Island of Burano – Venezia, Italia

July 26, 2012

The second day in Venice, we took a ferry out to the pretty island of Burano where the local men are fishermen and the ladies make lace. The ferry ride out to the island lasted roughly an hour and offered beautiful views of some of the 118 islands that make up Venice.

Stepping off the ferry, I was enchanted to see a small town of canals, modest, pastel colored home and many shops selling locally made products. We made our way to a restaurant for a 4 course meal of local fish dishes. It was delicious and the wine kept pouring!

Bellies full of scrumptious food, we strolled the sunny main street of Burano. This street consisted of a narrow canal with walking paths on both sides, occasional bridges connecting the two.

We kept to the shade as the day was sweltering, following little side roads leading back to residential areas, captivated by the pretty colors of every home.

After a few hours of exploration, it was back to the ferry.

Venezia, Italia

July 25-26, 2012

We left Verona and headed to Venezia. We ditched the bus on the mainland and packed into taxi boats that sped a long the waterways and Grand Canal to our hotel, Hotel Monaco and Grand Canal.

After a quick freshen up in the hotel, we joined some of our tour for a gondola ride through the Grand Canal and some smaller water ways, serenade included.

I call it Pigeon with Flower

After the gondola ride, we made our way through the streets of Venice to Piazza San Marco. Standing on the stone of the piazza, it was as if we stepped into a film. It was surreal. The pigeons, the crowds, the noise, all part of something greater.

We diverted away from the crowds and wandered along narrow side streets lined with shops selling masks and glass jewelry, crossing bridges onto neighboring islands. We explored the endless maze of streets until the hunger overpowered us. Noticing a cute little Italian restaurant near the hotel, we meandered our way back only to find a few members from our tour dining there.

Famous Harry’s Bar where Hemingway sipped his Bellinis

Day two in Venice began with a breakfast of cappuccino and croissant on a terrace overlooking the Grand Canal.

Our group was then set up with a local guide who walked us through St. Mark’s Square to the Doge’s Palace. The Doge was merely a figurehead of Venice, subject to the authority of members of the Senate. The Doge was voted into position, a position holding little power, and served for life. The politics of old Venezia are quite fascinating. I won’t go into much more detail, but I highly recommend looking it up.

Our guide took us through the rooms of the Doge’s Palace beginning with the waiting room for visiting dignitaries. Gorgeous high ceilings and artwork are on display to show off the wealth of Venice as its visiting dignitaries often had to wait days for an audience with the Doge. We continued on to where the Doge met with visitors, never alone, but always with 6 supervisors from the Senate. Then on to the Senate chambers themselves before visiting the judicial chambers.

We soon crossed over the Bridge of Sighs into the prison. These cells were where they kept regular prisoners. Political prisoners were kept in a separate jail above the judicial chambers. Often time prisoners escaped by bribing the guards.

Back over the Bridge of Sighs, we walked to the largest room in Europe known as the Sala del Maggiore Consiglio, or the Chamber of the Great Counsel. Tintoretto’s painting Paradise sits above the Doge’s throne and lining the top of the walls are portraits of all the Doges.

This was a slot for whistle-blowers to drop of letters accusing others of not paying taxes, or other crimes. The letters had to be signed and if the accuser was wrong, they would be punished.

View from the Doge’s Palace

Walking across the Bridge of Sighs looking out towards the Grand Canal

The Bridge of Sighs – While it has turned into something quite romantic, the bridge’s name originated from the sighs of prisoners as they enjoyed their last view of freedom before being brought to the square to hang for their crimes.

Scala dei Giganti – Sculptures of Mars and Neptune at the top of the stairs, the lion with wings is the symbol for St. Mark

From the Doge’s Palace we went to the Byzantine Basilica in St. Mark’s Square. A rainbow of mosaics, the cathedral was a stunning collection of Byzantine art and design. Sadly no photographs. We then made our way to a glass blowing demonstration. In roughly 90 seconds, an expert glass blower (10+ years experience) created a stunning Ferrari horse with the skill, precision, and ease of someone who has created hundreds. With tongs, he stretch, twirled, and pinched the glass, shaping the legs, mane, tail and face.


That afternoon we took a ferry out to the island of Burano. Photos and details of that excursion will be in my next post.

Our last night in Venice, we wandered even deeper into the city, exploring the hidden nooks and crannies until our feet grew sore. My Father and older brother made their way back to the hotel, but for my younger brother and I, the sense of adventure had yet to leave us.

We strolled along the Grand Canal, so far that it lead us to private homes with large yachts docked out front. We continued until the people grew scarce and the sky dark before working our way back to the hotel for the evening.

Graffiti on a side alley off the Grand Canal

It seems customary when in Venice to stand in the center of St. Mark’s Square and feed the pigeons. It is actually illegal to feed them. They have become a bit bold and adventurous. On our walk back we witnessed a very young girl hold out her arms and immediately get covered in pigeons. Despite my natural distaste for the birds after living in New York City, I dared to step along side her and hold out my arms. Within seconds the birds were sitting on my hands and forearms looking for food. A man selling roses strolled over and, despite my strong “NO,” dumped a pile of corn into each of my hands bringing more birds. Having no money on me, I refused to pay the man. He left quite annoyed. The pigeon pictured here landed on me about 5 minutes after the corn was gone and the other pigeons left. I took a long, hot shower after this adventure.

On The Wild Side

The following in its entirety is courtesy of Etsy and can be found in full here.

Get the Look Decor: Welcome to the Jungalow

Published on July 08, 2012 in Shop

Photo by Justina Blakeney


This weekend’s Get the Look Decor is inspired by Justina Blakeney’s gorgeous and unique LA home. She lives just south of Echo Park with her husband, Jason, their cat, Luda, and in just a few short weeks, a brand new baby girl lovingly referred to as “Boomba.” Nicknamed the Jungalow, Justina’s home combines tropical and bohemian styles, incorporating bold patterns, vivid colors, vintage treasures and lots of houseplants.

Check out Justina’s blog for even more incredible decorating ideas and to take the full Jungalow tour.

What is your favorite part about your home?
My favorite part about my home is that it grows with me and my family. It reflects all of our travels, our creative projects, our love for greenery and my fearless relationship with pattern and color. I love the afternoon light in my home. I love my yard. I love how funky and old it is.


[Clockwise from top left: Fairy Bed Canopy Crown by SoZoeyBoutique; Vintage Wedding Suzani by SilkWay; Wind Chime or Bell by ironaworks; Designer Pillow Cover by 3BModLiving; vintage Moroccan Slippers by capricorne; Four Birds Dressed in Red by edsplaceonetsy; The Canopy Lounge in Orange by CANOPYstudio; Large Framed Vintage Painting by MolecularModern; Vintage Wood Window Frame by BridgewoodPlace.]

Did you decide to decorate in this style or was there an evolution to your decorating process?
I think that my decor decisions are more visceral, so I guess an evolution would be more accurate. The more spaces I decorate, the more I realize my decorating habits, the types of things that I tend to incorporate. For example, it became clear after decorating several homes that I love to inundate spaces with plants. Once I recognized that about myself, it became part of my “thing,” and now I make more conscious decisions to add plants into spaces. Same goes for worldly textiles like Handira, Suzani, Kilim and Otomi, and same goes for mid-century lines and upcycled details.


[Clockwise from top left: Vintage 1973 Macrame Lamp by mrbarnes5; Ikat Pillow Cover by islimi; Reclaimed Wood Coffee Table by AtlasWoodCo; Grapewood and Air Plant Centerpiece by TheLivingArt; VIntage Kilim Rug by NoonGallery; Hanging Air Plant Pod Trio by mudpuppy.]

What inspires you when it comes to decorating?
I have a great group of friends that inspire me — my sister Faith, who is an interior designer, and my friend Dabito are two people who come immediately to mind. I am also very much inspired by travel — even local travel, like a trip to the beach or an art gallery downtown. I also find it inspiring to see odd pairings — things that normally one wouldn’t put together — which somehow work. And lastly, I am a huge fan of creative reuse. I love to see items in new contexts.  I love to be surprised and delighted in design, turning form and function on its head and seeing where it takes us.


[Clockwise from top left: Hanging Wooden Wine Rack by AspenBottleHolders; Handwoven rag rug by Gunaspalete; Mosaic Steer Skull made with Handcut Glass Tiles by Jiveworks; Reclaimed Wood and Solid Steel Dining Table by dylangrey; African Inspired Art Quilt Wall Hanging by QuirkyQuilts; Fabric Spider Plant by sian.]

Where are your favorite places to shop for home items?
I love to shop while traveling, from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul to the Souk in Marrakech, but when I’m local, I go religiously to the Rose Bowl Flea market. I also frequent random thrift shops — there are a lot in my neighborhood, along Sunset Boulevard. I also like a lot of boutique-type shops. A few that come to mind are Dekor, Rolling Green, Lawson Fenning, Inheritance, Amsterdam Modern…there are many. Online, I scour Craigslist, eBay and Etsy — daily.


[Clockwise from top left: Set of Two Turquoise Pillows by studiotullia; Custom Made to Fit Bay Window Seat Storage Bench by Ablesaw; Vintage Fishing Float by lightinawormhole; Topform Rosewood Modular Shelving System by AardewerkenZo; Green Diagonal Brick Planter by OpenSystem; Antique Mill Textile Wood Spools by thelostrooms; Glass Terrarium by JechoryGlassDesigns; Floor Cushion in Grey by madebyzigzag; Haldensleben Fat Lava Striped Vase by GoGoBerlinette.]

Does your home hold any strong memories?
I’ve lived here for a little over a year, but seeing as how this is the place where we’re creating a family, I’m sure this home will go down in the books for us. Also, we have a couple of possum friends who aren’t shy about visiting us through the cat door and eating all of Luda’s food. I don’t expect I’ll be forgetting that anytime soon.


[Clockwise from top left: Spotted Owl Custom Baby Bedding by birdshaveflowers; Modern Animal Bamboo Wall Clock by decoylab; Vintage Wide White Flowery Lace Panel by ghoghooghora; Silk Suzani Pillow Cover by sukan; Vintage Paint By Number Flamingo by cybersenora; Vintage Pink Dresser by suezcues.]