Very Roger Sterling a la’ Mad Men. Ohh, Hotel SAX.. Probably our favourite hotel during our three week trip around the globe. Yeah, you heard that right. 3 weeks, 11 flights, Milan, Amsterdam, Prague and Thailand. Boom.
Prague, is beautiful. Had the weather been a few degrees warmer, I may have loved it more- but even so- I often take mini mind vacations back to those cobble stone roads, breathing in the fresh air, crossing the giant bridge to town, hiking up to the top of the entire city just to relax and people watch. Ahh, Prague.
I still remember getting out of our shuttle at the hotel, racing up the stairs to see it in person. Every inch of this hotel was spectacular. It was honestly like hopping into a time machine! It’s crazy to go from scrolling images on your computer at home, to being THERE. The hotel is head to toe 50, 60’s and 70’s decor. With only 22 rooms, around every corner you will find restored vintage original furniture from some of the decades cutting edge designers, like Panton, Saarinen, Eames & Guzzini. Architecturally, the place is outstanding. From the middle floor you can peer down through a cluster of pendant lamps, into the dining and “tea” room. Yes, they serve afternoon tea daily.
We stayed in a HUGE bedroom with a giant orange patterned print on the walls and an interesting green circle headboard. The room had big windows with sheers & curtains facing the hallway. This seriously happens to Bo and I ALL THE TIME, but it really seemed like we were the only people there. Maybe it is because we were travelling in a weird off season, but we hardly saw anyone our whole trip.
One really unreal feature in this space was the washroom! It had floor to ceiling RED tiles.
The hotel is also STEPS away from the city, it’s in a really fantastic location. One of Bo’s favourite memories was sipping coffee on the balcony in the morning looking out into a sea of red rooftops.
I’ve admitted once, and I’ll say it again.. I’ve got a Screen Grabbing problem. I just LOVE to save incredible images and scroll through them whenever I’m needing a spark of inspiration. Sometimes, every once in a while.. I’ll stumble upon a feed on Instagram that is quite literally gasp worthy. Every image sits with you JUST right and you’re overcome with a wave of feelings.. Awe, inspiration, shock, and even a little bit of envy. Since it would be a little bit ridiculous/impossible to screen grab their ENTIRE FEED… This is a series where I’ll be sharing those jaw-dropping Instagram feeds. Enjoy, a little bit of eye candy.
In Nov 2014, my boyfriend Bo and I did something pretty crazy..
I was at work, casually scrolling Facebook (Hey, I’m allowed to, it’s my job ;)).. and I saw a Facebook post for a “Mistake Airfare” .. An “Around the World” ticket on Priceline for $177.
The ticket was from New York-Milan.. and then a connecting flight a week later from Prague to Thailand.
I scoffed at it, obviously, there’s absolutely NO WAY that could be remotely true. I clicked through and started seeing screen grabs and people freaking out about how their bookings went through, and that it was legit.
So..here I am, at work, half way through my first coffee.. freaking the f*&^ out. IS this real life? Milan?? THAILAND? Thailand has literally been at the top of my “dream destinations” list since, forever. What should I do? I started looking at my calendar.. (This was in May.. I actually hadn’t taken a single vacation day for the year up until that point)..
But then the “realities” started coming to mind. You don’t have enough time! Are you really going to spend two days in each country? You’ll be spending the whole time in planes and on busses.. You want to fly across the world to Thailand for ONE week??
I actually got kind of jittery and was texting my boyfriend like a mad woman. So then I casually strolled over to my boss and said something along the lines of.. “If I wanted to take some time off in November, would that be cool?”.. To which he replied “Of course, you haven’t taken time off yet”.. probably not assuming I was about to book a pretty insane trip AROUND THE GLOBE less than 10 minutes later..
So I called Bo, and clearly he was on the fence. Is this legit? Can we get the time off? …Are you crazy? After refreshing the screen 55 times in two minutes I thought..
I typed in the dates that the blog post recommended- you needed a “secret formula” of dates to make the flight deal go through. As more and more people started to find out, the price was fluctuating. After playing around with the dates for a few minutes- BINGO.. $250.
I plugged in all our info, put in my credit card information.. and sat staring at the computer- my heart literally pounding..
Millions of thoughts were going through my head from logistics to being rational to … IT’S THAILAND AUTUMN, GO GO GO!
SO, I closed my eyes held my breath and pressed CONFIRM.. I think I actually let out a little peep scream from my office chair..
Then I breathed out and texted my boyfriend “Oops, I booked it”.
Moral of the story…Follow your heart. Be Spontaneous. Life is short. JUST GO.
PS: This flight mishap even made it into the news. We were so fast to jump on it that they had to honour our ticket. Pretty freaking awesome.
Wondering how our trip went? Well, we successfully traveled the entire circumference of the world in 13 days. We took 11 flights. We stayed in 5 hotels. We took too many shuttles to count. We made it work.
It was the best 13 days of my entire life, just saying. In two weeks we did everything from walk around in castles in Milan, partake in some questionable activities in Amsterdam ;), stay in an unbelievably cool 60’s design hotel in Prague, hand-feed monkeys in Thailand..and that is just the beginning of it.
Stay tuned for all the deets, I am planning to share posts from each trip. And if you’re looking for mega flight deals, here’s the secret Facebook group.
I love design. L-O-V-E love it. But I’ve been feeling kind of like a phony lately because I pin, and I aspire, and I dream about all of these unique, interesting, thoughtful spaces.. all while living in my mediocre basement apartment in a boring part of Toronto…
I’ve had this mentality of.. “Why put money/time/effort into it? You’re not staying here anyways.. Who cares, you’ll decorate nicely when you have your dream loft”.. (ha, lofty goals- literally). “This is temporary. Just wait until you have a real space.”
Well folks, I’ve been living in this “temporary” basement apartment for five years now. That doesn’t feel very temporary. And contrary to what my mind may tell itself- it is a real space. Not only that, is it MY real space, and I need to start treating it as so.
No, it’s never going to have sky high windows and an exposed ceiling.. but I gotta give it some cred. I’ve got a MASSIVE backyard and a full vegetable garden. (Which this year I vow not to neglect!). I’ve also had some great luck with planting beauuutiful flowers.
AND I’ve also got an amazing 85 year old landlord who sometimes cooks for me and my boyfriend.. Like Hello.. Show me a loft that gives you hugs and home-made spaghetti.
Anyways, since we’ve been here 5 years and we’re not really ready to give up fresh cucumbers all summer, I’ve decided that instead of fighting with my little space, I’m going to embrace it and be grateful for what I do have.. And you know, maybe just give it a little bit of a mini facelift. There are lots of small tweaks that I can make to my space that won’t cost an arm and a leg and will make it look and feel a little bit more like my lofty dreams.
The first step for me is going to be DE CLUTTERING.
My eyes are a lot bigger than my apartment.. let’s put it that way. Vintage furniture shopping is hands down my favourite recreational activity.. and anyone who shops vintage knows it’s kind of a sink or swim way to shop. If you see a matching set of velvet art deco lounge chairs for $80, chances are if you don’t buy them RIGHT NOW and cram them into your house, you’ll lose them forever.. and then you’ll live with the guilt of “the ones that got away” for the rest of your life.
How could I possibly let these beautiful chairs lead life without me?
While we’re on the topic of bragging about my greatest hits, check these out. Here’s some solid finds from a flea market in Hanover Ontario near my hometown Walkerton. Side note// I also picked up the credenza above there.. for $25.
I have a thing for brass boots. (This image doesn’t show their true size, they are bookends, they are close to the size of my feet..that means nothing, I have baby feet..but they are pretty damn awesome.)
And I also grabbed this set of vintage paintings of cowboys contemplating life in the dessert at a small second hand shop on the way to Toronto from my home town in Walkerton. If you look closely, it’s actually a paint by number.
The moral of the story here is that I have found out that it is really hard for me to me to look a sofa, or a credenza, or a teak chair in the eye and say “No.”
Usually I say.. “I’ll make room ..and I’ll bring you to my future new house where I will have lots of room”.. because it’s a dream land in my mind with beams of sunlight and giant exposed brick walls and airy open concept space where all my vintage furniture laugh happily together and tells stories about all the people that missed out on the opportunity to have them forever.
Actually, what usually happens is I get the furniture home (Usually in pretty unconventional fashions, like.. bringing it on the bus..Or hiring my boyfriend to chauffeur it in his bands murder van)..
BTW, in this case I was a little strapped for time, and was willing to take any means of transportation to get these babies home- if I were you, putting down something between your new furniture and the dirty floor of an old van is probably the way to go.
So usually I’ll trek my newly beloved furniture home, regardless of it’s shape or size.. and stuff it into my 1000 sq. foot basement apartment. It doesn’t fit. It never does. There’s no room in my apartment for MORE stuff. So what happens is I leave it there for a few months in an awkward manner.. something that looks SUPERB, like stacked in my bedroom ontop of a dresser.. or crammed in a hallway so you can’t walk through it. You know, places that embody the elements and principals of design without interrupting flow.
Then once it’s percolated in a weird spot in my apartment for a few months, I try to pawn it off onto my parents to “save for me”. (You know, for my future house).. So far, my Mom hasn’t minded THAT much, and has been sporadically spreading my art deco chairs allover the house.. but I think my Dad is starting to become aware of the influx of velvet sprinkled in every corner and I’ve got another credenza and an 8 foot tufted sofa that I have a feeling he may notice.
I haven’t really figured out an ending to this story yet, or this blog post… Basically, I am pairing down my things and it might mean parting ways with some of my treasured finds in the name of sanity and space. I’ll keep ya’ll posted.
Side note.. weird timing. I was listening to the Jess Lively podcast this morning, a usual routine- and on the show she mentioned the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up”.. which, ironically in every sense.. is a book that was given to me by a co-worker (am I really that bad??) and is currently stacked (and unopened)..among a pile of books, collages, art supplies and canvases in my ultra-clean room.
I think the universe is trying to tell me something.