Saturday, December 27, 2014

ecuador // part iii

we began day two by exploring the historic district of quito. as we made our way up the steep incline of chile street we passed every type of vendor, selling anything from socks, toilet paper, to pirated dvds. when we finally reached "la plaza grande" we were out of breath, but in awe of the colorful architecture. we headed to "la companía" to see where the original working boys center began, but sadly were unable to take photographs. next on the list was the basilica. designed by a french architect, you can clearly see the similarities to that of france. determined to reach the highest point of the basilica, steph and i, against our better judgement, decided to climb a somewhat questionable ladder to see a different view of the city. 
next we headed to the artisans market and steph made sure to warn me that my love for shopping could get a little out of control. let's just say it did... 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

ecuador // part ii

as i mentioned in my previous post my younger sister, stephanie, is currently doing a year of service here in quito. her tasks as a volunteer range from teaching young children art and english, to helping with the adult education program, and also working with the local businesses that are associated with the center. steph left back in august and although she has been giving me updates over the past few months it wasn't until coming here and shadowing her life that i have really been able to see the impact she is having here. to say i am proud of her is an understatement. i am in awe of her. not only is she giving a year of her life in the service of others, but she is navigating her way through a sometimes intimating foreign country. from the moment we walked through the school doors the kids came screaming "estefy, estefy!!!" they couldn't get enough of her and it was a beautiful moment to witness. here are a few photos from our afternoon at the school.
merry christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ecuador // part i

hello from ecuador! after a few flight cancellations and an unexpected night in miami we finally made it to ecuador. my younger sister is currently living in quito while volunteering with the working boys center (you can read more about this jesuit organization here!) after settling into our home for the next few weeks, we set out on our first adventure to the teleferico. the teleferico is a cable car which carries passengers over 13,000 feet above sea level. with breathtaking views of the city surrounding us, we began hiking toward pichincha. along the way we ran into some friendly alpaca, stunning horses, and local artisans. 
 next, we headed to the equator, or as it is called here "mitad del mundo." i must admit, when i found out my sister was going to be in quito, the equator immediately made my "to do" list. first we headed to the "ciudad" as seen below. much to my surprise, i learned that the line pictured is not actually the equator. about twenty years ago, when gps technology began to be more widely used, it was discovered that this site was actually off by a few hundred feet. that being said, we headed over to the less-known, less popular museum next door where the actual equator line lies. 
once we arrived at the real equator, we were greeted by a wonderful guide who not only shared the history of the indigenous people, but proceeded to conduct a few "science" experiments to prove the validity of the equator line. check out the egg below to see what i mean! after experiencing the cool climate of pichincha and the heat of the equator we were exhausted and happily headed home... i'd say it was a great first day here in quito. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

hello there!

hi friends! what a whirlwind of a month it has been... from moving out of dc, to starting my new job, finding an apartment in nyc, and now gearing up for an international trip. it feels exhausting even typing it out! despite all the hecticness that has been my life these days i wouldn't have it any other way because i am beyond thrilled to be back in this electric city. it feels like it took no time to settle into life in nyc and to say i am absolutely loving it is an understatement. there is nothing like walking out your door and hitting the streets of new york.  here are a few pictures from my first weeks in the big apple. and of course more updates to come once things settle down!

Friday, December 5, 2014

studio living

there are many things that i will miss about living in dc but one of the hardest (material) things to say goodbye to was my studio apartment. as i have mentioned before i absolutely loved living in dupont circle and having the opportunity to live alone. i remember when i first set out to live on my own i was so nervous and i questioned if i would feel lonely or get scared being totally on my own. i am happy to say that my time living alone turned out to be quite the opposite of my fears. in the wise words of my mother there is a big difference between being alone and being lonely and i learned this lesson over the past year.  i also learned to love the quiet time that living alone provided me and i have to say i am going to miss it as i embark on my nyc housing adventure. i thought it would be fun to include some photos of my old apartment, as well as some tips for decorating a studio. 
this might go without saying but it's best to separate your living space from your sleeping place. this can be done in a few ways such as using a room divider or even positioning your bed in a separated area if you are lucky to have that. none of these options were possible in my studio so i decided to set my bed farther from the door to encourage guests (and myself) to use the couch before considering sitting on my bed. i also played with the colors and set certain tones for my living space and certain tones for my sleeping place.

even the smallest of studios will have wall space to play with. i have always loved accent walls and since i decided not to paint this apartment i knew i wanted one wall to really make a statement. most of the items on the wall were picked up at yard sales or from my travels around the world. i absolutely love when decor has a story and walls like these are great talking points!
storage is key in just about any city apartment, but especially in a studio. i was having a hard time finding a place to store my hats and also knew i didn't want to spend any more money on wall art so this turquoise wood piece shown above served both purposes. this area also ended up being a table and bar and even my desk on days i worked from home. the fact that the table had wings that expanded is also key when decorating small spaces! 
i wish i had more photos to show overall the layout of the studio but to be honest it was difficult to get certain shots because of the tight space.
on my way out of dc a friend told me that my apartment was featured on exposed brick which is an awesome website that features local listings in dc. it was so fun seeing my studio up there but it made it even harder to say goodbye! the only plus to saying goodbye is that i get to say hello to a new apartment that is just waiting to be decorated!

Monday, November 10, 2014

some exciting news!

i have some exciting news to share... i am moving to nyc! this is certainly a bittersweet move because i love dc, but i am excited for all of the new adventures and opportunities that await me in nyc. 

the past four years have been some of the most fun and also challenging years of my life. i am so thankful to have met so many amazing people that have helped shape who i am. i know i will be back to dc often and that this city will always have a special place in my heart.

new york city. here i come!!!

ps - how cool is that picture! i found it in my grandma's attic a few years ago and love it!

Monday, November 3, 2014

UNIFAT // Gulu, Uganda

this past weekend i had the privilege and honor of meeting a very influential woman in my brother in laws life. her name is abitimo odongkara. abitimo is responsible for founding the upper nile institute for appropriate technology (UNIFAT), a school my brother in law attended while he was in uganda. UNIFAT is a non-profit organization that was established to improve the lives of children in uganda. this school allows teachers and students a safe place where they can teach, learn, and interact with respect, love, and understanding. one of the many ways the school fundraises, in addition to donations,  is by the sale of bags and jewelry from local artisans. abitimo brought over some beautiful pieces to be sold here in the states and my sister and i thought it would be fun to share some of the jewelry here on the blog! all of the items seen in the photographs bellow are available for sale in a variety of colors and styles. for more information including pricing and how to order any of these pieces please email
photo credit // lori boccuzzi