life

Seville Part 2: the Alcazar

This post is part of a multi-part series on my recent trip to Spain and Morocco. You can read other posts here and here.  Thanks for following along!

Moorish Tile Patterns at the Alcazar

Entering the Alcazar was like stepping centuries back into a beautiful moment in time.  A time when craftsmanship was everything, and every detail was constructed with intention and purpose. A time when beauty was valued, so much so, that constructing a building was a lifetime process.

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What’s pretty ironic is that I just stumbled upon this place, not knowing just how significant it was.  I was completely oblivious to the fact that the Game of Thrones was filmed there. Or that it is still a residence for Kings to this very day.  All this I learned later after we had left Sevilla.  If you remember from my Malaga post, this whole Spain thing was the most unplanned trip I’ve ever done. I did minimal research, so whatever we explored was pretty much by chance.

We hit the Alcazar at the end of our day, about an hour before closing time, after the lines had subsided. One of the first things that caught my eye was the tile.  It was the perfect combination of Spanish and  Moroccan details. Southern Spain is known for its Moorish architecture.  Being located so close to Morocco you can definitely see the Islamic influence and style.

Tilework, Moorish Influence at the Alcazar, Seville, Spain - Vim & Vintage

The palace was the equivalent of a human size maze. Each room was a completely new color palette with surprises waiting.  I pretty much spent the entire time obsessing over the tile patterns.  Although, the door and ceiling details were equally as mind-blowing.

Favorite Ceiling in the Alcazar - Vim & Vintage Blog

This was my favorite room in the whole palace. I struggled to get the perfect shot for a while. With it being so close to closing time, I kept waiting for everybody to get out of my photo.  It was kinda funny because I kept getting irritated that inevitably someone would walk across while I was trying to snap the photo.  Like I own the place. The photo below is the best one I took – with just one shadowy figure in the doorway.  I may photoshop them out.  Clearly, it still bothers me.

Alcazar in Seville,Spain - Vim & Vintage Blog

My favorite exterior space was the courtyard.  Those arches and the relief patterns…*sigh*.  The experience was just so beautiful. I could have spent all night here. I’m pretty sure we were probably one of the last few to leave.

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No palace is complete without a ridiculously maintained garden area.

Alcazar WallsAlcazar Gardens

The outside of the building kind of had this tie-dye effect, which I totally fell in love with.

Tie Dye Building! - Vim & Vintage

I’ll leave you with this view of the ivy and a bench. Because I mean, just how cute is this??

Ivy & Bench - Vim + Vintage Blog

Is Spain on your travel bucket list? If not, it should be!  It never was on mine but now I’m just dreaming of the day I can go back.

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checking off that bucket list

Since the last time I’ve posted (about a month ago), I’ve been in 4 different countries.

I started off April with a spontaneous trip to Mexico, came back to the US for less than 48 hours, then left for the last minute and highly unplanned trip to Spain & Morocco.  Going to Europe has been on my bucket list for the better chunk of my life, so to finally be able to check that one off was a phenomenal feeling. And Africa too?! I still can’t believe it. What’s equally as incredible is how all of this came together in such a short period of time.

sevilla

I’ve always been fascinated by the “just book a ticket” mentality.  When I was younger, I used to have a pretty fierce spontaneous side, but over the years that has been replaced by my more rational, responsible side.  So just randomly booking a ticket to Europe about 11 days out with no real plan was, umm, just slightly out of the comfort zone.  But now I know why they say you don’t really live until you push yourself outside of it.  I felt more alive than I have in probably months, maybe even years.  It’s like I went from one euphoric experience to another. No, I didn’t do plethora of drugs. I’m talking just being completely high on life.  That’s the feeling you get when you put all other thoughts aside and do what’s best for your soul.

quit your job, buy a ticket - island company.jpgThe perfect analogy I have for making the trip is in reference to my love of breakfast tacos.  When I moved to Texas and had my first breakfast taco, I was so blown away by the amazingness that just hit my taste buds, all I could think was, “How did I go my entire life not experiencing this?!”  And that’s exactly how I feel about Europe, times like 10.  It’s that feeling of instant unexpected satisfaction, where something you knew would be great was even better than you could have imagined. As soon as I stepped foot out of the train in Jerez, Spain and looked around at the amazing tile-work at the station, all I could think is, “Why haven’t I did this sooner?”  In this life our biggest regrets come from the things we didn’t do, and wished we had.

train station jerez de la frontera

I have so many pictures and memories from the trip, but perhaps the insight gained from the whole experience has been the most rewarding.  While I was there, I felt so removed from my daily life, and I loved it. Travel has this way of helping me clear my head, and I had so many revelations being able to view my own life from the outside.  I can’t wait to share everything I’ve learned, observed, and experienced.  I will be doing a series of travel posts, highlighting each place I visited.  I just can’t wait to show you how amazing it all is, maybe it will encourage you to book that ticket to your dream destination too. 🙂  Now is the time.

 

my heart is in Spain

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Some of you may have wondered if/when I was going to return to this blog. I have also wondered that too lately. There’s so many thoughts and ideas that pop into my head, but I never make the time to just sit and write anymore.  For the better part of my life, I would journal each day. It’s like a lost art to me now.

As my intention for this blog has always been to create a forum for self-expression with life, design & creativity, I tend to want to avoid super-personal posts. Well, this is one of those I’ve avoided for awhile now.

You know how every once in awhile you begin to feel like you have it together – that you have a plan formulated, goals to achieve, and a path to follow – and then Life comes in pulls the tablecloth out from under you? Well that happened to me back in January.

I started the new year making a list of goals:

  • Self discovery
  • Slowing down and embracing the moment
  • Living each day fully present
  • Read a book each month
  • Give freely
  • Go to Europe
  • Follow my dreams

It all sounds good, right? It totally is. And I know I’m destined to do each of these things. I just wasn’t prepared for the means to get there.  Let me explain.

On Martin Luther King Day, I got an email from Nate telling me about a work trip he was approached with and to give him a call at work. He never wants to talk on the phone at work. Really he can’t even bring his cell phone into his workplace.  He got news that morning that he could sign up to travel across Europe for his job. For up to 6 months. And oh, by the way, they would like to leave in the next few weeks. Gulp.  I felt like I had instantly gotten sucker-punched. I don’t deal well with change and this wasn’t exactly part of the plan for this year. He told me I had veto power on the decision, but they needed an answer pretty quickly. I asked him what he wanted to do. He said, “I think it’s the trip of a lifetime. I want to go.” And so I said, “Then that’s what I want you to do”.

The thoughts that followed over the next hours and days fell into pretty much every emotion category. Sadness. Excitement. Fear. Anxiety. Worry. Awe. There were moments I’d think: “Wahhhh. What about ME??” Then the next day was like, “Wow, what an amazing opportunity for you! I’m just so happy for you.” Yup. All over the place.

After saying goodbye became a reality, flashbacks of 2009-2010 entered my mind. Straight back to that time when he had just gotten back from his last tour in Iraq. Anyone who knows our story knows about the 2 year time period of us being apart while I was at college at Michigan State and he was in Florida in the Air Force from 2006-2008. And then us finally being in the same spot again and him getting deployed to Iraq in 2009. His re-enlistment was up in 2010 and he wasn’t staying in the military, so all I could think about was how we’d NEVER have to do the long distance thing ever again! Hooray!  Well, HA, the irony. Never say never.

He left four weeks ago today.

I haven’t wanted to disclose that to the world. Really, just my close friends and family know. I guess I didn’t want people to know I was alone. Furthermore, I didn’t want people to feel like they have to do anything out of the ordinary for me. It’s kinda crazy how reserved I’ve become in comparison to the very open person I once was.

I think that’s about to change though. I’m going to make the time to start blogging again. Writing and sharing ideas is something I really do enjoy, so I owe it to myself to do it. I’ll also share the journey with you. That way I won’t feel so alone, right?  Plus you can see all the phenomenal places Nate’s visiting.  And of course all the super cool things I’m doing with my life too ;).

Here’s to a life changing year of personal growth!

xo

 

 

 

thursday thoughts: the psychology of design

Being a designer is my dream career field. When I tell people I’m a designer, I usually get one of a few similar reactions:

“Oh that sounds so fun!”  (It can be, but it is also hard work.)

“You can come help me pick paint colors!”  (Great. Sounds like a plan. But don’t forget we do soooo much more than just that.)

“Your home must be AMAZING!”  (Being a designer does not mean my house is automatically amazing just by default.  To have a beautiful home, you must have the money and time – you are lucky if you have both.)

Sure we are creatives and project managers.  But we are also a bit like therapists.  Clients come to us because they want guidance, advice, and/or reassurance.  They have a problem they are unable to solve on their own.  Or maybe they just want to talk it out. They have a list of wants and needs and are hiring us to fulfill them.  (No pressure, right?)  It is up to us as designers to decipher these conversations and ideas into tangible results.  And how does one do that?

The secret to success of being a designer is to “get” our clients. To truly understand them and deliver a design they never thought possible.  We must listen to what they say, and what they don’t say.  Give them a beautiful space or home that is also functional and reflection of their life and what they love.

You can see why I say I have a dream job.

This quote by Barry Dixon is what inspired today’s post:

Barry Dixon Quote

Hope everyone has a great day!  If you are a designer, take a moment to realize how amazing your job is.  For everyone else, be true to yourself and make your home a reflection of you.  Fill it with things you love and that bring you joy. If you need help with that, hire me.  🙂

xo.