Visiting Cuba!

pat and i recently had an opportunity to visit CUBA.  what a magical experience and one of the best... it was familiar in one sense (think the caribbean islands meets new orleans) and also a complete throwback.  

HAVANA was once a great and exciting city, you can see it in the architecture, the stores, hotels, etc.  it is almost eery how it appears to be a ghost town full of people. it's really rather hard to explain.  i often hear people say, you must go before it all changes and change it will be i have a feeling it will be quite some time.  the complete infrastructure must be rebuilt.  but we'll see... 

this short video clip will give you a sense of what HAVANA is like today.  no...this is not a movie set this video was taken a few blocks away from the capitol building in DECEMBER of 2015:

some quick tips for you if you're considering going are:

  • bring a lot of cash - as a culture we are so use to using our credit cards that we do not realize the amount of money that one needs/wants on vacation.  we were told to bring $100/day each...not nearly enough.  almost everyone you have contact with should be tipped, there are a lot of great things to purchase (authentic pieces) and cigars, rum and coffee of good quality are not inexpensive.
  • wear appropriate clothing -weather is very tropical, we went in december but it was very warm and humid, i would not want to be there in the summer.  winter is perfect. make sure you wear good walking shoes, roads and walks are generally rugged.
  • crime is very manageable - most of the time you are very safe.  if you use common sense procedures and are aware you should not have any issues.

our hotel, hotel quinta avenida habana was a bit out of the center of town but near an exclusive area called miramar. although classified as a 5 star hotel it was probably a bit more equivalent to a 3 stars in the u.s.  there wasn't much to complain about everything worked fine - a/c, toilets, showers, etc (don't laugh this can be an "iffy" situation at best in cuba). as you will see below our attendants tried to get fancy with out pool towels. the guy at the bar was quite prolific with the foam on our cappucino's also.  

and what would be a visit to havana without first stopping at the rum, cigar and coffee shop?  cost of rum, coffee and cigars were not inexpensive at this little shop, but there was a lot of it!

we were visiting as a group that accompanied  k-jazz  and jose rizo's mangorama as they participated in the 31st annual HAVANA jazz festival, so of course our itinerary was packed with music, music along with all art seems to be the heart of CUBA.  we visited the rehearsals of some great dancers.  the first was irene rodriquez company

click here to see her dance and here for slo-mo!

 we also went to see a bit of afro cuban dancing at the Folklorico Nacional de Cuba private rehearsal. afro cuban based dance is always done with live music and is steeped in afro cuban and santeria history and practice. we went behind the scenes and witnessed this extraordinary ensemble of afro cuban folkoric music and dance. they have been active for 35 years and have done 93 international tours.

see some live dance here for the ladies and here for the guys

the food in CUBA was exceptional, which was a bit of a surprise, although we had beans, rice and fried plantains at every meals there was plenty of variety.  we ate exclusively at paladar's.  this term is used in CUBA to define restaurants that are family-run businesses and often times are within or as an expansion of their home. they are operated by self employers, which is a relatively new concept to the cubans.  the paladars that we visited over our 8 day trip gave us close interaction with cuban culture and wonderful homemade cuban food.  the counterpart to this are state run restaurants which we did not experience (but i hear we didn't miss anything).

some paladars not as fancy as others.  

since we were there for the jazz festival you can bet we heard some great music, and great bands and of course there was plenty of dancing!

the art and architecture of the city of HAVANA was amazing.  

the architecture had a big range, from the traditions of the united states (as in their capital building) to the influence of the french, spainish and moors.  

especially fascinating was the use of wrought iron and block.  i would love to have a coffee table book of just the wrought iron designs.  it was very interesting and seemed to have been a form of architectural delineation from one house to the next.

since i've rambled on enough in this post, i'll show some of the architecture, art, great vintage cars, country side and political work in the next post.

Freshening Your Home With a Touch of MCM!

  This streamlined style from the 1950s and 1960s is new again! Want a touch of the Mad Men era in your home? Just add one or two mid-century chairs!  Mid-century design, also called mid-century modern, is more than 50 years old, yet it’s experiencing a renaissance today. That’s because this design style is timeless and distinctive. And although mid-century chairs add a modern touch, they go with most any other design style. They add a focal point to a room and are truly comfortable and functional.  Mid-century chairs are characterized mostly by straight lines without ornamentation, and are often accented with a few graceful curves. Mid-century chairs combine expert craftsmanship with industrial design and manufacturing. They’re constructed from metal, wood, fiberglass, plastic and sometimes leather and fabric. They come in almost any color, but tend to be in black, white and tan. You can also go wild with 1960s colors such as harvest gold and avocado.  You don’t have to change your decorating style to add a couple of mid-century chairs. Celebrate “less is more” with the beautiful lines and curves of a mid-century chair or two. Purchase true vintage mid-century chairs or buy re-creations of classic mid-century pieces from modmood.  While you're updating your home consider adding some beautiful window coverings from HunterDouglas, they have some beautiful modern window coverings and modmood is offering free installation through December.

 

This streamlined style from the 1950s and 1960s is new again!

Want a touch of the Mad Men era in your home? Just add one or two mid-century chairs! 

Mid-century design, also called mid-century modern, is more than 50 years old, yet it’s experiencing a renaissance today. That’s because this design style is timeless and distinctive. And although mid-century chairs add a modern touch, they go with most any other design style. They add a focal point to a room and are truly comfortable and functional. 

Mid-century chairs are characterized mostly by straight lines without ornamentation, and are often accented with a few graceful curves. Mid-century chairs combine expert craftsmanship with industrial design and manufacturing. They’re constructed from metal, wood, fiberglass, plastic and sometimes leather and fabric. They come in almost any color, but tend to be in black, white and tan. You can also go wild with 1960s colors such as harvest gold and avocado. 

You don’t have to change your decorating style to add a couple of mid-century chairs. Celebrate “less is more” with the beautiful lines and curves of a mid-century chair or two.

Purchase true vintage mid-century chairs or buy re-creations of classic mid-century pieces from modmood.  While you're updating your home consider adding some beautiful window coverings from HunterDouglas, they have some beautiful modern window coverings and modmood is offering free installation through December.

2016 Sherwin Williams Color Forecast

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recently modmood was invited to the sherwin williams 2016 color forecast event held at the denver art museum.  exceptionally done and inspiring we would like to give you a recap of the presentation and soon, examples of each grouping from some of the unique products available at modmood.  color consults from modmood are available to help pick those perfect colors that will create a beautiful home environment.

PURA VIDA

PURA VIDA

pura vida: "the elements that remind us to live well, be well and stay well are vital to creating spaces to unplug.  natural materials: honed and sheer.  ancient alabaster and marble hues.  warmer grays turning to s\khaki and blushed neutrals.  new therapies draw us to the color of nomadic sand baths and holistic massage rooms.  we're awakening from the recession, hungry for a new orderliness, ready to feed the spirit, make memories and savor the moment"

MAS AMOR POR FAVOR

MAS AMOR POR FAVOR

mas amor por favor:  "meaningful change begins locally.  driven by social engagements as much as social media, we're coming together to rediscover the pleasures of intimate gatherings, garden parties, personalized outdoor weddings - along with playful indulgences like champagne towers and vintage florals.  multifamily living is back, and this palette connects across generations:  dashing greens and cheeky pinks with a flower power that as crisply modern as it is soulfully vintage."

NOUVEAU NARRATIVE

NOUVEAU NARRATIVE

nouveau narrative:  our new industrial evolution may be small batch, but it's built to last.  authentic 20th-century machinery is being dusted off and reconditioned as north american manufacturing reemerges int he form of a new maker movement.  looking to the past to inspire our future dreamers and doers craft new aesthetics collaged from the pages of history books.  thing rugged determination, olive and denim, dusky wools and brass buttons glinting in the sunlight

TRAJECTORY

TRAJECTORY

trajectory:  "technology's pace has us living in a constant state of wonder.  the boundaries between art, science, and commerce continue to blur as increasingly powerful computer chips and extreme materials combine to expand the possible.  3D printers, augmented reality, drones, interiors that adapt to our bodies.  apps and sensors make everyday chores feel frictionless.  the future keeps arriving, in icy blues, shimmering pewter, sophisticated plums, and more mysterious hues in stunning glass finishes."

stay tuned for exciting coordinating products from modmood!

clutter be gone!

as found in the home and lifestyle column in the NEIGHBORHOOD GAZETTE

 

CLUTTER BY GONE!

 

March 20th marks the official beginning of Spring, this means spring cleaning is just around the corner.  As part of the spring cleaning ritual I’m suggesting that we become more organized and do some decluttering that will benefit our productivity, energy level as well as our pocket-book.

 

Most of our lifestyles do not mimic a living standard that looks like a model home or one of those pristine photographs in a magazine, and each persons acceptable level of clutter can vary, but with a few organization tips and taking a bit of action we can eliminate some of the negative impact clutter has on us all. 

 

There are many positive benefits achieved by decreasing clutter.  It can increase your free time by decreasing the amount of time spent cleaning,  provide more useable space by eliminating unnecessary objects.  Reducing clutter can make you more productive, increase your level of concentration, give you peace of mind, elevate your mood and even help you relax.   It has been known to lessen discord in the home as one scrambles to find certain things and it could even increase your inclination to entertain.  Freeing up space and decluttering can actually help you breathe better.

 

If those benefits aren’t enough reducing clutter can also be very profitable as you decide what to do with unnecessary items.  Revenue can be generated by doing a yard/garage sale or for the more electronically savvy placing them on the internet through eBay or Craig’s List.  For those of you who don’t want to actually do the work yourself there are many consignment shops that will share the profit or you can provide those items to non-profits as a donation.

 

A quick and easy way to organize is to have on-going boxes (or in my case piles): things to keep that don’t have a “place”, things to store, those items not used but you want to keep, things to consign or donate and things to throw away.  Keep in mind, if you don’t need it or love it, consider getting rid of it.


If you place those things together as you go through the week and then take a few minutes each week or even monthly to take care of them the task may not seem so daunting.  First find a permanent place for items that need to be kept such as a dish for the keys near the door, or baskets for the kids toys, wrap and box things to be stored, take to the consignment shop or donations center things to be rid of and toss the others on trash day, you should have your home decluttered in no time.


Happy Decluttering!

just arrived!

cool new pieces have just arrived from Yosemite Home Decor.  we've been looking at their catalog for awhile and talking with their rep but at the vegas show we found some things that we just didn't want to live without.  these mix well with many decors; of course industrial, they look great with modern and mountain and even a piece here and there look great with a more traditional setting.  check out their website: 

http://www.yosemitehomedecor.com/furniture

your home is a mirror

as seen in the december issue of the neighborhood gazette.

yes, it is december and for both the christian and jewish cultures this is a time of great celebration. but I’ve been thinking as I look around at the homes and their holiday decorations, which generally reflect one’s spiritual beliefs: does our everyday home – the one we live in all the other times of the year – reflect our lifestyle and who we are today?

my job requires spending time in people’s homes. it’s fascinating the vast array of environments I have the opportunity to explore. As a home stylist I believe that a glimpse into your home should reveal a lot about you, your lifestyle, attitudes, feelings and values. take a moment and look at your home. does it reflect who you and/or your family is or have you gotten stuck?

wheat ridge real estate has been the beneficiary of professionals who loved living in lofts, high-rises or single-family homes with small yards and now have one or two children and need a home to accommodate that change of lifestyle.

you could be one of those guys, gals or even couples who have continued to live as though you are still in college with a hodgepodge of hand-me-down furniture and would like to revamp your space from a frat house to a home that reflects your new station in life.

maybe you are an empty nester that has given your life and home to your children and now can make some changes and return your home back into an adult living space. something that seems peculiar to me is the value that people put on their home furnishings.

keep in mind, I believe that quality is important and investments into essential pieces are important. i’ve seen those who do not bat an eye to spend tens of thousand on a car or thousands on a television. but they do not want to spend more than what it would cost to eat out at a fast food restaurant once a week for a year when it comes to buying a sofa, on which they will sit every day, snuggle with loved ones, entertain friends and spend quality time with their family.

i read once that what one has on their bookshelf is a reflection of who they are. ssince that time I’ve stopped at times to review my bookshelves to make sure that I am being true to myself. let’s take the time as we move into 2015 to look at our homes as a mirror to see if it is true reflection of our lifestyle, attitudes, feelings and values, and if not make changes as needed. need help? there are professionals that can get your home cleaned, organized, decorated and furnished. professionals that can help you haul away that excess baggage that is cramping you and not allowing you to live daily in an environment that reflects who you want to be.

let 2015 be the year that your home becomes a true reflection of you!