Salt Air | Monday Playlist

saltair BC3 BC4bBC13  BC1BC8BC4BC3bWe spent one of our last days in Spain on the beach. After having such a jam packed itinerary, it was really nice to know the only things ahead of us that day were a warm blanket of brown-sugar colored sand, the ocean’s breeze and maybe a pitcher of sangria. (Maybe can also be read as “definitely”).

It’s a Monday and I’ve finally had time to sit and reevaluate priorities and responsibilities for my life in Nashville; while I love to be always going, there’s a pile of work (next to the trip’s laundry) that always seems to pile up. Being my own boss is great because I can work remotely and get a lot done wherever I am. Being my own boss also means that when I return from trips I have a day of back-to-back meetings, that feel more like speed-dates, at the cafe I frequent. Needless to say, my next few days are a little hectic.

Wednesday I’m driving into the hills of West Virginia for a final weekend of R&R before the dog days of summer truly arrive. Upon my return I’ll be moving into a new house and starting a new wave of summer clients. It is a hearty to do list, but I’m really excited to see what’s up next. Life gets crazy and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Enjoy the playlist! It’s a little bit of bluegrass and a little bit inspired by the beach (aka where I wish I was every second of these hot months):

Speak to you soon!

Park Guëll, Barcelona | Spain Travel Diary

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• Wearing a jumpsuit from Necessary Clothing (similar here) •

It’s always interesting to experience a place that you have seen on a screen, made of thousands of tiny pixels, so many times. You go with certain expectations of what it will look and feel like, and sometimes your experience is even made or ruined by those expectations.

Park Guëll is a place that I’ve seen a million times on the internet. I anxiously counted down the days on the trip until we would get to pay Gaudi’s masterpiece (one of several) a visit. With an open mind I took in the sight of the mosaic covered grounds;  the flowers spilling over the walls echoing the vibrancy of the tiles; and the colorful, breathtaking view of Barcelona from the overlook.

While the initial impression was more than magnificent, it was what you saw when you looked past the big details, and instead focused more on the intricacies that were true signatures of Gaudi’s work. Some of them were only  visible for an instant, so catching sight of one felt like a whisper from Gaudi himself; a secret that not everyone gets to know. Those details are what make seeing a popular place so special. Those details are what make visiting a place like that worth it.

Mosaics, like pixels on a computer screen, come together to form an image and make an impression. There was certainly one left on me. Thanks, Gaudi.

A final few waves of Barcelona photos to go and then an announcement of a new adventure!

 

Speak to you soon!

 

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Barcelona by Night | Spain Photo Diary

bbnpromo barca14barca10 barca17 barca7barca9  barca8 barca12barca13 barca6 barca16 barca11On our first night in Barcelona we braved the crowds to see the Magic Fountain. Although it was flooded with tourists, the view of the city paired with the music and good friends made every second worth it.

Have a great weekend! More Spain photos to come.

Speak to you soon!

 

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La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary

La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips La Boqueria | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla ChipsWhenever I mentioned that I was making a trip to Barcelona, a popular suggestion I got was to visit La Boqueria. La Boqueria is a huge market filled to the brim with produce, locally made products (cheese, cured meats, olive oils, etc) and counters where you can pick something up or have an authentic meal prepared right in front of you. Our hotel was near La Rambla, we made the market one of our first stops.

Things you should probably pick up at La Boqueria:

1. Fresh Produce – Traveling can often consist of eating heavily for days upon days. A welcome change, for us, was to grab some fresh fruit for breakfast and vegetables to take along with us for lunch. We spent a fraction of what we would’ve at a restaurant and still got to enjoy the local flavors. My favorite things were the vibrant red cherries, juicy peaches and perfectly ripe avocados.

2. Juice – It’s impossible to miss the rows of festive, brightly colored straws that adorn the fresh juices all over the market. From kiwi coconut to mango banana berry, you can pretty much get any combination (or single flavor) that you’re hoping for. Definitely a refreshing treat that would make a hot day maneuvering through the crowds much more bearable.

3. Candy – On a less healthy note, you have got to get your hands on some of the specialty candy in the market. We made a point to go three separate days, each time trying something new. My favorites were the macarons (of course), the truffles,  the coconut bonbons and this circular, toffee and chocolate crispy treat. I really think I could’ve tried anything and would’ve had a shut-my-eyes-in-chocolate-ecstasy moment.

4. Gelato – Gelato isn’t just delicious in Italy; no, I had some of the best gelato I’ve ever had from a counter in the very middle of the market. We got one coconut and one scoop berry (with fresh berries piled on top). The gelato was so good that we actually had to have a seat right in the middle of La Rambla to enjoy it to the fullest extent (send your judgements to my P.O box).

5. Empanadas – Jamón y Queso. Pollo y Queso. Anything. Everything. Get them all.

6. Counter Service – The one thing we didn’t do (and I feel regrettable about) was taking advantage of the in-market food counters. The aromas from the various seafood, tapas and float about the entire market; the sizzle of busy skillets interrupting barter conversations between shopper and stall owner. There was one near the back that was lit with rustic lighting and was serving lobster…I’ve got to get back there some day. It really did seem to good to miss.

Although we did see and do a lot in Barcelona, I felt like the market needed it’s own post. More sites and stories to come!

 

Speak to you soon!

 

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Burgos | Spain Travel Diary (+June Playlist)

Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla Chips Burgos | Spain Travel Diary, Red Lips + Tortilla ChipsSometime during the middle of our tour of Spain we stopped in a quaint, colorful town called Burgos. When we arrived the sunset was beginning to paint the pastel buildings in warmer tones and  illuminate the tall towers of the cathedral near our hotel; Flowers decorated street level window boxes, restaurant table tops and almost every balcony we saw. Within a few minutes of being in town I was a little disappointed we hadn’t blocked out more time to spend in this charming city, but totally grateful that I got to see it at all.

As the sun sunk behind the hills that framed the town we indulged in a multi-course meal of Sopa de Ajo (castillian garlic soup), Pork Tenderloin, and Quesa Fresca with honey. (Don’t worry, there was wine).  We reluctantly rose with the sun the next morning and made our way towards Bilbao.

Reliving this Spain trip has been almost as satisfying as the trip itself, but I couldn’t go another week without making a playlist. As it’s the beginning of a new month I give you the June Playlist. Enjoy:

Speak to you soon!

 

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Sunday Brunch | Sangria Edition

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via: AnthropologieKitchen TreatyDesign Sponge • not pictured: Smokey Beer Sangrita via Stir and Strain

In the spirit of returning from Spain (and needing a break from photo editing) I’ve been hunting down Sangria recipes to help me: a) continue pretending I’m seaside in Barcelona and b) survive through the hot summer months ahead. Sangria is a refreshing treat that can be as sweet, fruity or tart as you like it. You can make it with red or white wine, or pretend you’re still 10 and at a soda machine and mix them both together at once (note: that makes me nervous, but hey wine not.)

Spain photo diary continues soon! Get excited about a new playlist this week too.

 

Speak to you soon!

 

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Segovia | Spain Travel Diary

Segovia | Spain Diary, via Red Lips Tortilla Chipsscathedral sidestreet portrait1 fans ceiling2 door aqueduct portrait2 cookies1 baskets austriantile house hapsburg courtyard sweets walls elalcazar chocolates portrait3 cathedral facade cityscape window town aqueduct2 castle cookies2 segoviaMy trip to Spain was rich with history. Since we were on a guided tour of the country, we had the opportunity to see many buildings that were important in forming Spain as we know it today.

On the third day of the trip we made our way to  El Escorial just outside of Madrid (no photos were allowed, but you can see it here) and then we made our venture to Segovia where we would be seeing El Alcazar. Both sites were from the age of the Hapsburgs (Austrian) ruling Spain; they were the kind of buildings that make you silent because your eyes are too busy tracing the details from floor to ceiling and your mind is making a lofty effort to soak it all in.

Sometimes I skip the more touristy sites because I want to feel like I’ve genuinely experienced a place and not just gotten caught up in its sites. However, within the last two weeks I have gotten to explore some breathtaking places. Architecture tells stories that we get to feel a part of, even if it’s only for a 45 minute tour. In those instances, I find myself feeling introspective about the things the walls surrounding me have seen and heard; about the things I’ve read in texts books that happened so long ago in the same space I am getting to experience.

I highly recommend adding both places to your trip itinerary.  Segovia is an ancient Romanesque city (declared a world heritage site) that is worth spending an entire day in to window shop down the alleyways and treat yourself to some Spanish cookies (they have so many good ones). You may also want to see the Roman Aqueduct, the Cathedral and the many plazas framed by restaurants serving authentic Castilian cuisine.

Tomorrow: Burgos and Spanish food

 

Speak to you soon!

 

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Madrid | Spain Travel Diary

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Exploring a new destination means every day goes by lightning fast; one minute you’ve just touched down at the airport, and the next you’re taking off again. That was definitely the case with Spain. There were a lot fewer free moments than I was anticipating so a break from constant blogging accidentally ensued, but I am excited to share all of the moments with you now!

Madrid was the first city in Spain we visited. It was a buzzing city whose rich history and ornate architecture mesh with the urban, modern style of today. Cars raced down busy avenues past monuments erected for heroes past, and the smell of tapas and coffee was constantly hanging in the air. Once you’re deep into the heart of the city though, quiet side streets lined with Spanish Bakeries, handmade goods and hidden bodegas give you an escape from the fast paced crowds a few streets over.

One of my favorite things in Madrid was the Mercado de San Miguel. The stalls were filled with fresh produce, jamón, meringues, wine, fish, cheeses, spanish candies and all of the tapas you can imagine. We piled a few pieces of Manchego cheese and some croquettes onto our plate and took a few minutes to soak it all in. Afterwards, we got a local recommendation for a place to grab some churros, and made our way to Chocolatería San Ginés. The smell of chocolate immediately took over my senses, and within five minutes our order of six perfectly sweet churros and chocolate to dip in were delivered to our table outside. Heaven.

We headed to the Prado Musuem after that to peruse to hallways of renowned paintings and sculptures. Definitely worth a visit.

Madrid is an experience I recommend playing by ear. There are a few landmarks you won’t want to miss, but you’ll find the best things when you least expect them.

 

Next stop: Segovia

 

Speak to you all soon!

 

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Toledo | Spain Travel Diary, Day 1

TOLEDOPROMO TOLEDO1 TOLEDO5 TOLEDO7 TOLEDO8 TOLEDO6 TOLEDO4 TOLEDO9 TOLEDO11 TOLEDO3 TOLEDO2Hola! I’ve made it to Spain, and I’ve got to say that so far…it’s beautiful. Although jet lag is holding strong there have been very few still moments since we landed. Today we toured the centuries-old city of Toledo. While most travel blogs I read didn’t so much recommend this sweet little town, I beg to differ. Toledo was very charming and full of history. If you’re an art fan (especially one of El Greco) then this is a stop you’ve got to make.

The architectural influence of the Moors/Muslim’s could be seen from road to roof; my favorite was within the ornate, geometric decoration of the historic synagogue (once possibly planned to be a mosque). Many of the resident’s balconies were dotted with fresh flowers and greenery galore; I could probably have spent all day just meandering around the side streets, inhaling the aromas of cooking paella and stopping to admire the sharp, shiny souvenirs that are specific to Toledo.

My final answer on whether or not you should take the trip? Yes. Just take a couple of hours. I think you’ll be charmed, too.

 

Madrid post coming soon + heading to Segovia/Burgos tomorrow.

 Follow me on instagram for more photos and to follow me on my journey! @lacunningham

Te Hablo luego!

 

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Scatterbrained

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A few of my favorite pins/reblogs from this week:
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This week I have been all over the place; from errands, to client meetings, to coffee catchups–things have been a little crazy. There are just a few final loose ends to get tied up before liftoff on Monday. Have I told you guys I’m going to Spain? Just kidding, I know I have. I only wanted to hear myself say it again for the sake of my #sanity.

Speak to you all soon!

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