Monica and I are in the midst of the wedding season, not our weddings, but weddings of friends and family. We’ve subsequently decided that we would dedicate this week to showers and bachelorette parties! Let’s face it, wedding season is a mad house. Every weekend is one trip or party with all the gifts, the hotels, the outfits, etc….it’s exhausting, and it’s not even your wedding, so Monica and I have approached everything weddings from our individual point of view this week.
Between the registry, numerous bridal showers, and bachelorette parties, it can get kind of difficult to find the perfect gift. I like to give gifts that are both useful, meaningful, and reflect on my relationship with the recipient. I’m frequently in the position that I’m giving at least two gifts to the bride – one for the shower and one for the wedding. Thus, I like to mix my gifts up. One item from the registry (often for the wedding) and one item from a local business for the shower. Thus, I’ve decided to share some my favorite gifts from Alapash and Maya Mueble, this month’s sponsors. I love how all of these handcrafted goods could enrich a home with warmth. They are all unique, but each piece could easily fit well into any style room or location. I’ve given Alapash’sGlobe Plant as gifts for various birthdays and events, and everyone remarks on how much they love the beautifully crafted terrarium. I even purchased one for myself, and I think Adam got quite jealous.
Often marriage marks the sharing of stuff, a combination of gendered aesthetics. I’m a proponent of couples finding their own new shared place, rather than moving into another’s apartment. The space is then “theirs” or “ours” rather than “his” or “hers”. With items, while I cringe at the thought of starting completely anew, it does help to add a few items together. The Olive Blossom Candle, Stoneware Bowls. and O’Clock (Douglas Fir Wood) are perfect gender-neutral items that a couple could always use.
Other times, I like to give gifts that are completely distinctive. As I’ve previously written, I love Maya Mueble’s Comalapa Rugs, depending on your recipient’s home color scheme, the red, olive, navy, or black rug could be the perfect unique touch. I would love to take these Comoda Chairs on a tropical beach trip, sipping cocktails, reading a good book, not caring about anything at all. Above all, I think the perfect gift for a couple is a great throw – something that they will always use and need, such as the Momostenango Wool Blanket or the La Libertad Blanket in Grey.
If you are curious to see these items in person, or would even love to see more new items, don’t forget about the Spring Party that I’m cohosting with Alapash and Maya Mueble – Friday, May 2nd from 6pm-10pm at Alapash Home & Terrariums.
It’s Party Time!!!! I’m very excited to announce an evening of shopping and mingling that I’m cohosting with this month’s sponsors – Marco from Alapash Home and Terrariums and Emily of Maya Mueble Home Furnishings! We will be celebrating spring with new products from Alapash and Maya Mueble, giveaways and special discounts for attendees. Light drinks and treats will be provided. Come celebrate spring and check out these amazing local Chicago businesses!!
Friday, May 2nd from 6pm – 10pm
Alapash Home & Terrariums
1944 W. Montrose, Chicago, IL 60613
I first fell in-love with the textiles and furniture of Maya Mueble while I was perusing around Modern Cooperativeone Saturday afternoon. It was the softness and brightness of a San Sebastian throw and the classic cool lines of the Comoda Chair that easily had be obsessed. Each piece strikes a chord of familiarity and appeal, yet there is something distinctly unique. I’ve had the pleasure to sit down with Emily Prendergast, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Maya Mueble.
My first trip to Central America was to visit my brother Brian, co-founder of Maya Mueble, in August of 2009. At the time, Brian had been working in El Salvador as an internal auditor for an energy company and had previously spent time in Guatemala, becoming fluent in the language. This trip ended up being a pivotal moment in my life and the beginning of Maya Mueble.
With an appreciation and love for design and hand crafted goods, I spent the five years prior to quitting my job as a visual merchandiser for a home décor retailer. A growing, ever-present desire to redirect my life toward something more personally rewarding had been building for years, and my visit to these inspiring countries gave me the clarity I needed to make a change. The following year, I saved as much money as possible, quit my long-standing job and headed back to Central America. Combining Brian and I’s shared knowledge, passion and entrepreneurial drive, we started Maya Mueble with hopes of creating sustainable relationships with the artisans of Latin America while introducing new audiences to a culture filled with beautiful artistry and people.
Maya Mueble, LLC, was officially incorporated in June of 2012 and we received our first shipment from El Salvador in February of 2013. We are proud to say that we now collaborate with several artisan groups in both El Salvador and Guatemala, each using the traditional techniques of their region, to create our home furnishing collection. These past four years have been some of the most challenging and rewarding years of my life, with no regrets.
Our main goal is to give Central American artisans the opportunity for economic empowerment, which we hope will contribute to the advancement of their developing countries. We are able to work directly with the artisans to ensure that they are paid a fair wage and have suitable working conditions, and it has been a very humbling experience to see how these opportunities have affected the artists and their families over the years.
One example is the Gonzalez family, who has been producing our Comoda chairs since we first met in 2010. Visiting them each year is always a highlight; they are hard working, take nothing for granted and are always full of energy. During our last trip to El Salvador, we went for our usual visit to meet with the family and were pleasantly surprised to see the beginnings of brick home, in contrast to their current laminate structure. That was truly amazing to see. To me, this affirmed that we are heading in the right direction and are truly making a difference. Sure, the goal is to make a living with Maya Mueble … but this would just be another job, a situation similar to where I was five years ago, if it weren’t for moments like that.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
The fact that I get to travel to these beautiful countries, experience totally different cultures, meet and be inspired by the work of talented artisans and have that be part of my job is just amazing and still very very surreal.
You sell a combination of furniture, throws, rugs, and market finds. What’s the difference between the regular pieces and the “market finds“?
“Market finds” were introduced to the Maya Mueble webstore after our most recent trip and are exactly what they sound like: items found in the market. I have been collecting items over the past few years and thought that market finds would be a great way to continue our support of Central American artists while offering some really unique pieces to our customers. Our regular items are produced in small to large batches versus the market finds, which are truly one of a kind. We collaborate with the artisans on designs and colors as much as possible, working towards creating a cohesive collection.
What’s your favorite thing that you are currently carrying?
This is a tough one. I have a connection and attachment to everything we carry for different reasons, but I’d say that I’m currently in love with our Momostenango 100% wool blankets. These blankets are hand loomed by an indigenous group of weavers in the western highlands of Guatemala, an area where the climate gets very cold and heavy wool blankets are necessary. In all of my visits to Guatemala, I had never seen anything like them; Guatemalan textiles are typically known for their vibrant colors and intricate designs using spun cotton thread. I immediately fell in love with the simple geometric designs and naturally dyed colors of these wool blankets, and thought that they would be a great compliment to our 100% cotton blankets and throws from El Salvador.
What events/collaborations do you have in the immediate future that you’d like me to discuss?
To say that we are excited for our upcoming shipment, expected to arrive in July, would be a major understatement. Along with newly added home accessories, we will be expanding our furniture line to include teak and Guanacaste tabletops, dining chairs and occasional tables. We’re also really looking forward to debuting two new chair designs, both made of wrought iron and wrapped vinyl, similar to our current Acapulco chair. Adding more furniture to our collection has been in the works for quite some time now, and it’s actually where our company’s name originates; mueble is Spanish for furniture.
We are also collaborating with local Chicago craftsman Eric Furman of Fair Coast Goods. Eric handcrafts gorgeous bags, clutches and wallets out of leather, canvas, cotton and other natural materials. I’ve been a big fan of his work since we met at the Show of Hands design and craft fair last November. Currently, I am very excited to be working with him on a unique barstool design that will compliment our upcoming counter and high-top tables. Our welders in El Salvador will be making the wrought iron frames and Eric will be upholstering the seats with leather.
How can people purchase from you?
You can shop our entire collection in our webstore at www.mayamueble.com. We also offer a selection of our collection at two Chicago retailers: Alapash: Home and Terrariums located at 1944 W. Montrose in Ravenswood and Modern Cooperative located at 1215 W. 18th Street in Pilsen.
For these first two weeks of April, I’ve been on the run. Last weekend, I went to Kansas City with Monica and Megan for Go Blog Social, and this weekend, I’m off to Charlottesville for a bridal shower/women’s weekend for my future sister-in-law. But that is only half of it, I’ve been extremely busy with White Oak and life in general. Despite being on the go, I’ve realized the importance of taking care of some of my essential elements of myself. As my trip to Kansas City demonstrated, I’m not a makeup woman (especially in comparison to my roommates for the trip), but I am skincare person, maybe even a skincare junkie.
My skincare routine has expanded beyond cleansing and moisturizing my face; I like to give my lips a little something special. Despite having oily skin, I’m constantly battling dry lips. Treating my lips comes down to the essentials – aka water. If I’m not getting close to 64 oz of water a day, my pucker is doomed. I really struggle to take in that much water. I’ve been monitoring myself for a little over a month, and in order for me to drink the daily requirement, I have to make conscious efforts throughout the day.
Besides water, there’s a few cosmetic things that I need to do daily. I’ve been alternating between two natural lip balms: California Naturel Lip Balm with SPF 8 (℅) for during the day and Ellovi Lip Butter. I’m really a big fan of both options. The California Naturel Lip Balm is kind of creamy to the touch, but not visible once applied. Moisture seeps into my lips with the SPF protection my lips are soft and protected. Ellovi Lip Butter was given to me by Ashlee of The Little Foxes. This little stick of goodness only has six ingredients – Hawaiian Coconut, Sunflower, hemp, macademia, Ghanian marula, and shea. It only takes a little to pack a big punch.
I’ve read/heard about lip scrubs – whether DIY, product reviews, and friends swearing by the power of a good exfoliant. I decide to give it a try with Ilia’s Balmy Nights. Ever since my first use of this lip exfoliator in stick form, it’s been an obsession. Right after I get out of the shower, I apply the exfoliator. The tiny granules of volcanic stone powder give my lips a tingling, massage-like feeling. I wash it off with a wash cloth, and follow it up with my California Naturel Lip Balm, and I’m set for the day. You can tell I’ve been very busy when exfoliating my lips is the highlight of the day, but this small and quick TLC for my lips has been just what I needed for the last couple of days.
In honor of Season Four’s start and the fact that I’ve read the first two books in the A Song of Fire and Ice, which the show Game of Thrones is based off of, today is an ode to this epic fantasy series. To literally dress as the novel, you could throw on a Renaissance costume dress, put your hair in an elaborate braid, and find the largest faux fur jacket out there, but you might be getting some looks. So I’m approaching Game of Thrones as if I were Arya Stark, and I don’t necessarily want people to know.
This Zara dress has a cut out front, and a plunging back, which might be more of the tv show speaking than the novel. Other than the Queen of Thorns Olenna Redwyne, every female is showing at least a little skin. Regardless of your family status, you might be on the run, so a good backpack and shoes are essential (sidenote: how cute are these booties from Target?!) Even though it is “spring”, with weather in Chicago, you never know if “Winter is coming” so you must always bring a coat. The detail and pattern of this piece fits in with the more traditional elements of the novel. As beauty and sex are such an important influence in the novel (talk about setting game changers), some lingerie and a good moisturizer to always stay young, add to this overall ensemble.