Friday, August 22, 2014

Dakar Nest: Fauxtoshop & African Wax Upholstered Headboards

Happy Friday! This weekend I don't have much planned, but I am heading to the fabric market tomorrow (downtown, not HLM), probably just to browse more than anything. I have far flung dreams of an upholstered headboard for our bedroom... and I'm hoping to scope out some potential fabrics. Per usual, I will probably be drawn to blues and pinks, jewel tones, etc. Yada, yada, yada. The yooj..

As I mentioned on Tuesday, I have a guilty addiction to "fauxtoshop" (see what I did there? ;)... and I've been going a bit crazy with headboard mock-ups featuring wax fabrics from my arsenal (you may recognize a few from here) and others found around the web. I don't own most of these prints and probably won't find them, but it was fun to play around with scale and colors. I used these headboard images for their shape, not necessarily the girly vibe.

What can we glean from my fauxtoshopping? I'm definitely drawn to the larger scale patterns, with more versatile colors. We'll see what I can find tomorrow!

P.S. This is the state of the bedroom at the moment, just to keep it real. I wasn't exagerrating about the bed situation :( (Please excuse the terrible lighting.) --

Not pictured: the shower curtain hanging from that rod to block sunlight. Have I mentioned we've lived here for seven months?!?!

Now for some prettiness!

Any thoughts? Would you dare?!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sheep of the Week, Lamb Edition (#3)

This weeks #sheepoftheweek comes from my Dakar expat partner in crime, photographer extraordinaire, and much-loved guest poster, MEGAN. Plus, it features a precious little lamb... the best!

Megan snapped this shot in a village near Lompoul (north of Dakar, on the way to Saint-Louis). The baby sheep was only one week old!

Please note the mama sheep's red string ankle bling... is it a gris gris? Christian tells me its so that stubborn sheep won't escape. But I don't see the string attached to anything. So does it rely on mystical powers to keep the sheep in tow?!

Any Senegalese sheep experts out there have any ideas?

And a bonus #lambshot for your viewing pleasure:

Thanks for tuning into #moutonmercredi, and thanks for the photos, Megs!

Keep 'em coming; send me your #sheepoftheweek at

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Guilty Pleasures, Expat Edition - Total Social

Today I decided to join Helene and Sarah on the #guiltytotalsocial link up. Woohoo! The prompt is to write about my guilty pleasures. Some of these are expat related, others are just.... related to me. Hah. Also, it appears I associate most of my guilt with eating, and wasting time/energy/money. Looks like my most prominent cardinal sins are gluttony and sloth! Who would have thunk it?! ;) (Answer: anyone who knows me.)

Let the embarrassment begin...

1. Long, (irrationally) hot, energy-wasting showers all year long.

2. Lounging in my towel in front of the fan for a minimum of three hours after said indulgent shower. I may or may not be doing this as we speak.

3. Setting the AC to 16 degrees (60 degrees fahrenheit).... and leaving the doors open throughout the apartment... back when we had AC to waste, of course. So bad.

4. Shelling out 10,000cfa ($20) to lounge by the Radisson’s pool for an afternoon... the equivalent of one week’s salary for the average Senegalese. Let that sink in :(

5. Imported, expensive, and unsustainable weekly groceries: Italian prosciutto, oil-marinated feta cheese (so, so good), French butter, etc.

6. Buttery, creamy, cheesy pasta for... dessert (or a midnight snack). I may or may not be eating this as we speak.

7. Similarly, rounding out that $10 block of gourmet French cheese in one sitting.

8. Changing themes: birth stories. I've been going through the link-up on Camp Patton's blog like it's Christmas morning. (Cringing at how weird I am over here!) And also, Christian blogs... despite the fact that I am not religious. At all. What can I say, I’m a blog-voyeur... the further from my reality, the more engrossing.

9. Spending hours on "Photo-shop" mock-ups of interiors, potential outfits, furniture, floorplans... you name it. This is my form of crack. And since I'm technologically challenged/poor, I use a mix of gimp/iphoto/picmonkey/picasa/word, which you can bet really speeds up the process.  I'm advanced like that ;)

I call it #ispy6b (6b = Six Bougies):

Psssst... new Six Bougies pillows are available on Etsy for super reasonable prices, and support a GREAT cause! ;)

10. Hardcore television marathons. Any roommate I've ever had can attest to this. I recently watched the entire series of The Wire (five seasons, 60 episodes, 60 hours) in less than two weeks time. That means I spent about 27% of my waking hours watching The Wire. Why did I just admit to that. #shameful

Honorable Mention: taking countless photos of Taya, breaking the "no dogs on the bed rule"... daily, plucking my eyebrows with a magnified mirror, scouring Dakar for the best chocolate mousse, and the list goes on.

I'll stop there, though I'm sure I could think of more! Any expat (or not) guilty pleasures you'd like to divulge?! Share in the comments!

Helene in Between

Monday, August 18, 2014

South Africa Sojourn, Days 2&3: Table Mountain, Camps Bay, and Kirstenbosch (Part III)

First of all, I realize the length of these titles is slightly ridiculous, but its too late to go back now! ;) So jumping right back in to the South African Sojourn. When I last left off, we'd ended our first day in Cape Town with dinner at the V&A Waterfront. Let's do this!


After a lovely hotel breakfast on Sunday morning (Easter!), we took the Hop-on Hop-off bus from the Mount Nelson Hotel stop (a 3 minute walk from our hotel, if that) and enjoyed the historical city tour on our way to the Table Mountain Cableway. I really cannot recommend this bus system enough. A two-day ticket was incredibly reasonable (less than $20) and it hit ALL the best sights in the city. Actually, the downtown section is apparently free! We had been worried about not renting a car, which turned out to be a non-issue these first few days.

So, Table Mountain. This may have been my favorite tourist attraction in Cape Town! The views atop the mountain were breathtaking. Walking through the city, I was continually amazed by the towering mountain looking down on us at every angle, but taking the cableway to the top? Stunning. We didn't purchase tickets in advance (you can do this online) and we waited about 20 minutes to ascend. You may want to look into booking the tickets beforehand if you're in a rush.

I'm not a huge nature person, but I was completely absorbed in the beauty surrounding me as we walked around the tabletop, snapping hundreds of photos, soaking in the views, clear skies, and the vastness of the ocean. It was heavenly. We “hiked” around the top for an hour or so (its flat and not at all strenuous, totally worth it), taking in the panoramic views of the peninsula whilst trying to avoid the crazy crowds. This was also the weekend of the world-famous Two Oceans Marathon and the crowds were pretty intense (a theme, if you've noticed).


Sigh, I'm already nostalgic for this place! And I now totally get why reminiscing about Cape Town led G to tear up ;)


After visiting Table Mountain, we hopped back on the bus ;) and continued the tour to Camp’s Bay where we enjoyed a cocktail and appetizers at Blues Restaurant & Bar. The beach at Camp's Bay was (shocker) gorgeous, especially juxtaposed against the stark mountains nearby. But this strip was not exactly what we expected... it was "ultra-trendy" or, a little trashy French Riviera? I've heard that Clifton Beach is the place to go for a more luxurious and classy scene. Honestly, beach hopping was not our priority, so we were just glad to have visited one along the left coast!

For dinner, we decided to return to our neighborhood, Kloof Street/Company Gardens. At the recommendation of the very sweet Austrian hotel owner, we dined at a DELICIOUS little neighborhood Italian restaurant called Nonna Lina. I would highly recommend this place for cheap and tasty fare. It was less than $20 per person, delicious wine included, and it was packed on a Sunday night!


On Monday morning, we tried the second bus route to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens before our afternoon flight, yet another stunning place to visit in Cape Town. It was so refreshing to be surrounded by such gorgeous and lush landscape in contrast to the very dry and dusty Dakar. I don't even think my photos really do the gardens justice - my fancy camera's battery died, so the rest of the photos were taken with my iPhone, womp womp. With more time, I would have gladly spent an entire afternoon exploring the corners of the gardens with a gourmet picnic in tow, perhaps lucky enough to catch an evening concert. (Check the schedule for events if you visit, there are often concerts at the gardens!)

Here is were we made a little mistake – we did not realize the bus needed to make the entire loop to return to our initial stop. We hadn't allowed for an hour bus-ride back to the hotel before our flight and there were no taxis to be seen at the gardens, located in a more residential area. So, we hopped back on the bus in the opposite direction from our hotel, hoping to find a cab sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, we had to ride another 30 minutes away from the hotel until we were FINALLY able to get a taxi. We made it to The Fritz just in time to hop in another taxi to the airport for a seamless departure to Port Elizabeth. Let's just say our hearts were definitely working over time.  Never a dull moment when traveling with me ;)


And that concludes the first leg of our South African Sojourn :) In those 2.5 days, we officially checked off 4.5 of our TOP TEN must sees in Cape Town - not too shabby! Next, I'll pick up in Port Elizabeth with our drive to Addo Elephant Park and the game park adventures that ensued!

If you're planning a trip and would like to catch up on my South Africa posts, here you go:
1. Planning for Cape Town
2. Day 1: Long Street and V&A Waterfront
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