Hi! I just wanted everyone to know that Mia Mangos has officially moved and changed its name! Come check out Mia & Pup! See you there!
Hello, all! If you have been following along with me so far, I’d like to thank you! I have only been blogging here at Mia Mangos for about two months, but I quickly realized something. I need to narrow my focus a little. I am one of those people that really needs some boundaries for myself, or I can seem to bounce around to every topic that is available. That is the case here with Mia Mangos. I wanted it to be a place where I could share things happening in our lives, my ideas, inspirations, and passions. That being said, I have been working quite a bit behind the scenes on something in the works. Since Derek and I are both educators by day, I think it is only fitting that my blog starts focusing on the things that provide me the most inspiration each day…the simple beauty of daily life, art, and children. Therefore, I will be hitting the restart button, so to speak. Mia Mangos is getting a total facelift, a new name, a new direction, and a new location! But don’t worry! I will still be keeping to my aesthetic and filling you in on what Derek and I are up to! Stay tuned for the updates! I’ll be starting a countdown on Instagram, so follow along there if you are in for the new adventure!
While this is definitely not a fashion blog, those of you that know me know that I do love clothes. I like reading about clothes, shopping for them, pinning them, and most of all wearing them! Although the weather may not have flipped a 180 on us, a change of season just happened! That means the style is changing, too. Since I’m from the US, but living in Chile, I figured it might be fun to do a few style moodboards for both the northern and southern hemispheres! On Monday, I asked you what you thought about capsule wardrobes. These are a few staple pieces I would add to mine for the coming seasons.
In the northern hemisphere, this is the season of falling leaves, pumpkin flavored everything, crisp winds, and warm scarves. This was always one of my favorite seasons in the US, because the colors on display during this season just scream beautiful.
On the opposite side of the world, Spring has finally started to make an appearance. The trees are budding, it has been quite rainy, and I am looking forward to all the blooms that will shortly follow. This season, it is all about graphics and comfort for me. These style trends are fun and easy to fit in with other staple pieces you already have in your current collection. pleated maxi \ graphic tee \ tote + zip bags
What pieces do you love this season?
This weekend Derek surprised me with an unexpected gift. We went to Noche de Colores in the city this past weekend, which I will touch on more in another post. At this event, there were several artisans from the local shops from around Barrio Italia. This part of town is known as the hipster haven of Santiago, so you can imagine the industrial look of this barrio (neighborhood). Anyway, a beautiful and calming light caught my eye as we were perusing the different boutiques. It came from the Heima stand which was full of glowing crystals. The man told us they were salt crystals. I fell in love. He told us all about the natural healing benefits of these beauties, I took a card, and we continued on our way. Then the next day, Derek surprised me with my favorite lamp for my birthday!! So, of course, I researched.
^My desktop wallpaper is from an artist that I love – Parima Creative Studio^
What on earth are salt crystals?
Salt crystals (a.k.a. Himalayan salt) are simply crystals that formed from salt. People use this type of salt for cooking, beauty treatments, natural healing, and so on. The larger crystals are sometimes used to make salt crystal lamps. It is usually pink, orange, red, or white. You can also make your own salt crystals! This is a really fun activity for kids, so I am excited to try this in the classroom. After all, this is the UN’s international year of crystallography!
What’s so great about them?
- Salt crystal lamps purify the air by emitting negative ions. They attract moisture from the air and then evaporate it with the warmth from the light inside the crystal. This is beneficial for your health, because many other daily items such as your computer, smartphone, TV, fridge, etc. all carry positive ions. This helps to create a balance in the air to improve its quality.
- Reducing stress is another fantastic benefit to having a salt crystal lamp. Research has shown that negative ions in the air can actually improve your mood and energy levels. People with anxiety, insomnia, migraines, attention deficit, etc. are especially recommended to own one.
- They are an inexpensive and beautiful way to add some color to your home. Even if you aren’t in to all the natural healing methods out there today, you can still find a reason to have a salt lamp. These are very beautiful, and they last forever. The glow is so calming, and they make perfect night lights for kids’ rooms.
Where should I put it?
It is up to you where you would like to put your new lamp, but there are a few suggestions for ultimate benefit. If you work from home, you should put one in your office by the computer. I put mine on my desk for these photos, but I usually keep it on my nightstand. I like to blog in bed, so having the salt lamp near by helps to balance the ions in the room. Also, I watched a Youtube video that recommended using the salt lamp as the only light before you go to bed to ensure a proper night’s rest and restoration of energy. Another site says to leave the salt lamp on at all times of the day. I don’t do this, because we are not home all day. However, if you work from home, this would be a good suggestion.
What else can I do with Himalayan salt crystals?
Himalayan salt crystals are used for so many things. They are natural, and many people have taken notice of their healing attributes. You can cook with them, use them for at home beauty treatments, utilize a slab for a serving tray, create jewelry, detox your body, decorate your home, or think up your own unique ways of incorporating them into your life!
Have you used Himalayan salt before? What did you do with it?
This weekend was beautiful and full of birthday activities. My friend and I planned an afternoon of girly glory. We hit the floral stands, picked out a few blooms, made some lunch, poured some wine, and created our own floral arrangements. **Please note: I am not a professional florist, and this was just for fun!**
What You Need:
- Little Blooms
- Big Blooms
- Garden shears (or scissors)–Cut all at an angle before using!
- A beautiful vessel
- Wine (optional)
I must have flowers always and always. – Claude Monet
Step One: Mix and Match
Go to your local flower stands or shops, and just pick what catches your eye. Check around on Pinterest to see what kinds of arrangements and flowers you like. You can ask them for help as well for a good combination. You need to get some greenery, small flowers, and larger ones. Hold them together to see if you like the combinations. I always like to get some buds and some open flowers as well, because I think it makes for a more garden fresh look. When you bring them home, make sure you cut the stems at an angle and remove all leaves that fall below the water line (about half of your vessel).
Step Two: A Base of Greenery
Make your base of greenery. You may notice different lengths, because I prefer an airy and asymmetrical arrangement. The evergreen look stood out to me this time, but there are so many more options based on the season! I want to try something with succulents and sword fern next!
Step Three: Add the Small Blooms
A mix of smaller flowers with larger ones always gives a fresher feeling. It also helps to fill in dead space. I always thought you needed to start with the larger flowers and fill in, but that isn’t the case. For my arrangement, I chose small berries and gypsophila (baby’s breath). These can be stuck inside the greenery and poke a few around the outsides as well for an airy look.
Step Four: The Big Boys
Once you have your greenery and small flowers in place, it is time to add some more texture with the big flowers. We really needed some color in our white apartment, so I went for colorful ranunculus and white roses. To add a bit more visual interest, choose some buds and some open flowers. This allows your arrangement to change over time. Fill these flowers in the dead spaces as the main attraction. I added the water last, because I didn’t want it to be too high. Using a funnel or watering can makes this really easy.
Step Five: Find the Perfect Place
This is the easy part. After your arrangement is complete, all you need to do is find the perfect placement. (After a few photos of course!) To make the flowers last longer, you can add more water and cut the stems.
Flowers add such a whimsical feeling to any room. They bring smiles and color! Share your creations with me on Instagram with the hashtag #miamangos! Happy arranging!
With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy? – Oscar Wilde
So yesterday we talked a little about what coffee culture looks like in the USA and the UAE. The second part of this coffee date will explore Chile and China.
There is something about South American coffee that really brings me joy. It has a distinctive taste, and it just seems fresher. Cafes are pretty much everywhere you look here in Santiago, so it has been a fun adventure to test and compare. In Chile, coffee is enjoyed at all times of the day from the early morning to the late evening. All of the coffee shops that we’ve tried have either been outstanding or serve Nescafe (or, as I’ve been told, it is referred to as “No es cafe” here – hehe).
Something I just recently discovered is pretty quirky but carries a bit of history. I’ve seen cafes all over Santiago that have completely blacked out windows. While I’ve never ventured inside one, I did find out the scoop. Apparently Chile is one of the only places that has cafe con piernas (coffee with legs). The servers are female and wear “revealing” clothing. The traditional uniform is a mini-skirt with heels, but, at a few, the girls wear bikinis or lingerie.
China really isn’t known for its coffee culture, but I figured I would touch on it either way. We spent most of our time in the northeastern regions of China, so I cannot speak to what it is was like in the south. There were cafes all over the city, but most served Nescafe style coffee. Also, it seemed to me, that the coffee was an afterthought for foreign visitors, because there were usually five pages of teas and about three options for coffees. But, they always had the cutest, tiniest desserts!
That being said, we found some pretty great coffee shops. The eclectic Chinese decor style made these fun, and most had small moleskin notebooks that were left open for doodles and quick messages. It was really interesting to look through at all the different languages in these books. We actually loved one coffee shop so much, that we decided to take our one year anniversary photos there. Thanks again, Kelly, if you are reading this! We love your creative ideas and images! You rule! 🙂
Our morning confidant…
That magical liquid that lifts our spirits on the most sluggish of days…
An aroma that fills the home with the smell of productivity….
Yes, I am talking about coffee. It comes in many forms, and each person (and culture) has his or her own way of taking it. Derek is an iced coffee guy, and I’m all about the soy lattes. But in the morning, all I need is a little cafe con leche to kickstart my day! I’ve noticed that in every place we visit, the culture surrounding coffee is immensely different, so I thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast a few for you. But as I started writing this post, I quickly realized I’d have to separate into different posts. So today, we have the USA and the UAE.
Coffee: (kɒfi) noun | synonyms: joe, java
- a hot drink made from the roasted and ground bean-like seeds of a tropical shrub “a cup of coffee”
- the shrub which yields coffee seeds, native to the Old World tropics
United States of America
The US is interesting, because I have noticed two separate cultures growing here. The first being the fast-paced, need-to-have-it-now lifestyle. The to-go cup has almost become a fashion accessory in modern American culture, as you can’t go a full scroll through a social media page without seeing one paired beautifully with a fitting hashtag (#butfirstcoffee, #coffeecoffeecoffee). Also, these popular coffeehouse chains, from Starbucks to Tim Hortons, have become the perfect place for a quick, informal meeting or quick get-together with a friend. The drive-thru ease of these chains make getting your coffee easy, and you don’t really need to slow your pace to do so.
The second fits more with the creative force that is dominating the US right now. These are the coffeehouses, or shops, that treat coffee beans as an artisanal ingredient. They may or may not have a drive-thru window, but that isn’t the reason people frequent them. These are the places you go to see a poetry slam, open mic night, or to meet up with a study group and savor the flavors in the cup. They are the places where just getting your cup of coffee (and seeing what design the barista created in it) is an exciting experience. Some look like chem labs, while others have a fresh air of eclectic charm. They are almost always locally owned, most have an emphasis on organic or free-trade products, and each offers a different experience unique to their location and clientele.
^photo from one of my favorites: Coffea Roasterie^
United Arab Emirates
My trip to the UAE was too short. I loved every minute and enjoyed immersing myself in a culture so foreign to my own. Not only was the culture different, but the coffee was unlike anything I’d ever tasted. It was spicy and reminded me more of tea than coffee. However, as the weeks went on, I started looking forward to my afternoon cup. Yes, I said afternoon. It was not a common thing to enjoy coffee in the morning in the UAE. Coffee was more of a social thing. People gather together after work or school in the late afternoon to enjoy tiny cups of Arabic coffee. It is a time to catch up and reflect on the day. The vessels are beautiful, and I could not wait to get my hands on my own set. The coffee was always served with dates. The sweetness from the fruit was a nice combination with the spicy coffee. I’ll be sharing this recipe with you next week!
The coffee culture in the UAE started with the bedouin lifestyle in the deserts. People would boil the coffee (which they still do today!) over the campfire and sit under the stars or in large tents enjoying the drink and conversations. I quickly learned the etiquette of Arabic coffee drinking. It is considered extremely rude to decline the cup of coffee. You should always take at least one cup, and when you are finished, you shake the cup from side to side in your right hand. As I usually use my left hand for eating and drinking, I had to retrain myself while in the UAE.
Check back for part 2 of this post tomorrow! What is the coffee culture like in your country or city?
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!)
photo: BBC 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.
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).
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!)
So August is that boring month with no holidays, right? Apparently, not. With a little research, I found August is booming with opportunities for celebrating! So, I decided to compile a few of my favorites.
1. Wipe the dust off your recipe books and buy some produce from your local farmers’ market for National Farmers’ Market Week (Aug. 3-9)! I will be going to La Vega in Santiago or possibly back to Los Dominicos!
2. Get out that dictionary and study some new words, because next week is Scrabble Week! Get some friends together, and bring out your inner word buff.
3. Me-Wow! August 8th is International Cat Day, so show some love to your feline friends. Derek and I just saw a flyer for this amazing festival honoring all the gatos in Santiago, so guess where we’ll be this Saturday!
4. Clear your schedules for August 15, because it is National Relaxation Day! That is definitely a holiday I can celebrate. We also have that day off from work, so I will be taking the opportunity to test this new rose water recipe from The Heirloom Blog.
5. All you need is love, because August 10-16 is Resurrect Romance Week. It doesn’t need to be a huge, expensive production (though it can be if that’s your thing), but just put some thought into this week with your significant other or plan something unexpected for a special couple you know.
6. Pop some tags on August 17 for National Thrift Shop Day! (Or just keep this on loop!)
7. Discover your philanthropic side for World Humanitarian Day on August 19. Find an organization that you believe betters the world and go volunteer! It can be so much fun with friends, so form a group and treat yourselves to some good karma.
8. This may be the weirdest holiday I have ever heard, but I would welcome the warmer weather. So all of you in the northern hemisphere, please stand in your yard at high-noon on August 22 and shout, “Hoodie Hoo,” as loudly as you can to bring an end to winter for your friends down south (like us!). This is real, people.
9. Don’t leave out the dogs! August 26 is National Dog Day. Pamper your pooch to a fun-filled day of dog activities! Don’t have a dog? Go volunteer to walk a canine at your local animal shelter.
10. More Herbs, Less Salt Day actually exists, and it is August 29. I love this, and just the mention of the word reminded me of this amazing herb cart from SFGIRLBYBAY.
^Photo credit: SFGIRLBYBAY^
I am personally pretty excited about a few of these! Keep me posted on how you plan to celebrate August!