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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!

 

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.

Europe

Tips for a First-Timer Visiting the United Kingdom

The UK is among the world’s most popular tourist destinations. English-speaking, prosperous and full of history, it has a great deal to offer. But what should first-time visitors do to prepare for their arrival?

What is the UK?

This is one of those countries, like the Netherlands, which presents a few opportunities for confusion. Indeed, many of the natives might struggle to tell you exactly what the difference is.  There are actually three countries which comprise Great Britain: namely England, Scotland and Wales. A fourth comes in the form of Northern Ireland, to create The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The British Isles isn’t a country; it’s just the name for the landmass.

Public Transport

While the trains and buses don’t meet quite the same standard as set on mainland Europe, they’re still the easiest way for a new arrival to get from one place to another. Car rentals and taxis can be extremely expensive, especially if you’re traveling frequently. For example, the train from Eastbourne is a safe bet for those looking to head to Hastings to check out the battlefield and the beach.

Etiquette

When visiting any new country, it’s worth getting to grips with the local customs concerning etiquette. To begin with, the British know how to form an orderly line, and will take a pretty dim view of anyone attempting to push in. In the UK, the chance of any new arrival causing a serious commotion are fairly small; at worst, you’ll probably get a pointed tutting, or an “excuse me.”

The Currency

The currency is sterling. Notes come in fives, tens and twenties (and, very occasionally, fifties). You might find different sorts of notes if you’re in Scotland. These notes are legal tender everywhere, as Scottish people will never tire of telling you.

The Weather

The UK has a famously temperate climate, being surrounded by water. You won’t get extremes of heat or cold, and you can expect to be rained on at least once, even if you’re heading there at the height of summer.

City or Country?

The UK is quite a small country, especially compared to the United States. As such, you’ll find quite a lot of variety crammed into just a small area. You might use a city as a base of operations, and from there venture out into the countryside. London tends to take the lion’s share of the tourist traffic, but there are other places in the country worth visiting – and you may find that the cost of things in smaller towns is markedly lower.

When to Go

The UK provides plenty of distraction throughout the year. If you’re travelling in summer, then you’ll benefit from the traditional seaside and city breaks – though you should be aware that the prices will rise accordingly. At winter time, there’s more of an emphasis on indoor attractions. Some of the country’s outdoor adventures are best undertaken during autumn and spring. The countryside looks its best at this time of year, but you’ll still get a full day of sunshine.

Food Truth in Travel

Truth in Travel: Chicken Schnitzel

Our new series, Truth in Travel will share the not so pretty side of travel. We will be sharing stories that need to be shared in order to increase awareness and to make the world and the travel world a more inclusive place for all. Sharing the truth is now more important than ever in order to see the changes we all want to see.

It was in October 2016, I accompanied my husband to Vienna in Austria while he was there for business. He was at a conference for three working days, in which I was so thrilled to explore the beauty of Vienna without any time restrictions or a partner with conflicting plans! We had moved from San Francisco ten months prior to this conference, so we were eager to travel to every city we could. Europe wasn’t unfamiliar to me, as I was born and raised in Scotland before moving Stateside. But I also wasn’t fully aware of the mentality in some places in Europe.

Prior to my trip, I spent countless hours pinning posts, reading blogs, and researching cool photography spots. There seemed to be so many things I knew I would love from the Hundertwasserhaus to the Vienesse Sachertorte and was so excited to be going.

It was the 12th of October, a chilly Wednesday morning. I packed my camera, put on wooly socks and lots of layers, and set out to explore the city by myself. All those exciting feelings of when you’re in a foreign land, hearing a foreign language, were kicking in. It didn’t take long for the buildings and architecture to captivate me, the imperial traditions to enthrall me, and the old coffee houses fascinate me. After climbing 50 meters high in St Stephan’s Cathedral, I was hungry and knew exactly what I wanted – chicken schnitzel! I had marked a place I would have lunch at for the three days my husband was going to be at the conference and there was no doubt in my mind which would be first – Cafe Diglas.

Cafe Diglas is a classic Vienesse coffee house serving traditional Vienesse food. Besides the food offering, there was another reason I really wanted to have lunch there. I once saw a photo of a woman on a rainy day, dining there sitting by the window looking out. Raindrops speckled her face and from above shone an angelic yellow glow from a light fixing, where the lampshade was dressed in a tutu skirt. After doing some more research, I learned that all the lampshades by the window booths were tutus and this got me really excited – the little things. Famished, I reached there past lunchtime rush hour where many people were vacating tables. It took a while before anyone noticed me, and being new to a city, I was still figuring out how the dining situation worked – do I wait to be seated or grab a table. A couple of elder women walked in five minutes after me and were seated immediately. That prompted me to seek the attention of the staff and asked for a table for one, hoping they would place me under one of those dusty pink tutu skirts. The server told me to follow him. I walked in past the bustling bar area, hearing the clinking of glasses, the murmur of chatter. I passed people putting on their scarves and coats, thanking the staff for their service, saying goodbye upon exiting, embarking from their empty tables. I next passed the window seats with the tutus I so longed to sit under, questioning myself why I couldn’t have sat there. The server guiding me to my table was fast so I couldn’t reach him to ask. So I kept following, walking now in a part of the restaurant that didn’t even seem like the restaurant, up a dark corridor, where the sound of the faint classical music was replaced with the clanging sounds of pots and pans. Soon after, the server introduced me to my table – an isolated table in a peculiar spot next to the opening of the kitchen. There were no windows, no natural light, and no other customers. I was puzzled and afraid to ask why I was seated there when there were plenty of vacant tables. But I plucked up the courage to ask why I couldn’t sit in the main restaurant to which I was told there were no available tables if I don’t have a reservation. I swallowed hard and had a knot in my stomach. I was soon given a menu and the waiter walked away.

I should have got up and left. I should have stood up for myself and demanded one of the vacant tables. I should have questioned why I was seated where nobody could see that there was a brown woman eating chicken schnitzel. But I didn’t. Was it my British politeness that didn’t want to cause any bother? Was it because I didn’t want to spoil the rest of my day after spending so many great hours in the city? Was it because I didn’t want to accept that I had been discriminated against by the color of my skin?

My heart sank. I felt like I had been punched in my stomach. My throat was dry. But I refused to show the waiter I was troubled by his ill-treatment and immersed myself into my phone, acting busy and unphased, but really typing about my experience in my iPhone notes. I ate my chicken schnitzel, paid the check, even left a tip in case I was treated even worse, and left, saying bye to the staff with a broken heart and wet eyes.


Do you have a travel story to share? Get in touch!

Europe

Why A Scandinavian Tour Is Your Best Bet This Summer

Scandinavia, the region of Northern Europe encompassing Norway, Sweden and Denmark, has long been touted as a paradise on earth, having the highest quality of life, happiest people and some of the most beautiful scenery on the planet. When it comes to travel tours, most people, especially young travelers tend to forget about the region as an option, or intentionally swerve it due to the famously eye-watering prices. However, the region, and the wider Nordic area which encompasses the equally amazing countries of Iceland and Finland, have a huge variety of experiences to offer adventurous travelers. Here’s why you should set yourself off on your very own Scandi tour this summer.

Smorgasbords Of Culture

People often tend to conflate the various Nordic countries together as a homogenous entity, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The closely Germanic culture of Denmark is legions apart from the more Russian culture of Finland, or the Inuit-style culture of Iceland. However, at the end of the day, the cultures of each country are unique to themselves and difficult to compare to anywhere else on the planet. You’ll find vastly different cuisines, architecture, histories, natural scenery and social attitudes throughout Scandinavia and the Nordic countries, and a trip to all five will constitute a cultural extravaganza on par with inter-railing across Mediterranean Europe or road-tripping across the United States.

Easiest To Organize

Although we would never encourage lazy travelling, there’s a lot to be said about the ease and efficiency of travelling through Scandinavia, especially if you’ve experienced travelling through less developed parts of the world. Everyone speaks English, transport and visas (if you need them) can all be done online with amazing ease and user-friendliness, and the countries are all tightly interconnected with ultra-modern infrastructure. In addition, all of the most wired countries in the world are in Scandinavia, so you’re likely to have a strong internet connection wherever you are. This means that if you’re camping out in the Norwegian wilderness or doing a 7-hour train journey from Stockholm to Copenhagen, you’ll still be able to Skype your friends or even play online casino games with bonuses, like Party Casino, from your phone, which you find out more about from here. The fact that you can play online slots from basically the arctic circle highlights just how developed and efficient this region is, and how it’s a safe bet for those looking for a stress-free travel experience. The fact that these are also the safest countries in the world for solo female travelers is also a major plus!

Not As Expensive As You Think

Whenever you mention to friends that you’re heading to Scandinavia, they’re likely to give an eye-roll and start lecturing you about 8 euro pints of beer and how even waiting in line is expensive. However, a little bit of savvy and research can ensure that your Scandi trip doesn’t end up costing much more than anywhere else in Europe. The number one rule is to live like a student and hit up all the great bars, restaurants and venues in the great student neighbors of the Nordic capitals, where prices are often less than half of what you’d pay in the stylish city centers. The region also has a proud reputation for free museums and cultural activities, so do your research beforehand!

 

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