Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Mediterranean Vacation { Istanbul, Turkey }

I'm not even sure where to begin with Istanbul.  It was the reason we picked this cruise.  We knew next to nothing about the city before we went, and I'm not sure we know much more now.

Istanbul is massive.  It smells good - like ocean, flowers, incense and street food.  It feels aged and stately and vibrant all at the same time.  It is a melting pot, but not in the New York/LA sense of the word; it is a true crossroads of civilization. It's very apparent that Istanbul has seen and heard more human history than one can possibly imagine.

It is stunning. Your eyes will be exhausted from looking at all the Color and Pretty.  Istanbul is Stylish.  So very, very stylish.  I wore my best pair of 7's and a black trench coat with a pretty silk scarf and thought myself well-appointed.  Not so.  I wish I'd had the time (and means) to purchase an entirely new wardrobe in Istanbul.

And on that note...bring lots of money - you will inevitably want to buy a stunning pair of sparkly brocade ballet flats in the bowels of a subterranean antiques shop on your way back to the port, and you don't want to have to say 'no' and regret it to this day.

Sailing into the Bosporus, we had an amazing view of the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia.  

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Hello Hue! { Ephesus }

There were so many great vistas in Turkey, but the minute I snapped a photo of the marble mosaic sidewalk, I knew it was a picture I wanted to do something with. Looking at it on my computer at home, I was surprised to find that the navy blue and red scheme I thought I'd captured was more of an orangey-ochre and sea blue.  Perfect for a boy's room?  I think so!

For a city that was left high and dry over a thousand years ago, it's an awfully watery theme. The blue and red colors are pretty saturated, so the walls could be painted in Whirlpool or Silver Lake to cut the intensity a bit.  

There are SO many cute accessories to be found.  Since this is a scheme that could work for a small boy AND a teenage boy, the big things could be kept (which is good, since some of these things are a little pricey), and the smaller items switched out. 

Your little one will practically be strolling through Ancient Ephesus!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mediterranean Vacation { Izmir, Turkey }

Izmir was the only port of call where we booked a shore excursion.  We wanted to see Ephesus and didn't have any Turkish Lire, didn't speak the language, and weren't sure about booking a taxi at the docks.  As it turned out, it was a pricey but good decision.  We saw the house where the Virgin Mary spent her last years (after the crucifixion), all of Ephesus, and even had time to tour a rug factory, which was incredible.

Our tour guide was a sweet, very stylish little Turkish woman (she could not have been more than 5 feet tall, but she wrangled a busload of tourists and pulled off the sweater/leggings/boots combo like nobody's business) who punctuated every three words with an enthusiastic, smiling "especially". I burned a lot of memory card for this portion of the trip, so settle in for a tour of Izmir and especially Ephesus.

The road up to the Virgin Mary's house (Meryem Ana Evi) was not so much a road as a continuum of one and a half lane switchbacks up the side of a mountain.  Taken at 50 mph on a tour bus, we felt Super-Safe.  But it was a beautiful view. And we were in Asia at last!  

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hello Hue! {Olympia, Greece}

This post was hard.  I really wanted to go the whole aqua-blue water, crisp white accessories route, but we  didn't see much of that Greece on our trip.  The colors in Olympia were softer, more subdued...less all up in your grill. 

I thought they would make a nice bathroom palette, until I color matched.  My nice Greek paint scheme had turned into a damn Harlequin romance novel.  (Minus poor old Wethersfield Moss; too puritanical-Witch-of-Blackbird-Pond for the Sultry Greek bathroom,  but since I love the color, it stays.) 

Of course, the Sultry Greek Bath HAS to have marble.  Here are some small accessories if you don't want to break the bank, and the drool-worthy Pottery Barn carrara vanity if you want the wad. Oh god. I'm so inappropriate.

Add in a nice, sculptural-ish soap dish, maybe sew your own shower curtain, and while you're at it, why not reupholster a classically inspired vanity stool with a soft, vine-y fabric?

You're practically on a Romantic tour of ancient Greece.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Swingin' Seventies Kitchen Reno, finale

I know it's been a while, but things like the holidays happened, and it took me a while to get the photos.  We still need a dining room table solution and decor for the back wall, but it's pretty close!

Here's how it turned out...

And here are a few before and afters...Harvest Gold no more! SUCH a difference...

The cabinets came out really well - I wish we had been able to spray them, but adding some Floetrol and brushing them worked just fine.  The removal of all the brass hinge-work and hardware really helped, too!

The countertops were the splurge - but they add so much color and pattern to a mostly white/neutral kitchen scheme.

The dining room still needs some furniture, but we added drapes - I LOVE the fabric.  It's warm and fun and looks amazing from every angle.  My brother and I made a message board for the space between the curtains and the cabinets.  We took old recipes of our Nana's and color copied them, then added a frame and some cork board.  The whole thing was quick and easy.

(yes, that is a ticket to 'Deer Camp, the Musical". Amazing.)

Here's the original inspiration post...I think we did pretty well!


Here is the whole project:

Paint and Sheetrock

all photos, mine

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mediterranean Vacation {Olympia, Greece}

After Bari, we sailed overnight to Katakolon, Greece.  I'd already arranged a rental car for the day, so when we disembarked, all we had to do was walk a quarter-mile into town, pick up our car, and we were on our way.  We love driving ourselves in other countries - it gives you so much freedom, and it's so much better than a crowded tour bus.  A word about driving in Greece, though... You may think it is a 2 lane country road with a nice, wide shoulder and old Fiats puttering along at 30 mph.  It is not.  It is a 4-lane autobahn and you'd better have nerves of steel and a lead foot.  

We did our own little self-guided tour, and successfully managed to avoid the masses.  There are signs all around Olympia in Greek and English, so we had no problem knowing what we were looking at.


 After leaving the ruins, we walked a little further on to the Archaeological Museum, where most of the decorative items from the site are kept.  It was a lovely building, absolutely covered in marble, and very well laid out.

Sculptural pediments from the ruined Temple of Zeus - pretty impressive!

We were lucky in Greece; the weather was beautiful, and we very much enjoyed our drive back to the harbor.  We even squeezed in a little time for shopping (there is a cute little olivewood shop amongst all the kitsch, look for it!) and sitting in the sun by the harbor.

There is always room for a snack!

I had always wondered if the water in Greece was really that color. 

My Keens were waterlogged for days after walking through rainy Venice.  I took the laces out and used our cabin's hairdryer (super-classy, I know!) to de-soggify them before hitting the street in Katakolon.  My feet, however, were sore for the duration of the cruise.  I have no idea why I was so ridiculous with my footwear on this trip.  Travel tip: Bring waterproof boots to Venice. 

 Such a beautiful day.  Greece is on the 'places to go back to' list, for sure.

all photos, ours
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