Link Goodies #6

1) For someone who uses Airbnb for almost all of their home stay's while traveling, I really liked this list of 27 Amazing Airbnb locations in Europe.  A lot of these are really cool, some are just plain weird.
2) Attention self professed introverts or extroverts. Apparently, your brains are indeed wired differently
3) I used to hate the idea of haggling at a flea market or other market.  It just felt awkward to me.  But now that I've been to so many flea markets, it's second nature and it's expected most of the time.  I love it now.  Here are some tips on haggling for introverts.  Also I've written some tips myself.
4) The top 25 cities you should visit in your lifetime.  I've been to 6/25.
5) I thought this was an interesting display of polar opposites in  lifestyles.  The article is called, "Do You Think these People were Created Equal?"

6) 21 Celebrities Who You Didn't Know Voiced your Favorite Cartoons.  Plus I recently found out that Pamela Adlon who plays in two of my favorite shows, Louie and Californication, is like a huge voice actor too.  She's done everything from Bobby Hill in King of the hill to Spinelli in Recess to Milo in the Oblongs.  The list goes on.

7) Etsy Love. Loving all sorts of hanging succulent planters.

8) Frenchie Fix. This is so stupid, but I couldn't stop laughing. 

9) Sign me up for this please.

What has been going viral in your world?
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The Dedicated House (Make it Pretty Monday)

Colorful and Fun Outdoor Furniture by Fermob USA

It's officially summer and I am in the mood for barbecues and hanging out in the backyard.  For my next Furniture Fashion article, I talk about the colorful outdoor furniture by Fermob USA.  Take a look!
outdoor furniture by Fermob USA

Barcelona Part Dos

La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia!  Isn't it beautiful?!  After walking and walking and walking, I turned the corner and there it was.  It was definitely worth the walk.  The last two days of my trip to Barcelona were filled with more Antoni Gaudi.  I looked at a map and saw that I could easily walked past La Rambla and head towards Casa Batllo which is a building redesigned with balconies that look like skulls.  His works are modernist and also take on several other period aspects like Art Noveau, Baroque, and Gothic.  Casa Batllo also has a museum inside but we skipped it.

Next, we headed only a few blocks up the street to see Casa Mila or La Pedrera. It's a UNESCO World Heritage Sight and features an interesting fascade made of stone.  There is also a museum inside this one and you can walk on the top of the building.  Unfortunately, as you can see in the picture below that the building was under construction and the outside was covered by a huge sign. 

Next, we walked towards the thing I was most excited about seeing in Barcelona; La Sagrada Familia.  It's quite a walk from La Pedrera but it's doable.  It's another UNESCO World Heritage Sight and it is still not finished to this day.  As you can see, it was still under construction and won't be finished until maybe 30 years from now.  It's a unique example of a blending of Gothic and Art Noveau styles.  Though I really wanted to go inside, the line was way too long but I regret not going in.  I'd suggest booking your tickets in advance to make your life a lot easier.

From here, I wanted to head to the Park Guell which is another one of Gaudi's amazing designs, but it is probably best to get there by taxi and we didn't have the time. 

I explained in Barcelona Part Uno, how I wasn't  impressed with the beach in downtown Barcelona because it was way too crowded.  We finally were able to head to a beach that was about 20 minutes outside of Barcelona by train, called Montgat Nord. You can find some info on how to easily navitage the train to this beach hereAny of these beaches on the blue line are going to be better and less crowded.  Though they were less crowded, I have to say that I don't think this beach was as beautiful as say Dubrovnik or Corfu.  Maybe I just didn't get further enough outside of the city?  Also, even outside of the city there were still people trying to sell us stuff.

Though the metro was relatively easy to navigate, we did have a bad experience with an ATTEMPT at pickpocketing.  I've never been a victim of pickpocketing in all of my travels around Europe and I've read so much about it being a problem in Barcelona.  Beware! My mother and aunt and I were in line to get on the metro and my mother started screaming at a women next to her.  I turned around to see what was going on and she was yelling that the lady next to her had tried to put her hand in her purse.  She yelled in both English and Spanish so everyone could know to watch out for her.  The lady just looked at my mom like she had done nothing wrong but then walked quickly to get out of the metro.  I can't believe that my mom almost got pickpocketed but I'm pretty proud that she caught the lady and embarrased her or at least scared her away.  She definitely messed with the wrong lady.

I told you how the food at La Boqueria was amazing.  Well, I couldn't leave Barcelona without trying paella and sangria.  The sangria was great at every place we tried it and the paella which is a mixture of rice and commonly seafood, was amazing.  OMG this was the best thing I ate in Barcelona! As well as all of the tapas I enjoyed.

I couldn't leave Spain without going to a Flamenco show.  I explained during my trip to southern Spain last month that I didn't get to go to one.  Even though Flamenco is traditionally an artform from southern Spain, you can still see a great show in Barcelona.  We caught a show right at a place on La Rambla called Tablao Cordobes.  If there is one thing you do in Spain, make sure you get to a Flamenco show.  It was moving.  For me, it seemed to be a mixture of tap dancing and interpretive dance.  Dancers do a lot of improv based on what the live musicians are playing.  The dancers were amazing and they dance with so much emotion.  I always had an image in my head of what I thought Flamenco was like but you really need to see a live show to get the true experience.La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia
Casa Batllo
Casa Batllo
La Pedrera
Casa Mila, La Pedrera
Montgat Nord Beach
Montgat Nord Beach

To recap, if I had to pick 10 things to do while in Barcelona I'd suggest this:

10 Things to Do in Barcelona:

1) See a Flamenco Show
2) Walk La Rambla
3) Try several foods in La Boqueria
4) Hear the musicians in the Bari Gotic
5) Visit as many Gaudi sights as you can
6) Find a beach outside of Barcelona and relax
7) Find a good restaurant to try paella
8) Drink Sangria from several different places
9) Go shopping!
10) Go dancing!

What would you do in  Barcelona?
And if you missed it, here's Barcelona Part Uno

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Travel Tuesday

My Favorite Vintage Statement Chair with a Modern Twist

vintage chair with modern twist
blue french chair

As most of my readers know, I love to travel and on many of my travels I fit in a flea market or a trip to a local antique store.  Though I have a lot of antique and vintage items in my home, to be honest, the homes that I love to see in magazines and on other blogs aren't just full of antique furniture.  The designs I admire are a mixture of vintage and modern style.

My favorite chair that I own is this French style vintage chair I found in Metz, France.  It's reupholstered with a deep blue fabric and I love the contrast of color with the wood.  In true modvintage style, I love making over the look of this chair with modern elements.  Something as simple as a throw or pillow can bring a piece like this into the 21st century.

The design of the pillow case doesn't have to match perfectly.  The idea is to merge two different styles and the key is to keep everything else relatively simple.

Furniture and chairs have changed and evolved over time, but it remains that furniture is an essential part of our homes.  It's interesting to see just what styles where popular in the past and what styles are popular now.  I love taking a peek into history through furniture and chairs are probably my favorite piece of furniture.

One King's Lane has an awesome guide on the evolution of the chair.  Check out their Complete Guide to Modern Chairs if you want to learn more about different styles.  It's a fabulous resource for those wanting to see the evolution of the modern chair.

Do you have a favorite chair in your home?

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Barcelona Part Uno

Barcelona pier
Barcelona, Spain was a dream destination of mine and I have only heard great things about it, specifically the food!  Omgoodness the food!  I had yet another chance to practice my Spanish while in this lively city and I got to spend time with my mother and aunt who were visiting for a couple of weeks.  While they do speak Spanish in Barcelona obviously, they also speak Catalan which on first impression sounds like a mixture of Spanish and French and has a noticible "th" sound in words where a "C" would go.  So "gracias" is pronounced like "grathias" by many Catalonians.  We got an Airbnb hotel right downtown near La Rambla and had a great experience.  Being right in the thick of things, it was very noisy at night, but a few days there was great.  
There is a lot to do and although there were beaches, I wouldn't consider it a relaxing place.  It is the sixth largest city in the EU and is a bustling city checked with Antoni Gaudi influences, amazing food, architecture, and history.
First thing I explored was La Rambla or the main strip in the center of the city.  This is where all the action is and in the beginning of June it was full of tourists and very crowded.  Though I walked in this area every day of my four day trip in Barcelona, I didn't enjoy this touristy area because it was so crowded, but it is a place you have to see in Barcelona.  
Right off of La Rambla is probably my favorite place in Barcelona, La Boqueria.  This is a food market with everything from smoked sausages, to machego cheese, to fresh veggies, fried seafood, and fresh juices.  I loved the fresh juices and I had one every morning for breakfast. 
Go a little further past La Rambla and you can find the the Bari Gotic which is the old Gothic area of Barcelona.  It's not too big but worth a look. We found some amazing musicians playing some of their music.  Also near this area is the shopping.  Barcelona has great shopping.  I found lots of great shoes and clothes.  You could spend all day shopping.
In this same general area is the Barcelona Cathedral and on a Monday we happened upon a little antique market where I purchase a Solar Clock which I thought was beautiful. 
I can't talk about Barcelona without talking about the tapas.  You can find them everywhere and they are little tastes of foods.  On this particular day we tried gazpacho, croquettes, cheeses, and salad.  Spain is on to something with tapas.  We did have a bad experience away from the touristy area where we found a cockroach in some of our bread, which just reminds me that if it's a place with no one else eating there, then don't go there.  This restaurant was way far off from the tourist area, I'm not saying only eat in the tourist area as some of the best food can be found off the beaten path but you are sure to find great food where lots of people are eating there.
If you are into architecture, Antoni Gaudi's works are king here.  Right off of La Rambla is a smaller museum of his works called Palau Guell.  The outside isn't impressive like his other works but the inside has some things worth seeing.  But if you don't have time, I'd say skip it.
If you walk far enough down La Rambla you'll reach the pier and from there you can keep walking towards the beach in Barcelona.  I did not enjoy my time at this beach.  It was extremely crowded and the scenery was just okay.  We only spend an hour or two there because of all the people.  If you want to go to a nice and less crowded beach in Barcelona you'll have to take the metro or taxi at least 20 minutes outside of the city.  I'll talk more about that in my next post!
la boqueria
la boqueria
la boqueria
la boqueria
barcelona la boqueria
barcelona pier
barcelona antiques
barcelona antique
solar clock

barcelona cathedral

barcelona tapas
palau guell

This explains my first two days in Barcelona.  Stay tuned for Barcelona Part Dos where I discover Flamenco and La Sagrada Familia!

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Travel Tuesday

My Swedish Mora Clock

Swedish Mora Clock

This month was my graduation ceremony for my Masters degree.  My mother and my aunt were able to see me walk and also stay here and branch out for some European travel.  I was able to come into contact with a women who had a huge shipment of authentic Swedish Mora clocks that she was selling at amazing prices coming from a dealer who finds the old clocks all over Sweden.  

Mora clocks were originally made by Swedish farming families in the late 18th century.  They were often made in pieces and given as customizable gifts for special occasions.  It wasn't unusual for these clocks to be painted several times throughout their lives.  I noticed the clock that I purchased started off with a red paint, and then white, and then it's current color, light green.  These paint jobs could have been done decades ago or over a century ago as the color preferences for these clocks when they were made were in pastel colors.  Much like today's popular paint colors.

As an antique enthusiast, I've wanted a Mora clock for a long time.  But because of the price range for a genuine clock being anywhere from $2000-$10000, I never really thought I would own one.  Maybe a good reproduction at the very least.  But when I found out about these clocks and saw the images she had posted, I figured I'd use the excuse of my graduation to go ahead and purchase one for myself.  I mean, when would I ever get this chance again I thought?  And because they were coming from a Swedish dealer, the prices were not wholesale.  I picked out the clock I wanted from quite a few choices and on the day of my graduation I went to Ramstein and picked it up.  
I was stunned when I saw the clock because in the picture I had it looked white, but it was actually a light shade of green.  I kind of liked the fact that it wasn't white and that it was a unique shade of light green.  It even goes better with my furniture.  The clock comes in five pieces; a body, a clock face, the head, the pendulum, and the weights.  What was interesting about this clock was the face.  It was a beautiful peuter color with only one hand.  We are unsure if the clock only ever had one hand or if it is missing the minute hand but nothing looks broken off.  The clock is signed by its maker Olaf Keick.  It was made in 1858.  The clock is not in working order as it was probably sitting in a Swedish family's barn for quite some time, but all the pieces for it to work are there and I need to research a clockmaker here in Germany to try to get it serviced. Many times these clocks are just used for decoration pieces.  
Mora Clock

Swedish Clock

Mora Clock
Swedish Mora Clock

I love this clock (haven't found the perfect spot for it yet) and I hope to keep it in my family for a long time.  If you've ever thought of making your Mora dreams comes true and you live in or near Germany just send me an email and perhaps I can point you in the right direction.  The dealer that I bought this from is always on the lookout and dealing with new shipments from Sweden quite often lately.
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Side Table Envy for your Modern Living Room

My latest contribution to Furniture Fashion is about a compilation of stunning side tables.  I love side tables because they can be single unique pieces of furniture or doubled for symmetrical purposes ranging from expensive to affordable.  Follow the link for the full article and images on some great side tables for your modern home.

Side Table Envy for your Modern Living Room

dipped side table
Also, I'm still on holiday in Barcelona, so don't forget to follow my Instagram to get live updates on my adventure!  

*Comments have been disabled for this post so you can comment on the original article. Thanks*

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Monthly Inspiration: Barcelona

barcelona inspiration
For the month of June I'm all about Barcelona inspiration.  Anything colorful and vibrant reminds me of Barcelona.  The reason I'm so excited about this colorful city is because I just arrived today and will be exploring for the next several days!  Follow along on my instagram for some Barcelona inspiration!
1) Red Cat Eye Sunglasses
These red cat eye sunglasses are begging for summer.
2) Mac Lipstick in Chili
I will wear red lipstick everyday I'm in Barcelona!
3) Beaded Hoop Earrings
These beaded hoop earrings would go great with the fringe bikini.
4) Geometric Clutch
A colorful clutch is a must for late nights out in Barcelona.
5) Fringe Bikini
I love these fringe bikinis.  I think they are so pretty and feminine.
6) Sephora Sun Safety Kit
The Sun Safety Kit is put out each year by Sephora and it benefits a great cause.  These babies were sold out online within hours but luckily my aunt snagged me one from one of the stores. 
7) Valentino Pumps
When I think of Barcelona, I think of sexy red heels.  Sure it's full of cobblestone but these are hot.
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5 Books You Should Read in Your 20's

5 Books You Should Read in Your 20's

Read During a Big Life Change (Good or Bad)

Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes by William Bridges

Transitions is a book I found as required reading in one of my graduate classes.  I'm glad I was able to discover this book because it's probably the most powerful one on the list.  In our 20's especially we are going through so many transitions from leaving our parent's houses to graduations to babies to marriages to loss of jobs and friends and even death and divorce.  This book makes sense of those transitions you are going through, good or bad.  Something about change makes us uneasy, even the good changes.

The book explains three major steps of transition; Endings, Neutral Zone, and New Beginnings.  First is the Ending.  Endings might sound negative, but they are really just beginnings in disguise. Everyone in a transition has the commonality that they are all ending something.  If you get fired, it's the end of your job. If you get married, it's the end of your single life.  Endings are new beginnings.

Next is the Neutral Zone where you are seeking solace and alone time to process your thoughts.  How long this step takes is different for each person but it's a very important step.  The book makes note that you must at some point move on from the Neutral Zone to enter the New Beginning.

New Beginnings. This is the final step of your transition where you may begin to realize that new doors are opening up for you and most of the time for the better.  You might have not reached this New Beginning had you never had your Ending.

This book is about embracing life for better or worse and it lets you know that if you work through the steps of transition whether you realize them or not, there is also going to be a New Beginning to look forward to.  That is quite comforting to me and I'll probably need to read this book again at some point.

The criticism of the book is that it may be a bit stuffy in some sections and it talks a lot about divorce which I haven't experienced at this point and some of the content might be more for people a little later in their lives but it's great to be aware of it now.

It's called a breakup because it's broken
Read to Get Over a Relationship that no Longer Works

It's Called a Breakup because it's Broken by Greg Behrendt & Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt

This book is similar to Transitions in that it shows you how to understand and let go of something, but it's more specific to breakups.  Breakups suck, but they are necessary in some instances.  This book will help you get over every loser guy/girl that you are sticking around with because you don't quite know how to let go.

It's called a breakup because it's broken.  Well it sounds so simple when you put it like that.  This book is from the same writers, a married team, that wrote He's Just Not That Into You.  I like this book because it's not some mushy archaic bullshit advice on how you should be living your life.  The writer is a comedian and the book is funny.  I don't have any criticisms about this book.  It will just make you feel better, even if you are the one doing the breaking up!

the bell jar
Read for a Cult Classic Kind of Mood
The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

The Bell Jar isn't a how to on anything and some of you may wonder why I'm even encouraging you to read such a depressing book.  It's a semi-autobiographical book by a poet I admire.  If you haven't discovered this book in your angsty teen years it's time to read it now.

Published in the 60's, the main character, Esther, is a writer moving to the big city who discovers she doesn't want her life to be mundane.  There are themes of female empowerment there when she feels like everyone in her life is pushing her towards this domestic lifestyle that she doesn't want for herself.

It also goes into the mind of someone with emotional issues as the author, Sylvia Plath, was famously known for ending her own life.  And there are a couple of shocking scenes in there that may scare virgins away from their first time. I won't spoil it if you haven't read it.  The criticism I'd give is that it is quite depressing, but I will say that even though I first read this book years ago, something keeps drawing me back.  Another good book this made me think of is Valley of the Dolls.

lean in
Read for Career Empowerment as a Female

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

This is another book that was required reading in one of my graduate classes.  This was my favorite book out of all of the required readings.  Mostly because it's such a good and fast read.  This book is actually really popular right now especially within the blog community as I've noticed Sheryl does a lot of conferences.

Sheryl is the COO of Facebook so she knows what she's talking about.  This is a full blown guide on women empowerment in the workplace and how the inequality between women and men needs to end.  One of the points that stuck with me were when she talks about how women undervalue themselves, especially when negotiating.  Men tend to over negotiate and women tend to under negotiate if they are negotiating at all. I thought that was so interesting and true.

She also isn't just saying every homemaker or new mother should leave their children.  She says that no one should pass judgement on another woman's decision to stay home, but that having a successful career and children is possible, you just need to figure out how to make it work for you.

The criticisms I have are that Lean In is very much a brand instead of a movement.  A lot of people love this book, but just as many people have given the book flac because Sheryl didn't start from the bottom and she was a hell of a lot more "privileged" than many of the people trying to "Lean In".  Though I understand where people are coming from, I don't believe you have to start from the bottom to be inspiring.  I really like her message and I agree with so many of the points she makes about women needing to stop holding themselves back.  Read it and make your own decision.

naturally thin
Read for Healthy Eating Tips (Not Dieting)

Naturally Thin by Bethenny Frankel

This book is great for those not looking for a diet or quick fix.  I can't tell you how many times I see people on Facebook talking about their diets knowing damn well that diets don't work.  A healthy lifestyle is what works.  I'm not a fan of The Real Housewives shows but I can identify with Bethenny's no nonsense and candid personality.  She's a healthy cook and she knows what she's talking about.

One of the most popular healthy eating books is Skinny Bitch.  I wanted to like that book, really, I did.  But I had no idea that it was a vegan guide book in disguise.  I didn't like the fact that the authors were judging me and yelling at me to become vegan.

Whatever type of eater you are, Bethenny isn't judging you, she's telling you how to live a healthy lifestyle.  She makes a  lot of great points like eat natural, not low fat and you don't have to deprive yourself, just don't go overboard.  Pretty common sense stuff actually.

My only criticism is that sometimes you just want to throw the book out of a window and eat a friggen brownie, like a whole brownie, not a few bites which she would suggest.

 I'd like to know your thoughts if you've read any of these book and also what books you think should be read in your 20's?