Life, Personal, Travel

Your Best Life: Benefits of Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

October 18, 2017

You Start to Worry Less About a Failure and Feel Excited About the Journey

Failure is given, but the more you can embrace and learn from it, the better off you will be. Yes, disturbing your comfort zone, i.e. disturbing your least stressful condition, opens you to vulnerability or a failure, a very uncomfortable feeling. Every time I publish a post or a photograph, I open myself to a possible rejection. But if I don’t post, then I shut down my creative outlet. So I keep posting, and concentrate on being excited about blogging and creating this new community with you.

Stepping Out of Comfort Zone Broadens Your Points of View

As you continuously expand your comfort zone, you meet all sorts of different people you might not otherwise, you try different career paths to find the one that suits you the best, and you travel to unexpected places. But all these experiences broaden your horizons. This one is probably the most important one for me, because it helped me be receptive to the autism diagnosis of my son, and be creative and proactive in my search for help and treatment. He is now my great partner in pushing his limits and expanding his endless horizons.

♡ Zuma

Death Valley

Motionless mountain view

death valley bloom

Flowers do find their way to grow in dry and lifeless Death Valley

In this story:

Thread & Supply ‘Outsider’ field jacket

Ann Taylor ‘City’ shorts

Agg Australia slip on sneakers, old (similar by Vans here and here)

Straw panama hat

Holidays, home, Life

Halloween Candy Bar Setup

October 17, 2017

Halloween candy barhalloween candy barhalloween candy barEvery October I make myself a promise to go all out for Halloween. I make ambitious plans which always, to be honest, get modified to a bare minimum. One of the big reasons for that is that given my busy lifestyle, these grand plans are just too overwhelming and unrealistic to try. But I do want to create halloween mood in the house, it’s holiday times, and I want everyone at home to feel it. So this year I thought to approach it differently. Instead of decorating the entire house, I thought to decorate only one or two areas and create a Halloween candy bar! Building the candy bar took me no more than an hour plus a trip to a candy shop! Here are a few tips on building a Halloween candy bar.

1. Choosing a spot.

I’ve seen some using their bar area for their candy bar, which is great. But this usually covers a big space and requires lots of candy ($$$ and Lbs!). I was looking more for the idea of creating a smaller moveable bar. So I used a big tray I got from Pottery Barn which I can move around easily (a mobil bar or a serving cart should work well too).

2. Select containers before going shopping.

I do that for two reasons. One, this helps me to calculate how much candy I need to buy. Two, it helps me to decide what kind of candy to buy.  Also, when selecting the containers, I like mixing and matching the height and styles. Now, since I don’t have too many vases, I repurpose what I have. And here I used a few of my wine and beer glasses as vases along with actual vases. I also used a cake tray to help add height.

3. Choose a variety of candy.

When in a candy shop, knowing my containers and their placement, I decide on types of candy. I was looking for three or four Halloween colors, black, orange, a little bit of red and some random color (I picked blue) just to add something different.

4. Add a few fillers.

This is Halloween, so I placed a few Halloween themed fillers in the tray. I used flowers and a candle to add depth to the look and make it more lush, along with a few black and orange pumpkins to fill empty spots, and battery powered cat string lights in and around the tray (their eyes light up!). Boo!

♡ Zuma A.

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Instagram for all the live action! xx

*Photographed by Lenley Makela Slepicka 

home, Life

Mirror Decor: How to Create a Bright, Zen Space

March 22, 2017

I always want to build a bright, tranquil, and healthy home for my family, so to add as much sunshine as possible, which can be a foundation for happy living, I started looking into decorating with mirrors. I love mirrors for their functionality and their ability to enhance the light and size of any room. Last summer I finally went for this oversized mirror, 6.5 feet! Originally I thought to place it in the bedroom, but the space was limited and we decided to place it in the living room by the entry way. I liked the functionality of the mirror, it was in a perfect place to make a final quick check of my look before leaving the house. But I feel that mirrors should create a magical extension of the space, and as much as I wanted to love the mirror, I did not love how it reflected a narrow wall and an armchair which looked disproportionally small in the illusion of big space.

A few months later, I saw this mirror in a magazine spread. It was leaning on the wall by the dining table, reflecting the light from the window and enhancing the room beautifully! This made me realize that when I brought the mirror home, I concentrated on finding a big enough empty space for it. I did not pay attention to what it would reflect and what it should reflect.

My point is, that mirrors are one of the most powerful and magical decorating tools, no matter if it’s place in a big or small space. If placed strategically, a mirror’s powers extend beyond their functionality. They add light, extend space, enhance decor, and create any ambience you want! Learning more about where to place mirrors was a useful tool in helping me decorate my home. Since then I added a few more (smaller) mirrors in the house and love them. And here I have highlighted a few of my favorite mirror decor ideas that worked well for me, especially since my home is very not big.

Mirror Decorating Ideas:

Add a Window.

The hallway is a bit isolated and darker than the rest of the house. A mirror in the entry hall is a beautiful accent that makes a space look larger and brighter. So hanging this mirror from T.J. Max Home on the hallway wall opposite the backyard door, helped multiply the light and add the depth and energy to the room instantly. Also, this mirror is narrow and long, and so it makes the room appear taller. If you are looking for a way to elongate your room, look for a vertical rectangle mirror. Now this mirror has become my go to  for a final check of my look before I head out of the house.

Reflect Plants and Colors.

While placing mirrors opposite a window is one of the oldest and classic decorating tricks, not all spaces have that opportunity. And if you want to place a mirror on a wall that does not face a window, placing plant or a flower bouquet adds a feel of the outdoors. Green leaves and stems, especially, bring a doze of freshness into the room. Doubling the succulents in front of a mirror creates a similar effect. Also, placing colorful flowers and books in front of a mirror adds more color to the room. I often coordinate color of flowers with color of candles, sofa pillows,  throws and curtains, depending on the season.

Oversize the Impact

I absolutely LOVE my oversized mirror’s new placement in front of the dining table. While the dining room is not much bigger than the table itself, it is surrounded by two full size windows to the backyard. The mirror’s reflection of the yard, creates an impression that the space is open and somewhat outdoors! We usually eat at this table during special gatherings and holidays, so when people come over and the table is decorated, it looks like the number of people and party decor is expanded. And if I want to create an ambience of a romantic evening, this mirror is a perfect tool to double the candles.

Layer Mirrors. 

To float a mirror on top of a mirrored wall takes special preparation, but I also love leaning a smaller mirror on a bigger mirror. Here I can control the angle and what the smaller mirror reflects. In my home I have an old mirrored wall that has paint stains that I couldn’t remove. So I layered another mirror (technically, it is a mirrored tray, but I use it as a mirror) over the stains and placed books and a flower bouquet in front of it and love it. Doubling the number of flowers is always a good thing.

Group a Few Mirrors Together.

These three Pottery Barn round mirrors came as a set and look like three reflections that brighten the area with gold frames. I also think that they would look very lovely if placed horizontally over a couch or a bed. I love these Anthro Mirrors too. They are sold individually, but come in three different shapes and sizes that mix and match. With picture frames and other art, they can create a gallery wall.

Move Mirrors Outdoors.

Just as mirrors create an illusion of bigger space indoors, they do the same for outdoors, whether it is a balcony or a yard. It doubles the green too. During my travel to Portland last fall, we staid in  a charming house owned by an artist and master gardener Em. At first glance, it is a very simple and beautifully decorated country style home with a rustic charm. Some details of the decor were immediately noticeable for their uniqueness, though, especially the placement of mirrors throughout the house and the yard. This trick is very impactful on a small balcony.

So those are my tips on how to strategically place mirrors to decorate your home, inside and outside. Hope you enjoyed this post! Do you like decorating your home with mirrors? Share your tips in the comments bellow. And make sure to subscribe to the Splash of Teal monthly newsletter for many more hacks and tips on how to surround your daily live with travel, beauty, and style to live your best life.

Lots of love,

♡ Zuma Ayriyan

Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook for all the live action and Instagram for daily fashion! xx

Fashion, Life

Work Life Balance: Fake it Til You Make It

March 15, 2016

After writing Dressing up for Work Life Balance, the ‘fake it til you make it’ mantra rang in my ears as another method of regaining work life balance and feeling good. There is no doubt that it is helpful, and speeds up the process. Now, I haven’t recovered from recent stress yet, mainly because there is always something in the way, but dragging myself through the day and spreading negativity is not very nice to myself nor to others. So I persistently keep cutting down my workload, reminding myself to stay positive, and dressed up in lovely outfits with the hope that faking a feel-good attitude would become real sooner rather than later. This system worked for me many times before and seems to be working again this time.

During the days like this, I am very thankful that my closet is not overcrowded and is well balanced between basics and trendy items, so that no matter what I pick to wear, I look fine. When I shop for my clothes, bags, or shoes, unless I go for classic basics, I look for either bright colors that would pop up or for unusual silhouette that would catch the eye. The word I’m looking for, I think, is unexpected.  This time I wore a very basic flare skirt, soft turtleneck sweater and topped them off with a trench. The fun items are pink retro sunglasses and the pompom clip, and the items I get the most complements on (usually, the element of surprise) are my red rain booties. And on a rainy day, while very delicate and classy (did you see the cute little bows in the back?!), the red color makes these booties girly, flirty, and definitely unexpected.

♡ Zuma

fake it til you make it wildfox kate spade rain boots fake it til you make itZara trench

In this story:

Madewell sweater, now on sale!

 Topshop skirt, sold out (similar by CeCE here)

 Zara short trench coat

Kate Spade rain booties, sold out (similar by Tory Burch here and by Sam Edelman here)

Louis Vuitton ‘Speedy’ monogram handbag

Kate Spade charm pendant necklace

Nila Anthony Faux Fur Pompom clip

Wildfox ‘Dakota Deluxe’ Retro sunglasses

Life, Travel

My Favorite Spots in Orange County

February 18, 2016

I love LA, but as soon as I moved to Orange County, I instantly knew I was home.  Wide streets, less traffic, beautiful parks, bike trails, and miles and miles of sandy beaches make after work hours and weekends so much more relaxing.  Orange County is a perfect getaway spot, and if you are craving to get away from your busy life, and want to relax and reenergize, pick a week or even a weekend (even a day will do!) and come over to Orange County, California!

Here are a few of my favorite spots in Orange County.
Orange County
Thankfully to the SoCal beautiful weather, you can enjoy outdoor activities here all year long.
Corona Del Mar State Beach ~ If you want to go for a relaxing stroll, enjoy spectacular views, and explore tide pools, you will love this place. Sometimes I come here with a picnic basket full of munchies, settle under a tree, and relax. The view is unbelievable.
Balboa Island ~ Charming is the word to describe this place. Stroll on the Main street, visit shops, or take a brisk walk around the island and enjoy beautiful views.  If you take Balboa Island’s famous old and rusty ferry, you will be transported to the other side of the island where you can rent a bike to ride along the beautiful beach, or simply hang out and soak in the sun.
Laguna Beach ~ This is certainly a gem of not just Orange County, but of all of California. Walk along the beautiful beach, visit art galleries, and local shops. If you are in OC during July and August, check out the Festival of Arts Pageants of the Masters.

Bike Trails ~ If you love biking outdoors, Orange County offers amazing bike trails with beautiful views for every difficulty level. You can also pick the scenery you like, whether you want to ride in the mountains, or in the beautiful wild parks, or along the open river, or along the sandy beach. The choice is yours.

OC Eateries

While OC has lots of excellent restaurants to offer, all the restaurants at the OC Mix, The Camp and The Lab are wonderful, but whenever I spend a day at the beach, I opt for burgers or seafood. And here are a few of my favorite spots to eat on a beach day.

Bear Flag & Fish Co. ~ If I crave fresh seafood, this is where I go. Bear Flag & Fish Co. is located not far from the beaches and PCH.  The food is healthy, flavorful, and delicious, and poke salad (and fish tacos, and burritos, and clam chowder, hehe) are absolutely delicious!

Beachcombers Cafe  ~ This restaurant is located right on Crystal Cove beach. This is kind of like dining at the beach, not by the beach. No matter if it is morning, noon, or evening, it is always beautiful out here. And if you’re up for a drink, try their Bloody Mary… just don’t drive afterwards… even if you share it with some one…when you see it, you will know what I mean.

The Deck ~ Bring your honey here for a romantic sunset dinner. The drinks and food are delicious, and the atmosphere is relaxed and hip at the same time. There’s even live music.

Gelato Paradiso ~ This ice cream shop reminds me of gelateries in Italy – the shop’s design, the ice cream taste… Gelato Paradiso is located in a small alleyway off PCH. Don’t give up if you don’t find it right away. This gelato is worth the effort. Pistachio is my favorite.

Shops and Entertainment

Most OC activities and entertainment are outdoors. And nothing will relax you more than being out in fresh air. By the time your head will hit the pillow, you will be sleeping like a baby…

Knotts Berry Farm ~ Okay, this is not a place where you go to relax, really. Have you seen The Boomerang? It will make you scream for your life. At least, it does that to me. He-he. Whether you ride roller coasters or not, you will find a lot of fun things to do here. Lots of fun for every age and kind. And the price is great!

Roger’s Gardens ~ If you enjoy flowers, plants, and gardening, you must come visit this nursery. Even if you are not planning on buying anything, it is a beautiful place to just walk and relax. You can check out their beautiful arrangements and amazing holiday boutique, whether it is Christmas, or Halloween, or Easter. The selection and quality of plants are great, and, surprisingly, for a very affordable price! As a bonus, during weekends, they host gourmet food trucks. Need I say more? The frequent visitor Lobsta Truck is my favorite!

Tanaka Farms ~ You may never think that in the middle of the city of Irvine, there is a farm, but it’s true… Well, it’s more like an entertainment farm, but you will feel here as if you are in the countryside. The farm offers different fun wagon tours during each season: Strawberry Tours, Watermelon Tours, Pumpkin Patch Tours, and You Pick Tours.  Picking your own strawberries or veggies is a lot of fun for both kids and adults… and they taste just that much better too.

Downtown Disney ~ Obviously, Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth, and a must visit. But, if you have a free evening, Downtown Disney is a fun place to visit too. Here you can enjoy the shops, the restaurants, and the live outdoor entertainment. You can even watch Disney’s daily fireworks!

I will stop here for now. What are your favorite OC spots?

♡ Zuma

Life, Travel

Lunch Break: Exploring Downtown LA

February 10, 2016

Ever since I started driving to Downtown LA to work, I became inspired by the city’s beauty and diversity, and walking around the neighborhood during my lunch break became one of my favorite activities. My usual route includes a stop for tea or lunch in one of my favorite DTLA spots, Bottega Louie or Pitchoun Bakery. Then I stroll uphill to Grand street towards the Financial District, MOCA and Disney Hall, then come down to the Historic District, and, finally, back to the Jewelry District where the Los Angeles Immigration court is located. So here are a few highlights:

First, I treat myself for a morning tea at Bottega Louie at the corner of 7th and Grand, which has a desert section that in itself a work of art. If only I could eat them all at once

Botega Louie botegga louie desert

If it is still early in the morning, I order a chocolate croissant and a beignet with raspberry filling. And yes, they are as delicious as they look…maybe even better.

breakfastDT LA

Feeling fully recharged, I head East of Grand Street.

LA Public Library

LA Public Library

Downtown LA

MOCA

MOCA

Disney Hall and LA Opera

Disney Hall and LA Opera

Now I head south towards the Historic District, to see more of the artistic side of DTLA. I Love how within just a couple of minutes, the scenery changes!..
IMG_3450IMG_3464Downtown LA

Did you know that every evening of the 2nd Tuesday of the month, rain or shine, you can stroll along the galleries, restaurants and bars downtown. So check out the Downtown Los Angeles Art Walk!
IMG_3481IMG_3475IMG_3465As I head back, I pass the Jewelry District on the way.

IMG_3442 IMG_3448 IMG_3451 IMG_3452IMG_3444

LA diversity is quite incredible, and I hope to share a few other Downtown LA spots ~  China Town, Korea Town, Little Tokyo…
What are some of your favorite spots in your neighborhood? Are any of you LA dwellers? Leave me comments, and tag your photos! I would so love to hear from you!

♡ Zuma

Are we Instagram friends? Follow me @splashofteal

Fashion

My Closet: a Few Thoughts About Going Minimalist

November 4, 2015

Ever since I started blogging, I promised myself to always stay true to my minimalist habits. I have always been a minimalist, possibly because we did not have malls where I grew up, forcing me to become an expert on carefully picking out clothing  that was practical and durable. By the time I moved to the U.S., my minimalist habits were imprinted too deeply and never really went away.

It gets more and more difficult to be a minimalist, though, because in this day and age of consumerism, stores roll new items in almost every week, and oh they all look so good and refreshing! The problem is that these trendy pieces become old news quickly and we forget about them and leave them to get lost in ever growing closets.

In the world of a minimalist, less stuff means more money for each garment we buy, getting good use out of each item, and loving each and every one of the pieces in our closets ~ they are well made, always stylish, and long lasting. 75% of my closet is classic basics and the rest are inexpensive trendy pieces and accessories that I buy throughout the fashion season. Even then I try to to envision incorporating them into classic looks to make them last longer.

Like this beautiful Theory dress I bought a few years before Alex was born (and he is now 11!). I fell for it for its timeless silhouette, good quality fabric and stitches. Paired with black pumps (always timeless) and oversized sunglasses (also timeless) this outfit can be in style forever.

♡ Zuma

DSC07308DSC07318
In this story:

Theory dress old (also love Maggy London Pearl Collar dress here)

Stella McCartney small ‘Falabella’ tote

Pumps old (similar by Stuart Weitzman pump here)

Wildfox ‘Malibu Deluxe’ sunglasses

Life

Celebrating the Independence Day: Living American Dream

July 3, 2015

I cannot believe that tomorrow is July 4th, I always get super excited to celebrate Independence Day and the birth of the country I am happy to call my home. I became an American a little more than twenty years ago. I wanted to live the American dream, and my future was yet to be written.  But the reality was harsh ~ my first job duties included washing floors in the 24-hour public laundromat for $12 a day. I have to say, this was not what I had in mind when I was leaving my homeland ~ I thought I would be doing something amazing! Life was not a dream and was as real as it gets. I am quite certain that most immigrants have stories like mine…

Years passed since in a flash. As soon as I got over the initial culture shock, I started the process of blending in. I gradually stopped thinking and dreaming in my native language, learned American history, adopted American traditions, and started calling America my home. This was my second shot at life and the opportunity to pursue happiness, and all these years of my life have been filled with ups and downs, risks, luck, and, mostly, a very hard work. I’ve gone a long way since then, and I did fulfill my American dream ~ I moved on from being a janitor, to becoming a student, to a lawyer and book publisher.

My list of reasons why I am thankful to this country is long, and the opportunity to be myself is on the top of the list: I am free to say anything I want, I am free to sing in the streets if I want. I am free to be me.

So happy birthday America! Cheers!!

♡ Zuma

 

Health, Life

Five Tips: How to Have it Together When Things Don’t go Your Way

June 8, 2015

Sometimes life makes it hard to have it together. When I was in my 30s, frantically scrambling through life experiences, I always admired women who, no matter rain or shine, looked like their lives were in order, always classy and fabulous. I knew that it was not about how much money they had, but about the attitude towards life ~ always calm and kind… Then I turned 40 and suddenly felt strong and confident, I became a woman of my own. But as the years went by, life started throwing challenges at me, like the inevitability of parents getting old and needing care, negotiating medical bills, work stresses, and fulfilling family responsibilities. Life became very real and every day became very precious, and I had to learn to to love life the way it really is. Yes, Vivian Green said it brilliantly, I too now had to learn to dance in the rain… So here are five things I use help me to have it together and get through the life challenges thrown my way.

Don’t Blame Yourself for Mistakes

Guilt can drag you down to the ground. No, you are not perfect, but your mistakes don’t define who you are. Look at it as a learning experience which will make you wiser and stronger. Always remember that if you never fail, that can only mean that you haven’t tried, really.

Focus on the Good Things You Have

If you look around, there are many things you can be unhappy about, but then there are also many things you can be grateful for. All we need is home, food, and the people we love. The rest is a bonus we want and work hard for, but not a necessity. So, focus on the positives, don’t compare yourself to others, no one is immune to life’s challenges and difficulties. Celebrate what you have every day. Happiness is based on your perspective.

Hold on Tight Because Things Will Get Better

You know it, you just have to remind yourself when you’re down. No matter what the challenges are, stay strong to withstand them, and tell yourself to believe that your troubles will go away and that the storm will pass.

Don’t Stop Your Life Waiting for the Storm to Pass

Life is hard, but problems and challenges don’t stop time. The world just keeps moving, and that’s a good thing. It forces you to pick yourself up and keep moving forward no matter how hard it feels. So lean on helping hands of loyal friends and get right back into the driver’s seat of your life, continue to do the things you love, keep challenging yourself. Life is be amazing when you learn and grow.

Phew, what do you think of my five tips on how I try to keep it together when my life throws challenges at me? Please share your tips on how you help yourself to keep it together!

♡ Zuma

Fashion, Life

Celebrating Earth Day

April 22, 2015

Zara Dress (similar here) Mark Jacobs handbag from my sister’s closet!  (similar here and here), Oversize sunnies (similar here), Straw hat (similar here), Juicy Couture sneakers old (similar here and here)

1970s did not just give us awesome boho style, flares, and platforms. It also started the modern environmental movement, the anniversary of which we celebrate as Earth Day every April 22. So Happy Earth Day, ladies!! Each year we become more and more responsible Earth residents ~ we recycle, we wear sustainable clothes (think Stella McCartney!), we donate clothes to charity, we avoid using products that are tested on animals, and we opt out for faux fur and leather more often. I love that biking everywhere possible become the new cool thing, and that finally, Los Angeles will follow Denmark, France, Mexico, and many other U.S. Cities, and implement the Bike Sharing system in Los Angeles next year!

♡ Zuma

beach biking outfitbeach biking outfit beach biking outfit beach biking outfit beach biking outfitbeach biking outfit

In this story:

Zara Dress (similar here)

Mark Jacobs handbag from my sister’s closet!  (similar here and here)

Oversize sunnies (similar here)

Straw hat (similar here)

Juicy Couture sneakers old (similar here and here)

 

Career, Fashion, Life, Personal

Decorate Your Life

April 8, 2015

J.Crew top, Anthropologie skirt (similar here), Kate Spade mules (similar here and here), Tory Burch shopper bagSwarovski earringsTiffany’s sterling silver necklace  (also here)

Starting a new business is both exciting and terrifying and while I am no stranger to blogging, the decision to transform my blog from a hobby into a business made my stomach churn. But driven by my desire for doing what I love, I dove into this new adventure of giving my lifestyle blog Living zBeautiful Mix a makeover and creating this new lifestyle and fashion blog Splash of Teal. With the goal of decorating my life with splashes of beautiful fashion and life moments, I am thankful to you for reading and following along my journey!

 Zuma

New BeginningsNew Beginnings, JCrew SweaterNew Beginnings, JCrew SweaterNew Beginnings, JCrew Sweater

New Beginnings, JCrew Sweater

 In this story:

J.Crew top

Anthropologie skirt (similar here)

Kate Spade mules (similar here and here)

Tory Burch shopper bag

Swarovski earrings

Tiffany’s sterling silver necklace  (also here)