Don Le Bon

wild unknown

By October 31, 2014 illustration

Kim Krans is doing a pretty fantastic job all round. This artist/illustrator/tarot guru/yogi owns The Wild Unknown, a company that makes children’s books, zodiac prints, tarot decks and more. I find all these things magical. Yes, I am a super fan. Here is what Kim has to say about herself:

“When I was fifteen I met my first true drawing teacher. An old-school disciplinarian, she taught me to study line and shape, to draw from observation, and to integrate energy into visual form. More importantly, she awakened me to the idea of the inner dimension and the mystery within. I studied with her every day for three years. 

Following that I lived in New York City for thirteen years, studying art at Cooper Union, Hunter College, showing in galleries, playing in bands, and from an outside perspective – living the dream. Yet there was an unfulfilled part of me, a light that was beginning to dim as I looked for everything external to brighten me. 

At that juncture I found yet another life-changing teacher, this time in yoga. And it was also around that time that The Wild Unknown began to emerge. I started drawing children’s books, meditating, practicing daily self-reflection, and eventually this led me to draw The Wild Unknown Tarot Deck. Looking back, its been a true journey of transformation, and I am blessed that my amazing husband Jonny has taken the ride with me, helping to build this company from the ground up. We now live in California, where I teach yoga, make drawings, and try to visit the ocean as much as possible.”

Not only does she make the world a more magical place to live in, incentives like ‘The Wild Unknown in Africa‘ make those who follow her a little more aware of the world around them and how to make it a better place to live in for each and every human being.

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all images via the wild unknown

eat yourself younger

By October 28, 2014 beauty, food

Its summer. Its beach time and therefore it also means its time for berries. Berries have LOADS of anti-oxidants in them which ultimately means that you can eat yourself younger.

There is a massive trend of smoothie bowls going around so I thought I would try my first one out this weekend. Although I still served it up in a milkshake glass I used a spoon to eat it and – wow! This ‘bowl’ has a whole lot of goodness packed into it. So here are some of the main ingredients broken down to let you know exactly how you will be benefitting, and treating, yourself when you whip this up.

 

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Berries – These little fruits promote shiny eyes, and help with reduction of dark circles under the eyes. They are packed with cell-repairing micronutrients and antioxidants which shield the skin against free radicals which damages collagen.

Camu Camu – This Brazilian fruit is full of Vitamin C, actually 60 times more per serving than an orange. Amino acids such as Valine, Leucine and Serine, which cannot be produced by our bodies, help with digestion and the recovery and build up of muscles and bone tissue growth. It also contains acids which help with anti-fungal and anti-viral properties as well as some research into anti-cancer properties.

Pomegranate – These beautiful fruits contain compounds that help reduce inflammation, helping with arthritis and help lower blood pressure. But most importantly this baby contains the most amount of anti-oxidants found in any other juiced fruit – and yes, we want lots of anti-oxidants in our diet. Why? Like with the berries they resist cellular damage and ageing.

Boabab – This ‘super fruit’ is again filled with anti-oxidents and very high in Vitamin C. But here’s something else, it is also a super-laxative, containing 5gm of fibre per 100gm. That’s more than Psyllium. This fruit is packed with over 12 minerals and vitamins including high doses of calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium.

Zehra – The tag-line for this edible collagen supplement is ‘age beautifully‘ and, as far as I can tell this is exactly what this supplement allows. Containing only high quality Peptan collagen – in a powdered form – Co-Enzyme Q10 and Vitamin C with a mild natural berry flavour this is the perfect way to keep those creeping wrinkles at bay. I have been using this product for the past 3 months – and it’s the easiest age defying product to use ever. 2 sachets of the miracle powder in water or a smoothie every day and you are done! Plus I don’t have to tell  you about the benefits of Vitamin C again. Also, the presence of proteins in the collagen keeps you feeling fuller for longer!

 

 Age Defying Berry, Bao Smoothie Bowl

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Recipe: Serves 1

– 1 frozen banana

– 1 cup of strawberries

– 1/2 a cup of blueberries

– 1/2 a cup of mulberries

– 2 dates, pitted

– 1 tablespoon of almond butter

– 1 tablespoon of camu camu powder

– 1 heaped teaspoon of baobab powder

– 2 sachets of Zehra

– 1 handful of pomegranate pips

 

Place all ingredients in a blender and blitz under smooth. Save a table spoon of pomegranates to garnish with.

 

This recipe is an adaptation from Deliciously Ella.

Please consult a doctor before you start taking any supplements. 

face to face

By October 27, 2014 beauty

We all have our own routine when it comes to making nice with our face and hair. So, what are your secret tips and tricks when it comes to putting your face on? I have raided the bathroom cupboards, and sometimes the kitchens, of some of the beautiful people around me to show you exactly what it takes when it comes to getting all cleaned up.

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Age and Occupation. 

26. 4th year occupational therapist student.

 

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What are your go-to skin care products?

Johnsons&Johnsons make-up removal wipes and Nivea Creme.

Do you follow the classic 3-step programme, (cleanse, tone, moisturize)?

No.

Tell us a beauty secret your mother taught you?

This face mask made from tartaric acid that burns like anything but, it gets rid of all the dead cells on your face and leaves your skin feeling super soft and smooth. Also, the classic of coconut oil to nourish your hair.

What are your make-up staples?

I used to use Make-Up Forever’s Liquid Lift base, which is a light covering base. But lately I discovered the Woolworths basic range base which covers really well. YSL liquid liner and Make-Up Forever smokey lash.

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Any skin difficulties you have had to deal with, and how you deal with it?

Yes, I have really dry skin on my nose and cheeks so I use a salt scrub to help with that. Also, I suffer from a genetic skin condition called Rosacea which I counteract by using a green cover-up by Krayola on my face. But, since I have switched bases I have to use a lot less of the cover-up.

What’s the deal with your hair?

My frothy hair is dry, with split ends. Right now I’m trying to grow it our for my sister’s wedding – so no trims! I don’t think there is a use for fancy, expensive shampoos as I have never seen a difference in my hair when I do use them. So, I stick to Elvive and a coconut or Moroccan oil treatment every now and then.

Do you change any products from winter to summer?

In winter I tend to use a lot more body moisturizer. And in summer I use Xeroderm SPF under my base only if I know I am going to be in the sun. I try to stay out of the sun at all times to protect my fair skin.

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What is your go-to scent?

Gucci Flora

What is beauty to you?

Anything that makes you smile!

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Thank you Joolie!!

 

 

sri lanka – part I

By October 21, 2014 travel

Finally, I’m getting back to Sri Lanka. If I could explain to you how much this trip changed my life – and no, not in that clichéd way that you read about or see in movies – in a very real and very understated way. It’s a place that will stay with you forever and the experience I was able to have is something that I am very grateful for. So here is the story, broken down into 4 parts, to make it (slightly) easier reading.

Part I

We left for Colombo on the 31 July. Backpacks shrink wrapped and yoga mats at the ready. We flew with Emirates (most definitely my preferred airline company – hence my, ahem, gold status) via Dubai with a long layover in the Business lounge. At 3am we boarded our flight to Colombo and managed to get an upgrade – a little luxury never hurt anyone before hitting the jungle. Giddy with excitement and champagne the 4-hour flight raced past as we watched Spiderman 3… or 4. Or whatever they are on now.

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Airport admin done and we find ourselves standing outside with a taxi operator in the pelting rain, humidity and confusion of which taxi belongs to whom. Finally in our designated Hyundai we race off into the sunset. 2 hours later still stuck in traffic and now in darkness, we slowly edge our way towards The Reed Hotel. A small little man welcomes us and unhurriedly checks us in, he then asks about the American breakfast we want in the morning. We assure him that we don’t want anything of the sort and would rather like a Sri Lankan breakfast. He is surprised. Then he asks if we have eaten. We have not and ask if he can recommend a place – he says a Pizza Hut is just around the corner, and we again say we would like something more local so he says that he will go and fetch us food – it takes us a while to explain to him that we want vegetarian – as in NO meat. Not even chicken. After half an hour he returns, soaked to the bone, with two plastic bags in hand – our dinner of rice and hot sauce is tucked away in the folds. After dinner we sit on our balcony floor in the dark drinking Ceylon tea, listening to the rain and watching our neighbours – shirtless men, who endlessly smoke and play tinny music off their phones.

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We wake up and have our first Sri Lankan breakfast hoppers (pancakes in the shape of a bowl). After that we are off to the train station to make our way to Kandy on the Rajadhani Express. The journey takes 3 and half hours, it was meant to be 2 hours – if using any train services in Sri Lanka be prepared for delays. The train is a beautiful revamped carriage with air-con, reclining seats and onboard meal service. We snooze as we pass through villages that flash by in a blink of an eye. But as we make our way towards the hill country the scenes turn to majestic green tea plantation valleys with spikes of mountains jutting out everywhere.

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Once we arrive in Kandy we rushed off the train into a tuk tuk and wound our way up to Sharon Inn. The owner meets us with a panicked expression and insists we put our bags down immediately and head into town if we don’t want to miss the parade. It’s the second night of the Esala Perahera festival, one of the largest Buddhist festivals in Sri Lanka, where pilgrims flock to – and we don’t have tickets. A bartering game ensues between us, our tuk tuk driver and someone on the other end of the tuk tuk drivers phone. He ensures us that tickets usually range between 10 – 18 thousand rupees but, he will give them to us for 8 500. In the rush of putting our bags down and jumping back into the tuk tuk we have forgotten to pack more cash so we haggle some more and eventually end up paying 2 500 rupees to a stranger, following him down an almost deserted street, through a security check point and onto excessively crowded sidewalks and into a fluorescent hole on the wall that is a flip-flop shop. This is where we will watch the procession from – with a Sri Lankan family behind and in front of us, a French family to the right of us and some smatterings of Americans we watch as whip crackers hail the start of the procession, followed by thousands of traditional dancers, drummers, fire throwers, at least 100 elephant and of course the casket containing the sacred Tooth Relic.

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It is a long, but magical experience. After 3 hours of sitting we find ourselves swept up in the very orderly crowd heading to somewhere to get food. With almost everything shut we decide to take a chance and head back to Sharon Inn to see if they can rustle up a dinner for us. And they do – our first proper Sri Lankan meal. A vegetable soup is followed by a plate of 10 different vegetables. I try okra for the first time along with a very meaty and lamb-like jackfruit curry, barbecue eggplant and green beans with banana crisps. While we eat the owner plays Dire Straits on his guitar in the next room. We are stuffed and exhausted and head up to our room, just as it starts to rain, to have a shower and get some sleep.

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Breakfast is a quick bowl of fruit salad and some scrambled eggs on toast. We then head to the Temple of the Tooth situated on the Bogambara Lake, navigating the tiny streets littered with dogs, tuk tuks cars and an elephant. The temple is crowded with pilgrims. We buy some lotus flowers as offerings and get carried away in a crowd that only reaches our elbows in height and smiles at us while sneaking in front of us. The temple grounds are really big, filled with adorned buildings and Buddhas. We walk around and just before the skies open up again we head back in time to get our car to Ulpotha.

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matt + nat

By October 7, 2014 fashion

I have been trawling through all the fashion week collections – no mean feat, I tell you. You think you have a passion for something but, by look 1821 things get a little tiring. So I went for a walk around the block came back and found, Matt + Nat. (Actually my husband found it and said, ‘Hey, look at this, these are nice bags.’) And yes, these are nice bags. But, not only are they nice bags Matt + Nat, short for MAT(T)erial and NATure, are also 100% vegan and eco-friendly. Here is what this Canadian brand has to say about their products:

“Our values include social responsibility, excellence, inclusiveness, integrity, learning, authenticity and, of course, love. (…)

From the start, being committed to not using leather or any other animal-based materials in our designs felt natural to us. Each season, we continue to explore new innovative ways to remain sustainable and eco-friendly. Over the years, we’ve been experimenting with different recycled materials such as recycled nylons, cardboard, rubber and cork. Since 2007, we’ve been committed to using linings only made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. We have also recently introduced recycled bicycle tires to our collections.”

This is where all fashion should be heading. Now, go shop some ethical goodness.

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aēsop consultation

By October 6, 2014 beauty

I have basically been in love with Aēsop products since I first tried them out a couple years ago. The guys over at Loading Bay have been stocking the body and hair range for a while now, but what is super exciting is that now they stock the basic skin care range too. I have been using the Fabulous Face Cleanser for a couple months, since my lovely husband pulled some strings and got me a little sampler before Loading Bay brought in the full range, and I have been really happy with it.  I just love the brand’s ethos:

“We are committed to using both plant-based and laboratory-made ingredients of the highest quality and proven efficacy – particularly those with the greatest anti-oxidant properties.

We value all human endeavours undertaken with intellectual rigour, vision, and a nod to the whimsical. Every Aesop product is made with the same attention to detail we believe should be applied to life at large, taking into consideration a diversity of needs as well as seasonal and environmental conditions.

We advocate the use of our formulations as part of a balanced life that includes a healthy diet, sensible exercise, a moderate intake of red wine, and a regular dose of stimulating literature.”

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So I went in, credit card at the ready, to get me some more goodies. Nicol, who runs Loading Bay along with her boyfriend, and owner JP, escorted us upstairs for a consultation. Before she he walked us through the range that they have in stock, she offered us some beautiful herbal tea,  and then fired away with some questions to better understand the quality of our skin and what sort of products we have been using and like to use. Since I have been using the Fabulous Face Cleanser and have been perfectly happy with it she worked off that as a base. Next up, she explained the importance of toning and then picked out the B + Tea Balancing Toner to try on me. Then it was onto moisturizer – the guy I think we all normally get wrong, it’s either too rich or not rich enough. Again, she introduced each product and after a series of back and forths she settled on what she thought would work best for me, the Fabulous Face Oil. She took my hand, toned it, and then massaged in the face oil.

After talking, and smelling, and feeling, and touching she also recommended the Oil Free Facial Hydrating Serum for the coming summer months – it contains aloe vera to cool the skin and can also be used in conjunction with the face oil. ‘You are your own scientist,’ she says, ‘and your bathroom is your lab.’ So basically, you are encouraged to experiment. Swop it up, leave it out, mix and concoct, all to how your skin is feeling on each particular day. This is my kind of brand.

I left though, with only a couple samples in hand. Nicol recommends trying the product out for 2 days. So I do. And I am right back on her doorstep begging for more. Here is what I left with:

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Even if you aren’t going in to buy the products, go in for Nicol’s amazing hand massages!

images via loading bay, and aesop.

cabin dreaming

By October 1, 2014 books

Ever dreamt of living somewhere exotic? Sure you have. I have been daydreaming over these images and cannot wait to order these books from Gestalten so that I can continue to live in every one of these houses in my dreams. Here’s to the ‘places I’d rather be today’ clan:

Hide & Seek

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Rock the Shack

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The Outsiders

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Building Better

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Space Craft 1 & 2

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Arcadia

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all books and images from gestalten.

new times

By September 30, 2014 travel

Well, hello there! As you might have noticed there’s been some changes around here. Not only in the look and feel of the site (which, by the way, takes WAY longer than you think it should!), but also in the name. Recently I was getting a couple people coming to me and asking, ‘So, how do we actually pronounce the name of your blog?’ After one to many of these I decided that it was time for a change. The site’s new name stems from a nickname that I picked up from one of my best friends – she always refers to me as a young Yasmin Le Bon (no complaints there!), and one day while visiting me in Paris she called me ‘Don Le Bon’ – et Voila! So here we are nice and new and shiny.

Another added item is the ‘City Guide’, up there on the right. I’ll be adding to it in the following months, so go have a look if you want to know where to eat, drink and get merry this summer.

Dario and I have just come back from another trip – this time just a little local loving – we headed off to Durban last week to celebrate a family wedding. I haven’t spent much time in the city, but in the little time that I have spent there while being with my husband, who is from there, I have seen some major changes. We also spent two days driving through the midlands, eating goats cheese and scooping up some vintage goods. Without further ado, here are some of my top spots:

Freedom Cafe. Eggs Benedict with mushrooms or Zucchini fritters? Yes please!

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Market Cafe. The wedding reception we attended was hosted here with yummy food. Even though the portions were slightly to small for my liking we had a load of fun.

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Umhlanga Beach and Oysterbox Hotel. As far as I am concerned this is the best beach you can get close to Durban city centre. And if you feeling a thirst coming on, The Oysterbox can fulfil it with a gin or a glass of bubbles.

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Beachfront – 80s Hotels walk. We took a stroll along the newly renovated beachfront to take some pics. If only the hotel owners would savour the retro style buildings instead of trying to revamp them, this place is a gold mine for 70s/80s lovers.

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La Lampara and the Midlands. This Italian restaurant is tucked away in-between rows of trees and serves up super delicious REAL-DEAL Italian fare. The Midlands Meander, which is closer to Durban than you think and definitely deserves some your time, offers up great views and quirky shops along your way to pick up an old Fleetwood Mac record,  a copper bowl or two or a chunk of farm style bread.

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Nelson Mandela capture site. This is a must en route to the Midlands. Not only are you learning a ton of info about our country’s former president, but you get to see a pretty awesome sculpture too.

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Swissland Cheese, Midlands. This place has some of the best goat’s milk cheese I have ever tasted. If you get there try their signature Drakensburg. Plus you get to feed the goats too. Which I obviously love doing!

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all images via respective sites and some of my own personal ones too.

the sisterhood

By September 8, 2014 lifestyle

The importance of female friendships is something that has grown in my life. I don’t know what it was when I was growing up but, I was more a guys girl. And I was proud of that. In fact I think I was intimidated by the groups of girls that would stalk around in close-knit circles talking about all things pretty. Sure, I had some girlfriends but, the circle was small. Recently I came across an article in British Vogue (March 2014) by Christa D’Souza that got me thinking. This is not a new argument but, its something that I think needs to be embraced even further in our society.

marilyn openly supported ella Fitzgerald in her fight against racism

marilyn openly supported ella fitzgerlad in her fight against racism

The rise of the ‘Sisterhood’, although I would hate to call it a trend for fear of it sounding frivolous, is something that seems to be a growing concern. A growing need, even. In a world of rising social media interactions we need to help each other step away from the world that can seem lonely, fickle and self-depreciating and rather embrace each others gifts and talents. The loss of physical social communities means we are in need of creating new support structures for ourselves. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are not only there to feed the voyeur within us and, although they help with making us feel like we are accomplishing less than we should in our lives, these forms of social media could be transformed into platforms for positive reinforcement within our friendship circles. No lovey-dovey, girly kisses here, but real-deal encouragement and friendship.

poppy and alexia's friendship is openly shared on instagram

poppy and alexa’s friendship is openly shared on instagram

Gwen Stefani, Nicole Richie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stella McCartney, Chelsea Handler, Naomi Watts and Sam Taylor-Wood out at an all-girls dinner

Gwen Stefani, Nicole Richie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Stella McCartney, Chelsea Handler, Naomi Watts and Sam Taylor-Wood out at an all-girls dinner

The idea of a girl’s night out, or a girls-only-day spent lazing around a pool with gin and tonic in hand, talking about everything from the Ebola outbreak to who wore what; from the dilemmas of personal finance to celebrity crushes, is something that now holds a very special place in my life. There is something cosmic that each female understands in every other woman. A deeper sense of connection that we aren’t able to grasp at, but we know it’s there. As D’Souza puts it: ‘That tribal fealty one feels to the sisterhood can be deeply reassuring’. Despite a stereotypical outlook towards these sort of gatherings; that it’s all fluff and hugs and squeals and shopping and painting nails; something can be said for the type of advise gleaned from women going through similar troubles.

me and some of the sisters

me and some of the sisters

Although I would still not consider myself a girl’s girl, I do understand the important role that the women in my life play. And its something that I learn to appreciate evermore.

images via 1, 2, 3, 4

moodie

By September 5, 2014 art, home, vintage

So just as promised here is a little more about my weaving obsession. It all started a couple of years ago when I first saw a chubby, chunky, deliciously raw piece of fiber art over on The Brick House (which, unfortunately is not running any longer – well its been a year, she might come back. Please came back, Morgan!). But I was hooked! I would scour Etsy and Ebay into the wee hours of the morning looking for the perfect piece. And I came close at times – my main drawback being that Americans wouldn’t ship to the Southern tip of Africa. Slowly but surely, I started to give up. And then…

my first love

my first love

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don freedman dream piece

don freedman dream piece

I discovered Maryanne Moodie. Yes, her work is basically the fairy princess sister to the ogres I was ogling over before. But those fairies are really, really beautiful! Moodie seems to have revitalised the art of weaving with throngs of women all over the world (me included), queuing up on her Etsy shop to purchase her beginner’s weaving kits. According to her website she:

Maryanne Moodie took up weaving in 2010 as a creative outlet. She has completed commissions, collections and projects for commercial and private clients, drawing from her background in art, styling, teaching, fashion and costume. Her woven tapestries reference contemporary art, couture, architecture and her nostalgia of days gone by with new and surprising results. In 2013, she relocated her studio from Melbourne to New York, where she continues to grow her work.

The beautiful Maryanne Moodie

The beautiful Maryanne Moodie

pretty in pink  weaving  of my dreams

pretty in pink weaving of my dreams

chunky cloud-like fibers

chunky cloud-like fibers

i'll have them all, thanks

i’ll have them all, thanks

The rise of arts and crafts is something that I truly welcome. Don’t you miss working with your hands? It revolts against the slick digital age that has been pushed in our faces. Making something that is solely your own, with minor flaws and a rough and tumble edge has some major appeal. Sure I am writing this from my beautifully designed macbook that I would never give up. But, I think the lesson to be learnt here is to step away from your digital devices, call a couple friends round, serve some tea (or wine), get talking face to face and make something!

As a side note: Morgan over at The Brick House was pretty much solely responsible for my obsession not only with tapestry, fibers and weavings; but I also started becoming obsessed with ceramics (more on this still to come) as well as brutalist brass and copper decor. Thank you!

all images from respective sites.