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2/25/2015

10 Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

It's that time of year where the frigid cold, grey skies, cabin fever and false hope Spring days have us feeling blah.  Or as the case was when I lived up North in much more extreme conditions...full on depressed.  Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD is no fun for anybody, and I feel twinges of it even here if the grey and cold goes on for too long.  Over time I have learned that there are some things you can do to help get you through these last few weeks of Winter {with your sanity intact}. Here is my list of survival methods that will help you get through, if not embrace the rest of this Winter season.



1. Practice Self Care
Winter means less sunny days, which means less Vitamin D and more suffering skin. The air is desert dry and we are reluctant to shed our layers of warm clothes. These factors can leave you feeling like a bit of a hibernating bear. Take a warm bath infused with epsom salts, spend time exfoliating and finish off with a thick layer of moisturizing natural oil {I like coconut oil or cocoa butter}.Try to make it at least a weekly ritual. Which leads me to #2...

2. Eat Nourishing Foods
Embrace the flavors of the season and take comfort in Winters bounty. Beets, Winter Squash, Carrots, Turnips, Rutabagas, Parsnips, Leafy Greens, Celeriac and Citrus are all in season. Nothing is more warming {and simple} than throwing together a big pot of stew. These veggies are all packed with the nutrition our bodies crave in Winter. I try to inject as many of them as possible into my meals before the season changes.
Then because it's very difficult to get the vitamin D we need from the sun in Winter, I'm a believer in the occasional trip to a tanning bed. 10-20 minutes a month can make a huge difference in how you feel and it's no different than a full afternoon at the beach damage wise. Just keep it short and sweet!

Winters Vegetable Bounty


3. Surround Yourself With Scents & Steam
Humidifiers are not just for kids rooms and the inhalant reservoir is not just for Vicks.  Hippie Hack- Get yourself a humidifier.  Then choose a mood elevating essential oil such as ylang ylang, sandalwood, clary sage, frankincense, neroli, bergamot or lavender and put it in the 'inhalant reservoir' {what a terrible sounding phrase, I know}. Plug in next to your bed. You will then be surrounded by beautifully scented, moist air. Which will do wonders both for your alligator skin and mood.

4. Buy Yourself Flowers
I make an effort to do this every week in Winter. Stargazer lilies are my favorite.  It you feel wasteful throwing them away when they wilt, buy a flowering potted plant instead.  Or try your hand at forcing bulbs indoors. I did Paper Whites last year and they were so much easier to grow than I thought they would be {and fragrant!}. Tending a little indoor flowering garden on your windowsill is curiously satisfying. If you have a window in your bathroom, it is the perfect location for happy plants in Winter.

Bright Florals


5. Cultivate Knowledge
Instead of thinking of it as being stuck indoors, think of Winter as a time to do things you otherwise maybe wouldn't make time for.  Get out your art supplies and try some new techniques,  pick up that book you've been meaning to read.  Work on your foreign language skills.  Watch those films/documentaries you've been wanting to see for ages.  There are online classes to be found on nearly every subject imaginable, many of them are even free.  If you're stuck inside, you might as well make the best of it!
This is also a perfect moment to start planning for Spring. Use this time of rest to prepare your thoughts around your garden plans, creative projects, home improvements & travel plans. Looking forward to positive things always makes me feel good!

6. Play That Funky Music
Keep some music on hand at all times. I have certain albums that I know will transport me to a better place the moment I press play. Dig out your favorite records, make some new playlists. Just do whatever it takes to have music ready to play. I'm always a huge fan of reggae and salsa in Winter. Especially when it's getting dark and I'm making dinner. It just makes the night brighter.

7. Snuggle Up
Welcome the cold for the chance to pile on the comfy layers and snuggle up.  In Winter I have an entire collection of cozy throws that I take out and spread around the house.  Extra pillows, warm sweaters, knit socks, toasty slippers.  Invest in your cozy arsenal and it will invest in you.  This year because we have newly added wood floors, our living room is not the coziest in Winter.  To battle the chilly atmosphere, I created a pallet out of a foam bed topper wrapped in a giant cotton Indian tapestry to snuggle on in the evenings. It was supposed to be a one night thing for New Years Eve, but now we look forward to busting out the nest every night. We toss the pillows and blankets on and snuggle up. It is so worth the 5 minutes of effort it takes to set it up each evening.

8. Take A Walk
As hard as this is to do when it's freezing cold outside, it's SO important to continue to spend time outdoors.  Even if it's only one short, brisk walk a day, there is nothing like moving your body, smelling fresh air and getting some rays {even if they're fighting their way through the clouds}. If you can take a walk around the block, do that. If you can make it to the park or for a rural hike, even better.  Just bundle up and move ya' body.

Winter Paths


9. Drink Warm Liquids
Make sure you have ingredients on hand to prepare a steaming cuppa somethin'. You gotta stoke the fire inside to get moving some days. I love me some Chai tea. Green tea, herbal teas, hot chocolate or turmeric milk/golden milk all warm you up and can have benefits for your health as well. I stay away from too much caffeine because I find it contributes to anxiety and depression.

10. Candlelight
If you have a wood burning fireplace then I don't have to tell you about the healing power of a roaring fire in the hearth.  Not all of us have this luxury obviously, but we can create a cozy fire lit ambiance just the same.  Keep lots of candles and tea lights on hand to light up the night.  I love to gather several candle holders all together on a brass tray to create a twinkling and warm feeling. Rooms automatically feel more welcoming by candlelight!

That about sums up my list! Can ya'll think of anything else I'm missing? Please let me know in the comments so we can share our methods!

Note: A lot of these things may seem like no brainers, but when you're already feeling down, it's easy to forget about the things that will help elevate your mood. The key is to stay motivated and remind yourself often. I would even go as far as writing out the list and posting somewhere until Spring. Or leave it up...much of this list is great for boosting moods all year round!

xoxo-Andrea

2/22/2015

Versatile Vintage Tins

Vintage tin planter/vase

Since we've been feeling a hint of Spring in the air here in South Texas, I've been all about vibrant color and florals.  Not that I'm not always about the color and botanical beauty, but it's turned way up right about now. Spring is by far my favorite season, the trees bursting into bloom, the lush new growth, wildflowers everywhere and the sweet scent in the air is My Favorite... Don't worry Northern friends, Spring is under that blanket of snow, just now stretching her arms and gathering her strength. She will arrive with an armful of crocuses and a jug of margaritas soon enough.

Where was I?  Ahh yes...florals, and color and...organization!  After doing a massive New Year purge and organizing spree around here, I'm all about the good looking organization.  In order to keep my new  'a place for everything system'  on track,  I've been separating all the bits and pieces into vintage tins.  Everything from art supplies, to bulk in the kitchen is being tucked into some sort of container.
I just so happened to already have a pretty respectable hoard of vintage tins perfect for this purpose.  I never pass on a beautiful tin in the thrift stores because they just have so many uses. They are usually very cheap and often get passed over, hidden in the stacks of other boring biscuit tins {my little secret}.

Of course you can always find some beautiful vintage tin specimens online as well. When searching, I have a couple of go-to names that manufactured the prettiest patterns back in the day.  Daher tins are my absolute favorite, they have the most colorful and bright floral & chinz patterns.  Ira Anita Wangel of Denmark made sublime modern starburst patterns and mid-century designs. George Horner made some especially covet-able and whimsical designs like the 1950's modern plants in planters tin.


I love using vintage tins to hold homemade cookies at home and for gifts too {especially for the holidays}!  This year I'm going to try out some DIY candles in small vintage tins for some sweet hostess gifts.  The vintage tin just takes an already thoughtful homemade gift to a whole other level of awesome.  Am I right?  Another adorable idea I've been seeing, is using vintage tins as a vase. Just tuck a small glass vessel inside, so the water won't rust the tin. Casual handpicked bouquets of wildflowers suit this arrangement beautifully. They make cute planters for succulents and herbs too. Then again, I would turn everything into a planter if I could. Why not?

You can use them in the bathroom to store cosmetics, in the kids room to store legos and crayons. And to hide your 'stash' like my hippie parents did when I was a kid. The possibilities really are endless. And the best thing is they are pretty close to indestructible which makes makes them a very green choice of packaging that can be used again and again.  What would your creative use for vintage tins be? I'd love to know of more!

xoxo-Andrea

2/16/2015

Eclectic Bohemia On Chairish

Vintage Furniture

People say to me all the time "I LOVE that chair where did you find it?" or "Your red velvet couch is to die for! Where can I find one like it?".  Truth be told the answer is probably a bit of a let down.  It usually sounds something like  "Well, I was in The North Side the other day and stopped into this weird resale shop that was open for like a week and found it buried under a pile of junk in the back."
I am willing to do some serious groundwork and visit some sketchy spots at ungodly hours to unearth the perfect vintage find.  Not all of us are willing or able to go to the lengths I'll go to for the sake of sniffing out good vintage.  Even if you are willing, sometimes you just can't find that elusive piece you are dreaming of.  Not unless you're willing to wait for years until 'the one' crosses your path.

But all is not lost.  If you are in search of a mid-century velvet red couch or that iconic vintage accent chair, I know just the spot. Enter Chairish, an online marketplace for vintage furniture & decor, all perfectly edited with design oriented buyers in mind. They have something to suit every taste, from high end modern to vintage bohemian.  I could spend hours creating fantasy spaces with all of the beautiful choices.
So when Chairish asked me to create a mood board showcasing one of the gorgeous accent chairs available on their site, I jumped at the chance.  My idea of an awesome Saturday night right there!  I'm not even joking.  Naturally, I chose the velvet upholstered Louis Chair as my room inspiration.

You may have noticed that I basically re-created a version of my own living room with my mood board above.  I don't even notice that I continue to gravitate to this color palate until it's already happened.  I think it's basically a compulsion at this point.  But it works {and I love it}.  I think the key to creating a successful eclectic/bohemian space is to keep a comprehensive color palate and make sure something else in the room speaks to each piece.  I may be crazy and it's probably generally against 'the rules' but I have no qualms about mixing polar opposite styles in the same room.  I've never been much for rules anyway.

In this case the french blue chair speaks to the coffee table {they dish about their curves}. The peacock chair talks granola recipes with the woven wall hanging.  The couch chats up a storm with the blue bottle painting above and the side table {they went to art school together}. The lamp knows everyone by association. The rug and pillows all smoke exotic 'cigarettes' together. And the cut paper wall art heard there was a party, showed up and everyone just assumed he knew someone there. He just fit in. You know what I mean?

It was hard to stop myself from making ten more mood boards and creating an entire fantasy home from all the fab pieces.  Oh, and did you know anyone can sell on Charish?  As long as your items meet the criteria, you can sell your own vintage and designer pieces there as well.  Which gave me a stellar idea...sometimes in my thrifting adventures I come across something so beautiful {that I have no need of}, that it pains me to leave it behind.  Maybe one day soon I'll have a little sale on Chairish myself.  That would be fun right?

xoxo- Andrea

2/14/2015

Pinterest Bohemian Rooms Of The Week




It's funny how inspiration and creativity work. You can go for days without anything, and then BOOM- an inspiration cluster strikes. Then you have to scramble and milk it for all it's worth before another dry spell sets in. 
It was kinda like that with these rooms. I came across them all in like a 2 hour period, and I adore every single one so much! They are the jump off point for my thrifting ventures this weekend. After doing a massive New Years purge, I have freed up some space for some fresh and fabulous pieces. So a thrifting I will go! 

Also Happy Valentine's Day to you all!  Did you check out the yummy treats I just shared on my Insta?  I've got another chocolaty delicious recipe that I'll be posting there later today too <3 

And just in case ya'll didn't get a chance to see it yet,  I did an interview with the ever fabulous Gabi for her latest installment of "My Nest" over at Moon To Moon. Fun! 

Happy Weekend Beauties! 

One || Two || Three || Four || Five || Six

xoxo-Andrea

2/11/2015

DIY Gypsy Rose Luminaries

Romantic Valentine DIY
I have been meaning to share these Gypsy Rose Luminaries since I made them for our wedding in 2012.  Better late than never right? I thought now would be a good time since they are very romantic and make a perfect Valentine's Day DIY. 
My hubby and I are not big on going out on major holidays, we'd much rather stay home and spoil ourselves with some gorgeous food and candlelight. So, today I dug out the few remaining luminaries I kept after our wedding so we can set a romantic and whimsical scene for V-Day. 

Romantic Valentine DIY
I think I originally made about 20 of them to adorn the tables at our reception dinner. We had a very intimate group of about 30 people at our wedding and I DIY-ed every single detail I could. I wanted to create something romantic and unusual that I could whip up easily and cheaply and that I wouldn't need to lug back with me when the reception was over. They kind of ended up doubling as favors as well because everyone wanted to bring one home with them. 

Romantic Valentine DIY

Now you don't have to be getting married to make these. Heck no. You could make a few of them to scatter on the table or around the bedroom for you and your honey to enjoy. You could make a bunch to light in the evening garden in the Spring so it feels like a fairy wonderland for your kiddos. Or you could make them just for yourself to place all around the tub while you take a bath. You could even use some floral scented tea lights in them to add to the mood.

Romantic Valentine DIY

These luminaries are super simple to make.  All you need to start is these little fishbowl shaped glass vessels.  They are at every thrift store in abundance for some reason, in all sizes.  The ones I used are about 3-4" tall.  If you can't find them at the thrift store, they are almost always in the glass section of the dollar store.
Then you need to gather some silk roses. This part is a bit trickier because you need to find better quality silk flowers which are not easy to come by these days. As always I recommend checking the thrift stores if you can first because silk flowers were quality in the 80's and 90's.  Waaaaay better than the crumby plastic ones of today. Anyway, the point is just find the best looking fake roses you can.  I got really lucky and found these very vintage looking, velvety ones. You will probably use about one and a half dismembered roses per luminary. So you will need to buy about twice the amount of roses as the amount of luminaries you want to make {to be safe}. Then get your glue gun, glue sticks and scissors and you're good to go.

Romantic Valentine DIY


Cut the silk roses up into individual petals and discard the stem and center.  Starting with the smallest inner petals, glue them overlapping around the lip of the glass.  Make sure they just cover the lip of the glass but don't hang inside {you don't want them to go up in flames}. Add the next layer about halfway over the first one, staggering the petals to cover the space between the last layer. Continue on until you reach the bottom. The curved shape of the glass naturally creates a lovely rose shape as you go. Be sure to glue the inside of the petals to the glass so you have the effect of the rose blooming from the outside.
I added a bed of 3-4 leaves to finish off the bottom, just be sure that they are spaced evenly on the bottom so they won't wobble over. When they are complete, add dabs of glue anywhere they need a little extra hold. Peel off any hot glue strings and voila you are done!



Romantic Valentine DIY

Now you can become obsessed with making them, and make 15 more in one sitting! Then spend the rest of the night nursing all of the hot glue burns all over your fingers like I did. They are so worth it though. So worth it. These pictures can't possibly do them justice when they are lit at night, so you will have to take my word for it and make them yourself. You will love them, I know it.

Romantic Valentine DIY

I imagine that you could also use other types of silk flowers for these if you're not a rose person. Sunflowers maybe or tulips? I used all vintage shades of rose and cream but I'd love to see how yellow and red ones look too! Now just add some tea lights and twinkle the night away!

xoxo-Andrea

2/09/2015

Bleucoin Tile Decal Backsplash


I am so excited to finally be sharing this post with ya'll!  Those of you who read this post may already know that I recently discovered Etsy's best kept secret- Bleucoin Tile Decals.  When first looking at the pictures of them I thought "These look way too good to be true, I have to try them!".  So I hit up Bleucoin and asked them if they would be interested in sending me some of their tile decals to try in my kitchen and review on my blog for all of you. They said they would love to and now here I am, showing you my mini bohemian re-do of my once unbearably awful rental kitchen!

My horrendous rental kitchen has been a thorn in my side for going on 2 years now.  To give you some background- it is a tiny galley kitchen with lower ceilings than the rest of the house {whyyyy?} The only natural light is from a window on the far side of an adjoining "breakfast nook" room.  When we first moved in, it was painted flat, chocolate brown {whyyyy?}.  It resembled a dark, dirty cave.
Ew.  To make matters worse, the counter tops are a most awful shade of blue.  Luckily the floor tile and cupboards are passable enough that I can work with them.

I repainted the walls a clean fresh white immediately {luckily the landlord allowed that}. Then I had my husband build a shelf under the cupboards to display pretty things and add storage.  Since then, I have been sort of stuck as to what to do next design wise.  It needed character, but it had to be something that I can remove when we move out.  I wasn't all that into spending a huge amount of time or money on a place that's not ours either.  I toyed with the idea of textured/patterned paper on the wall, removing cabinet doors etc. but nothing seemed quite right.  Plus I had the problem of the hideous blue counter tops to deal with.  My poor little kitchen was so ugly I considered not even showing you the before picture.  But...the transformation after the wall/tile decals are up is just too good not to show it.  So here is my dark dreary rental kitchen Before~


And here it is After! Quite a transformation non?

The counter tops are still awful, I know.  Believe me it still pains me just a bit to show them {and the yucky sink hardware too}.  To be honest though, I know I'm not the only one out there dealing with some kind of terrible kitchen situation.  Especially renters.  I really wanted ya'll to see the real deal so you can imagine just how much of a difference these tile decals can make.  I mean I would buy these things a hundred times over, they are that awesome.  My counter tops don't even bother me all that much any more.  A miracle happened here ya'll and I owe it all to some removable Turkish tile decals from Bleucoin.


Before putting them up, I was a bit worried that all of that pattern in such a small space might look too busy and make the space appear even smaller than it already did.  Weirdly the pattern on the tiles creates a sense of depth and makes the kitchen seem wider.  Bonus!
Because I didn't have actual tiles on my wall to begin with,  I spaced the decals to give the appearance of white grout between them. The decals go on the wall so easily I was able to just eye the space between them as I went.  I removed the plug and light switch plates and placed the decals under them using an exacto knife to trim them to fit where needed.  I think these small details make all the difference in making them appear more authentic. Of course if you already have tiles in the area you are covering, it will be all that much easier to apply them. With the real tiles under them it would be practically impossible to tell they are not the real thing without very closely examining them. These things are legit. 


I was also worried that the adhesive wouldn't stick to my very textured 70's walls. These fears were eliminated when I tested one of the mini tiles Bleucoin included in my package as a gift.  I stuck it on the wall overnight and it was still very firmly stuck on the wall the next morning.  When I peeled it off, it left no marks on the wall at all.  So no worries when we move out.  I'll just peel them off and away we go.  No painting or touch ups required.


The tile decals I chose are the Turkish pattern.  Bleucoin also makes Mexican Talavera,  Morrocan, Portuguese and Indian patterns. They make some less traditional patterns in black & white and florals as well.  It was so difficult to choose just one, I love them all so much.  In the end I decided the Turkish best blends with the rest of my space.  And maybe, just maybe they make the counter tops seem a little less awful.  They also make decals for stair risers, which I can not wait for the opportunity to use in the future. 


To cover a space my size it would have cost about $78 plus shipping.  So about $100 bucks total. Which is an absolute steal for how cute my kitchen looks now.  I used two sets of 22 patterns, each tile measuring 5'"by 5".  When ordering you choose the size you need in a drop down menu and they will even make a custom set just for you.  If you are unsure what to order, the staff at Bleucoin are extremely helpful and answer any inquiries very quickly.  The shipping was pretty zippy too.
The decals are amazing quality with vibrant colors and durable material.  If I take good care of them I can see them lasting several years.  They are in a very well used area and so far they are holding up great.  I've even wiped them down gently with no problem at all.


For all you folks out there with terrible tile in your bathroom or kitchen, I'm telling you right now... Don't hesitate and get you some of these.  They are so good.  if you have any unsightly space that you want to add some beautiful bohemian character too, like stair risers, a breakfast bar, cupboard doors, the back of a shelf, in your laundry room.  The possibilities really are endless.
I cook a lot and spend tons of time in my little kitchen, so this has been life changing for me.  My little boho kitchen is a joy to cook in now!  I swear my food even looks prettier in here.

So what do ya'll think? If you have any questions about the tile decals or applying them, please don't hesitate to ask in the comments.  If you order them, I'd love to hear about your experience too!

You can check out Bleucoin's premium line of wall/tile decals Here.

*Update! Check out my latest project using more of these Bleucoin tiles. This time on my fireplace

And don't forget to follow GypsyYaya on Instagram,  Facebook,  Pinterest & Bloglovin to stay up to date on my latest projects and inspiration!

xoxo-Andrea

2/05/2015

Romanian Textiles

Rose embroidery, rose rug/textiles

As usual I have a touch of the traveling bug. It's been a couple months since we went on our last adventure and cold days cooped up inside are aggravating the situation. To fulfill my thirst I've been doing some internet travel stalking and it has been taking me to Europe a lot lately. Though I don't see a plane ride of that length in my near future, I am becoming bewitched by the stunning landscapes and charming villages of Romania, Croatia, Poland and surrounding countries. In particular I'm digging the local art scene. The bold and beautiful Romanian textiles above all.
Many of the rural communities there are like taking a step back in time. The homes often look like something out of a fairy tale. Furnishings and homes are still handcrafted with care. Color is no stranger, in some cases every single available surface is adorned in some artful way. In my searches I came upon this quote on the subject of traditional Romanian arts and crafts~

“What is that impulse, that irresistible force which will not let the peasant rest content with the merely useful, but drives him to seek the best proportioned and most harmonious forms that appeal to the eye by color and line, are pleasant to the touch and produce that rare sense of contentment, poise of mind and joy which characterize aesthetic enjoyment?  (Peasant Art in Romania, by George Oprescu, 1929)

What Indeed?
Geometric/Rose Rugs & Textiles

Textiles being a favorite subject of mine, these interiors are flooding me with inspiration. Romanian woman are accomplished weavers, some weaving their signature patterns from threads they spun themselves; hand dyed from the wool of the sheep on their own farm. The patterns and colors used are specific to particular families and regions, none exactly alike. In many homes, every single available piece of cloth has been embroidered with vibrant patterns. Pillowcases, tablecloths, towels and bedspreads are openly displayed so that visitors may enjoy them.

Romanian Embroidery

Traditional Romanian Home & Textile Display

The nearly neon tapestry used on the rugs and floors are my favorite. The rose being my signature stamp, I especially gravitate to the pieces with the giant rose patterns. I love how some of them have a somewhat pixelated and graphic nature to them. Romania has officially taken up residence as my new favorite region for folkart. What about you? Do you have a favorite of your own?

*On the subject of roses, I think I will follow up with some posts of the romantic nature until V-Day hits. I've got a DIY for you, some amazing chocolate treat recipes and some general pink and red and love all over themed thangs to share with ya'll.

** When I say love, I don't just mean in the Valentines Day, greeting card corny couple type love. I mean just LOVE in general. Self love  {we all need more of that},  baby/kiddo love,  Mamma love,  BFF love,   puppy love,  Mother Earth love.  Whatever love.  Just Love.  Ya feel me?


xoxo-Andrea