Graca Flower Seller

I am interested in flower sellers of all kinds from the trendy flower shop in the posh part of town, to the grower at the morning market, to an elderly woman selling on the street. This week I met Maria, a florist for 48 years! She has a colorful flower booth in the center of Graca, a residential neighborhood up high on a hill above Alfama in Lisbon. The center of all the activity is the Largo Graca where older folks gather on benches and young parents pick up kids from school. Under large green trees, Maria sits with her friends, and sells flowers. She was kind enough to let me take her photo and to put up with my broken Portuguese.  I brought home one of her lovely ivy geraniums for my city garden. She instructed me on the proper way to carry it (holding the top of the sleeve in a handful).

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An Afternoon by the Sea

The train ride from Lisboa to Cascais offers a constant sea view and it’s fun to just hop off at will to discover the villages and cities along the coast. Spending an afternoon at Paco de Arcos was a lovely way to usher in spring. Whenever you are looking for healing energy, the sea will bring it to you. I spent some time on the shore looking through the little fisherman boats and traps, putting my feet in the sand, and letting the sun beat on my back. When the wind sped up, I grabbed my Tulsi shawl, which doubles as a beach towel/picnic blanket. Get your own Tulsi shawl (hand-printed in India) here with 20% off with code “frolic20” (free shipping within the US). Wildflowers are in abundance at the moment, and there’s nothing so sweet as flowers growing seaside.

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A Visit to Monet’s Giverny

Today, let’s escape to Giverny. On a day last June, Gemma, a world-wanderer and Australian ex-pat, snapped these gorgeous photos of Monet’s garden. I adore the window shots through his painting studio. Gemma remembers, “Deep pinks, violets and pops of vivid colour splatter the garden like a dream in the countryside home of French painter Claude Monet.” Click through for this colorful, visual tour of Monet’s Giverny. And see more of Gemma’s Paris wanderings and tips here.

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Taking Cues from Lisbon’s Cafe Spaces

fabuloso lisbon

For the coffee shop addict, Lisbon cafe spaces offer an acute cultural experience as well as an abundance of visual eye candy, interior design inspiration, and of course delicious treats and coffee. Lisbon cafes fall into three categories for me: new wave, modern Portuguese, and traditional pastelarias. Today, I want to share a few of my favorite modern Portuguese spaces. These spaces blend the traditional pasteleria elements like marble, dark wood, and ornate woodwork, juxtaposed with modern elements and unexpected details. To me, these spaces offer the best of old and new aspects of Portuguese design. After all, there’s something so exciting about blending tradition and history with a bit of innovation. If you are looking for the full experience of good food and good design, in a quiet spot, don’t miss these charming spaces when you visit Lisbon. But for now, I’ll share a visual tour and perhaps you’ll find some ideas for your own space.

lisbon cafe

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