2016 | What I’ve Been Up To

Hello Lovelies!

Happy 2016 (and early Valentine’s Day)!

Although I have a great deal in store this year (I’m back in action after a brief haitus), you may have been wondering what I’ve been up to! Let me give you a brief run down:

Our 2 Year Anniversary Trip to D.C. 

Living in the beautiful Carolinas, sometimes it’s difficult to leave. However, Shahin and I love to travel and instead of buying each other “traditional” wedding anniversary gifts, we do things a little differently in the Arminoei household. We’ve made taking a trip each year one of our traditions. This year, we decided to spend a long weekend in D.C. The fact of the matter is, I had only visited once when I was in elementary school for a field trip and well, let’s just say it’s one of the hubs’ favorite cities and he had been dying to take me there. Now if you know me, of course I did my research prior to our adventure to ensure we were hitting some of the best spots in town (duh).

The Highlights:

Zara

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{ Image courtesy of DC Internationalist }

I know, I know. I have a shopping problem and everyone is aware. Unfortunately, Zara has not yet graced Charlotte with its presence so whenever I see that big, beautiful store – I’ve got my game face on.

Zaytinya (for dinner) + barmini (for drinks) by renowned Chef Jose Andres

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Y’all – I wish I could put into words how blown away we were. After eating at one of James Beard Award Winning Jose Andres’ restaurants, Zaytina, we had drinks at his bar (which required a reservation). Once arriving, we had to ring a doorbell to enter (a little reminiscent of a speakeasy). This place was simply beautiful – clean, chic, hip. The Mixologist provided us with a drink upon arrival to clean our palates and then Shahin and I went to town. This place does hand crafted cocktails right. One of the drinks I had the pleasure of tasting was homemade banana bourbon – absolutely delicious and hands down one of the best cocktails I’ve ever had. If you’re in the area – don’t miss out on this place (but make sure you book a spot at the bar in advance!)

White House visit 

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Cliche, but one of those “have tos”. And of course, being the basic white girl I am, Starbucks in hand!

USDA Farmers Market 

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Purely by accident, we stumbled upon a USDA Farmers Market during a stroll through the city on a beautiful Autumn day. We picked up a variety of dumplings, apple kombucha and homemade cola and sat in a park to indulge.

Persian Cuisine

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I guess it’s no secret that D.C. has a buzzing Persian population. To pay homage to the hubby’s heritage, we decided to drive about 30 minutes outside of the city to get a taste of some of the best Persian cuisine I’ve had (aside from when Shahin’s grandmother comes in from Iran and cooks for us). Kabobs, grilled tomatoes and my favorite, Persian rice (tahdig). NOMZ.

Annual Family Trip: Panama 

Each year, Shahin’s dad and stepmom take the family on a trip for a belated Christmas. This is my favorite family tradition because we much prefer experiences and memories over tangible things. I didn’t think anything was going to top last year’s trip to Barcelona, but the fam never ceases to amaze me. This year we traveled to the beautiful country of Panama and stayed right in the heart of Panama City. Not doing a great deal of research in advance, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Panama City reminded me of Miami in a lot of ways. It’s actually a big, international banking city (who knew) and there were restaurants and bars galore, high end shops (hello, Chanel) and so much to see and do.

The Highlights: 

JUICE

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Weird, right? How could juice be a highlight of a trip? Juice is a big deal in Panama. We stayed at the Waldorf Astoria and each morning, they had this little piece of heaven we dubbed “liquid life” = watermelon juice. Every morning when we would come down for breakfast, we b-lined straight for the juice (even over the omelette station). This stuff was the real freaking deal. Even outside of the hotel, we would grab juice from a little stand practically every day.

Panama Canal

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We took a boat through the Panama Canal – definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Although the excursion was a little longer than expected, the views were incredible.

Monkey Island & Indigenous Tribe 

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The best excursions we had (in my opinion) both occurred in the same day – and a full day it was! First, we met our guide and took a boat out into the water where we would then pull up to various parts of a jungle (keep in mind: about a 45 minute drive outside of where we were staying). This is where an array of different monkeys would come and visit our boat while we fed them bananas (and in some cases, right from our hands). This was seriously one of the coolest things I’ve ever done in my life. Above is a shot of a monkey that was hanging out on our boat. Pretty up close and personal!

After Monkey Island, we went to spend the rest of our day with an indigenous tribe. Yes – real life. A couple of the tribe members met us and took us out on a canoe to get to their village – life jackets and all (refer to the picture below).

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Once we got to the village, we watched the tribe do a few traditional dances (and then were invited to dance with them), were fed some delicious plantains and fried fish wrapped in a banana leaf and then had a little Q&A time (thank goodness we had a translator). We were also to buy some crafts from the tribe which was a really neat concept in itself because each family had their own table and the money went directly to them. I picked up a couple of beautiful hand crafted vases – LOVE! Below is a picture of the end of our excursion. The tribe was so welcoming – definitely a experience for the books!

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Coming Soon: DIY Project 

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So what else has been going on aside from traveling? The hubs and I picked up this beauty from one of my best friend’s moms (who owns Charlotte Staging). It’s actually an antique record player but we immediately saw its potential – and if you’ve seen some of my other posts, we love DIY projects. I am really looking forward to tackling this one!

So far, Shahin’s taken out the record player, and we will be using it to decoratively conceal our entertainment center. The piece has officially been sanded and we’ve removed the grates and added shelves. Step 2 of 3 complete.

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So what’s next? Of course, you’ll need to stay tuned (blog on this one coming soon) but we’ll be painting it and transforming it even more! We’re definitely going mid-century modern here – I’m thinking brass legs and a high gloss white paint. Below is an image I snagged from Pinterest and will be using it as inspiration!

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Be back soon! XO

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{ Things I’m Currently Obsessed With }

Hello, lovelies!

It’s been an intense last few weeks trying to get settled into the new home. I will say, today was a monumental one as we had our blinds installed! Although this may not sound too exciting, we have 26 windows in our house and none were covered when we moved in – so having this little addition has made quite an impact. They’re beautiful 2.5″ white, wooden plantation blinds and they certainly add some charm to our colonial style house. Speaking of houses (since it seems to be the hot topic of the month), I’ve decided to share with you a few home decor pieces that I’m currently obsessing over. Enjoy!

1. Safavieh Lucretius Bar Cart in Gold 

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This is definitely the item that I am most excited about. To make a long story short, I won this very bar cart on an Instagram contest from one of my favorite home furnishing and decor companies, Safavieh. If you haven’t heard of them, I would recommend checking them out because their items are absolutely stunning. While you’re at it, follow them on social media as they run various contests on a pretty regular basis. Just recently, they were offering their Instagram followers a chance to win multiple pieces of furniture and home accents of their choosing – from headboards to tables to chairs. In case you did not know, I am a big fan of social media…not just on a personal level, but from a business standpoint (perhaps it’s the marketing that runs through my veins). I think the companies that utilizes social media to engage their customers are hitting the nail on the head. When I entered the contest initially, I never expected to actually win. In fact, I never win anything. Ever. To my surprise, I was contacted by Savafieh through Instagram and then via email where they provided me with a few different bar cart styles to choose from. I ultimately chose this gold number because I loved the traditional elegance it encompassed. Not to mention, I thought it would look fabulous on top of our Persian rug. Stay tuned as I’ll be styling this bad boy up soon!

2. Chinoiserie

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I am an absolute sucker for the color blue and even more, the chinoiserie style. From a design aspect, I enjoy mixing old and new and love anything and everything eclectic. Chinoiserie really adds an element to the home that makes my heart skip a beat. It’s really picking up some momentum in the home decor world and you can find the style practically everywhere – from Ralph Lauren to Macy’s. However, my favorite pieces are typically found in antique shops. I currently own a few pieces but plan on adding to my collection gradually. The vase pictured from One King’s Lane is definitely one that I’ve been swooning over lately.

3. Cognac Leather Furniture

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I can tell you exactly when I started falling for cognac toned leather furniture. I had been scrolling on Instagram back in December and stumbled upon this very picture shown above. That couch. I needed to have that couch. I was sold. West Elm always tugs at my heart strings but really, it’s been months now and I cannot stop thinking about this couch. As much as I hate to admit that a piece of furniture has rented so much space in my head, I have to own up to it. So there you have it. This beautiful Hamilton leather couch from West Elm comes as a sofa, love seat and sectional. There is something so warm and cozy about this style. Did I mention that it as on my “must purchase” list? *Le Sigh*

4. Wrought Iron Chandeliers

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There is no denying that I’m a fan of both silver and gold, but I’ve been recently turned onto the oil rubbed bronze/wrought iron look, particularly when it comes to light fixtures. Perhaps it had to do with moving into our new house – I just find it to be suiting for the look and feel of the home. These chandeliers from Pottery Barn are freaking gorg. I love the warm, rustic and classic feel it encompasses. Beauties, right?

5. Gallery Walls

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I have been a big fan of gallery walls for some time now and am officially over the moon that I can begin our very own! There are so many directions you can go in with a gallery wall. From oil paintings to sketches, to color schemes to themes, to pictures to prints – the world is your oyster. As mentioned before, I have an affinity for an eclectic style and will probably end up going with a mix of everything to satisfy that yearning. I’m slowly collecting my pieces and using Pinterest as an inspiration. This lovely set up pictured above can be found here.

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Bar Cart Basics | The Anatomy of Styling

Good evening lovelies and happy weekend!

It was such a wonderful past week for me because I just started a new career in my coveted marketing field and am absolutely loving it! I am working for a company with a special mission with a very friendly, fun and supportive marketing staff. In the midst of getting acclimated, I wanted to do a post this week but was far too pooped to get crackin’ on the blog until now.

This week, I wanted to highlight the art of bar cart styling. Why? Aside from the fact that I am obsessed with them, they truly add a unique component to your home. However, some people fear tackling the bar cart for a few reasons:

a. They cannot figure out what direction to go in (from an aesthetic and functionality stand point).
b. They may not know how to style one appropriately.

I am here to solve that problem! Alas, I am providing you with some Bar Cart Basics! Enjoy!

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First thing’s first: choose the style direction you wish to go in. I’ve decided to go with gilded neutrals and pops of color (in this case, a deep, rich blue). Overall, I personally like classic elegance – it’s chic, simple, and will never go out of style. Even if you purchase a few trendy pieces, you can always change them out as your taste changes.

1. Essential Element: Cocktail Glasses. What bar cart would be complete without some beautiful glasses? First and foremost, you need them. But more importantly, you can have a little fun and be as eclectic as you want to be. I like the idea of using touches of gold, particularly because it correlates with my overall look. Instead of choosing one type of glass, why not try several? Personally, I love rocks glasses and instead of using just one style, I’ve decided to mix and match with keeping my gilded theme in mind. Check out the Mingle Bar GlassLex Bar Glass (I own these bad boys) and the Greet Bar Glass – all $9.95 a piece from Crate & Barrel.

2. Design Element: Small Figurine. Of course the functionality of your bar cart is key, but you can add little touches to personalize it and make it fun! I have an affinity for pineapples (not to mention they symbolize warmth, welcome and wealth in a home). Add a small figurine to your bar cart such as this 9″ Brass Pineapple Candle Holder I discovered at Chairish.com for $185.

3. Design Element: Books. Much like coffee table books, they can be used for functionality and/or a way to accessorize. Have some drink recipe books that are relevant your bar cart? Throw them on there and use them to style it. Looking at it from more of an aesthetic stand point? Add some vintage books to tie in your pop of color or to provide it with some timeless elegance. Since blue is my pop of color, I found this eclectic Set of Five Vintage Books for $30 from Etsy.

4. Design Element: Flower Vase. If you’re a sucker for flowers like I am, try adding a vase of them on the top of your bar cart. It creates a soft, feminine feel while giving it a more polished look. If you enjoy grabbing some fresh flowers at the Farmers Market and like to change them out weekly, you can certainly go in that direction. However, if you are looking for something that requires a little less maintenance, purchase a vase of faux flowers that stay fresh forever. I really fell for this mercury glass vase full of Faux Peonies for $99 from One Kings Lane.

5. Design Element: Apothecary Jar. Another great design element to incorporate is the use of apothecary jars. Glass is a popular material used but I have grown a wild infatuation with chinoiserie inspired ceramics – particularly anything blue and white. It also happens to tie into my pop of color. Even if you want to go in the direction of a small bowl or ginger jar rather than apothecary, you can go to any antique shop and pick one up for a very reasonable price. I’ve found several for around $20-$30 a piece. However, I do love this Ming Lidded Apothecary Jar from Frontgate for $79.

6. Essential Element: Whiskey Decanter. This is another fundamental piece of a bar cart, especially if you are featuring rocks glasses like I am. You can find them just about anywhere but this Flamant Home Interiors Leona Decanter from Amara is a beauty and priced at $113.

7. Design Element: Straws. This may not be necessary, but it does add a fresh look to your bar cart. It’s an inexpensive way to add a touch of whimsy to the overall feel and ends up tying everything together quite nicely. These striped straws come in an array of different colors but I personally enjoy the classic black and white. You can pick up a 25 Count from Party Source for just $3.49!

 8. The Bar Cart Itself. Speaking of bar carts, this post would not make much sense without the bar cart itself! Here’s the deal: there are numerous bar carts out there at different price points, styles, colors, materials…essentially, the world is your oyster here. Going for a more rustic look? Anthropologie has some beautiful wooden and metal ones, for example. However, I adore this one to tie into my gilded/classic theme. I also really love this bar cart because it is reasonably priced. There are bar carts out there in the thousands, but this Meredith Bar Cart from One Kings Lane is just $210!

9. Design Element: Monogram Letter. If you scour Pinterest like I do, I’m sure you’ve noticed the increased popularity in implementing the letter of your first name or last name in design. Being a newlywed and my last name starting with an “A”, I’ve been collecting “A’s” at every chance I get. Adding a monogram letter to your bar cart adds a little personality to it while also personalizing it. You can find them practically everywhere, particularly Etsy, which has some that even light up for a more retro feel. However, this Acid Etched Letter from Urban Outfitters priced at $14 is pretty inexpensive, vintage-inspired and well, gorgeous!

 10. Essential Element: Cocktail Shaker. For those of you who enjoy a good cocktail, a shaker is absolutely mandatory for your bar cart. I’ve seen some made of sleek brass or hammered metal and also some that are more simplistic. This Madison Collection Cocktail Shaker from Sur La Table is $50 and can be used for many years to come. I love that it is both European-inspired and timeless.

 11. Essential Element: Coasters. Trying to protect your wooden table? No one likes the dreaded ring left from a drink! Coasters are absolutely essential in regard to a bar cart. These beautiful coasters are made from natural agate and play into my neutral color palette. This Set of 4 Coasters by Shiraleah can be purchased from Saks Fifth Avenue Off 5th for $57.70 (originally $71).

 12. Design Element: Prints. I’m a art enthusiast and lover of good prints. Adding a piece of art to your bar cart whether it be physically on the cart or hanging on the wall above it pulls everything together. The print you pick truly depends on your style – it’s a very personal thing. You could add your favorite artist’s work, something illustrated and funky, or a letterpress print that relates to the bar you are essentially creating. The Blue Pineapple Print I fell in love with ties into both my pop of color and pineapple trinket and is an instant download priced at just $5. The Gold Foil “Pop Fizz Clink” Print ties into the gold and metallics I’ve been using, directly relates to the bar cart and is priced at $25. Both were found on Etsy (one of my favorite places to shop of all time).

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{ HOME } is Wherever I’m with You

So in case you are not already aware, the hubs and I are starting to move into our first real home as a married couple – weeeee! It’s the cutest little bungalow in the Plaza Midwood neighborhood of Charlotte, NC and we couldn’t be more ecstatic! New hardwood floors are in and the counter tops should be here and installed any day now (it is seriously gorg).

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{ Our recycled glass counter tops in “Ocean Shell” }

As exciting as all of this is, we are now faced with the daunting task of purging and packing. Let me just tell you, if I could pay someone to do all of this for me I would because when I say I loathe moving…I mean it in a very passionate way. However, I have opted to take on the beast because I do not want to shell out extra cash for someone to pack my things for me while I am very capable of accomplishing it on my own. The problem is, I tend to look at everything from a macro perspective and when I see everything that I have to go through and prepare to move, I get slightly overwhelmed. Even with us leaving our wedding gifts in their original boxes, we still have a ton of belongings and it frightens me that so much has to be transported from one house to another. #firstworldproblems. Aside from having to remind myself to breathe during this process, I have to provide myself with little things to look forward to in order to stay motivated. As the saying goes…gotta keep on truckin’. So in light of this stressful situation, I’ve decided to focus on the fun components of it and dedicate this post to my decorating plans for the new casa.

We are going to first touch on my color inspiration followed by the look we’re trying to achieve and ending with the paint colors I’ve chosen. However, I’m going to ask you (my lovely blog readers), for feedback regarding the kitchen color. Just comment at the end of the post with your vote because I am quite stumped and desperately need your opinion! Enjoy, loves!

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Shahin and I are on the same wavelength regarding the hues of the new house. We both really love grays, neutrals and blues. I’ve never met anyone who loves the beach as my as my husband, so he was immediately sold on the idea of utilizing ocean colors in our decor. I myself have always been a big fan of the dusty blue color (a light shade of blue with a gray undertone) and drawn to different grays and neutrals. Above is a mood board that I created which include my inspiration and the words that come to mind when I think about the feng shui of our new home.

Style

Now, you can imagine how over the last year I have been trolling Pinterest to nail down the look and feel we are going for in the new house. Shahin and I are both very similar so it made choosing our signature style fairly simple. We’re both free-spirited, music lovers, DIYers, eclectic, enjoy art and love a mix of modern, handmade, vintage, primitive, flea market chic, simplistic, farmhouse, rustic, natural and eclectic. I know, it’s a lot and some of these descriptions contradict one another. But once you see all of the elements together, it will make perfect sense. Imagine: Etsy, West Elm, Pottery Barn & Crate and Barrel…all mixed together with some thrift store and antique shop finds.

Paint

I have to admit, I have become rather obsessed with Benjamin Moore‘s paint colors. Like WHOA. I have spent countless hours in Lowes, Blackhawk Hardware and the Benjamin Moore store itself…just standing there like the crazy paint lady comparing different swatches. For me, trying to determine the perfect shade of gray and the perfect blue was fairly difficult (it’s the perfectionist in me) – but I eventually accomplished what I set out to do. These beautiful paint colors are what I’ve nailed down for the new place. However, I am still pulling my hair out over the kitchen color and I’ve narrowed it down to three (yay for progress). So what do you think? I’m officially taking votes so leave your comments below!

Building a home can be so much fun…stay tuned for more updates to come! I can’t wait to share all of my decorating, entertaining and DIY projects with you!

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