Friday, April 30, 2010

Tres culturas

Toledo. An hour drive south of Madrid. The city of three cultures. Once the capital of Spain-where Queen Isabella planned to be buried. Ancient walls surrounding the city still protect the historical heart, taking you through huge gates and into the city's layers of Arabic arches, Christian structures, and tiny Jewish streets and synagogues. We explored until the sun set behind the river, a the warm light covered the city and cold winds blew in from the surrounding plains.  

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Every now and then I step into Zara home in hopes of finding a deal. In the past I've got a few great things, 5 euro bath rugs, 10 euro sheets and duvet covers. Recently I haven't had as much luck with sales, but they have been reading my mind (or maybe my blog...hahah) and have created a summer collection that looks so Mexican...bright florals and colorful glassware. Maybe it will go on sale soon??
(the perfect Margarita glass. Yum.)

Monday, April 26, 2010

rope 'em in

Maybe being away from the good ol US of A for so long is taking its toll. Or maybe I'm just getting obsessed with boots-they are practical here with all the rain. Lately, I've been searching the shops for Roper boots-shorter cowboy boots with a low heel. I think they'd be perfect for summer with shorts or a dress or any other time of year for a change from the normal tall boot.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


I've been going back and forth about cutting bangs again...and yesterday I took the plunge and decided that since I missed the bus it was time to go and get bangs! Cambio total! (silly pictures...I know.)

Friday, April 23, 2010


So many of the people I love have recently had or are about to have babies. The babies are adorable, but so are the moms. I don't have a picture of my mama when she was a new mom (they are all in Michigan), but in the shots I remember she was beautiful with her dark hair pulled tightly into a bun and the cutest embroidered shirts. My friend Emily just had a smiley baby boy a few months ago, he's the cutest, but so is she she with red lips and bangs. My friend Michelle is waiting eagerly for her first bundle to arrive, and I know she will also be adorable with her smiles, bobs, and glasses (I'm so anxious to hear her news!). Maybe when my time comes (no plans yet, folks) to join the ranks of adorable moms I'll follow Jane Birken's cue with simple high waisted jeans, cotton shirts, baskets, and bangs. Here's to fabulous, beautiful, joy filled moms.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More inspiration

La Casa Azul- Frida and Diego's abode in Coyoacan, Mexico City. The colors, the wild potted plants, and the sculptures. Breathtaking.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Garden inspiration

I love the blues and yellows and many flower pots overflowing with lush succulents and cacti that YSL used to fill his Morrocan garden.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A house in the country

We spent the weekend in Diego's family's hometown. We stayed in his family's house, built with stone by his great-grandfather. It was so refreshing to to see the mountains and fields, wake up to the sound of roosters and horses, and have a bar-b-que and brunch even if we had to eat inside because of the rain! Can't wait to go back in the summer with a hammock and a good book...

View from the bedroom window, the family's plots of land with potatoes, onions, kiwis and figs. See the neighbor's horse?

Another view, an horreo..

A few shots of the house

Monday, April 12, 2010

El Escorial

Another quick drive out of Madrid into the hills of the Sierra de Guadarrama took us to the Escorial-a palace, monastery, and mausoleum of Spanish kings. Built in the 16th century by King Felipe II, its massive size and austere lack of decoration is the largest example of the Spanish Renassaince. It is incredible to see, but balancing the idea of it as a palace next to the cold severe architecture and knowing that you'll be walking past the tombs of the kings, queens, and all their kids when you step inside, borders on being a little creepy.

A visit to the palace includes a visit to the royal apartments, where you can see king Felipe's bed, moved to a position that he could see the alter in the Basilica looking out a window from his bed, and the royal mausoleum where dark marble stairs lead to the resting place of the kings and queens. It's worth seeing...but try to visit on a sunny day!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Down the street

A little further down the street from the big Madrid must see museums (Prado and Reina Sofia) is the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum-one of the most important private collections of art (800 pieces-can you imagine owning so much art??!!) that was acquired by Spain in 1993. Housed in a palace built between the 18th and 19th century the building is lovely and the collection ranges from Renaissance to Avante-garde and Pop art. There was a special exhibition of Monet and Abstraction-click on the link for a peek into a fantastic new way of seeing the impressionist master next to Rothko, Pollack, and Twombly. Again, if you're in Madrid, don't miss it!

Ghirlandajo (1488)

Gaugin (1892)

Hopper (1931) and below Estes (1971)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Must see...

We stumbled upon this hanging garden in Madrid at the Caixa Forum. Designed by botanist Patrick Blanc and filled with over 15,000 plants-lovely! The building-designed by Herzog & de Meuron, also known for The Nest at the Beijing Olympics-was pretty incredible, and the free exhibitions inside about Miquel Barceló (elephant sculpture is his too)-one of Spain's best contemporary artists-was fantastic too. Stop by if you're in Madrid.

Monday, April 5, 2010


We had the best road trip deep in the heart of Castilla for our semana santa break and I can't wait to share all the beautiful things with you! But, it was so nice to come home to our place and find my bulbs all a bloom and the terrace getting greener. I've got a busy week ahead, but hopefully I can get a few things posted soon...until then one of Diego's favorite dishes when in Madrid-huevos rotos.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Peinetas and lace

Spanish style has been marked by a few tendencies in the world of fashion, the bolero jacket, the flamenco skirt, lots of lace and flowers (preferably in black and red), John Galiano has even been know to do a little flamenco ditty inspired by Andalucia on the runway. When you are in Spain, outside of Andalucia and the Feria de Abril, these fashions tend to be nothing more than costume. But one of these costumey traditional fashions, the mantilla/peineta-a tall comb with intricate details, usually worn with a black lace veil, tends to appear more often on the ceremonial scene, worn by the queen, a bride, or on any special occasion. Today, Holy Friday, many women will take to the Andalucian streets dressed all in black, wearing tall peinetas, mourning the death of Christ. Peinetas also come out, in many colors, adorning women's hair during festivals like the Feria de abril (April Fair). A peineta adds quite an air of royalty and pride to any look.
The spanish queen, Sofia, dressed wearing a peineta and lace for the wedding of her son, Prince Felipe.

Women in Sevilla during Semana Santa

Young women, with the Duchess of Alba (bottom right corner), the most titled woman in Spain-she has more noble titles than the King.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hey Macarena

There is no easter bunny in Spain, or easter eggs, or easter baskets. But there is a lot of this in the week leading up to Easter Sunday.

Pasos with antique wooden sculptures depicting the last days of Christ, with carpets of roses and ornate gold molding carried by at least 10 men. People line the streets to watch them pass

Bands playing haunting music, just off key, with drums and trumpets you hear throughout the city.

These guys go under the paso and carry it through the city.

Hermandades, brotherhoods, that belong to each church prepare an entire year to wear the robes of their church, covering their faces in an act of penance.

A Virgen ends each churches procession with candles, canopies, and more flowers. The virgen of the Macarena is the most famous, and the song you know and may have danced to once, is actually about her. This photo isn't of the Macarena, but I did see her pass by in the madrugada, early early holy Thursday morning, and as she passed the crowd burst out into calls of "Guapa (beautiful)!" and threw roses at her paso. The top of her canopy was covered in roses tossed from balconies throughout the city.
(These pictures are from Semana Santa in Sevilla 2003)
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