CURRENT INSPIRATION : SIGRID CALON

sigridcalon_07

Hello friends! It has been a while, I know! Life has been busy, but, wonderfully busy that is. I have some lovely + bright things in the works, including some new series for the blog! YAY! One of them is this one, “Current Inspiration,” where I will be sharing with you diverse topics of interest and super delightful eye candy. I’ll be rolling out the other series and new posts in the next coming days!

sigridcalon_04 sigridcalon_04a

While at the LA Art Book Fair a few weeks ago, I discovered the incredible work of Dutch visual artist Sigrid Calon. But! Hold on. (Insert car break sound effect here!). OK. I mean, honestly, when I say incredible, I really mean, *stunning* beyond belief! She has an extraordinary understanding of color, great attention to detail and you can see in her pieces a clear sense of curiosity, playfulness and wonderment.

sigridcalon_02 sigridcalon_02a sigridcalon_06 sigridcalon_01 sigridcalon_01a sigridcalon_03 sigridcalon_03a sigridcalon_05 sigridcalon_05a

Color, patterns, grids, shapes and complex yet perfectly organized graphics, all come together in harmony to play a role in Sigrid’s designs.

This video by De Monsterkamer, gives us a glimpse into her marvelous book To the extend of / \ | & – Within the grid and beyond the pattern, which is a volume of 120 unique designs inspired by the stitched patterns of embroidery. Isn’t it fascinating?

PHOTOS BY : SIGRID CALON | WE LIKE ART

MANGO PINNEAPPLE SMOOTHIE NO. 2

mfranco_smoothie_mangopineapple_blog

I made this bad boy early last week after the weather reports started calling for rain here in LA. So, I decided to make something colorful and delicious that reminded me of the tropics and the Panamanian carnivals (taking place at the moment!). I absolutely love rain and if it comes with thunder even better! Not to mention that we don’t get much of it here and we need it pretty badly because of the drought, so I was excited for some cloudy + showery weather to come! Thinking about this, made me want to try another* smoothie recipe using mangoes and pineapples inspired by the amazing smoothies from the Instagram feed of @_chiachild (whom I recently discovered thanks to a super friend!). Enjoy for breakfast or as a mid-afternoon snack!

*I mention “another” because I had posted a recipe previously on the blog with also these same two main ingredients! Yes, I admit it! Mangoes and pineapples are two of my fave! What are yours? Would love to hear!

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup frozen mango
yogurt (optional)
strawberries
coconut flakes

INSTRUCTIONS
Add pineapple, mango and yogurt (optional) to a blender and combine until smooth. Top with strawberries and coconut flakes. Cheers!

SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK

california_sequoianationalpark_11

Overwhelmingly impressive! This is the definition for “mind-blowing” and exactly what I thought when Chris and I visited Sequoia National Park about a month ago. It was MLK weekend and we wanted to get out of town somewhere a couple of hours away, camp, enjoy great views, relax and be surrounded by nature. We didn’t plan much, just packed the essentials, jumped in the car, put on some good tunes and off we went!

california_sequoianationalpark_16 california_sequoianationalpark_10 california_sequoianationalpark_06sequoia_sidebyside_1a

It was a pretty lovely trip and exactly what we were looking to do. We walked, hiked, drove around, took pictures and that was about it! We ended up staying for two days only because after camping the first night we realize that it was too cold for us (the temperature dropped to around 20ºF! Brrr!) to stay a second night. Shame on us, I know! I looked like an onion inside my sleeping bag with so many layers on! Tropical blood runs through my veins and I can’t deny it!

california_sequoianationalpark_19 california_sequoianationalpark_01california_sequoianationalpark_04 california_sequoianationalpark_05 sequoia_sidebyside_2

To say the least, we loved it! I thought I’d seen ginormous trees before but, boy oh boy, nothing like these! Two of the biggest sequoias that we saw — I believe their names were General Sherman and General Grant — were as tall as an average 26-story building and they’re estimated to be between 1,800 and 2,700 years old! (Say whaaat?! That’s right!). Not to sound philosophical and crazy, (well, a little!) but! I can’t help to think how amazing would it be to see through their eyes and witness every bit of history they have lived through! Imagine the stories they would tell! I would be sitting right there, front and center, with s’mores (I like mine with a bit of caramel! thank you!) in one hand and a cup of hot chocolate (with extra whipped cream, please!) in the other! Ha!

california_sequoianationalpark_03california_sequoianationalpark_02 california_sequoianationalpark_15

And to sum it up, the image below shows a collection of leaves, branches and sticks that I foraged during our time exploring! ‘Til the next adventure!

california_sequoianationalpark_12

TWENTY FOURTEEN

turrell_quote

A few years ago, I discovered the work of artist James Turrell and immediately fell in love with it. If you haven’t seen it, get ready to get your socks blown off! His sense of space, light and color is certainly mind-boggling. There’s something so peaceful, magical, inspiring and even (dare I say) spiritual about it that I deeply connect with.

I’m the type that, when I become obsessed with something, I have to learn as much as I can about it. Turrell’s work wasn’t the exception. In this short video interview for Art21, he mentions something that I found fascinating and so true: “we [do] create the reality in which we live.” This thought, has stayed with me from the moment I heard it the first time and has become one of my mantras ever since.

For me, this is what 2014 is about. In one way or another, consciously or not, this is what we do since the day we are born. But! This year (THIS YEAR!), I want to tune in to myself and make a cognizant decision in creating my own reality. I wish to be aware that I can make a difference in every aspect of my life, affect change in this world and, at the same time, encourage + empower + inspire those around me through this experience.

So far, 2014 is shaping up to be an incredible year with lots of exciting ideas, projects and adventures. Lots of adventures! I’m thrilled and looking forward to what the rest of it has in store for all of us! Pre-cheers for all the amazing things to come!

xo,

m.

WATERCOLOR LETTERING BY YOURS TRULY, MARLENE FRANCO.

MIAMI: PART III / ART BASEL

miami_artbasel_09

So, Art Basel! Being the world’s leading international art show for Modern and Contemporary works, there was so much to see. So much! Miami had its creative hat on and Chris and I did the best we could to visit and explore the different shows, while at the same time made sure to take it all in, feel inspired and enjoy the works of innumerable familiar, non-familiar and renown artists and designers from all over.

Just to show you a few, here are some pieces that I was keen on (in order of appearance) by artists Yayoi Kusama (beautiful use of pattern and color), José Antonio Suárez Londoño (drawing master with incredible attention to detail) and Carlos Cruz-Diez (kinetic and op artist whose work always blows my mind):

miami_artbasel_17 miami_artbasel_18 miami_artbasel_19

Across the street from the Art Basel fair was Design Miami, a global forum + marketplace celebrating design culture and commerce. Here, you could see some of the world’s top galleries and exhibitions of modern lighting, furniture and objets d’ art. Personally, I absolutely loved the exhibit by engineer/self-taught architect/designer Jean Prouvé (I remember and I sigh and smile!). His furniture design and architectural work is just ravishing. As I was so intrigued to see more of his work, I researched and learned that he “was influential in the development of the idea of nomadic architecture, likening a chair to a house, and designing both with portability in mind.” I find this fascinating as Chris and I are crazy about traveling and the possibility of living in different parts of the world (not sure where our next stop will be, definitely not anytime super soon!) always finds its way to the back of our heads! Ayayai!

miami_artbasel_08 miami_artbasel_03miami_artbasel_01artbasel_sidebyside_1
miami_artbasel_27 miami_artbasel_05 miami_artbasel_06 miami_artbasel_07

Another neat exhibit we got to see was at the top floor of 1111 Lincoln Road parking garage. This garage is certainly different than any other I’ve ever seen and it was pretty rad! Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, it is an open-air structure, Swiss-minimal in style and the thing that I loved the most about it was that, from anywhere you stand, there’s a view! We happened to get there right at sunset. It was perfect! The show was called Piston Head: Artists Engage the Automobile, and it featured a collection of “cars as art.” Some of my favorites were by artists Damien Hirst, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf (yep, you guessed it, pure colorful kitschness!).

miami_artbasel_11 miami_artbasel_12 miami_artbasel_13 miami_artbasel_14 miami_artbasel_26 miami_artbasel_15
miami_artbasel_16

We were so fortunate to be there to check out the gorgeous + newly opened Peréz Art Museum Miami (PAMM)! (*Fun fact: also designed by the Herzog & de Meuron mentioned above!). It’s one of the most beautifully designed museum spaces I’ve experienced. From its hanging gardens right on the outside of the building to its exquisite collection and fluid layout in the interior showcasing some floor-to-ceiling windows to let in natural light on all the right spots. I highly (x2) recommend it!

miami_artbasel_23 miami_artbasel_24 miami_artbasel_22miami_artbasel_21miami_artbasel_20

Oh! And last, but certainly not least…Chris’ artwork! In Part I (a few blog posts ago–rewind sound effect goes here) I gave you a PWA (Proud Wife Alert) warning…sorry, here’s another one (insert happy face with heart-shaped eyes riiight here)! Chris’ brass and stainless panels were displayed in the foyer at the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House. You can see them suspended right above the rock sculpture in the first shot below and also above the Amoia bench in the bottom image. Eeek! Don’t they look suuuper?! (I know, I know PWA at its max!) In case you are wondering, they are made of layers of colored string! Seriously, that’s kinda awesome! Woo!

miami_artbasel_CB_01 miami_artbasel_CB_02

Annnd…that’s a wrap for the Miami series! Phew and Yay! Hope you enjoyed my vision of our Miami vacation and that you were able to teletransport yourself (vrooom!) to this fun + warm + art-filled trip! ‘Til the next one!

Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!

xo,

m.

CHRISTOPHER BROYLES ARTWORK PHOTOS THANKS TO SAMUEL AMOIA | FERRER.CO

SMALL SHOP : FRANGIPANI

miami_wynwood_frangipani_09 miami_wynwood_frangipani_04 miami_wynwood_frangipani_13 miami_wynwood_frangipani_02 miami_wynwood_frangipani_06 miami_wynwood_frangipani_16 miami_wynwood_frangipani_17 wynwood_sidebyside_1 miami_wynwood_frangipani_08 miami_wynwood_frangipani_14 miami_wynwood_frangipani_10 miami_wynwood_frangipani_12 miami_wynwood_frangipani_15 miami_wynwood_frangipani_05 miami_wynwood_frangipani_07 miami_wynwood_frangipani_01 miami_wynwood_frangipani_19 miami_wynwood_frangipani_11

While visiting Wynwood in Miami, I came across Frangipani, a fun lifestyle boutique, conveniently located in the heart of Wynwood on NW 2nd Ave. It has a wide variety of local and global finds that would appeal to any creative soul! Think handmade goods, a beautifully curated collection of stationery, jewelry, housewares, books, apparel, art, kid’s gifts among others. It has an eclectic + hip style with a good dose of pop + color + pizzaz. It’s an awesome place to buy unique gifts; although, I can almost assure you that from the moment you step in, you will soon realize that you want everything for yourself!

FRANGIPANI : 2516 NW 2nd Ave / Miami, FL 33127 / (305) 573.1480

MIAMI: PART II / WYNWOOD ART DISTRICT

miami_wynwoodmuralshop_01 miami_wynwoodmuralobject_01miami_wynwoodmural_01 miami_wynwoodmural_01_closeup miami_wynwoodmural_09miami_wynwoodmural_08 miami_wynwoodmural_02 miami_wynwoodmural_03 miami_wynwoodmural_06 miami_wynwoodmural_07 miami_wynwoodmural_07_closeupmiami_wynwoodmural_10 miami_wynwoodmural_05 miami_wynwoodmural_12 miami_wynwoodmural_13 miami_wynwoodmural_04 miami_wynwoodmural_14miami_wynwoodshow_02 miami_wynwoodshow_01 miami_wynwoodshow_04 miami_wynwoodmural_11

Hellooo there! Whew! Where does time go?! I wanted to share with you the rest of these Miami posts before 2014, but this new and already amazing year sneaked up on me! Yes! I admit it. It did! It is all good though. Lots of awesome things in the making! Before I say anything else, first things first: HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! (fireworks and your favorite party song playing in the background while confetti rains down from the sky!) Hooray hooray! An official “Happy 2014″ post is in the works and coming up soon, but for now, I leave you with…Miami! Enjoy!

So, Wynwood Art District! This was probably one of my favorite places from our visit. This part of town is an ultra pompous explosion of color! Bright and dull, light and dark, cool and warm, neon and pastel. You name it! So many different palettes, textures, shapes, concepts, themes…some of them random and crazy, some beautiful and serene. Others, a combination of all of the above. From it’s walls and murals to it’s shops, restaurants, people, culture and the neighborhood’s own idiosyncrasies, my eyes were always entertained.

Chris and I got there bright and early, grabbed a coffee from Panther Coffee on NW 2nd Ave and wandered around the streets, galleries and cool shops enjoying all the art + design around us. Artists were setting up shop in the streets and some were already hard at work stenciling/airbrushing/painting and even sewing the walls.

It was a gooorgeous, cloudless, sunshiny day during the week of Art Basel and the crowd got bigger as it got later in the day. But, that never bothered us since there was plenty to see and explore. Everyone seemed to be amused by different things and what appealed more to their interests and individual tastes.

By the time noon came around we decided to stop by Wynwood Kitchen and Bar to savor some flavorful Latin-influenced tapas. When we were done (mmm…more like gleefully stuffed! like the latin saying goes: barriga llena, corazón contento, which translates to, a full stomach makes for a happy heart!), kept touring the area some more before heading back to Miami Beach to continue enjoying the rest of the afternoon.

MIAMI: PART I / MIAMI BEACH

miami_architecture_02 miami_architecture_03miami_architecture_04miami_sidebyside_2 miami_architecture_11 miami_architecture_09 miami_nature_01miami_architecture_13 miami_architecture_07miami_sidebyside_3miami_architecture_08 miami_architecture_05miami_sidebyside_1miami_architecture_01 miami_architecture_06 miami_architecture_15 miami_lighthouse_01 miami_lighthouse_02 miami_lighthouse_03

Last week, while in LA the weather was starting to get a little more cooler than usual, Chris and I made the perfect escapade to Miami Beach, Florida! Growing up in Panama, I am a fan of (very) warm weather, so I was thrilled to have a mini vacation enjoying this heavenly tropical climate!

One of the main reasons why we went was for Art Basel (an international art show featuring Modern and Contemporary works), which was taking place along with several other art fairs around town and (beep beep! Warning: Proud Wife Alert!) Chris was exhibiting some of his stainless + brass panels at the Elle Decor Modern Life Concept House. Eeeek! I’m incredibly happy for him and I’m ecstatic to see him come a long way. To be honest, not because he is my super fun and loving husband, but his work is stunning! I’ll be sharing with you a little interview in the next few weeks!

Overall, Miami was a blast! The first night we got there it rained, but right after that we got incredible weather! We stayed at an AirBnB apartment in South Beach, which was conveniently located, so we walked eeeverywhere! Some streets we strolled to mention a few: Lincoln Road, Espanola Way, Collins Avenue, 17th Street, Ocean Drive, Washington Avenue, Lummus Park Beach Walk. We also made good use of DecoBikes and biked a ton! I must admit, it was a good way to burn off some calories from all the amazing food we had! I am a huge fan of Cuban cuisine (White Rice & Black Beans + Ham Croquettes, Breaded Steak and for dessert…Cuatro Leches and a Café Cortado…Thank you! Mmm!) so we found ourselves at Puerto Sagua Restaurant more than once during our stay! Some other restaurants we were keen on were Joe’s Stone Crab, Oliver’s Bistro, A la Folie Café, The Local House, Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, Café at Books & Books.

One of my favorite things about sauntering around was looking at the colorful Art Deco buildings, beautiful landscape design and people watching.

We got to experience so much art that I decided to break down this Miami trip into a three blog posts! In this one you can see an overall feel of architecture in South Beach; in Part II, I’ll feature our visit to Wynwood Art District; and in Part III I’ll show you a neat glimpse at the art scene!

Stay tuned and have an awesome day!

xo,

m.

MANGO PINEAPPLE COCONUT SMOOTHIE

Mango Pineapple Coconut Smoothie

I’ve been a smoothie lover for a few years now (isn’t it everyone? ☺). Though, I must confess, there are a few fruits and vegetables that I’m not a fan of, but I’ve made it a goal to be better at liking foods that I don’t eat. I’ve found that making smoothies (at least for me) is the perfect way to integrate these in my diet and not only that, but smoothies are so refreshing, healthy, delicious, filling and such a treat! I drink them often for breakfast or as a mid-afternoon snack. They’ve certainly become part of my almost-daily life! Vivan los smoothies! Yum!

In this particular recipe, I love all the ingredients. Ha! It also has a very tropical taste which reminds me of home!

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup frozen mango
2 medjool dates
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup of yogurt

INSTRUCTIONS
Add all ingredients to a blender and combine until smooth. Boom! Done. Enjoy!

Off the (Letter)Press

mfranco_bcs_02 mfranco_bcs_04 mfranco_bc_01

I had my business cards letterpressed about two months ago. I know they are not exactly “right” off the press, but they still feel and smell like brand new to me!

I was oh so fortunate to have found Presshaus LA and the work of Kristine Arellano, an amazing letterpress printer and designer. This lady is beyond-words-talented! I am sure her Vandercook press turns into a magic wand at some point during the printing process. Yes! She is that good! I had some areas in my design that required super duper tight registration and she completely nailed it!

I’m stoked with the way they turned out. Take a look!