Featured Lifestyle

My Parisian Style Apartment in Manhattan Decor Guide

As many of you know, I’ve been based in NYC for about 4 years now, with a short stint in Paris. I’ve always had love for both cities for different reasons and in my imagination, I feel like there has always been a love affair between Paris and New York City with Paris being the feminine and New York City, the masculine. I’m very grateful to have called both cities  my home. For the past 5 years, I was traveling for work about 80% of the time and though I moved to NYC in 2016, I never felt like a true New Yorker because I was never here. That is, until the pandemic hit and the city went into complete shutdown on March 14, 2020. I locked the door and didn’t come out for awhile. This experience completely flipped my world upside down and I was forced to adapt. But I’m no stranger to tough times and every time I’ve experience tough times, a creative project was always the cure so I decided to become my own interior designer and create a space that was not only cozy and truly felt like home, but also made me feel like I was in Europe, which is my happy place.

I moved into this apartment exactly one month before the pandemic with nothing but my clothes and the old furniture the previous owners had left for me so I was completely starting from scratch. I consider myself an old, romantic soul who should have been born in Europe during a different era so that’s what I wanted my home to reflect. And so, I’m excited to share all of these pieces that came together to make my house a home!

Gallery Wall by Printique

I’ve always wanted to create a gallery wall in my home but I never got around to it in my previous apartments until I discovered Printique, an Adorama company. Based out of Brooklyn, the photo lab prints the highest of quality products like the canvases I opted for my gallery wall.  Printique not only produces the highest of quality products, their website is super user friendly and their shipping is fast (especially during a time when shipping has been so slow!) They offer books, albums. wall decor and more. Use promo code DAME20 for 20% off!

Mid-Century Modern Velvet Sofa

I opted for the Sven Pacific Blue 72″ Velvet Sofa by Article which I absolutely love. It’s deep and almost feels like a sofa bed without the pull-out feature. This color is gorgeous too and went well with the brushed gold accents in my apartment.

Red Persian Rug

I opted for a red Persian rug to add a little bit of Middle Eastern flair that reminded me of my upbringing (I’m Iraqi!) and the faded red color was a great contrast to the Pacific Blue sofa. I also love the vintage look adding to the European look I was going for. The price point is really great for this rug too.

Gold Coffee Table

I opted for a glass and gold trimming coffee table which I love. the size is perfect and the details are feminine.

Paris to New York Hooks

I obviously fell head over heels in love when I saw these Paris to New York hooks! They’re perfectly placed right by my door and I use them to hang my keys, mask and hat but you can also use them in your bathroom as a towel hook.

La Toilette Bath Mat

It doesn’t get more Parisian than this bath mat for the bathroom! I had to immediately get it!

Chic and comfortable Desk and Chair

With most of us working from home these days, it’s now more important than ever to have a really great at home office. I searched high and low to find a desk and chair that were chic, comfortable and most of all, not bulky. I finally found this Mid-Century Art Display Mini Desk and this Blush Pink and Brass Office Chair that is so gorgeous.

Smeg Vintage Fridge

This Smeg fridge has been on my wish list forever so I finally pulled the trigger and went for it and I do not regret it one but. It’s a bit of a splurge but it’s a staple that you will have for a long time and it really added so much character to my space! I chose the neutral Cream color in case I want to change up my color palette design in the future but there are so many fun colors such as pink, cream etc!

Gold Antique Chandelier

This antique and elegant gold 6-Light Candle Style Chandelier truly added the Parisian touch I was looking for. I love that the gold isn’t shiny (more matted and antique looking) and the crystals are subtle and not tacky.

Parisian Style Mirror

We’ve all seen the popular gold Anthropologie mirror a thousand and one times and I too wanted to get it until I discovered the Josephine Mirror and fell in love. It’s still a Parisian style mirror but it’s not as overdone as the Gleaming Primrose mirror that you see every blogger post!

Hand-Embossed Lotus Six-Drawer Dresser

Storage is key in my tiny NYC apartment but I did not want to spend a ton of money on just a basic boring dresser and was surprised to discover how few dressers with character are out there! I eventually found this Hand-Embossed Lotus Six-Drawer Dresser which had a bit of Asian and European antique flair which I LOVED. It’s super gorgeous and the drawers are deep allowing for lots of storage space!

Wine Rack

I don’t like to have too many bottle of wine at a one time and since I don’t have much space, this Moroccan themed gold wine rack is perfect.

Retro Fan

The cutest retro fan to keep you cool during those hot summer days!

 

Pack Perfect Travel Planning

How to Be Prepare for Stress Free Travel

What are the best travel hacks?

Although spontaneity is important when traveling, it is a good idea to plan out transportation and accommodations well in advance. You will save money and enjoy the amenities that are the most important to you. There are a few hacks you can employ for a stress-free trip.

Make Your Carry-On Bag Your Only Bag

Unless you’re  planning a camping trip, it’s always wise to pack as lightly as possible. Airlines often charge extra if you have a suitcase that will not fit under your seat in the overhead bin and they’re notorious for losing luggage. It can take them days to deliver a missing suitcase to you after they have lost it.

I usually lay my clothes flat to create more room but you can always use the folding method as well.. Our favorite carry-on is the Paravel Aviator Carry-on Hardshell Suitcase. It’s not only chic and stands out among the rest, it also fits a ton.

Download Your Airline’s App

Downloading your airline’s app saves so much time and energy. You have your ticket available electronically so you don’t have to worry about losing or keeping track of a paper ticket and you can choose / change your seat in advance, as well as receive delay updates and more. Some apps even have a luggage tracker in case you do have to check in your bag.

Buy Tickets to Major Attractions in Advance

Have you always wanted to experience Alcatraz? Is there a Broadway show that you have been dying to see? If so, you should buy your tickets online several weeks in advance. It will save you time, money, and the disappointment of not getting a ticket. You can always enjoy things like restaurants and museums on a whim.

Stay in a Luxury Rental Property

Nothing can ruin a vacation faster than a sub-par hotel. and home sharing services tend to be very hit or miss when it comes to quality.

A company devoted to renting luxury corporate apartments to travelers, such as Stafford Housing are tailored in the unique needs of all types of travelers.

Instead of a small room, you will get a full apartment with a kitchen and living area. It is always nice to be able to enjoy a home-cooked meal or two when you are on vacation.

Buy a Portable Charger

You’re most likely spending more time on the go when you’re traveling than when you’re at home and are probably relying on Google Maps to try to get around since maps are a thing of a past so a portable charger definitely comes in handy in this case. The last thing you want to happen when you’re traveling is to be lost in a foreign city where you don’t speak the language!

Relax with CBD

Nothing puts our minds at ease better than a CBD gummie. We love taking one before heading off to the airport, it takes the edge off in a natural and safe way. If you’re wondering which brand is the best, we recommend the all natural, Vegan, Non-GMO, Gluten Free Hemp organically grown by licensed farmers in the US, Kind Urth brand which Zero THC (will not make you “high”).

Lifestyle

2020 Holiday Gift Guide for the Dame Traveler in Your Life

Holidays are around the corner and we’ve rounded up the best gifts to get the Dame Traveler in your life!

2021 Travel Themed Desk Calendar

From New York to Tokyo, this travel themed desk calendar by Rifle Paper Co. transports you to the world every month with the gorgeous sketches of cities on each page.

Wanderlust Inducing Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure Book

For your travel loving friends who are missing travel right now, our latest release, Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure hardcover photo book will provide a sense of comfort and hope for future adventures for the travel lovers in your life.

La Buvette: Recipes and Wine Notes from Paris

As the world continues to social distance from home, cookbooks that transport you to different destinations, especially ones like La Buvette, to Paris are so fun to have on hand. This book will make you feel like you’re living the Parisian lifestyle in no time.

Christmas in New York City Matching PJs and Mask

Nothing says Christmas than Christmas in New York and since we are based in NYC, we absolutely fell in love with these Flannel Pajama Joggers with matching Flannel Pajama Shirt and Mask! So soft, cozy and cute.

Teleport to Paris in This Silk Pajama Set

A collab with fashion illustrator, Megan Hess and  female-led Australian sleepwear and lifestyle brand, Papinelle led to the creation of this gorgeous silk set that is perfect for the Francophile in your life.

PJ Salvage Into the Wild PJ Set

PJ Salvage creates the most adorable and cozy PJ sets and we love their latest, Into the Wild set, perfect for a cozy evening in a log cabin!

Tote Bags Made in NYC

We don’t know about you but we’ve been collecting totes like crazy lately because plastic bags are so 1995. Our go-to tote shop is defintely Maptote which endless cities to choose from and the most adorable illustrations ever.

Leather Tote by Dagne Dover

Pockets, pockets, pockets, we sure do love ’em and the Allyn Leather Tote has tons and even the smallest size fits a small laptop,  which is rare to find in a bag as gorgeous and sleek as this.

Keep Your Bag Safe with The RYDIR Band

A passionate albeit anxious traveler, Kim Hart, the Founder of RYDIR, couldn’t count the times her tote bag balanced on her rolling suitcase fell over or swung around ending up on the ground. In late 2018 she had an idea to solve this age old problem. A soft and stretchy compression band that easily slides over the handles of your rolling suitcase and continues over your bag. Keeping the bag safe and secure. The The RYDIR Band was born. The practical design is simple and effective. Get yours here! Use code DAME25 to receive 25% off.

Cozy Boots for those Cold Winters

Cozy and chic, the Zurich Boot by Bernardo have a rubber and knit upper and rubber lining as well as a rubber sole, making these gorgeous boots slip proof while keeping you warm. We love them.

Support Women Owned Business

How could Pineapple Collaborative not catch your eye? The design forward branding is so gorgeous, making it the perfect gift but they’re not just a pretty face- Pineapple Collaborative is on a mission to connect & celebrate women who love food! They also use their buying power to support exceptional women farmers, creatives, producers, leaders and chefs!

A Well Made Coat Made in America, Based in New York City

Coats by FLEURETTE are incredibly well made and the recipient will have this coat forever because it was made to last. The fitted silhouette and the one button style of the SIDEWINDER Peak Lapel Coat  is super chic and absolutely stunning.

Brooklyn Based Home Fragrances

A candle that looks and smells like Christmas in New York City? What could be better? We love this holiday candle by Brooklyn based brand, Apotheke.

R & R Self-Love Kit

This year more than ever, the gift of self-love and self-care is key to get through these hard times so what better git to give than this beautiful gift set by Moonlit Skincare?

Holiday Hair Fix Kit

The Holiday Hair Fix Kit by Olapex is everything you need to repair, rebuild, strengthen, hydrate and eliminate frizz this holiday season. Treat yourself or your loved ones!

Lively

We are living in Lively lately with all of this time home and we’re not complaining because the luxurious and high quality material is a pleasure to live in.

Shop Clean with Sustainable Brand, MATE the Label

‘Give a Damn’ is the motto of 2020 and we proudly rock this epic tote bag by MATE the Label, along with their gorgeous lounge wear.  The fashion industry is dirty and we are here to clean it up. Did you know that there are over 8,000 synthetic chemicals used in clothing manufacturing? Many of these chemicals are known to be carcinogenic, endocrine disrupting and hazardous to our health. MATE is committed to using non-toxic, natural and Organic materials.

Make a Statement with Bold Prints by Terez

I was starting to grow tired of my solid black leggings and workout gear until I discovered Terez. Terez has endless options of bold and fun prints to choose from! My favorite is the Houndstooth Hi-Shine Sports Bra  and Leggings.

Sharper Image® BodyScan Seat Topper

Most of us are working from home these days but this Sharper Image® BodyScan Seat Topper can make those days much more relaxing and comfortable. Pressure points? no problem, the chair detects exactly where they are and relaxes them for you!

Start Dreamin’ of Spring with this Dress By Pana Mina

We all need something to look forward to during these cold winter days and we’re very much looking forward to wearing this stunning lightweight linen dress by Pana Mina!

Conversation Starter

These days we’re spending more quality time with our loved ones and what better way to spend that time than to dig deeper? We love the So Cards game facilitates deeper connections by asking the right questions.

Vegan Gummies

We’ve all been goin’ through it in 2020 and many of us have been noticing a few more hairs in the shower drain lately! But these Hair Sweet Hair gummies by HUM have come to the rescue that supports hair growth, maintains the health of hair follicles, helps healthy color maintenance and contain Fo-Ti, Zinc, PABA and Biotin.

Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner

We have tried SO many different sulfate free shampoos and conditioners but none have left our hair feeling as clean as the Devacurl Low-Poo Delight Weightless Waves Mild Lather Cleanser and Conditioner.

FACTORFIVE Mini Beauty Products

An Eye and Lash Cream that combats wrinkles while encouraging lash growth? Sign us up. Formulated with humanity in mind—without parabens, mineral oil, sulfate detergents, phthalates, urea, DEA or TEA—and not tested on animals.

 

Europe

Fall back in love with holidaying in the UK

It may be winter in the UK at the moment but that doesn’t mean it’s not a great place to visit. With Covid putting our usual plans on hold, many of us have taken a different approach to holidaying in 2020 and into 2021. Here we take a look at places that can be enjoyed through the winter and into the spring, from city breaks to countryside retreats.

The Cotswolds

The Cotswolds boosts beautiful chocolate box villages that draw the attention of visitors all year round, and is the largest area of outstanding natural beauty (AOND) in England and Wales, straddling 6 counties: Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, south Warwickshire, Worcestershire, Wiltshire and Bath & northeast Somerset.  If you are looking for a winter city break why not head to Bath, the historic city famous for its Roman Spa Baths. Take a tour around the ancient Roman baths during the day and then indulge in a spa evening at the modern Thermae Bath Spa, which houses the only natural thermal hot springs in Britain you can bathe in. If you would rather visit the Cotswolds in the Spring, head to the town of Warwick and explore the famous Castle; take the family along as it’s a great day out for all ages.

Yorkshire Moors

The Yorkshire Moors have been the setting for many novels, including those of the Bronte Sisters, Wuthering Heights by sister Emily Bronte, reached great popularity, with the moors as the enchanting back drop. Another popular novel that has recently seen a remake of the first film, is the Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, which tells the tale of a young girl who is brought to Misselthwaite Manor, located on the moor, to live with her uncle after being orphaned. In these novels the Yorkshire Moors are portrayed as wild and romantic and it continues to be a popular place to visit. Famous for its countryside walks and its location to Robin Hoods Bay, the final destination on the coast to coast walk: it’s easy to see why walking holidays in the UK are proving ever popular to really immerse yourself in nature.

London

When you think of the UK, you think of London. It’s hard not to after all, with it being the capital city. Not only is it the capital but it’s a great place to visit all year round: packed with history, fun days out and excellent food and retail therapy. Decorated for Christmas is when the city really shines though, shop windows are decorated to show the magic of Christmas and Christmas trees are found across the city, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square and Somerset House to name a few.

Edinburgh

If you don’t fancy a trip to London this Christmas, Edinburgh is another beautiful city in the winter. Take a stroll down Princess Street admiring the Christmas decorations before calling into a cosy pub for a glass of mulled wine. If you are feeling adventurous you can take a walk up to Arthurs Seat, an ancient volcano and the site of a 2000 year old fort that sits 251 metres above sea level, lending to breath taking views of the city. The city and its surroundings are a must for any whisky lover, why not take a tour around a working distillery, or pop into the Scottish Whisky Experience at the top of the Royal Mile and see the largest collection of Scottish Whisky in the world.

Enjoy your next UK holiday but don’t forget to check the latest travel advice before exploring these fantastic places.

Asia

Best Places and Experiences in Vietnam

When you’re out to visit Vietnam, there are plenty of places to explore, and experiences to enjoy. Vietnam is spreading on a large territory and boasts cultural heritage, natural treasures, and mesmerizing sceneries. It’s pretty much impossible to see everything, and as a tourist, one should have it all planned out to make sure they will enjoy an unforgettable trip.

To make things a bit easier, we’ve handpicked a couple of must-have experiences and places to visit when visiting Vietnam. Of course, which ones you go for, is all up to you, but we made sure to include something for everyone.

Ha Long Bay

We’re kicking things off with one that’s perfect if you want to cruise Vietnam – the Ha Long Bay. It is definitely one of the most recognizable places when it comes to Vietnam, and it’s a sight to behold. You have the bay’s emerald waters and quite a lot of limestone mountains that are scattered throughout.

Now, Ha Long Bay is something that you could spend a single day on, but if you want to make the most of it, you should definitely dedicate at least two to three days. This will allow you to explore it completely, and see what it’s all about.

Hanoi

One of the most crowded places in Vietnam, Hanoi is located in northern Vietnam. Contrary to the peace you could get from exploring Vietnam’s wilderness, in Hanoi, you get the Old Quarter experience. This is a place that’s chaotic, to say the least, but there are a lot of things to do.

This is where you’ll find some of Vietnam’s finest colorful food for sale. Both the sidewalks and the streets are as crowded as they come, which is why Hanoi, especially the Old Quarter, shouldn’t be your first stop. Even though that’s exactly what makes it so attractive, Hanoi is rather overwhelming. You should visit something like Hoi An first. And while we’re at it …

Hoi An

While the name is definitely similar to Hanoi, Hoi An is a slightly calmer experience in comparison. Hoi An is an ancient city located in central Vietnam, and should definitely be one of the places you witness. If your trip only allows you to go to one place in Vietnam, you should go to Hoi An.

The main reason why it’s so good is the fact that you pretty much get everything Vietnam has to offer. In the center, you’ll find some of the finest restaurants in Vietnam, as well as shopping opportunities. There are even some really nice historic sites you should visit, too. Oh, and if you take a short ride, you’ll be met with those stunning rice fields Vietnam is known for, as well as some of the best beaches you’ve seen.

The Mekong Delta

This is another one of those must-have experiences, and is also known as the “rice bowl”. The Mekong river actually starts all the way in China, moves through Cambodia and Laos, and ends in the Mekong Delta before going into the South China Sea.

But that’s not what you’re here for – what you are here for are the numerous rivers that spring out from the river in Vietnam’s south. They create a stunning network of canals that you can travel by boat, and they link things like small cities and rice farms. This is a stunning tropical maze that you’ll enjoy every minute of.

Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Min is one of the cities Vietnam is famous for, and there are plenty of reasons why. Previously known as Saigon, this buzzing-city gives you a pretty interesting combination of old and new, history and contemporary.

You will get the opportunity to visit and tour buildings that were designed by Gustave Eiffel (yes, that Gustave Eiffel), see cultural sites like the War Remnants Museum, and if you would like a bird’s eye view of the entire city, you can head to the Bitexco Financial Building.

Of course, you also get to experience the same motorcycle dodging you get in Hanoi, which is pretty much a trademark of Vietnam at this point.

Phu Quoc

Even though technically, Phu Quoc is closer to Cambodia than mainland Vietnam, it’s still one of the most beautiful, tropical places you can visit. There is certainly no shortage of beautiful beaches in Vietnam, but Phu Quoc is something else. It’s the go-to place if you want to get away from the chaotic city experiences.

Now, one thing to note about Phu Quoc is that “you get what you pay for” is absolutely true here. If you want to enjoy it to the fullest, by all means spend a bit more and go for one of the nicer resorts. This also gets you larger and cleaner beaches, and better views, something definitely worth paying extra for.

And if you make it to Phu Quoc, do not miss the chance to continue your trip to Cambodia. It sure is one of the Asian countries, that together with Vietnam, should be on everyone’s bucket list.

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