Hats off to that wall

Straw hat on coat hanger
Hey there! How’s 2016 going? I hope everything is good whether you’re freezing in the Northern Hemisphere or sweating in the South like me. Here the city is less crowded and everything seems to be a little bit slower. So I tend to daydream about beach houses and, actually, anything beach related. That’s how I noticed this trend of straw hats hanging from white walls. May be it’s not new or not even a trend at all, but it’s a fun way of displaying a hat collection and liven up a blank wall.

Straw hat on coat hanger
So I was hard at work planning this post and searching for more photos when I looked up from the computer and saw the wall right in front of me at home. It’s the wall next to the entrance door, with the coat hanger and my beloved straw hat hanging from it. It was my unintended mini interpretation of this decor idea! That’s when I grabbed my camera and snapped those photos you see above.

Straw hats wall - photo tessa neustadt
Straw hats wall decor - photo inside out au
Straw hats wall decor - photo lillavillavita
Straw hats wall decor - photo digs digs
Straw hats wall decor - photo Christina Prescott

It’s such a simple idea and yet so nice, isn’t it? Now go get those unused hats and hang them on nails from your most boring looking wall. It could be in a hallway, a breakfast nook or even above the bed. I think I’ll be buying a few more hats in the future… What do you think?

Photos: Tessa Neustadt, Inside Out Australia, Lilla Villa Vita, Digs Digs and Christina Prescott

DIY hand painted wrapping paper

This wrapping paper won't take more than 30 minutes to make and it will add a 'made with love' feeling to your presents.

DIY wrapping paper

We’re a week away from Christmas. Can you even believe it?! Haven’t you been attacked by the Holiday Neurosis yet? I bet there’s an endless list of things you have to do before the year ends, amirite? Well, here’s something you can do before tossing the gifts and your grandma’s eggnog in the air. It’s as relaxing as it is useful: DIY hand painted wrapping paper. It won’t take more than 30 minutes to make and it will add a ‘made with love’ feeling to your presents. Oh, and I promise you’ll have fun in the process. Keep reading and I’ll tell you what you need and how to do it, it’s super easy!

DIY wrapping paper materials

You’ll need:

  • Craft paper
  • Acrylic paint (I used gold and warm white)
  • Golf pencils with erasers: preferably one for each paint color
  • Paint brush (optional)
  • Water and paper towel or cloth to rinse and dry the pencils and paintbrush

DIY hand painted wrapping paper

Alright, so the erasers in the pencils will work as stamps for you to make dots or even flowers. if you feel like painting, you can add, let’s say, leaves to the flowers. That’s up to your imagination!

DIY wrapping paper

As you can see, it’s actually pretty simple. What I like the most is that the circles have texture, adding another dimension to the paper. It’s kinda like braille dots, uh?

DIY hand painted wrapping paper

DIY hand painted wrapping paper

Once you’ve done your magic, just let them dry for about 15 to 20 minutes and voilà! You’re ready to wrap all your presents.

DIY hand painted wrapping paper

I made three different motifs: white flowers, golden dots and what I call faceless angels/fried egg flowers :P. Then I added silk ribbon bows and some leftover lace I had to decorate the packages.

DIY hand painted wrapping paper

With this wrapping paper everybody will love your presents, even if it’s a pair of infamous socks, I swear!

Oh, and in case I can’t post sooner… Have a MERRY CHRISTMAS! I wish you receive the best presents in the world: good health, plenty of love and endless joy. Cheers!

Beauty products that make my (every) day

This is NOT a sponsored post. All opinions are my own and the products were bought by me or gifted from family and/or friends.

My favorite beauty products for every day

A few years ago I wouldn’t have thought of having favorite beauty products that I would use every day. When you’re young and have a flawless skin, you don’t think about keeping it that way, you just live. But sooner or later we all have the ‘start doing something NOW before it’s too late!’ epiphany.

And then, here we are, sharing secrets, tips and recipes to look somewhat decent when we stare at the mirror. These are my skin and hair care favorites of late.

 photo Revlon CC Cream.jpg

As I approached the 30’s it became more and more difficult for me to leave the house without any makeup. I always wore a little makeup to work, but on weekends I preferred an ‘au naturel’ look . Until I realized that the dark circles under my eyes and the redness here and there were doing me no favors.

That’s when one of my sisters gives me this product and puts a smile in my face. It’s a cream, so the texture is not as thick as a base and it spreads super easy and quick, even when using your fingers. Plus, it has SPF so you don’t have to worry about the UV protection and the fact that the sun burns all the time. Besides all that, you get great coverage and it evens the color of your skin, so the dark circles and redness go away. Win-Win!

 photo Weleda Fluid.jpg

When I’m not wearing the CC Cream and at night after removing my make up before bed, I apply this lotion to my face and neck. I found it by chance in the organics’ store. I love it because with just a little product you can make sure your skin is well hydrated.

I’ve tried lots of hydrating and moisturizing creams and lotions, but this has proven to be the least oily so far. Not even when I get up in the morning after 8 hours with it in my skin. And as you just need to apply a little drop of product, the 30 ml tube goes a looong way.

 photo Nivea In-Shower Body Lotion

This lotion is the lazy and/or forgetful girl’s salvation. That’s if you’re anything like me and usually forget to put on body lotion after a shower. It’s perfect for preventing dry and flaky skin during the colder months. And also for keeping your bronzed skin moisturized all summer long.

It’s not hard for me to remember to put body lotion anymore. Once you’ve lathered up and then rinsed your body, apply the lotion and rinse again. I usually put it on right after I’ve put conditioner to my hair, so the last rinse goes all the way from head to toe. The result is a soft, well nurtured skin that smells great.

 photo Naturaloe Shampoo.jpg

This shampoo is another glorious discovery from the aisles of the organics’ store. In my family we all have thin hair, and not a lot of it either. So we’ve pretty much tried every hair strengthening and hair loss product out there. But I’ve stopped trying the moment I used this product.

We all know that aloe has a ton of different properties (some people even eat it!) so it’s not surprising that a shampoo with 60% of aloe goodness would give you strong, shiny and soft locks. Did I say strong? That’s right, as strong as it gets.

 photo Klorane Date Mask.jpg

Added to my thin hair were a few lousy color jobs over the years. So as a result my hair looked and felt mistreated. This one is the other product -apart from the aloe shampoo- that saved my head.

It’s been a while since I started using hair masks instead of conditioners a couple times a week and this is the best. The desert date stops the vicious circle in which the hair falls out because it’s weak and brittle and so on. You will notice how it nourishes your hair from day one.

  • Bonus track: If you’re looking for super shiny hair, this Magnolia mask is AMAZING!

Anyway, these are beauty products that work for me, and not everybody may get the same results. But here they are if you’d like to try. Some might be more expensive than others, but they have great value for money. And they tend to last for a long time, so I consider them a good investment.

Now tell me, what beauty products are your favorite? Any recommendations?

Changing my perspective

The problem is you think you have time by Buddah

This has been quite a tough year for me so far, specially this second half of 2015. Some very difficult moments made me realize I needed to change my perspective in life. I’ve always struggled with this fear of not being good enough in a lot of different levels. And that fear is what’s stopping me from doing a lot of things I’d like to do.

That fear is what makes me look like a perfectionist who has a Draft folder full of unfinished posts that may never be published because they’re not good enough. Posts that are written and rewritten for weeks because they don’t look or sound like the content on the blogs I love.

Now, of course they won’t (and can’t) be like the posts in other blogs, because this is MY blog. And this blog should reflect my voice, my experiences, my taste. That’s what it was supposed to be from the very beginning, almost a year ago. And the same happened to all the other blogs I ever started: I got lost along the way because they weren’t as perfect as I wanted them to be.

But today I make myself a promise: from now on I will use this space to share whatever I want, and I won’t worry too much about it -please forgive me if somethings are not impeccable or trendy or elevated enough-. So hang in there with me or run away now… you’ve been warned! 😛

You may find less polished but more authentic content, including the occasional rambling post (just like this one, ha!). And hopefully more often too. I don’t want to let down the people who come in here every now and then, but most importantly, I don’t want to let myself down ever again.

I’m gonna keep it simple and I wanna keep it real.

Thanks for being there! 

Santorini, the volcano and the sunset

 photo Santorini-1.jpg

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a year since we were on our honeymoon. I think the reason why it took me so long to recap our Santorini adventures is that I wanted to remember them over and over again. Every time I sat down and tried to write this post the memories of those days started flowing and I ended up with a smile in my face and just a few sentences written. Also there is this feeling that words and photos don’t do justice to the wonderful places this world has.

 photo Santorini-2.jpg

By the time we arrived in Santorini —the last stop in our three week trip— we were pretty worn, so we decided to surrender and took a three hour nap on that rainy and windy afternoon. With renewed forces, that night we walked by the Caldera from our hotel to Fira for dinner. And the next day, we decided to explore Fira and Firostefani for as long as the rain let us.

 photo Santorini-5.jpg

That’s when we saw the first ‘taxi’ the Santorini way: an old man with a bunch of donkeys that carry tired (and/or lazy) tourists up and down the stepped roads of the island. It may seem picturesque and everyone will tell you that the animals are used to it and have been doing it for centuries, but we felt sorry for them and decided to do all the walking ourselves.

 photo Santorini-3.jpg

The uniqueness of Santorini also lies on the houses and hotels that seem carved in the volcanic rock, hanging from cliffs. When you walk around Firostefani or Oia, you go through these narrow little streets flanked by buildings on both sides. Everythign seems tiny and squeezed together and you’ll see the patios and swimming pools three feet away. It is a voyeurist’s paradise, seriously. And every place is so unique and beautiful you end up looking anyway.

 photo Santorini-6.jpg

On our second day in Santorini we finally saw the sun, so we woke up early and walked to the bus station in Fira where you can get on a bus and go to the major places in the island. We had decided to go to the colorful beaches. We headed to the Red Beach in the morning, and the Black Beach in the afternoon. Akrotiri, the Red Beach, is tiny and if you don’t get there early it will be really crowded. This isn’t a beach where I would spend the whole day, but it’s RED! So that’s a good excuse to visit. We sat at the feet of the cliff and once I got over my fears of a red rock rain from above, we stayed there watching the ocean until midday.

 photo Santorini-7.jpg

We left Akrotiri and had a sandwich in a little place by the road before taking the bus back to Fira. There we hopped on the one that would take us to Kamari, AKA the Black Beach. We didn’t want to rent a car this time around because the roads in Santorini are narrow and snaky and run by the cliffs, so after our little car ‘incident’ in Paros we just went with the bus. As I said above, the buses take you everywhere in the island and distances are short, so they’re a very convenient option.

Colorful stones in Kamari Beach Santorini

Unlike Akrotiri, the beach in Kamari is wide and has lots of ammenities. There’s also the fact that, when you realise that the beach is not only black, you can spend the rest of the day looking for little stones in all kinds of different colors! 😉 There are lots of hotels, restaurants and shops in Kamari which makes it a very nice place to stay if you prefer a seaside resort.

Fira from the water, Santorini

For our last day in Santorini we decided to take a boat tour of the Nea Kameni Volcano which ended in the afternoon in Oia, to whatch the famous sunset there. Of course you’ll hear lots of opinions about these tours. We chose this one because, having so little time to stay in the island, it was a nice way of squeezing a few activities in one day that would have taken us longer to do on our own.

Santorini from the volcano

If you’ve never been on a volcano before, the visit to Nea Kameni is very interesting. It’s crazy to see the sulfur smoke popping out of the rocks and the heat of the soil under your feet. There’s also the amazing views of the island you get from there, of course.

Volcanic thermal waters, Santorini

The next stop on the tour was at the hot and sulfurous thermal waters formed at the feet of the volcano. This is actually a part of the tour that we would have avoided. The boat drops you at about 300 feet away from the thermal ‘pool’ and you have to swim all the way there in the freezing ocean waters. Once you reach the spot, you’ll find yourself bathing in this hot and rusty water that won’t let you see beyond your neck if looking down. So, if dirty water is not your thing, just stay on the boat, order a beer and sunbathe on the deck… I wish someone would have warned me!

Fishing boats in Thirassia, Santorini

Thirassia from the water, Santorini

Luckily, the lunch stop is much more charming. Thirassia is the island behind the volcano and, like Santorini, it was part of it before the eruptions. It’s inhabited mostly by fishermen, and you can go to town after lunch if you still got the strength to climb the never ending steps from the port. There’s also the donkey taxi option if you want.

Walking the setreets of Oia, Santorini

After a tasty lunch and basking in the Thirassian peace, we boarded the boat again to sail to our final destination: Oia, the town of the blue domes and scenic sunsets. Now let me be totally honest: Oia is as charming as it is over populated with tourists. And they’re all desperate to take a photo of the sunset. The best bet at this point is to run away from the tiny streets that overlook the Caldera and visit the other side of the town. Some of the buildings that were affected by the 1956 hearthquake are still standing and are as beautiful as they were in their glory days. There’s a perfect mix of destruction and conservation, all in gorgeous pastel colors.

Colorful buildings in Oia, Santorini

Saint Nicholas astle, Oia, Santorini

Back in the most famous part of town, you have to go at least for five minutes to the ruins of the old venetian castle of Saint Nicholas. My advice is to get there early in the afternoon before everyone starts piling their cameras on top of each other for the sunset photos. Tehre you can admire the panoramic views of the town, take a few pictures and move on.

Restaurants and windmills in Oia, Santorini

As I told you before, Oia is like a laberynth of little houses, hotels and restaurants. If you look down while you’re walking you’ll see something beautiful and interesting for sure: a swimming pool coming right out of a hotel and over the caldera, a terraced restaurant cover in bougainvillea or a church’s cupola sprouting from the ground.

Windmills in Oia, Santorini

Oia Windmill at Sunset

Walking through those street while running away from the increasingly crowded castle we found the perfect spot for resting and sunset-waiting. A terrace bar at the feet of a windmill. We sat down, ordered one of the best beers we have ever drunk and just stayed there, absorbing all that beauty and feeling grateful for being there.

Santorini Sunset

I don’t think we could have had a better farewell from Greece and the honeymoon. We would definitely go on the exact same trip again, but there are so many amazing places in this world that we’d love to visit, that perhaps we’ll have to wait until our 25th wedding aniversary. Who knows, I wish we can!