Four Days in Cuba

We had talked about visiting Cuba for the last couple of years, it seemed like the rules and advance planning were overwhelming, they were not. We did do quite a bit of research and made plans in advance because we had limited time and there is limited internet, happy we did. If you can, go. If you can have the people who hosted us to show you around do, they made the trip for us.

Guides who made our trip:

David, a.davidfernandez12@gmail.com took us around Havana, taught us about history, art, architecture, politics and then took us to the beach for a swim. He also arranged for transportation for us to go to Vignales. If you want someone to arrange logistics of traveling in Havana and around the whole country he is your person.

Marilyn, who with Alex Jr. hosts a farm visit in Vignales, https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/176867. Go on this one, there is lots of tourism in Vignales but this was to an out of the way farm, have lunch if you can and use these two as a resource for a day trip from Havana or if you want to stay for longer.

Nini and Ricky, took us on a couple hour tour to Jardin Tropical, abandoned gardens and party venue that is accessed through a Havana neighborhood, https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/391324. The gardens and fading structures were phenomenal and it was great to see with them as our guides, Ricky grew up in the neighborhood and as a child played in the gardens.

Abel, we did a two hour salsa lesson with him the day we arrived, https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/150405691 he is an incredible dancer and teacher. Highly recommended.

Accommodations:

We stayed in an air b and b there are lots of choices. Our house was in Miramar, it was about a 15 minute car ride to Old Havana but the house had a lovely out door area where we were able to relax, hang out and visit. We also had breakfast at the house every morning. The hosts were super helpful with calling cabs, assisting with reservations, fixing a bank problem we had and giving us a ride in their own car to dinner one night when there was a huge rain storm and there were no cabs available.

Highlights:

FNAC, Kcho Project, Fusterlandia, Santa Maria del Mar, wandering in Old Havana

Lunch:

Mas Habana, O’Reilly 304, Mario’s farm in Vignales

Dinner:

Paladar La Esperanza

Restaurants for next trip:

La Guarida, Jibaro, Toca Madera

Master Class At Yolk, October 2018

Whenever Pum from Design Army asks me to collaborate on anything the answer is always yes! Her creativity is contagious and over the years each project that we have worked on has been rewarding. Recently Design Army opened a new space, At Yolk- hard to define it is a photo studio, venue, hub of artistic collaboration… We worked on this first Master Class together where we celebrated flowers, photography, styling, art direction and food. Collaborators were Kate Headley, Reema Desai Boldes, Middle Kingdom Porcelain, BD3 Design, Vannys Music and each participant.

Rehearsal Dinner at 1508, September 1, 2018

We host dinners at our Home Restaurant for personal and business. This was a holiday weekend rehearsal dinner–– Saturday night we cooked and Sunday we did wedding flowers. It was a privilege and pleasure to share in the celebration!

PASSING- Shishito Peppers, Cipolline and Balsamic, Purple Potato with Rhubarb Ketchup, Scallop on Kohlrabi with Pickled Ginger, Salmon on Cucumber with Chive, Chateau Les Valentines Cotes du Provence ROSE 2017  and Lemon Verbena Vodka Cocktail

SEATED

Chanterelle, French Bean, Roasted Beets and Leek Salad, Sesame Bread, Daniel-Etienne DeFaix Chablis "Vielles Vignes" 2013

Halibut with Tomato, Eggplant, Late Summer Squash, Chard, and Basil, 48 Hour Bread, Chateau Moulin de Tricot Margaux 2013

Pleasant Ridge Reserve Cheese and Cracker

Chocolate Cake with Coconut Cream and Fig, Pierre Paillard Champagne Bouzy Grand Cru 'Les Terres Roses' ROSÉ NV

DESSERT BITES- Hazelnut Macaroon, Oatmeal Lemon and Thyme Drop, Charcoal Sesame

A dear friend and talented photographer Abby Greenawalt documented.

Leesburg, WOW!

Nell contacted me about her wedding and mentioned that it was going to take place at her fiance’s family home. I was completely unprepared for the secret garden (seriously), farm house, pool, gazebo, views… The bride, groom and partygoers were relaxed and at home on the property–– Nell was in the pool until just before the ceremony. All the way around- Wedding Goals!

Photos- Kristen Gardner, Planning- Pure Whimsy Events