1. ETHICAL COMPANIES THAT INSPIRE YOU?
Maiyet, who works in collaboration with Nest. I love their esthetics.
2. STYLE ICON?
Audrey Hepburn. Love her timeless elegance.
3. ZEN ZONE?
Tulum in the low season. I love being on the beach. My favorites are meditation, walks on the beach with my dogs, swimming in the Caribbean. Life in the Yucatan couldn't get any better!
I would love to visit more of Latin America. Brasil and Punta del Este are definitely on the bucket list.
But my all time favorite is Europe. I love Paris and I love to spend summers in Croatia and Sarajevo. Last year I went to Laguna Beach & Los Angeles in CA and and loved both places. As you can see, there are so many inspirational places so It's hard to choose a favorite .
5. YUCATAN HANGOUTS?
Merida and Izamal. Izamal, the yellow town is just gorgeous and so peaceful. Merida is hopping these days. Every time I go there, they've opened a new restaurant or a new art gallery. I love the combination of the old and the new. The food in Merida is also a highlight.
6. If you hadn't made that life decision to drop everything and move~where do you think you would be now and where?
Hard to tell, maybe still in NY working as a foreign correspondent. Or I might have moved back to Paris.
7. What prompted the trip to Mexico and how did you discover and ultimately settle in Valladolid?
Friends of friends opened a hotel in Tulum. It was called Las Ranitas. At the time Tulum was an off the radar destination, there were only four hotels. I was in desperate need of a break from my NY life. I took a sabbatical and went to Tulum. I didn’t know much about it. But I saw pictures of the beach and said, that's where I need to be. It was in the middle of January in NY and freezing so I decided to take three months off. I loved Tulum the the moment I arrived. And yes, it was exactly what I needed. Three months became a year and then another 6 months and so on. First I helped my friends with the hotel, then I met Nicolas Malleville (a famous argentinean model aka known as the founder of Coqui Coqui perfumes and hotels) who was embarking on his dream to design and develop hotels in the Yucatan. After doing this for awhile, I decided that maybe it was time to go back to NY. At the time I was ready again for a little bit more action and a better social life. I moved back to NY, but spent part time in Tulum. I got a job to running a Vintage show room in NYC, created by the former Vintage buyer of Ralph Lauren. Eventually I missed my Tulum life too much so what was meant to be a three month sabbatical turned into a long term affair. I decided to buy a house in Valladolid and renovate it. Valladolid is a beautiful old colonial city which is only 1 1/2 hours from Tulum. I just didn’t see myself living alone as a single woman on the beach of Tulum with no electricity and no hot water. I am not good with generators and the rustic life. I love the peacefulness of Valladolid, loved the culture and the architecture. The town is nearly 500 years old. I bought a colonial house, which I restored and started my company here. There are also more artisans in and around Valladolid. Tulum is a rather new place and new town. Valladolid is a perfect home base. We are only 1 1/2 from Tulum, Cancun and from Merida. From here you can explore the beaches of Holbox, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, etc. and the culture of Merida with their surrounding haciendas.
8. Where to you find the most inspiration?
I travel a lot. Most of my inspiration comes from nature. It could be walks in the jungle or Upstate NY (I still spend a lot of time in NYC and Upstate NY). Colors of Valladolid? Yes, I definitively love the colors of Valladolid and in general the colors of Mexico. This is one thing, I am so attracted to in this country.
9. Did you know Spanish or did you to learn Spanish?
Yes, absolutely. I am also thinking about finally learning Maya. It’s something I wanted to learn for a long time. But restoring my house and starting my company didn’t leave me with much free time. I love the mayan language and most of my artisans speak maya and not Spanish.
10. How did you decide to use Jute as your material choice?
I was looking for a material, which is used nearly all over the world. For me jute is symbolic. I truly believe, that we are all connected. My grandparents had a farm in Germany. That’s where I grew up. I was always close to Mother Nature. The smell of the Earth is one of my first memories. I wanted to work with a material, which leads us back to Mother Earth. That’s why the jute sacks were perfect. You transport from seeds to a finished product like coffee in them. So for me they are the homage to Mother Earth and to my grandparents and their life on the farm. I also love the prints and the fonds on them. They are like a piece of art for me. It couldn’t be better.
11. Any Mayan beauty secrets to share?
Drink a lime juice first thing in the morning. It cleanses your body, which gives you clean and radiant skin. If you can drink one lime first thing in the morning without diluting it...it will have the most benefit.
12. Favorite Mexican artist?
Francisco Toledo and Guillermo Olguin
13. Advice for anyone that wants to quit the day job and start a new life?
Find YOUR place first. Get inside yourself, travel and find your passion. Nothing is easy in life, that’s why you need to have passion for it. Passion and love for something will will make it easier to overcome the difficult times.
~Photos below from my studio tour in Valladolid.
~Also check out our Instagram for more images of our lovely visit to this beautiful colonial town.