Bon Voyage: Cartagena de Indias, Colombia

We arrived in Cartagena yesterday afternoon and despite the unceasing rain, the city is as charming as everyone said it would be. Oddly enough, Cartagena's historic section reminds me of Jaipur...just a bit cleaner. 

Gorgeous old-world architecture fit snugly within the city walls, crumbling balconies overflowing with a riot of bougainvillas, street vendors hawking both auto parts and coffee cups from their carts, sidewalk stalls peddling strange but colorful candies. I love it all! 

And if you weren't convinced yet, my dinner last night of a massive corn and cheese arepa and mango sticks covered with salt and lime juice cost only $1! Yes, I could easily spend more time here. Once we get a little sunshine I'll take some photos....but in the meantime here's some I quickly swiped from some tourism sites.

Photos from: (Cartagena)

Inspire: Fortune Favors The Brave

We board a boat to Cartagena soon. I'm a little worried about cramped quarters, nonexistent showers and scurvy. But this print is helping me keep it together.

Print available through lilcoletterpress.

Video Love: I Look For My Heart It's Perdido....

The Sassy Sarah Vaughan says it best, I think.
How can you listen to this song and not imagine yourself in Havana or Panama?

2010 Holiday Gift Guide Round-Up

Nothing says Merry Christmas like a sweaty, dirty, homeless girl.
Yep, that's me.

I'm not complaining, but spending the holidays traveling in South America is proving a bit difficult in the holiday seasonal spirit department.

Since the internet connection is surprisingly reliable in our rented room in El Cangrejo, I've been crossing some good little girls and boys off my list. Shopping has been a - ahem - Caribbean breeze with these fantastically efficient gift guides! They're so prevalent on the web (and seem to pop up hourly) that it was hard to narrow down my favorites. Of course, none of them is devoted to global - inspired decor (I'll be working on that soon!). Anyhow, here's some goodies that might help you (and those on your gift list) get in the holiday mood...

Gifted Magazine - Creature Comforts Blog
This fantastic little online magalog is loaded with diy decorating ideas, holiday inspiration and loads of gift ideas, to boot. My husband was especially impressed with the "Gifts for Him" section.

2010 Gift Guide: $25 & Under - Design Sponge
Of course Design Sponge would post some of the most lovely, charming gift guides on the web. The $25 and under one is my favorite because, well, that's the state of my budget this year. I'm contemplating the vintage thumbprint candles and sweet (and cheap!) birch branch ring holder for some ladies in my life.

2010 Gift Guide - Cup-of-Jo Blog
Joanna Goddard's 2010 Gift Guide is still in the works but it looks like it will be fantastic (as always!). She has a few entries up already. I don't know what I like more-- her exquisite taste or charming entry titles. I suggest Gift Guide Part #2: Your Hilarious Younger Brother Who Rides a Yellow Motorcycle and Dressed as a Bedbug for Halloween.

Gift Guide: For The Home - Elements of Style Blog
Yet another gift guide from a blogger with polished taste. Loving the little glass trays made from vintage ephemera and gold-dipped carafe set.

56 Amazing Presents Under $50 for Everyone on Your List - Real Simple Magazine
Pretty impressive selection of gifts like artisanal whiskey and monogramed clutches made from vintage fabric. While you're there, check out the 33 Creative Stocking Stuffers section. (For the record: My mom always gets us gossip magazines and random kitchen goodies like pasta strainers and miniature spatulas. Great, right?? It's always my husband's favorite part of Christmas morning.)

2010 GeekDad Holiday Gift Guide - Wired Magazine
Secretly, all I really want for Christmas is what I've wanted since I was 13-- Legos and urban fantasy novels. So I had to include this fantastic list for the perpetual nerd in your life.

25 Under $100 Tech Gifts for Him - My Life Scoop Blog
Yep, this nails it for the ever-unimpressed college brother in my life. Leaning towards the Star Wars USB drives, cubic switchplate and Rubik's Cube clock.

The Gift Finder 2010 - New York Magazine
Wow. Exhaustive guide of unique, invariably hip gift ideas for everyone on your list from your crafty sister to your munchkin's teacher.  The Shop-A-Matic section features a pretty robust selection of goodies, too. You can even organize items by price. Yay budget!

The 2010 Holiday Gift Guide - Cool Mom Picks
100+ Holiday gifts for everyone on your list, in every price range, from cheap and chic to splurge-worthy. With suggestions such as "For The Cool 13-Year Old From Her Cool Aunt" and "For Your BFF From High School," you can't go wrong.

So now I'm just crossing my fingers that these sites can wrap, tag and send my presents to everyone at home!

Inspire: Life Is Either A Great Adventure Or Nothing

image from covet garden magazine. headline quote by helen keller.

I'm moving today.
Where, you ask?
Nowhere in particular, I think.
Lazy, so very lazily making my way South.

(Here's hoping there's more time for blogging in my future. And I promise to be safe Mom & Dad.)

Light My Way + Moroccan Lantern Decor

When I was a kid, I would watch I Dream of Jeannie re-runs in the summer just for the short, 10-second glimpses of Jeannie's magic lantern living room. Hot pink cushions, purple sheers and bejeweled urns littered her modern genie pad and I was smitten. It's been at least 15 years since I have seen an episode, but that hasn't stopped me from dreaming up some lantern living spaces of my own.

Oversized, punched-metal Moroccan lanterns are unequivocal statement pieces in any room. I love how a lantern was added to this somewhat traditional/country British kitchen by Richard Smith.

I'm liking this modern globe-shaped lantern above a tiny, traditional tea tray.

living etc.

Pretty much every room in Ellen Pompeo's home is brilliant.

elle decor 

Paired with a mix of ikat throw pillows and a traditional Moroccan wedding coverlet on the wall. BTW, I highly suggest window shopping the selection of Moroccan goodies on My Marrakesh.

 via decor8

Rustic and paired with one of the peacock mirrors that keeps popping up on the market.


Gypsy Spotlight: Lantern Moon Hancrafted Products

A few years back I had the opportunity to meet Sharon Woodcock, founder of Lantern Moon, at the Yarn Market News Conference. Lantern Moon works with local artisans from throughout Asia to create beautiful and functional handcrafted products for the needlearts market. I’ve always been a fan of their coconut palm knitting needles, but only recently noticed their gorgeous collection of home decor products...

Lotus tea light holders from Thailand

Reproduction wire market baskets

 These would be perfect for a store display filled with balls of yarn, rolled posters or plush towels. Now I just need to find a reason to have one in my home!

Cambodian twisted silk scarves. Gorgeous simply hung from one of Lantern Moon’s bamboo hangers.

Victorian reproduction plant stand in bamboo

Classic Vietnamese rice baskets 

Bali "Handuk" Clutches & Bags

What I love most about Lantern Moon is their dedication to fair wages, economic development and community in countries where cheap labor often gets abused by importers.  Most of Lantern Moon’s products originate in Vietnam, a country made famous for its rich history in handicrafts like bamboo-weaving and embroidery. The Vietnamese government has recognized about 1500 handicraft villages throughout the country as a way to maintain Vietnam’s craft-centric heritage.

An example of traditional Vietnamese embroidered painting courtesy of Lantern Moon.

I Love: Sebastião Salgado, Churchgate.

Sebastião Salgado, Churchgate.

Stunning. Simply stunning. A clean shot of chaos shaken with a quiet symmetry.

Danny Boyle's final scene of Slumdog Millionaire was based on this print.

I'm not sure if Salgado's iconic work is really kitchen material given a price tag of about $8K and its social statement on humanity's struggle of survival, but it's starting to grow on me.

From this month's Elle Decor.

(Upcoming) DIY: Argentine Cowhide + Chrome

The cowhide rug I ordered from an Argentine vendor at the New York Gift Show has finally arrived. My plans are to recover my newly thrifted chrome chair-- courtesy of Housing Works-- a la R&B's Pierre chair. Of course pictures will come soon!

In the event that I can't find an upholster who can work with thick, hairy leather, I'm thinking I need a more traditional backup plan....

I pulled these images while home with a nasty cold...and wasn't very good about keep track of the sites. I'm so sorry! But the sites I remember are: Living, Etc., Visual Vamp and Matters of Style. Please check out those incredible blogs for the original photos.

Missing My Blogs In The Morning....

Yep, I'm M.I.A. There's yet another resolution down the drain after less than 2 months! Until a big project in my fabulous day job (the Yarn Market News Conference!) is complete, I'm afraid I'll be out touch. What I wouldn't give for a lazy morning with my favorite blogs!

Bliss + Morocco + Dar Les Cigognes

I had a couple days in Long Beach and Anaheim, California for business this past week-- aren't I a lucky New Yorker? Palm trees and tank tops are positively blissful in January. Despite my seriously delayed red-eye flight to Newark and that groggy, jet-lagged funk which has settled in my stomach, I'm already planning my next trip south. This time, Morocco? Karen Olivia of Alkemie recently posted a gorgeous story about Dar Les Cigognes, a boutique hotel in Marrakech. It's yet another renovated riad (I posted about Riad Enija Hotel earlier in 2009), complete with a heaping stash of all things Morocco. Think: Insular gardens, brass lanterns, intricate molding and lush carpets. Hope I find a cheap flight!