photography

charm + inspiration in Sevilla

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

*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.  Over the next several weeks, I will be highlighting the different cities I visited along with travel tips.  I’m excited to share it all with you! Thanks for following along!*

After spending my first day in Europe in the beautiful city of Malaga, I went to bed excited because I knew when I woke up it was going to be another adventure.  I arose that Sunday minimally unaffected by jet lag and ready to hit Seville, or as it’s called in Spain, Sevilla.

We hopped in the car and began the 1.5 hour drive north. I was elated.  The rolling hills and lush fields on our drive were beautiful. Again, the Spanish countryside woo’ed me.

Spanish Countryside

I heard such great things about Sevilla. Nate fell in love with the city as it was the first place he explored in Spain. The minute we got into Sevilla I knew I was going to love it too.

Building Detail in Sevilla

It was a different feel than the beachy, upscale parts of Malaga. Sevilla is a place filled with history and old world charm.  A true Spanish city.  Magnificent architecture, flamenco dancing, and tapas define this iconic place. I couldn’t wait to dive in.

Processed with VSCO with g3 preset

Sevilla

beautiful building in Sevilla

We began our day walking outside the city’s iconic bullring and Cathedral.  Sevilla’s cathedral definitely trumped Malaga’s in size – it was about the size of a full city block! Nate had previously toured it and Christopher Columbus’ tomb rests inside.

Cathedral in Sevilla

Cathedral Tower. SevillaJPG

One of my favorite activities in general is eating, but I just love how special sit-down meals are in Europe.  The relaxed atmosphere at the cafes and restaurants was just so nice. You don’t just go there to eat, but to enjoy the company of who you’re with.  People are laughing, talking, and enjoying life, not playing on their phones, which is refreshing.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

We sat down for lunch at a little tapas cafe called Carmela. It was then that I realized why tapas are world famous.  Perfect for sharing, Nate & I ordered about 4 different small plates and they all were so good.  I didn’t take pictures of the food (probably because I dove in the second it hit the table), but here’s one of the items we had on the menu from their website.

Chicken with Soy Sauce & Honey - Carmela in Sevilla, Spain

Then Nate took me to the Plaza de Espana. Definitely one of the places you have to see if you are in Sevilla. It was gorgeous! And so huge.  Actually, huge is an understatement. Let’s go with colossal. Or monumental.

Plaza de Espana in Sevilla

Plaza de Espana Panoramic

Every single detail in that place was pure money.

Plaza de Espana - ceiling detail

Plaza de Espana - Sevilla

When Nate and I find ourselves in a city, we enjoy just walking around with little to no agenda. Instead of planning up the entire day and frantically trying to get from point A to point B, we try to take in the beauty of the journey.  Ending up in random alleyways was one of my most favorite things about the trip.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

I love the buildings you find when you just wander.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Blue Door in Sevilla

Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

The Museum of Fine Arts was probably one of my favorites in the city. I definitely have a thing for pink architecture.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

The Metropol Parasol is the most modern thing you will see in Sevilla.  I later found out it’s the largest wooden structure in the world!  So cool.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Our last stop of the day was to check out the Royal Palace and Castle, the Alcazar.  Since there are so many pictures, I will do a separate post on this special place. It was phenomenal.  Stay tuned for the next post – it’s a must see!

Advertisements

looking back before i look forward

Around this time every year, before I start planning and goaling up 2016, I find it really helpful to reflect on the last year.  I look at the accomplishments.  The people, places, and projects that made the year anything but ordinary. I try to learn from the mistakes and struggles so I can be stronger and better the next time around the sun.

Looking back on 2015, the best moments were ones where I felt in Awe.  Like being in the presence of beautiful architecture.  A pop of dramatic color.  Being inspired by plants, animals, and nature.  Going above and beyond what I thought was possible of myself.  All of these moments are what pushes me to my full potential.

2015bestnine - nataliyaborener instagram

Last year, my mantra for the year was to simplify.  Did I succeed? In some ways, I can definitely say I did.  But I have a long way to go.  I’m a complex person, so simplifying doesn’t come as an easy task. I’ve realized this goal is a lifelong one – cherishing what you have, refining what you want, and focusing on what you need.

My biggest career accomplishment was completing my NCIDQ certification.  After a conquering one final 4 month study binge and 8 hours of testing, I now can be a registered or licensed Interior Designer.  It was something I put on my career bucket list nearly 10 years ago, and it feels so good to cross it off.

Despite all of the awesomeness, 2015 wasn’t my favorite year.  I’m extremely blessed in so many aspects of this life, so it’s no big deal, just there were a lot of personal trials I’ve had to face. Relearning who you are and what you want is not easy.  Especially when you are so sure of yourself practically your whole child and adult life.  It’s like you wake up one day and everything is no longer black or white.  There’s a whole lot of grey.  Way over 50 shades.  More like 500.  (Any designer will agree!) And it’s hard to navigate your way. But the best advice I can give anybody is to stay true to yourself.  The rest will work itself out.

How was your 2015?  Great or just meh?  What was your self-discovery or favorite moment of the year?

 

 

 

 

 

 

catching up

Absence makes the heart grow fonder.  So I know you must have missed my posts!

We have a lot to catch up on.  But where to begin?

Michigan peonies

The last time I blogged was before the official start of Summer…. and now it’s August.  Insanity.

I’m not going to give you some lame-o reason why I have been so silent.  Like, “oh I was busy”.  We all are busy.  We all have commitments, families, responsibilities, unexpected life events – and we all have the same hours in the day as Beyonce.   It’s all how you prioritize and manage your time.  And it’s safe to say that I’ve sucked at that lately.  A lot of times I find it extremely hard for me to just write, draw, or do anything random that I enjoy in my free time.  But as with anything you love, you pick back up where you left off.  So here it goes.

June flew by. We made our yearly vacation back up to the Mitten.  We spent a week trekking across the state – hitting Chicago, Detroit and everywhere in between.

Chicago Riverfront

I swear, there is never a dull moment on these Michigan trips.  Every year I bring a book along with me and am lucky to crack it once. Sure, it’s a little ironic because you go on vacation to relax, and we do get some down time, but it’s more like relaxed chaos.  Everyday of our trip seems to get booked up with commitments as we try to cram a year’s worth of hangout time into 1 week.   It always seems to feel hectic when we go home.  You’d think being there for a whole week would be long enough to see everyone we know and love, but it’s amazing how each time I go up there are people we miss.  I guess it’s one of the hard things about having family and friends spread out.  And you know, deciding to live about 1,500 miles away from your hometown.  But really, there’s no other feeling like being back at the place you will always call home….that place that takes you back to your roots.

Pure Michigan - Hidden Lake Gardens

And by the way, I had the best freakin’ time in Detroit.  Being downtown was absolutely phenomenal.  There’s revival in the air and I’m proud to see it coming back.  I just had to shout that out to the world.

Oh and if you find yourself there, do yourself a favor and hit up Detroit Institute of Bagels.  I bought one… and then followed that up with a whole dozen for the road.

IMG_2486

Our summer in Texas has consisted of lots of river tubing and picking back up with what seems like the endless list of renovating and maintaining an old house.  Don’t get me wrong, I love our 1954 ranch and would not trade it for anything.  Okay, mayyyybbbeee an oceanfront home on 30A, but that’s about it.  I can’t wait to share some of the details and some other new things happening around here in some future posts.

It’s good to be back to blogging after my sabbatical.   Hope you are enjoying your summer too!

Texas Sunset

our miami trip in pictures

Is Memorial Day weekend really here?!  Too crazy.

We spent our 5 year anniversary in South Beach, and I realized I haven’t shared pics from our trip yet!  Most of them are Insta-repeats but none-the-less, as you can see, we had an amazing time.

PS> Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Take a moment to remember why we celebrate this holiday weekend.  Cheers to those brave individuals who sacrifice so much while fighting for our freedom!  xo

IMG_2135  IMG_2219 IMG_2251

????????????????????????????????????

IMG_2254

IMG_3317 edited

IMG_2258

????????????????????????????????????

IMG_2148

west texas adventure

Last month, I (against all wishes) turned 30.  Sigh.  The age I’ve been dreading since hitting 25.   Not trying to over dramatize it, but seriously, I WAS NOT looking forward to it. AT ALL.  (You can read all my lovely thoughts about that here.)  What better way to welcome in a new decade than a weekend trip to the quiet, desolate, and immensely beautiful area known as West Texas?

I had heard how awesome Big Bend National Park was, and could not wait to see it for myself.  That was my top priority.  And it did not disappoint whatsoever.

Big Bend overlook

I only wish we had about 3-5 more days to explore.  We had enough time for one hike along the Chisos Mountains.  Here’s some pics from the Lost Mine Trail:

Big Bend Lost Mine Trail Pano Big Bend Foggy Morning Big Bend Lost Mine Trail Views (edited)

It was about a 3-4 hour hike.  There are signs everywhere about mountain lions and bears inhabiting the area, so chalk up a couple more points for me in the facing fears department.  (I’m becoming a pro at that lately.) And a random sign about ancient swamp creatures.

Big Bend Swamp Creatures

We headed over to Marfa, which was so much different from what I expected.  It’s like a ghost town until you dig beneath the surface.  There’s all these random warehouses that look abandoned at first glance, and then boom, you walk in and an art gallery appears before your very eyes. There’s such a great underground community of makers, shops, and restaurants.

Marfa downtown edited

Mirth Marfa  Marfa warehouse

marfa sign

The most surprising and impressive art display was the Andy Warhol art exhibit we stumbled upon.  There were 3 larger than life paintings from his Last Supper collection.   (We weren’t allowed to take pictures – but I did find this pic online.)

AW-marfa-03

Source: Ayn Foundation

And of course, no trip to Marfa is complete without making a stop at the Prada.

prada marfa instagram - nataliya borener

We spent a little time in Alpine.  Mainly in the form of treasure hunting at a nearby antique shop.

southwest style Building Art in Alpine, Texas

Our last stop was Marathon, Texas.  With a population of less than 500, blink and you may miss it.  It was so incredibly charming, and home to the Gage Hotel.  As soon as I got there I was mentally booking my next trip.

The Gage Hotel The Gage Hotel beautiful landscaping The Gage Hotel Courtyard Rooms

Overall I’d say the whole 30th birthday thing was a success! Love surrounded me from friends and family near and far, and I got to spend time with that one person that knows me more than anyone else (besides God I guess) and still loves me (yes, he must be a saint!).

Hope you enjoyed a few of the many pictures from our West Texas adventure!  Happy Friday! xo