Ms. Tungsten's Jewel Toned Abode


 The fabric used as 'wainscoting' ? Pure genius.

 The plants! The stones! The mirror layered with that grate! The candle! Oh My! I love it.
 The kitchen is so fruity, plantie, delicious...
I was deep in decorating blog world the other night (as usual) and came across Katherine's teeny gem of an apartment.  It was an image of her jungle spa bathroom that hooked me, I have a thing for them as ya'll know.  From looking at her home it seems I have a lot in common with this mysterious lady.  Could I have a long lost sister I didn't know about?  Kidding... But seriously.  Her blog 'Ms. Tungsten' is dedicated to images of her beautifully creative and alive apartment.  I honestly wanted to share every single image, they're all that good. I can tell I would feel instantly comfortable there, it just looks so soulful doesn't it?
Swing by Ms. Tungsten and see for yourself and while you're at it check out her place and vote for her on the Apartment Therapy Small Cool Contest here ~ Katherine's Tropical Sanctuary.



Botanical Inspiration on Instagram

Flowers and plants are my favorite things ever.  I have been enamored with them ever since I can remember. I adored the talking flowers in Alice In Wonderland, oh and the 80s cartoon Rose Petal Place?  The Best.  And we can't forget about the magical forest in Legend

I spent my early childhood in an extremely rural part of Canada  (Google Maps has barely even been there yet)  and grew up running wild in the forest from sun-up to sun-down.  It was Heavenly.  As beautiful and lush as it is there in the Spring and Summer, the other 7-8 months of barren cold were torture for me.

I became obsessed with images of the colorful and tropical evergreen scenery of Southern climes.  Once I visited the Southern United States and Central America, that was it for me.  I knew I had to move.  Not just for the flora and fauna but for the heat, the sun and year round beauty.  Then as luck would have it, my family had an opportunity to move to the ever lush city of New Orleans.  That was many many years ago and here I am now in Houston, still crazed by flowers on the daily. 

I can have a garden year round!  Most of the trees don't lose their leaves!  The grass stays green!  These things never get old to me and are necessary for my sanity and well being.  Not just that, they constantly drive my inspiration.  Nature's bounty is my biggest inspiration of all things.  Lush greenery and tropical hues make me swoon.  New to me, interesting species make me giddy. Don't even get me started on fruits, veggies and herbs. I even just bought a flower press so I can press and preserve some of my favorite floral specimens. My little rental home is stuffed to plant capacity- inside and out. The day I own a house, I pledge that my garden will be bananas.  Cornball pun intended.


With this preoccupation of mine,  I can't help but snap pictures of the plant life and flowers everywhere I go and then sharing them on my LaGypsyYaya Instagram account. Those are a few of my floral photos at the top of the page. And of course, the verdant gardens and balconies of New Orleans are one of my favorite subjects, below.

Then there are so many beautiful kindred spirits with the floral fever. These are a couple of my faves. Both tremendously inspirational women with blogs and Instagram accounts that help feed my need for beauty.

Justina Blakeney is fabulous in all she does and everything botanical is always in heavy rotation in her world. Her #bloomsonblack and #facethefoliage series are both amazing.  This image from #bloomsonblack is hands down my favorite. The Queen Anne's Lace looks just like a tiny brilliant firework doesn't it? How visually stunning the colors and shapes against a black background are. I would love to have every one of them as a print.


Daughterofthesun's deeply Earth connected feed is candy for the third eye. Her images are both spiritual and spectacular. And her flower mandalas are trippy technicolor perfection. The geometry and mindfulness of arranging the delicate and colorful blossoms is so artfully delicious!
I've been meaning to create some mandalas of my own and maybe some faces of foliage as well. They both seem like extremely fun and zen like endeavors don't they?

Happy Spring to those of ya'll in the North finally feeling some botanical love after that loooong Winta. Anyone have a similar obsession? I'd love to check out some new Instagram accounts, with a plantie twist.



My Obsession With Vintage Couches

It is no secret that I am crazy about all things vintage.  Do you wanna know what makes me REALLY excited in particular? It's an excellent specimen of a vintage couch.  I'm a little (a lot) obsessed with them. Especially couches of the vintage, mid-century, velvet in a delightful shade genre.  

For some reason I have been finding them everywhere on my thrifting and bargain hunting trips lately.  It takes every bit of my restraint to not buy them. I mean, I recently saw one in shimmering champagne velvet with a gorgeously modern/slim profile- in perfect condition.  It was freaking fantastic and might as well been free, it was such a good deal ($25). I honestly cannot stop thinking about it. 

Thrifting remorse. It's when you don't buy something superb and then regret it for months/years afterward. That couch is on the list now. Along with a giant Turkish rug (FOR $35)- What was I thinking!? And a '70s green glass geometric terrarium (FOR $3.99). They will all forever haunt me in my dreams. 

I suppose it is a good thing that I don't have the space to hoard vintage couches and furniture because I most certainly would. I want to own them all. Though I'm not ready to trade out my precious red velvet couch (above) quite yet.  My entire decor scheme depends on it and I'm more than a little attached.  Sure,  I must accept, that the day will soon come when it will need to be replaced. It's only about 40 years old, has been through 5 moves, and my 2 cats and dog unfortunately adore it as much as I do. But not yet. 

Oh how I would love to have a proper brick and mortar shop so I could feed my addiction and foster all the vintage furniture, if only for a while. 

Ahhhh, the vintage couch. So much fabulous. So little space. They were awesome then. And they are even more awesome now. 
I would rock every single one of these babies so hard. That circular floral masterpiece? Set in an ultra white space with some modern and black accents would be SO MUCH FUN. Those two funky plaid beauties say Surf Shack all the way. I'd snatch anyone of these beauties up in a hot second. Along with every other item in these rooms.

Then there are vintage sofas in modern rooms. They just work. No bohemian/eclectic space is complete without one. Every time I see a living room I love, it always boils down to the sofa. (That icy blue mini sofa on that spicy orange wall though!) Maybe I could fit a teeny one like that in somewhere. I would try.
They just make a room don't they? You really don't need much else when you have a vintage couch with great lines as your foundation. Here's a couple of beauties I manged to snap a photo of recently. They are so often in amazing condition! I guess that's because of the now mostly lost tradition of the "formal living room" with furniture no one was ever really allowed to sit on. Thank goodness for that. These couches may not have survived until now otherwise...


I was seriously tempted by this one too. It could fit in nicely with my boho scheme of things. It was $75. I'm always a huge fan of hideous shades of green and chartreuse. What's not to love!? I'd rent an upholstery cleaner and clean it first, for piece of mind. But ya. So good.


I know this nearly neon plaid one is a stretch but hear me out. If I had a beach cottage/surf shack situation like the one on the right I would furnish it with this type of thing for sure. You know- macrame, crochet blankets, old quilts, rag rugs, and plants. Funky technicolor '70s surfer granny chic all the way. Oh yeah I'd do it. Did I mention it was $25 and it's a hideaway bed? Double whammy right there. This couch suits my other hidden design personality that is longing for a beach cottage so I can release the beast. Someday...

What do ya'll think?
To vintage couch or not to vintage couch?



The Holistic Home

I've been thinking long and hard about what defines my design sensibility and what I would like Gypsy Yaya to focus on.  And what I've come up with that best encompasses my approach to style is the term HOLISTIC.  I think it describes perfectly how I want my home to feel and how I think homes should  be in order for us to feel good in them.

Holistic. It sounds like a pretty crunchy concept but one that deserves much more thought in the disposable, 'just buy another one' society we live in. The 'throw it away, too busy to bother' mentality just ain't workin for us Earthlings. And where we live; our homes, cities and towns are reflecting that.  And if things look crappy, they are crappy and then we feel crappy. Not so good.

  1. characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.

Intimately Interconnected. Amen to that. Usually a word used when referring to health and treatments of healing, Holistic can be applied to how we live in other ways as well. When approaching any subject I think it's always best to do it Holistically. With our health, our food and our homes.  I mean - creating your home should be so much more than just heading to your nearest big box store and buying everything new, from the furniture to the knickknacks. You could certainly create something pretty, but it would feel contrived and empty.  An organically collected and healthy home is just so much better for the SOUL.
When creating spaces it's always important for me to consider ALL of the aspects of what you surround yourself with. Such as (but certainly not limited to)-
Where did it come from?  What is it made of?   Is it a quality thing that will last?   Is it toxic or disposable? Does it have age or history?  Can I reuse something I already have instead?  Can I source it for free/ re-use something that would otherwise end up in the landfill?  Have I considered delighting all of the senses? Touch, sound, smell, taste?  Is it aesthetically pleasing?  Is it both functional and beautiful?  Does it tell a story about me/the person that lives in the space?  Is it sustainable?  I mean there is a lot to think about.  But what you end up with is well worth the considerations.

I believe our homes should be our Oasis in the literal sense of the word.  They should be a beautiful and soulful respite from the stresses of daily life.  I believe us city dwellers should not feel a complete disconnect from the natural world just because we live in an urban environment.  Like wise-apartment dwellers, renters and those that live in tiny spaces can live in beauty as well.  No matter how short your stay, small your space or strict your landlord.
One should never underestimate the power your daily surroundings have on effecting your mood and even your health.  A well thought out and Holistic home has the ability to uplift your spirit or to help crush it. A home with too much clutter, no personality, a general lack of organization/function, toxic materials, void of living things will leave you feeling drained and stressed.  Where as a space that considers your personal likes, works well for you and your family, is well organized , happy, soulful and full of life will energize and refresh you.
It certainly helps if you didn't have to go into debt for it as well. Creating a beautiful happy home shouldn't cause stress to you or your pocketbook. It should be a happy and fun challenge that evolves organically over time, as your life and needs change.

For me this means having systems in place to keep your space organized and putting a lot of thought into each and every purchase that ends up in your home.  It means plants and natural and healthy materials.  It means beautiful scents derived from nature, whole home cooked foods, soft and comfortable furnishings, non toxic cleaning supplies, your favorite music at your fingertips and artfully arranged colorful things to draw and delight your eyes. It means lovely old furniture found cast away on the side of the road, given a clean-up and a fresh lease on life. It means researching your purchases well so that they will last a long time.  It means #makedoandmend whenever you can. Thrifting, estate/garage sales and the flea market are your friends. As are quality handmade items created by a fairly treated person not mass produced by a machine or child in a foreign country.
These are the things of a home you can feel good in and about. A home should nourish you. And so you should nourish it. It is the place where you can be unabashedly YOU. And it should reflect just that. Instead of worrying about how you think it should look.
I am always considering the Holistic approach in everything I do.  Improving spaces for the healthier and prettier is my obsession and I'm always perfecting my own (constantly evolving) home.  As well as with my families eating habits, our career choices, health and beauty choices, even our travel plans.  All of which can be healthier for us and the environment with a Holistic approach.  It is an incredibly challenging but rewarding process, with plenty of bumps in the road. And I plan on sharing my lessons learned with ya'll.

 Luckily healthier options are becoming more available as people have become more aware that the things we have been consuming are having a negative impact on us and our surroundings. So it is becoming a little bit easier for those of us that wish to re-examine our lives Holistically and make healthy changes.
I can go into go into loads more detail of all of the aspects of what I feel makes a Holistic home and I hope to share much more of that in the near future. There is just too much to jam into a single post. But simply put- Design Matters. And we can make a big difference at large by starting with our decisions at home.

 *A quick note about beauty ~ For me the health and function of spaces are very important. But I also feel that They Must Be Beautiful as well! I think that being surrounded by beautiful and natural elements has a powerful effect on our psyche. That is where my bohemian aesthetic comes in to play.  I'm a fan of no rules, travel collected, hippie-esque, handmade, vintage, funky, down to Earth, natural and full of life decorating. Which I suppose could be best described as bohemian. So this is a little turning (slight) turning point for Gypsy Yaya. From now on I'm going to be sharing more of whats going on in my own Holistic living and designing world. From DIYS to tips and inspiration to help you get your home into tip top healthy and beautiful shape!

Whew! That was a long and very wordy post for me but I think it did the trick in helping me zoom my focus in on what I really want Gypsy Yaya to convey. Hope ya'll enjoy the journey. See you soon!