiling is set aglow with the rhythmic, monochromatic swaying of glowing lanterns. There is both a grounding and luxurious feeling evoked when seeing multiples of the same object or theme in a space. Here they’ve spared no expense & gone to extremes in the design and details, to give the guests an ultra lux experience. By looking at the first photo, I didn’t realize that the lanterns are powered by LEDs, and change colors throughout the night, as do the floors. Had anyone been while it was open (from 2008-2011)?
Where: Blush Boutique Nightclub at the Wynn, Las Vegas. (I have since heard it is actually now CLOSED now)
Who (designer): Roger Thomas
While still on the topic of lanterns, I want to highlight how appropriate, and absolutely gorgeous, they can look outside. Lanterns can give an outdoor space just the right accessory needed to make the space feel magical. Possibly we gravitate toward lanterns as they take us back to childhood, to the Disney princess movies all small girls take Q’s from (elegant horse and carriage trailing down a dimly lit path). Also, lanterns were one of the earliest means of light, and first housed candles before gas lighting or electricity were invented., therefor these shiny little objects de art grounding us & taking us back to our roots. They can be festive & celebratory (think paper pendant lanterns swaying from trees above the perfect summer soiree). They can be grand statements flanking a classically styled estate (think Jay Gasby’s sprawling manse), or they can simply transport us straight to the Orient (Memoirs of a Geisha)…
A very interesting/fun article on the history of lanterns which I’d highly recommend reading: http://www.periodlighting.com/history.htm.
Some of my favorite outdoor spaces where lanterns make a grande statement: Enjoy!!