August Favorites

Wow!  August absolutely flew past me.  This month has been a whirldwind for us, as we continue to explore Santiago.  Mia Mangos has officially been running for a month! (Yay!)  So , these are just a few highlights from August.

Favorite Pins

august-favs-pins1: The Neighborhood, Oakland, CA  |  2: The Sill  |  3:  Yoga Pose  |4: Scoop of Roses  | Find me on Pinterest here

Favorite Read


I am currently reading Unaccustomed Earth by Jhuma Lahiri, and I am hooked.  I read her first novel (a collection of short stories), Interpreter of Maladies and was hooked.  Her style is accessible and relatable to all people, and I think I’m going to be on a Lahiri kick for a while!

Favorite Blog

aug-favs-blogI’ve found myself completely obsessed with Victoria McGinley’s new blog (formerly vmac+cheese) and website.  Her style is exquisite, and I always enjoy reading her posts.  If you enjoy design, this is a must read!  *All photos above are hers.

Favorite Artist

koromiko-spoonsSuzanne Sullivan creates beautiful and unique ceramics.  Check out her collections at Shop KOROMIKO.

Favorite Quote


I originally saw this on Pinterest and followed the link to Clementine Daily (another blog that quickly found its way into my daily reader).  These two words have such a strong message.  Why wait?  I said before that I am a huge daydreamer, and I focus so much on the big picture and making things exact that I sometimes forget to just get started!

Favorite Post


Our tour to Trapiche in Argentina was a definite favorite.   Check it out here.

What were your favorite pieces from the month?




In Case You Missed It | August

As I said before, it is crucial to know what’s happening in the world around us.  So, I am excited about including news as part of Mia Mangos.  There will be an In Case You Missed It each month.  If you have more stories from your country or area that you think are important but have not been included in this edition, please write it, with a link, below in the comments!  (Also, if you’d like to write a guest post about a topic related to news, let me know as well!)

chilenewsphoto: BBC News

Chile News:

Earthquakes rumbled the cities of Santiago and Valparaiso this past weekend (August 23).  No severe damage was reported and no deaths, but there were a few distrubances of electricity and phone lines.

President Bachelet wrapped up her tour to Africa.  The tour included three countries (South Africa, Mozambique, and Angola) in the hopes to strengthen Chile’s connections with African countries.

Friday, August 21, was the date of a large student protest in Santiago, Chile.  Thousands of students were opposing the new education reform.  It ended with in chaos, as police sprayed tear gas into the crowd.



USA News:

A tragic incident led to complete outrage when Michael Brown was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson earlier this month in Ferguson, Missouri.  Many people took to the streets to protest shouting, “Hands up, don’t shoot!”  Some turned violent, while others aimed to keep Brown’s memory alive.  People are now hoping for answers and justice.

California was hit by a 6.0 earthquake this past weekend (August 23) around Napa and San Francisco.  This was the strongest earthquake the area has experienced in about 25 years!  Damage to homes caused some to relocate and damage to buildings caused some shops to temporarily closed.

The Little League World Series wrapped up this past weekend, as 16 teams narrowed to the two finalists.  Chicago, Illinois met with Seoul, South Korea for an exciting game that ended with a Korean victory of 8-4 this past Sunday (August 24).


ebola-virus-guinea-border.siphoto: RT

World News:

The Ebola outbreak continues to destroy parts of Africa.  Borders have closed to try to protect others from contracting the deathly virus.  The death toll continues to rise, patients have been released against hospital’s will, and there seems to be no end in sight.  Please offer help and support here.

The fighting in the Gaza strip seems to have an end in sight, for now.  Israel and Palestine agreed to a long-term cease fire, but there were still reports of rocket attacks.

An earthquake that registered 6.9 hit Peru this past Sunday night (August 24).  There was damage to schools, buildings, and homes, as well as some reported landslides in the area.

The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took over social media this month–worldwide.  In case you missed it, this entailed people dumping icy water (or hard, cold cash) over their heads in attempts to raise money and, most importantly, awareness for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  Whether you enjoyed the videos or not, the facts are in.  It worked.  In just one day, the challenge raised $8.6M (USD) in total, and the donations (and water) are still flowing!

(Unfortunately, it also wasted a lot of water, so please donate to Charity Water, as well…or conserve to the best of your ability this coming month.  You rule!)




Santiago Street Art

Transforming a brick wall or piece of concrete into a masterpiece isn’t something just any of us can do.  It amazes me every day when Derek and I walk the streets of Santiago (or any large city) and see the amazing pieces of art whose creators, for the most part, remain unknown.  To me, these are true artists.  They create, not for the glory, but for the sake of creating.  Each piece, from the beautiful to the strange, renders a different feeling.  A few brighten my day, others leave me scratching my head, and some of the political pieces make me feel that I should become more involved.  These are a few of my favorite pieces from around the city of Santiago, Chile.



photo 1: near Universidad Catolica | photo 2: near La Moneda metro | photo 3: near Barrio Lastarria

So what do you think?  Is street art your “type”?  Do you prefer Bansky or the anonymous?  What city boasts your favorite pieces?



Say What?

detailsThis is not as much a quote, as it is a simple mantra to remember each day.  I have always been a big picture person, but I stress over the smallest details to pull together that picture I have in my mind.  With the opening of our shop drawing nearer each day, my sister and I have been brainstorming more about the look of the “brand”.  I have probably sent her at least 100 different logo ideas, played with colors, and narrowed a down to a few that I shared here not too long ago.  The overall concept is there, but it is important to also take a step back and focus on the small details that can make it possible.

This made me start thinking about the day to day grind.  Sometimes we just flit through life following our routines and miss so much of the beauty that surrounds us.   A lot of times, I’ve noticed, the most beautiful parts of a day are in the smallest details.  What have you noticed in the small details that fill your life?  Any plans for the weekend?  I will be launching my first blog series next week with a keen attention to detail, so stay tuned!

Bonus:  My friends and I have been nominated for the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  So, check for our (eco-friendly) version coming this weekend!



DIY | Eco-Friendly Bricks

Otherwise called bottle bricks, eco-bricks are something I am extremely excited to show you.  I had never heard of this before coming to South America, but creating them is a global trend!  It is no secret that the world and its inhabitants are having difficulty with the trash problem.  The problem being there is just too much of it and nowhere for it to go.  There is a solution!  I am going to show you how to make eco-bricks and how these bricks can help sustain our future.

bottle-brick-diy^ Yes, it is just trash stuffed into a plastic bottle. ^

How to Create Bottle Bricks

  1. Enjoy a beverage from a plastic bottle, and save that bottle.
  2. Separate your  trash.  (This is much easier if you just set up a recycling station in your home, because no one really wants to sort through trash.)  Read below for what can and cannot be used for bottle bricks!
  3. Stuff the can items into the plastic bottle.  (It is best to use a stick or dowel to pack the items in densely.)
  4. Fill in the extra space with sand, dry clay, or any other earthy material.
  5. Screw on the lid.
  6. Presto!  You have created a bottle brick.  Now you can create something from them or donate them!  You rule, you friend of the environment, you!  (Oh, and go wash your hands! hehe)

What Can and Cannot Be Used:

You can use any non-biodegradable trash in your eco brick (plastic, etc.).  You cannot include anything that is biodegradable (paper, food waste, etc.).  Have questions?  Feel free to ask in the comments, or check out this site.

make-a-bottle-brick bottle-bricks

This is a great activity to do with kids as well.  It teaches them about the importance of creating a sustainable lifestyle, while being fun.  There are so many things that can be created from these eco-bricks from a simple garden benches and walls to an entire house. I love the idea of adding mosaic tiles to fit your own design aesthetic and make it unique!  Here are a few ideas I loved from around the interwebs.

bottle-brick-africabottle-brick-hamarimoabbbbeco-brick-planter1: Eco-Nigeria / 2: Hamari Web / 3: The Harvest Collective / 4: Project Somos Pinterest

Harness your creativity, or feel free to donate your eco-bricks to local schools that are creating their own bottle brick benches!  What would you make with eco-bricks?  Share your ideas and photos in the comments!





In the City

The last two Saturdays have been so enjoyable for us.  Derek and I have explored Santiago a little more and discovered some new and interesting places from Gato Fest 2 to the center city to a quiet afternoon in the park.

Last Saturday (or should I say, “Cat-urday” hehe) brought us to a place I never thought possible, but any festival that features “Feline Aromatherapy” as a main event is one I must attend.  If you know us well, you know that Derek and I have a shared weakness for cats.  So when we found a flyer in the Santiago metro for Gato Fest 2, it was a plan set in stone.  We expected this to be a small event with a few cats, maybe some raffles, and some information about caring for your feline.  What we didn’t expect was an attendance of 1,500+ who all shared the same love for kitties! (Fun Fact: Over 200 cats were adopted that day thanks to Fundacion Adopta in Santiago!) 


This past weekend was equally enjoyable, but in a different way.  We decided it was finally time to explore a little more of the center city.  Our day began at La Moneda Cultural Center.  Spontaneously, we decided to go to the below ground museum.  I am so glad we did, because it just happened to be the day of the Feria del Gusto (Taste Fair). There were foods from all over Chile.  We were able to taste several traditional Mapuche recipes and teas, but the real show stopper was the assortment of produce in the shape of the country.


After this, we refueled at Domino, and continued on to the Museo Historico Nacional (National Museum of History) in Plaza de Armas.  This was really amazing for me, as my grandmother is Chilean.  Derek and I both learned so much about the history of this amazing country.  It was so inexpensive (600 CHP each!) for all of the relics they have on display!

national-museum-of-history-chilemuseum-chile face-history-museum

Our last stop on the walk home was a park by Salvador Metro Station.  The fountain made for the perfect backdrop to watch the sun set and just talk.  All in all, it was a pretty great weekend!


I can’t wait to see what else is in store here in Santiago!  What off-the-wall events do your cities have?



City Guide | Chiang Mai, Thailand

Chiang Mai was full of wonder.  Derek and I discussed what really made Chiang Mai special, and this is our guide to our favorite parts of the city:


The Whole Earth Restaurant is our top pick for a date night.  It was very well priced, and their menu was quite extensive.  Derek and I both found options that perfectly fit both our palettes.

May Kaidee’s Cooking Class is a must if you are interested in bringing back some knowledge of the recipes.  This particular cooking class is vegetarian, but there are so many more options available.

The street food is absolutely divine, so you don’t need to spend much to really please your taste buds here.  I suggest the spicy green papaya salads and the mango lassi smoothies.

shop-chiang-maithai-walking-marketsThe Night Bazaar (located in the Eastern side of the Old City)  is a must!  There was so much to do, and it was home to the greatest food stands. Plus, there are free shows every night!

We also loved the Sunday Walking Markets (pictured above).  You can find these in the center of Chiang Mai’s Old City.

bicycle-thailandTuk Tuks & bicycles are the best way to get around this city.  We really preferred the bicycles, because we could stop anytime we wanted and just explore.  If you want to get somewhere quickly (and cheaply) then the Tuk Tuks were the best bet!  Don’t let them fool you with the price.  Most are honest, but the rides shouldn’t be more than 60-100 Thai Baht for a ride within the city.

chiang-mai-templethailand-wat-temple-chiang-maithailand-temple-chiang-maiThe temples, or wats, are a definite must see in Thailand.  They are exquisite, and pop up everywhere.  Definitely check out as many as you can!!

kayak-thailandTake a kayaking trip to see some wildlife and experience the quieter side of Thailand.  We went with Chiang Mai Kayaking, and it was definitely worth it.  Our group was extremely intimate with only three members plus our two guides.  We saw various species of rare birds, a few snakes (eek!), and kayaked past the banana fields.  Do not forget your sunscreen for this one!  I never get sunburns, but my legs were extremely red after this!

spa-thailandpeak-spa-chiang-maiThe Peak Spa was a much-need restoration session for us both.  This was a definite luxury.  The whole experience started with herbal tea and hot towels.  We were able to choose our own aromatherapy oils for our experience.  They have private rooms or you may opt for a couple’s room.  We chose different types of massages but were able to be in the same room.  It was an amazing experience for a nice price tag of $60!  Yes, you read that right!

Lastly, here are some Dos and Don’ts for your trip:

Don’t touch people on the head.  This includes the Buddha statues.  It is considered an extreme act of disrespect.

Don’t disrespect the Thai Royal family!  This is a huge one, because the Thai people take this very seriously.  Some people have even been arrested or fined for insulting them.

Don’t support the abuse of animals!  I would, personally, avoid anything in the Mae Rim Valley, because I only heard negative things about it from the Thai people.  Try to find places that enrich the animals’ lives.  I suggest the Elephant Nature Park!  There’s no riding and no shows, so they are allowed to thrive naturally.

Do smile often!  Thai people are extremely friendly, so be sure to return the kindness.

Do get a fish foot massage!  This was so cool.  The little guys get a meal, and you get the smoothest feet on earth. Win-win!


Have you been to Thailand?  What did you enjoy most?  Planning on visiting soon?  Did I miss something?  Let me know in the comments!



Say What?


First of all, happy Friday!  This Say What is aimed towards anyone, anywhere, who feels the need to dumb themselves down.  Stop!  Be an intellectual.  Question things.  Pursue what interests you, and continue to learn new information about it.  Engage your brain.  Feel free to have an opinion that differs from your friend’s, and back up that opinion.  Read a new book that isn’t on someone’s must-read list.  Know what is happening in countries outside of only your own.  Enroll in an online class about a topic you’ve always been curious to learn (Education can be expensive, but that shouldn’t stop you.  I have taken some free classes online, and I loved it!)  Basically, what I am trying to say is please, please don’t ever dumb yourself down.  Accept that your brain is what makes you beautiful and interesting.  Now, have a fantastic weekend!



Check out some more Say What posts right here!

Thailand | Elephant Nature Park

Imagine a place where elephants with disabilities weren’t discarded as “damaged goods”.  Visualize elephants who can finally relax and heal after years of hard work and abuse.  Picture these said elephants forming new family groups and flourishing in a land that is truly their own.  This place exists, and I feel lucky enough to have experienced it first hand with Derek this past year.

ENP Thailand

We weren’t planning on visiting Thailand, but things changed, and we found ourselves on a plane to the northern city of Chiang Mai.  After some serious travel blog research on my part and Reddit surfing on Derek’s, we found some must see places that I will be sharing with you in the next few posts.  Since we both have eles as our favorite animal, the first must was Elephant Nature Park.  I spoke briefly about this magical place in my first blog post, but one this wonderful requires more.

Elephant in RiverElephant Bath^ Bath Time ^

Lek, the founder of ENP, has over 30 elephants on her grounds. She rescued these elephants from sad, prior lives of work varying from logging to street begging to circus acts. Some of the elephants have extreme handicaps, but their newfound happiness was visible. There was no riding, no shows, no chains, no abuse and no work, so these elephants could just be elephants again. They’ve created small herds and have gone back to some of their natural ways. There were two babies on the grounds when Derek and I visited (Nawaan, boy, 7 months & Dok Noi, girl, 4 months). It was incredible. We were able to feed, bathe, and play with the elephants who were social. Those that preferred a more natural (and wild) life did not associate with the humans, and Lek hopes to put these animals back into the wild when she buys some secure jungle land! 🙂 All in all…incredible.

bananas for elephantsJokia elephant1098541_10201794833143197_1333614909_n545217_10201794848303576_1355998862_n
Do you love elephants, too?  Find out how you can help here, read more about each of the elephants here, or plan your visit here.