Five Faves

Hi Everyone!

I hope that your fall is off to a great start! Here in Montreal we are back on a partial lockdown which means spending a lot more time at home. Thankfully being in lockdown has given me a new appreciation for my home and it has forced me to actually work on my space rather then just dream about it.  It has also forced me to learn how to prioritize my mental health and incorporate methods to relax and unwind into my lifestyle. This weekend is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada but due to the lockdown there are no gatherings allowed. While I normally enjoy a holiday meals with loved ones I have never been a fan of the standard turkey dinner. Seeing as how I am alone this year I decided to do something different, so I am channeling my inner Samin Nosrat of Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat and having beef ribs, jasmine rice and green beans along with a glass of my favourite red wine. I am looking forward it even if it is unique as a Thanksgiving meal. This year has been challenging in many ways, which has made me incredibly grateful for things that make me smile, that I enjoy and make me happy.  Here are five faves that I am currently loving:

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I have been a fan of Tracy Tutor since she first debuted on Million Dollar Listings Los Angeles. I have always been a fan of the show but it needed some powerful feminine energy and Tracy Tutor was the perfect addition. She has endless hustle, an incredible sense of style and is nobody’s pushover which makes for great television viewing. While her and I are in a similar age group she is who I want to be when I grow up. When I heard that Tracy had written a book I immediately ordered it. It’s an easy read, written with Tracy’s honest, hardworking, no nonsense attitude and encourages the reader to push forward despite the fear that they may be facing. And the cover is absolute goals. She looks strong, powerful and in control which is exactly how she wants the reader to feel all the while embracing their own personal fears. I enjoyed this book and will be referring to it often when I am having doubts about myself.

My best friend recently gifted me this notebook. I love the pretty mint green colour and the Coco Chanel quote is always a perfect reminder. The notebook sat on my counter for a couple of days while I thought about how I wanted to use it. One morning while listening to a podcast while getting ready for work the practice of having a gratitude journal was mentioned. I had heard of this practice before but I had never really connected with it previously. This time though, the idea of gratitude journaling sounded like just what I needed, and I now had the perfect notebook to journal in. It’s too soon to call it a habit just yet, but so far I am really enjoying this practice. I find that for me the best time to journal is right after dinner. Everyday I think about my day and find ten things that I am grateful for. Some days are easier then others, but I have found that even taking some time to consciously think about how fortunate I am to live in a safe and comfortable home, that I have clean running water and food to eat and even the fact that I woke up in the morning. These are all things that I am incredibly grateful for and have often previously taken for granted.

I love listening to podcasts in the morning and I enjoy reading Domino magazine so I was thrilled when I heard that they now had a podcast. The first guest was one of my favourite designers Kelly Wearstler so of course I was immediately hooked. My favourite episode though was the recent one with design genius Jenna Lyons. I love Jenna’s work, from her time at J Crew to her swoon worthy homes that have been featured in Domino and in Athena Calderone’s Live Beautiful. I am so excited for Jenna’s upcoming projects which include a show on HBO Max and designing hotels. This episode in many ways reinvigorated my love of design and desire to learn and grow. Love it!

All of this extra time at home has me spending a lot of time in front of the television. While this is not ideal, and I am making a conscious effort to do other things like cook and read more, there are a few shows that I am loving at the moment. Emily In Paris has gotten a lot of buzz since it was released last week. While there is a lot about this show that could use some work (how exactly is she affording all of that Chanel on her salary?), there is also a lot to enjoy. Like many, I have dreamed about moving to Paris and experiencing all the magic that the city has to offer, and this show has helped to fill my travel dreaming heart while I am in lockdown. And while I didn’t love Emily’s outfits, her boss and Camille’s wardrobes more then make up for it.
Bad Boy Billionaires India popped up as a Netflix recommendation for me this past week and I was intrigued so I added it to my list. It is only three episodes with each one profiling a different Indian billionaire’s downfall. It’s eye opening and interesting and I binged all three episodes in two days. If you are interested in seeing how people around the world got too big too fast and were unable to sustain it then this show may be of interest to you.

This is Paris is a YouTube documentary that has gotten a lot of attention. I had heard that it was quite good and thought that I would check it out for myself. I loved it. The behind the scene insight on a celebrity that is often written off or badly characterized was intriguing and a great reminder that there is often more to people then what they seem or what they are willing to show you. While my life couldn’t be more different then Paris Hilton’s I connected with the subject matter in many levels and appreciated the insight that the documentary provided. It is a worthwhile watch.

All of this time at home has me focused on my environment and how to make it as enjoyable and comfortable as I can. One thing that many overlook is the scent of a home. I have been searching for many years to find a home fragrance that I loved. The standard ones from Glade and other popular brands seemed artificial, and I have lost count of the different brands of candles that I have tried in the hopes that something would stick. While browsing a home goods shop earlier in the summer I came across Laboratorio Olfattivo’s Zen-Zero fragrance and decided to give it a try. I love the combination of ginger, cedar wood and sandalwood and it leaves my home smelling fresh, cool and comforting. I will be picking up the Zen-Zero diffuser next to help to elevate the fragrance of my home even further. The scent makes me happy and has elevated my home environment, love it!

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

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

Behind the Design with Gori & Yoon

Gori & Yoon is a young design studio that I discovered on Instagram earlier this year.  Founded in 2018 and based in Florence, Italian architect Elisa Gori and South Korean interior designer Jaehyun Yoon have combined  their diverse experience and backgrounds to design modern, elegant and functional spaces for both private residences and public spaces.  I have been a fan of their work from the moment that I first saw it, and I especially love how they use distinct shapes and materials to create timeless and refined spaces.  Needless to say I was very excited when they agreed to be interviewed for the Behind the Design series.  Here is my interview with Elisa Gori and Jaehyun Yoon:

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

JAE – When I was a child, I always liked doing something with my hands, for example painting or modeling something with clay. I remember above all that I spent so much time playing with lego block. Perhaps it was a sign that I was doing something creative in the future, that is, becoming an interior designer.

ELISA – Since I was a child I wanted to become a fashion designer. I have always been a creative person and fascinated by fashion, art and architecture, that is, everything that is aesthetically beautiful. For this reason I wanted to work in a sector that could express it.
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  1. How would you describe your design esthetic?

JAE and ELISA – We prefer simple, clean, minimal shapes that can be easily understood. This always shows our personality, especially through the use of color, light and furnishings and decorative objects, also taken from different eras and styles, but always finding a common line, so that they can be combined perfectly with each other.

  1. Where do you find your inspiration from?

JAE and ELISA – We like to take inspiration from the things we observe and that happen in everyday life. For example, we find inspiration from travel and from observing what surrounds us.
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  1. What has been your most challenging project so far? Why was it so challenging?

JAE and ELISA – All the projects we do are challenges.  We must always achieve a result that is the best possible to satisfy our customers and at the same time ourselves. Surely, in a project the most difficult part is to create a dialogue with what already exists.

  1. What is your favourite project to date?

JAE and ELISA – Our latest project, “via Lovanio” is a project that reflects a lot our identity and our style. Furthermore, the Sarnese project in Tuscany was interesting, because the villa was on several levels and the rooms were very small but we managed to create open spaces and hide the pillars that were in the middle of the rooms through the use of furniture . Now, If we look at the old pictures of the house, it is unrecognizable.
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  1. How long does it take for you to normally complete a project?

Jae and Elisa – It depends on the size of the project and on what we are asked for, on average it takes about 3 to 6 months.

  1. What is your favourite part about working in interior design?

JAE – My favorite part is to create a new concept. I find it very satisfying to carry out a drawing with initial inspiration at the end of the project concept.

ELISA – The creative part and the human part, that is the relationship established with the customer.
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  1. Any favourite travel destinations that you like to escape too?  Why?

JAE – Every once in a while I would like to leave for some place where there is nobody to disconnect from the tiring life of the city. Where could it be? Perhaps an island half of the ocean? If I found a place like this, one day I’d like to go there.

ELISA – Whenever I can, I like to make short trips to Italy or Europe. I need to get away from the routine and to visit the cities where I haven’t been.

  1. How would you describe the design style/esthetic in Italy (more specifically in Florence)?

JAE – I like the style of design in Italy, especially in Tuscany, because they use colors taking inspiration from nature. For example, dark brown, beige, lightgray, desaturated green, all these neutral colors give me a feeling of calm, warmth and tranquility. They are also found in the facades of buildings and in the interiors of houses. It seems to me a good example of designing architecture, which fits well with the surrounding landscape.

ELISA – Florence and many Italian cities are historical, so the modern style is not very visible, perhaps only in the suburbs. To respect the historical pre-existences, in Florence there is a tendency to design in a classic or modern-classic style, especially in architecture.
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  1. Do you have a favourite type of project to work on (private/public)? Why?

JAE – I like both. But above all, I really like designing residences and restaurants / bars.

ELISA – I like more to design for the public, because I like the idea that my project can be lived by more people.

  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)

JAE – Actually I don’t practice a lot of wellness activities, but every once in a while, when I have to create a new concept andI don’t have ideas, I close everything and go driving around Tuscany where I work and live. Sometimes I like to walk around with headphones listening to the music on my playlist. So I can take the stress out and get the energy back on with my work.

ELISA – I like reading fashion and design magazines and I really like practicing pilates, as a method of relaxation.
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  1. Any words of wisdom for someone who is just starting out their design career?

JAE – Travel to many places to feel, see, try and touch new things by coming into contact with different cultures, so you will see that your inspiration will be enriched a lot and help create your identity in design.

ELISA – Always believe in it. Even if the desired result does not arrive immediately.

Special thanks to Elisa and Jaehyun for taking the time for this interview.  All images courtesy of Gori & Yoon.  You can see more of Gori & Yoon’s beautiful work on their website http://www.goriyoon.com or on Instagram @goriyoon_archtecture

Thank you for visiting Stylishly Zen and I hope that you have a beautiful day!  XXS

Five Faves

As this year (and this decade) wind down, it feels like the days are going faster and there have been more then a few moments where I am struggling to stay in the moment.  Does anyone else feel this way or is it just me?  With two months left in 2019 my goal is to try and stay in the moment as much as possible, develop a deep breathing practice that I can actually stick to (I will keep you posted on how that goes), and work on things that actually make me happy such as this blog and decorating my apartment.  For now though, here are the five things that I am currently loving:

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It was love at first sight when I first saw this padded shoulder t-shirt on Instagram and the fact that it was sold out only made me want it more (clearly I am a marketer’s dream).  Despite the fact that it is ridiculously expensive for a t-shirt, I signed up for the waitlist and immediately ordered it when it (finally!) came back into stock. The quality is fantastic and it fits really well.  As basic as this t-shirt may seem to some, it makes me really happy and I love wearing therefore making it my perfect t-shirt.

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While I haven’t seen every episode, I occasionally enjoy watching My Next Guest with David Letterman.  While scrolling thru Netflix the other day though, I came across his most recent special featuring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan and I nearly screamed with excitement.  While I rarely have an opportunity to enjoy a Bollywood movie, like many other people on this planet Shah Rukh Khan is one of my favourite actors – he is just so damn cool!  The interview was fantastic as he is charismatic, humble, articulate and interesting.  I highly encourage you to check out this special to see just why this man is one of the most famous actors on the planet even if you have never heard of him before this.

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This cashew butter is a recent discovery for me and it is safe to say that I am hooked.  Made in small batches, Logan Petit Lot’s mission is to offer new twists on classic flavours of nut butters.  Cashew Coffee is by far my favourite and I enjoy a spoonful on top of my chia pudding every morning.  It has minimal ingredients, taste great and I love the fact that it is locally made – a win win in my opinion.

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I have heard a lot about a lot of the benefits of positive thinking and yes I have read The Secret in the hopes that it would help me to shift my mindset and put me on a more positive path.  Needless to say I find it a struggle to keep a positive and focused mindset all of the time and I tend to fall off of the proverbial bandwagon fairly often.  When I heard about Gabrielle Bernstein’s new book though, I was willing to give the whole attracting your dreams to you concept another try.  I have not yet finished reading it, but so far it is an enjoyable read that offers a number of tools to help you to attract what you want into your life.  This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to put in the effort, but this book helps you to become more self aware.  I am by no means willing to say that I am some success story, aside from greater self awareness I don’t think that there has been any other shifts in my life at the moment.  But even if the only thing that I get from this book is greater self awareness I will be happy that I read this book.

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I have been in love Eye Swoon’s Athena Calderone’s New York home from the moment that I saw it.  It has since been profiled (along with Athena herself) in a few major publications including Architectural Digest and Porter magazine.  I recently came across this image of her living room on Pinterest and I once again fell in love with this space as it is chic and modern, yet comfortable and cool.  Athena has managed to strike just the right balance of fabulous throughout her home.  This picture along with many others of the home are on my vision board to help motivate me to capture the same vibe and perfect balance in my own home.

Thank you for stopping by today, let me know what you are loving this month in the comments below!  XXS

Images via http://www.frankieshop.com, netflix.com and http://www.pinterest.com

 

Behind the Design with Ahmed Hussein

 

Hi Everyone!

I had the pleasure of interviewing the incredibly talented Egyptian designer Ahmed Hussein for this month’s Behind the Design. I first discovered Ahmed on Instagram when I came across a stunning marble bathroom that he designed, and I have been hooked on his work ever since. His clever use of luxurious materials, texture, colour and art demonstrate a talent  for design that most people can only hope to have. If you are looking for a talented designer to follow then look no further as Ahmed delivers projects that are nothing short of fabulous every single time.  Without further adieu, here is my interview with Ahmed Hussein:

  • Did you always know that you wanted to work in architecture and design?  Has it always been your passion?

In the beginning, I decided to go to the faculty of engineering to become a chemical engineer like my cousin, to get big salary.

But at the end of the first year, in the engineering drawing class, one of the teachers noticed that my drawing was very different and distinctive, 

Then asked me, which department you will join?

I answered chemical.

He asked me do you love chemistry.

I answered no. 

Then he smiled and starts talking about architecture.

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  • How would you describe your design esthetic?

Design as a musical melody has to touch your feelings

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  • Where do you find your inspiration from?

From everything and everywhere 

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  • What has been your most challenging project so far?  Why was it so challenging?

El Merghany apartment because of the painted 2 ceilings 7m x 4m and 3m x 4m

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  • What has been your favourite project to date?

Every project I did has something in my heart 

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

8 to 12 months 

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

Paris, Rome, Athens & Barcelona 

Historical cities, I love old stories  20A6462A-6717-4646-AADC-B2D478EB5FB3

 

  • Describe your perfect day in Cairo – what would you do?  Where would you go?

The week days I start my day at 10 am go to my office and finish at 7pm 

Then I go back home to see my family 

The weekend I try to relax and do something new and different with my friends and my family

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  • 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 take my bike at the night with my headphones for one hour before I sleep 

(Workout and music give me the power)

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  • Where do you see yourself in five years?

            I hope to become one of the most famous designers in the world

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  • Any words of wisdom for someone who is just starting out their design career?

Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and above all don’t let anyone limit your dreams 

Thank you Ahmed for taking the time for this interview!

If you would like to see more of Ahmed’s work you can find him on Instagram @ahmedhusseindesigns

All pictures in this post were provided by Ahmed Hussein Designs.

I hope that you have a fabulous day! XXS