Friday Candy

"You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty."  Mahatma Gandhi


Have a good weekend!

Our home "after"

Our home is a result of all I believe in and stand for.  Uniqueness, individuality and comfort.  A mind of ones own.  It's a home that reflects our lifestyle as much as possible.  It's rooted in the classics but in a relaxed and young sophisticated way with modern and transitional elements.  I strive to be creative and unique so this home does not look like any other home because then it wouldn't be our own.  I like to incorporate modern pieces and/or modernized classic ones because that's what I consider chic.  A home with some modern and/or relaxed mood.  I actualized the classic fauteuil arm chairs by upholstering them in red leather and embellished with brass nail heads.  I did the same with the black stool.  I fell in love with the coffee table thanks to its sculptural lines, another design element I constantly praise about in this blog.  It weights like a forced marriage because its legs are solid steel. Every time I look at it, good memories come up to my mind remembering how my father-in-law and I carried it inside the house.  I'm just glad no one called the police on us suspecting we were carrying a dead body.  I bought the lamps at Gilt Home, excellent delivery time by the way, I added a trim of velvet to the shades to enhance them further.  The abstract painting is a bartered piece, really! The sofa is Paul McCobb with a slip cover and the oushak rug is from ABC.  The painting above the sofa is an Agam, bought at The Antique Garage.
The fireplace behind the watercolor painting is the TV enclosed in the wall.  The bookcase is from ABC, the drop shaped stools are form Brookstone.  The brass swing arm sconces are from Shades of Light.

Adore, adore that black cocktail table.  It was purchased at ebay but you can find it here.

This precious space was occupied by that closet with wash and drier.  The inlaid dresser is from Lerebours Antiques, the Greek key base echoes the Greek key crown molding on the door and it's a find from Home Goods.

I'm not afraid of mixing patterns and using what I love and believe in.  A home is an extension of our lives and experiences.

The art deco sideboard was left from my inventory when I used to sell vintage and antiques.  I love to display my collection of pottery on top.  It takes no space and it's also decorative.  The French chandelier was purchased online.  The gorgeous dining table with brass details is also from Lerebours Antiques.
If anyone wants to hire me as a food stylist I'm available, consultation services can be provided online though or you have to pay for my plane ticket. :P  The black wine glasses were found at The Antique Garage, the horn cup holding the coffee beans is from TJ Max, candelabras and bowls are from ABC Carpet and the cheese tray is from West Elm.  Mixing high and low is what I like.  :)

Our bedroom is not huge so we kept the storage situation completely relegated to the closets.  No dressers out of the closets.  The wallpaper is from Brunschwig and Fils.  I love how in all this time I've never gotten tired of it and I think it's because the patterns are faded so I always see something different in it.  The headboard and lamps were found at a vintage store; the photographs of Ephesus were taken by me during our trip to Turkey; the Moroccan wedding blanket from West Elm is simply thrown on top of a table that I use as a bench.  The bedding is Pratesi bought on sale. The fabric on the headboard is Kells Dot by Quadrille.

It's been a real pleasure to wake up everyday and enjoy the beautiful view of NYC.  It makes a huge difference in our moods.  What you look at does make a difference.

My nightstand is from Lerebours Antiques and is usually not this nicely organized.  I keep a bunch of magazines, books, journal and pencils underneath it at hand.  I finally made a commitment of starting to write in my journal every night.  More for remembering my daily life than for any secret feeling.  With all the social media craziness of modern lives now I'm afraid people will not remember their lives in the future and by writing every night what I've done in the day and of course any thought or feeling helps me relive the moment and be more present.  I have a lithograph of a woman by Matisse on my side of the bed and on his side Evren has a Dali lithograph of an old man.

We were lucky to get this house that in a way have a lot of storage.  This closet, below right, is all mine.  Slowly I squeezed out my hubby into one of the others we have in the hallway.  A post about customizing closet is coming soon. :b

This is where I get prettier every time I'm going out.  :)
Believe it or not I usually have the top of my vanity almost like it looks here.  As I've said before I like to see what I use regularly.  Enjoy!
All photographs by Robert Levi.

Our Home - "Before" Version

In the back you can see the powder room and the insane and unnecessary closet in the middle of everything not only taking precious space but also displaying the washer and drier for everyone who came in and out of the bathroom.  Nuts, right?

This is how our home was before we started remodeling it.  Light, yellowish floors, two small closets on either side of the living room blocking the nice view, a less than attractive fireplace, a closed-in kitchen and completely bland bathrooms.  Our labor of love was done in two separate times, kitchen, floors, closets were removed and painted before we moved in and the remodeling of the bathrooms were done two years after while living in it.  Tomorrow I'll show you the after pictures!
 I covered this wall above with mirrors and framed it with two architectural columns.

This closet across from the other one made a bit more sense since it was for coats but it didn't make complete sense for me either so below you can see it fully gutted out.  Now the entire entrance is open and I can see the main door from the stairs.

The kitchen was a closed in room.  We took down the top half wall, added more lower cabinets and moved the fridge to another wall.  All the way in the back you can see the unattractive fireplace which was also spruced up.

In order to use a bigger TV and to utilize the space more effectively, we opened up the space more and added another electric outlet for additional electronic equipment.

We added a shelf (not in the picture yet) to put the TV on top and cable box, router underneath.

all images by Julie Yenicag for Belle Vivir

Friday eye candy: Between office spaces and vignettes

"Great ability develops and reveals itself increasingly with every new assignment."  Baltasar Gracian


Beauty secrests: Best exfoliation method

If you come to this blog today following the tittle to find a picture of a feet filer, your eyes have never been wider.   I should tell you first that the filer should be the softest kind there is.  Regular scrubs won't do what a thin filer would do for your in-grow hair, especially in the winter when the cold usually provokes chicken skin, neither will it get rid of bumps.  I've been using a fine filer to exfoliate my skin for a while now and it's like having a microdermabration done without the price tag.  My hubby always complements on the softness of my skin.  He didn't know until now why my skin was so smooth.  This is great also to do two or three days before waxing to ensure an even softer skin afterwards, however, you should wait at least three to four days after waxing to use the filer.  Remember that the science behind most skin rejuvenation procedures done in esthetician clinics are based on slowly damaging the outer later of the skin so the skin generates new collagen.  In this case you're not even damaging the outer layer of the skin just exfoliating it but getting pretty much a similar rejuvenating effect.  This is how I do it.
1-First get the finer foot filer, I can't emphasize that enough.  Use it one or two times on your feet before using it in your body to help it get even softer.

2- Only use it when you're taking a shower so the skin is thoroughly wet and lathered up in soap (not too much soap or the lather will get inside the filer's grain and won'   t work well).

3- Run the finer side of the filer in opposite direction of the hair growth.  You'll be able to tell when the filer gets rid of any dry skin or bump in your skin. 

5- Do not go over the same spot more than twice, don't rub your skin just run it smoothly.  That's enough.

6- Afterwards is good to use a body cream that won't clog your pores and do not use tight clothes, especially skinny jeans.  Let the skin breath.

7- I use a body cream  from a pharmacy.  I sued to use Kiehl's creme de corp and it's not worthy.  At least for me!  It stays on the top of the skin.  I'm saying this because pharmacies have great body creams at very good prices.  St. Ives is a very good one!

8- I mix the cream with two or three drops of Vitamin E oil 30000 IU and rub it between my hands.  I get the one below at CVS.  It's also drinkable so I know it's safe enough.  According with dermatologists "vitamin E is also naturally found on the outermost skin surface, where it contributes to antioxidant support"  It also helps restore the skin to its natural healthy condition.  Some dermatologists recommend it for recent scars.

As long as your body is fully soapy and you're using the finer side you won't scratch your skin.  Get to know your skin and see where you need more emphasis or not and follow your knowledge.  Next time you know you'll have the skin of a VS angel.  After all how do you think they have that skin?  They get head to toe facials and microdermabrasion at an esthetician clinic.  That's what they do!  Go ahead and thank me later!

This is my own statement and experience.  Every skin and experience is different. This should only be done on healthy skin.

Instagram-tification and want awesome affordable shoes?

Don't we all love finding great shoes at even greater prices?  I found these Sam Edelman studded pumps at T.J.Max for like half the price that goes online.  I love how studs are popping up everywhere in fashion lately.  Glam Rocks!

Red Rooster in Harlem has recently been in every piece of print I've read lately, even Vogue, and we finally paid a visit this past weekend with a group of friends.  The place has a very hip and young environment and the decor is pretty unique and different.

The weather couldn't have been perfecter.  We were lucky we were able to sit outside.

I love this dress.  You can't just keep thinking one day I'll dress like that! No! you have to do it.  Life is short and we're not getting any younger so to all of you who are like me and admire people who dress modern and young with an edge, go for it!
This is the view from the playground I take Lucas to and it's one of the things I'll miss the most when we leave.  Let's keep in touch  you can follow my instagram by clicking here


Our powder room transformed with wallpaper remnants

Our powder room was the only bathroom that didn't get gutted and redone.  It would've been a lot of fun.  This is usually the place where designers choose to go wildest.  Maybe in the future we'll do.  Let's be real here, that's far from happening.  The only thing that came down was a ridiculous vanity cabinet,  who has a cabinet in a powder room and why?  To our timing all this bathroom needed was wallpaper, in this case the remnants from Lucas's bedroom.  Didn't I get lazy here?  That's the beauty about seagrass wallpaper; it is highly forgiving due to lack of a pattern, and the natural texture of the grains fit flawlessly together.  I hired a professional to do this, even when he was dealing with remnants- which is exactly the reason why I did it.  The wallpaper was installed in thee of the walls and the one across from the mirror and toilet has a gallery wall from floor to ceiling.   The result is totally flawless, even I can't tell where the seams are.  Go ahead don't throw away those remnants!

This is the after shot.  The mirror is from Anthropologie and the towel is Pratesi, bought at a sale.

House hunting in Sao Paulo: Our new home and I get a garden for free

I think I'm going to forget about hygiene and I'm going to walk barefoot on that floor.  Are you kidding me? mosaic floor for outdoor and not around swimming pools? 

If you've been house hunting you know how stressful could be to be looking for a home that offers everything you're looking for and a little more.  If you add all that to be looking in a foreign country that you don't know anything about, and which speaks another language, then you have all the scenarios to start biting your nails like a maniac.  We had two real estate agents who took us around, one spoke some English the other didn't.  Spanish is my first language so I'm able to understand a lot of written Portuguese, but understand it when spoken, that's another story.  Fortunately the real estate agents were very patient and we were able to find something that pleased us.
From our experience I could tell that Sao Paulo offers three types of homes.  The first option is a ‘casa condominium’, a group of 7 to 10 homes in a gated community.  After seeing three or four of these houses I started picturing myself ending up like the last Buendia character in One Hundred Years of Solitude, dried from depression and carried away by ants.  Ouch!  So sooner than later we decided that we're not built for gated communities.
Second option is Free Standing Homes.  For all the good reasons you can imagine while living in a foreign country this one was out of the question.
At that point we were left with the third option; high-rise buildings.  I'm not very keen of high-rises, but when we came across this complex with many of the features I love from mosaic walls, cobble stone narrow hilly streets surrounding the buildings and beautiful pine tree courtyards, we were sold.  Brazil is known for its beautiful vegetation and nature so I shouldn't have been surprised when I found out that in the middle of the entire complex there is a mini forest packed with monkeys that you can feed.  Lucas, our son, will be amazed by it.
The apartment is higher than I would've liked it, but the view compensates for it.  It seems to be a very common thing in Brazil for the building have one apartment per floor so we also loved the privacy of the elevator coming directly to our apartment. 

I'm not sure if this was a sign from God or if it's freaky.  The building's name has me and my husband’s initials and the funny thing is that neither one of us noticed it until just recently when we were showing the pictures to our family.

 This made me so happy the first time I saw it.
 I'll be having espresso here soon.  Yes you read that right, espresso under the sun if I need to.

This is part the mini Forrest.  I couldn't take more pictures because they don't allow outsiders to take pictures.

The view that I"m sure will inspire us in many many moments when we feel like strangers far from home.

This is one of the many cobblestone walkways around the complex.  I'm planning to take Lucas for night walks around here.
 I finally have a foyer.  I suspect that ceiling is calling for some patterns!  Uhm...

Since we're not going to do any type of remodeling, I'm happy that the kitchen is in great condition because the bathrooms...ah... that's another post.

I love the open and not exactly open layout of the apartment.  You are able to peek into the dining room and TV room from both sides of the living room.

The living room.  It's a new beginning and I couldn't be more happy and excited!
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