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do you remember earlier this year when i hosted a dinner and showed you guys a tour of the MINI LIVING Urban Cabin in downtown LA on the rooftop? this has been one of my favorite jobs this year. i truly think they are so innovative and i love the concept behind living small. this month we visited Beijing to explore the new Urban Cabin that was right next to the bird’s nest stadium where the Olympics were held!

I LOVE the gold reflections! this space may be small (15 square meters) but it does not lack amazing attention to detail. for each Urban Cabin the team links up with a local architect to bring in a special feature that speaks to living in their city. Chinese architect Sun Dayong, the founding partner of Pendadesigned the “experience room” in this inhabitable space. he was inspired by life in the hutongs in Beijing. if you sit in the swing and look up at the gold facets you can actually see all sorts of different images reflecting from outside, giving you a peek into the busy life that Beijing has to offer.

the MINI LIVING Urban Cabin also has smart design features like revolving doors and windows, a bed that rolls outside, a hammock on the roof, and a peg system on the wall for hanging shelfs and belongings. they really remind us to simplify our lives into the necessities and to remember what is important. there are skylights throughout the Urban Cabin that let in tons of natural light, which i love. natural light is very important to me in a home and this space really provides that.

you can see the bedroom above which has a super simple layout and the option for the bed to be fully inside or partially indoors and outdoors which would make for the best sunny reading spot.

when you have such a small space every single detail counts and it forces you to really consider what you have in your home and decide if it is useful and beautiful. they had these hooks all over the Urban Cabin that you could move throughout so that you can adjust the space based on your needs. i love that they made them yellow, the pop of color is pretty against the light wood.

we spent a half day at the summer palace. i recommend going at 8am when it opens to avoid all the crowds and tour groups. it’s a very pretty place to walk around and explore the history.


a few favorite things we did in beijing:

• strolling around the hutongs was our favorite. (a hutong is a type of narrow street or alley commonly associated with northern Chinese cities) start around the drum and bell and explore that area!

• then walk to mr. shi’s dumplings. we loved everything we ordered! (they moved locations but just down the street, there’s directions on a sign)

• the great wall of china is a must. but if you’re like me (lazy ha) and you don’t want to hike for hours, we did the short way and highly recommend! our hotel helped us hire a driver to take us to Mutianyu (a section of the wall that isn’t very crowded but still has amazing views) and then the driver waited for us to take us back. (that was about $80-100) you take a short shuttle from the station, ride the cable car up to the top, walk as much as you like on the wall, and then slide the toboggan down (SO FUN!!!) really happy we did this…

• walking through the panjiayuan antique market was interesting. i found some really cool ceramics and gifts there to take home.

• we loved our traditional peking duck dinner from Siji Minfu.

more random tips:

• important! VPN – i used expressVPN from the app store. make sure to download it and sign into itbefore you leave home. this will give you access to all your social media apps, google maps, etc that will be blocked once you arrive.

• i thought the subway was super easy to get around and understand. bring cash in low bills to purchase the tickets from the machines. cabs are also very cheap and sometimes quicker. bring a business card from your hotel with the address because communication if you don’t know the language is often times tricky.

• i downloaded the google translate app. this way you can speak or type what you want it to translate quickly when you need to. it also has a cool feature that translates menus and words. very helpful!

thank you so much to MINI Living for allowing us to experience a new culture and explore your beautiful cabin in Beijing!

and here is a little video clip from my last shoot with them!

(photos by designlovefest, in partnership with MINI Living)



things i own and love | designlovefest

i always like to hear when someone buys something that ends up exceeding their expectations or surprising them with it’s usefulness. so, i thought i’d make my own list of things i added to my life in 2018 that i’ve grown to love and use a lot. and i’d love to hear if you have something to add, big or small! bri tells everyone to buy this stainless steel scraper for their kitchen and at $7, it’s definitely worth buying. useful for everything from scraping your cutting board clean to picking up onions all in one swoop and adding them to a pan.  -joanie p.s. these are not in any particular order! 

Parachute linen quilt $280 – this is a recent addition to my bedroom but i’m loving having a quilt and not just a heavy duvet in this summer heat. it’s also supremely soft and cozy which is a requirement for me and bedding.

Blinc eyebrow mousse $24 – we had a 5am call time one morning for a shoot and bri whipped out her eyebrow gel as the only make up she was putting on and it really made an impact. defining the brows is important and this stuff is great. it doesn’t smear and it has a nice texture, not too heavy.

Lunya joggers $118 – i know i’ve mentioned this before and spending a $100+ seems crazy for sweats but these pants are the best. i wear them at home, if i’m taking a red eye flight i pair them with boots and a long jacket. or just for running out to get coffee on a Saturday. so comfy and still chic.

LACAUSA tee $55 – my favorite t-shirt of all time. it comes in so many colors and i want them all. the perfect mix between tailored and having a relaxed vintage feeling.

Madewell bralette $28 – having a bra with support that doesn’t have an underwire is a game changer. i have big boobs and didn’t think it would work for me but this style does.

Ugg slipers $85 – our whole apartment has wood floors which get really cold and i can’t tell you how nice it is to slip into these. bringing them on vacation is also a great idea, especially for an airbnb house rental. so nice to have a pair of your own slippers!

Sezane denim jacket $145 – i love a denim jacket and this one is a slightly more sleek take on one. it’s a little longer and has been my go-to recently.

Bialetti Moka Pot $35 – stove top espresso is a game changer, i can’t tell you how much we use this is in our house. worth the $35 for sure!

Ember mug $80 – definitely the most nerdy item on my list and i was certainly skeptical before trying this mug but if you’re like me and don’t like cold coffee, but like to sip it all morning and don’t want to re-heat it in the microwave 3 times, this is for you. it’s certainly more techy than i generally am but i use it every single day and there’s no deny that!



Amazon Prime Day | designlovefest

i’m a big fan of amazon and utilize my prime membership ALL the time. from last minute orders of cat food, to kitchen tools and anything and everything in between. i’m excited to be partnering with them to celebrate prime day (and a half!) and all of the deals you can score on July 16th. prime day last year got a little stressful, things sold out super quickly and it’s hard to know where to start shopping and what to look for. i put together a few prime day shopping tips that you can utilize and make it simple.

amazon prime day | designlovefest

  • make a list of items that you need before you shop the sale. i have an on going list of items that i’m looking to add to my kitchen, things like a new paring knife or kitchen towels. i know what i need so when it goes on sale i can grab it. on prime day, you can save up to 30% on AmazonBasics items, and one of the things i recommend adding to your list is a cast iron skillet. it’s one of my favorite things in my kitchen, great for everything from frying eggs, to roasting a chicken, cooking a steak, etc.
  •  stock up on your everyday essentials, things like razors, vitamins, paper towel, etc. items that you buy frequently and can save on by stocking up.

Amazon Prime Day | designlovefest
Amazon Prime Day | designlovefest

  • buy basics for the bedroom and bathroom, a sale is a great time to refresh your bathroom towels or buy new bedsheets. this blanket (pictured above in pink) is super soft and 100% cotton which is important to me when it comes to bedding, it makes it really breathable! i also love this striped linen duvet which is going to be part of the sale as well.
  • buy investment pieces, there are things like new knives, a powerful blender, juicer, etc that might be on your kitchen wishlist and now is the time to snag them. i’m particularly fond of my Vitamix (this version is available exclusively to amazon prime members).

Amazon Prime Day | designlovefest
amazon prime day | designlovefest

you can utilize there watchlist in the amazon app by adding items you’re eyeing and then you’ll be notified when they goes on sale. what’s on YOUR prime list that you are thinking about getting?!

this post was sponsored by Amazon.



whether it’s a simple bohemian minimal design or a full-on jungle space i love a bohemian-inspired interior. certain staple items can really make a room feel bohemian, and i wanted to highlight those things so you can add them into your space this weekend! a few essentials: rattan furniture, jute rugs, lots of plants, wall hangings, tasseled textiles, and shaggy area rugs. it’s it amazing how plants and texture add so much to a space? here are a few bohemian must-haves i’m loving right now. shop them below! erika

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i tend to get a little too obsessed with color from time to time, and find myself wanting to scale back to a space that is completely neutral: only birch wood, white walls, and jute rugs. there’s something that feels so peaceful about having no color in a space, and a minimal, distraction-free space sounds like a dream to me. i talked about adding more natural elements into a space here, and having an all-white bedroom here, so i’d love to combine those two concepts with things like light wood flooring, rattan light fixtures, baskets made of natural elements. these photos have me dreaming of what it would be like to be 100% light-toned natural elements. what do you think of this look? click through to get inspired with me below! erika

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