Five Faves While Social Distancing

Hi Everyone!

It feels really weird to be writing this post today.  Regardless of where you are in the world right now, you have been touched in one way or another by the global pandemic that we are currently experiencing.  While the situation is frightening and anxiety inducing, it has also really given me some perspective and allowed me some time and space for some much needed clarity in my life.  I wanted to share my five faves at the moment that are helping me to stay sane, keep my anxiety at bay and smile a little bit brighter as we take the steps necessary to flatten the curve of cases  of COVID-19.  Here are my Five Faves while practicing social distancing and self isolation:

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Working out with Melissa Wood Health

Like most people I have been forced to modify my workouts.  I am a bit of cardio junkie so not being able to hop on the treadmill or elliptical trainer at the gym has been a huge change.  I decided to embrace this as an opportunity to switch up my work outs and I purchased a subscription to the fitness app Melissa Wood Health.  The moves are low impact and seem so simple but it is so hard!  It is a great way to challenge my body and keep me active while I practice social distancing.  If you are looking for less expensive ways to work out then hop onto Youtube, there are a ton of videos there that will help you to get moving and relieve some stress.

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Cooking with Jennifer Fisher Kitchen

I have always been a fan of Jennifer Fisher.  If you are unfamiliar with her, she is a very talented NYC jewelry designer who is also a really good cook.  I have been loving all of the recipes that she posts on her website and she walks thru a lot of her recipes on Instagram Stories which really helps to keep me motivated to try new things.  Over the past week and a half she has been posting more recipes and videos and everything looks so good!  Since I began self isolation I have made her banana bread recipe twice, sautéed artichokes and her recipe for twice baked potatoes.  Whole roasted cauliflower, pantry soup and more banana bread will be a part of my meal planning for this next week.  If you are looking for some delicious and easy recipe inspiration check out her recipes on here Instagram page @jenniferfisherkitchen or on her website here

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Jennifer Fisher’s My Mom’s Da Bomb Banana Bread – it is sooooo good and addictive!!!!!

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Live Beautiful by Athena Calderone

If you have been following this blog for a while then you know that I am a total design junkie.  Athena Calderone is the creator of the gorgeous blog Eye Swoon (www.eye-swoon.com) and she just released her second book Live Beautiful in early March.  Within this book, Athena goes into the homes of incredible designers around the world and shows us their spaces and their design choices.  The homes are gorgeous and endlessly inspiring.  If you are searching for a gorgeous design book to get lost into for a few hours or if you are searching for some fresh inspiration this book is for you.

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Breathing App

My job in manufacturing has issued temporary layoffs during this uncertain time and I live alone so there have been moments that I feel a little uneasy and anxious.  I think that it’s important to acknowledge these feelings rather then suppress them, sit with them and unpack them to really understand why I am feeling the way that I do in that moment, so that I can move forward in a healthy manner.  A part of this process is learning to take moments to focus on my breathing.  Some people are trying meditation during this challenging time but I have had better luck with consistently taking moments to focus on my breath so this is the method that I am sticking with right now.  The Breathing app is something that I heard about last year and immediately downloaded it.  Developed by Eddie Stern and is inspired by resonance which is “the scientific name that describes what happens when our heart rate, heart rate variability, blood pressure and brainwave function come into coherent frequency.”(via http://www.eddiestern.com). It helps to regulate your breathing so that you instantly feel calmer and more relaxed.  You basically follow a ball – as it expands for a count of 4 you inhale and as it contracts you inhale for a count of 6 for a total of one minute.  You can adjust the breath counts to what you feels what works best for you. The app is free and I have been using it at least twice a day (morning and night) and I cannot recommend it enough.  If you feel that you need some help taking a moment to help regulate your breathing and feel calmer in the moment then this app is worth trying.

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Ugly Delicious Season 2 on Netflix

I love food shows and Ugly Delicious is no exception.  Season 2 dropped on Netflix earlier this month and it is soooo good!  This time off has allowed me to catch up on a ton of shows that I have been meaning to watch but this series really stands out.  I especially loved the episode about Indian food which featured the supremely talented chef Floyd Cardoz who sadly passed away last week after being diagnosed with COVID-19.  I love learning about cultures thru food and Ugly Delicious does a great job showcasing both the similarities and subtle nuances between cultures.  If you are searching for a cool, fun and interesting show to binge on then Ugly Delicious should definitely be on your list.

Thank you for stopping by Stylishly Zen today.  Please feel free to share in the comments things that you are currently loving, and tips that you are using to stay sane during this crazy time in the world.  Please stay safe and take care and I look forward to hearing from you! XXS

Inspiring Design

The first picture that I ever saw of the Brighton Homestead by Robson Rak Architects was the incredible white entryway.  It quickly earned a spot in my dream design file and I often found myself staring at it wondering what the rest of the home looked like.  Last week though, The Local Project featured a breathtaking home in Melbourne that I quickly fell in love with. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the entryway that had left an indelible mark on my design dreams belonged to this dream worthy home.

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Architectural firm Robson and Rak were tasked with the brief of adapting a stately home into a family enclave for a family with four young boys.  They respected the original features and built a complementary extension which successfully elevated the design of the entire home.  IMG_7626IMG_7631

The brief included creating an amazing zone for the children and this home balances formality with a sense of play throughout the home.  This included extending the underground basement garage to allow for indoor cricket matches.  IMG_7636IMG_7635IMG_7634

The colour palette throughout the home is restrained and elegant, with pops of colour to further elevate the sense of play vibe that this home has.IMG_7632IMG_7627IMG_7624

The colour play of light and dark along with large windows that allow for natural light throughout the home along with exquisite carved details, combine to make a unique and dream worthy residence.  IMG_7637IMG_7630IMG_7633

Spacious, beautiful and light filled, this home is a study in playful elegance.  One that I hope to achieve in my own home.

Thank you for stopping by today and I hope that you have a beautiful day! XXS

Photos via http://www.thelocalproject.com.au

Just a Little Personal Note

I had a ton of goals at the end of last year and at the beginning of January that included a ton of blog posts that I was so excited to create and share with you.  Then I allowed myself to be distracted by life, and here we are almost mid February and I am posting for the first time this year.  This post was not planned, I sat down last week to write a couple of posts, but I just wasn’t connecting to the words that I had typed out, or to the pictures on the screen.  So I once again put down my laptop and walked away.  Today though, I felt the need to write.  Not about anything that this blog is normally about but just life stuff.  I rarely share much about my personal life, but today I felt the need to write about something deeply personal to me.  I have been single for a very long time.  Confidence has always been an issue for me, the idea of putting myself out there was tough and I found it easier to hide.  So while my friends, family and what seemed like the rest of the world was putting themselves out there and living the highs and lows of romantic entanglements, I stayed single, watching from the sidelines.  There were moments when I made a slight effort, but the second anything seemed difficult I went running back to solitary living like a safety blanket I couldn’t give up.  The truth is that I have spent the majority of my life feeling like I am unworthy of love and my lack of a significant other only further proved this theory to myself.  Last year though I decided to make a genuine effort in the romantic relationship area of my life, and I was elated when I finally met someone who I actually enjoyed spending time with.  When he told me he loved me, I believed him.  It was the first time in my entire life that I was really excited about the possibilities that a romantic relationship could hold.  This is not to say that there were not hiccups.  There were moments when I questioned whether he was really interested in me, whether he had fallen out of love with me, whether we were both on the same page.  When I addressed this with him, I was told that it was just my insecurities that made me feel this way and if there were issues he would talk to me about it.  Stupidly I believed him.  Tomorrow was going to be our 6 month anniversary and yesterday he was talking about the restaurant that he had made reservations at.  We were going to just hang out today and spend some time with each other.  This morning he FaceTimed me to break up with me and I stupidly didn’t see it coming.  We hadn’t been fighting and I missed the subtle hints that this was coming.  The conversation lasted three minutes and I didn’t say much except for “ok” and “bye”.  Right now I am hurt, I am shocked and I am very very sad. I wish that I could just tell myself that he is an asshole and not worthy of my energy and time, but the truth is that I really do love him and I can’t just turn it off so easily.  I know that the love I feel will dissipate with time, but for now I feel bad for still feeling it.  I am also back to questioning my ability to be loved and I think that is what hurts the most.  Despite my insecurity about not being loveable, I know that I will be ok otherwise.  Life will go on and how I live my life moving forward is in my hands, even though I can’t imagine ever putting myself out there again.  I have survived much worse then this.  I know that 6 months is not a long time to be in a relationship and that I am very lucky that I am out of it now rather then waste years of my life on someone whom was not on the same page as I was.  It still stings.

Thank you for bearing with me as I put my feelings down on this post, I really felt the need to write about it just now. I will be back soon with tons of new posts on design, architecture and all things Stylishly Zen!

I hope that you are having a wonderful weekend and talk soon!  XXS

Quote by Nayyirah Waheed, Image via Google Images

Behind the Design with Carola Vannini

Carola Vannini is a talented Rome based architect whose designs are the true definition of timeless sophistication.  With a minimalistic yet elevated aesthetic, Carola has the ability to transform worn and dated interiors into timeless, elegant, dream worthy spaces.  Since discovering her work, I have spent a lot of time admiring her designs both on Instagram and on her own website.  I absolutely love how she uses backlighting to create beautiful lit from within interiors in a variety of spaces.  As an admirer of her work, I was very excited when she agreed to be a part of Stylishly Zen’s Behind the Design series:

  1. Did you always know that you wanted to work in architecture? Has it always been your passion?

I actually didn’t.  I never thought of being an architect before signing into my university classes.  It was a surprise for me to find out such an interesting world.
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  1. How would you describe your design esthetic?

I would describe it as a balance between ancient and contemporary minimalism.  My motto is “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” and I totally believe so.

  1. Where do you find your inspiration from?

It depends on every peculiar case. I always adjust my taste to the environment I have to deal with and, of course, with the clients’ taste and needs.
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  1. What has been your most challenging project so far? Why was it so challenging?

It is definitely the one I am still working on at the moment. It is a new construction Barn House in Tuscany. A very big project that I had to design from scratch.  Now it is almost completed even though I am still working on the garden and landscape design of it.

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  1. What is your favourite project to date?

Among the completed ones, it is Navona Penthouse. I am very attached to that project because I had a great feeling with my clients and brought me a  lot of satisfaction when it got published on last April issue of AD Italia.

  1. How long does it take for you to normally complete a project?

From the design to the final step, I would say one year. But then, again, it depend on the case.
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  1. What is your favourite part about working in architecture?

The design part, where creativity can flow out of my head. Afterwords, the works themselves can get pretty stressing and tiring. Less creative and more practical.

  1. Any favourite travel destinations that you like to escape too?Why?

I really enjoy Greece, especially the small islands. But my heart is actually in Thailand. A little too far from me to escape there only for a few days though.
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  1. How would you describe the design style/esthetic in Italy?

There is always a cassic and elegant touch. No matter what, if you were born in Italy, you breath beauty since your first day of life and I truly believe that this effects us all. Not  only architects.

  1. Do you have a favourite type of project to work on (private/public)? Why?

 I mainly work on residential and I like it very much. I would really to go back to some public space design though, such as restaurants or hotels.
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  1. What wellness practices do you incorporate into your lifestyle to help you deliver such beautiful projects? (This can range from workouts, nutrition, meditation practice, etc)

I am a pilates and yoga fanatic. I really think that my daily workout is the best moment of my day; so useful for me to take a break and go back into myself. It helps me to face the rest of may time with much more energy and positive attitude.
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  1. Any words of wisdom for someone who is just starting out their design career?

Don’t give up your ideas for your clients’ ones. If you are really convinced that something is right that way, try to take them by hand and gently make them understand  your point.  You are the architect, right?
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Thank you for stopping by and special thanks to Carola for taking the time to participate in this month’s Behind the Design.  To see more of Carola’s work you can visit her website at http://www.carolavannini.com or check her out on Instagram @carolavannini

I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

All images courtesy of Carola Vannini

Five Faves

Hi Everyone!

It’s hard for me to believe that it is almost Christmas!  It feels like the past few months have flown by and I am not even remotely prepared for the holidays! Nonetheless, I am looking forward to sleeping in and enjoying delicious food over the next few weeks so my countdown is on!  Here are the five things that I am loving right now:C54281B2-A78A-45AD-9B68-1F3D7609ACD8

I have been a Mindy Kailing fan for many years, and when I first heard about her movie Late Night earlier this year I was really excited to watch it.  Unfortunately, I was unable to make it to the movie theatre to see it so I was thrilled when it was released on Amazon Prime earlier this month.  This past Friday after a long day at work, I poured myself a glass of wine and settled in to finally watch this movie.  It was just what I needed!  Funny, smart and well written I expected nothing less from Mindy Kailing.  If you are looking for a great movie to watch I highly recommend this one.

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I am always on the hunt for a great smelling candle and I especially love it if I don’t have to pay a ridiculous amount of money for it.  While doing a bit of Christmas shopping the other day, I discovered Capri Blue candles.  All of the candles that I tried smelled amazing but I finally settled on Exotic Blossom and Basil which has a light clean fragrance.  Once lit my home smelling fresh and welcoming, love it!72840045-7050-47CA-9D2E-E59073CAFB03

There are always such delicious baked goodies around the holidays but my absolute favourite is always gingerbread.  I have been on the hunt for some over the past couple of weeks and FINALLY this past weekend I found my favourite holiday treat!  It was soooo good and I am planning to enjoy a few more before the holidays are over.  CBED167C-9B71-464E-BA6B-4A597588284C

I made the decision at the beginning of 2019 to listen to more podcasts.  I really enjoy listening to them as I get dressed in the morning or even while I eat breakfast.  I consider podcasts a great way to learn about subjects and people that interest me.  One of my favourite podcasts is the Goop podcast and last week the host chatted with Melody Hobson about being colour brave rather then colour blind.  As a visible minority I really connected with the subject matter, and I strongly feel that anyone that is interested in this issue listen to this podcast as Melody Hobson is a articulate, incredible woman who is really interesting to listen to.F80DB4EE-655A-4BAD-AA3C-494E73D47938

Maybe it’s the colder temperature and my desire to nest in a chic space, or my love for marble and contrasts but I have absolutely fallen in love with this kitchen.  The colour of the statement foliage on the counter contrasts well against the marble, cabinetry and floor and helps to elevate the chicness of the entire space. Bright, beautiful and welcoming this kitchen is definitely going on my mood board!

Thank you for stopping by today!  What are you currently loving right now?  Let me know in the comments below and Happy Holidays!!!!!!  XXS

Photo credits: http://www.IMDB.com, http://www.goop.com, @ashleystark, http://www.simplyrecipes.com, http://www.capri-blue.com