Three Arts Club Cafe

My friends told me they wanted to go out for lunch to celebrate my birthday and also my friend's engagement. We didn't know where we wanted to go until one of them eventually suggested to visit Three Arts Club Cafe at Restoration Hardware, located in the Gold Coast. I have seen so many photos of this cafe posted on Instagram and wasn't sure when I was going to visit, but I knew I had to check out this beautiful space filled with daylight, greenery, and an atmosphere that looked very comfy and relaxing.

Originally, the 101 year-old building was a residence and social nexus for young female artists. It was empty and neglected until 2003 when Restoration Hardware took over (Source). The "three arts" refer to music, painting, and drama. The club, modeled on the Three Arts Club of New York, was founded in 1912. In 1914 the club commissioned their own building, designed by architects Holabird & Roche. Over 13,000 women had stayed in the club (Source). I thought it would be wonderful to check out the space.

When we got there, the wait was two hours long, but we took some time to walk through the furniture gallery. I've been to a few Restoration Hardware locations, but this one was set up pretty nicely. Once our wait was over, we finally sat down to order. The couches were extremely comfortable and we immediately felt relaxed. My friends ordered grilled cheese sandwiches and I ordered the smoked salmon. They also ordered some cappuccinos while we waited for our food. 

Three Arts Club Cafe (Source)

(Right) How the courtyard looked before Restoration Hardware moved in. (Source)

I wasn't able to take a shot of the overall space, but I took some of our food. I hate being one of those people that's always snapping photos of my food, because I would much rather dig in and eat up. But the presentation was so beautiful here, that I really needed to take my camera out.

The caramel cappuccinos were delicious and, of course, beautiful. Even though it was super busy, the drinks and the food were brought to us very quickly. My friends and I enjoyed talking and laying back on the couches. I think we might have made ourselves more at home than most people do at this place, but we couldn't help it!

The branding for Three Arts Club is also beautiful. The simplicity in the menu was not only nice to look at, but easy and straight forward to understand. The menu isn't too big, but whatever is on there, is very tasty! The furniture, branding, lighting, waterfall, and food were all on point. The two hour wait was definitely worth it.

My smoked salmon was beyond delicious. It was brought out on a board and consisted of Texas toast, cucumbers, and cream cheese. I absolutely loved it and felt super satisfied after my meal. I would highly recommend this place for a nice cup of coffee, a date, and pretty much any other reason. The history of the building itself is also interesting. I wish I could see how the space looked when it was actually used as an arts club. Restoration Hardware isn't exactly my taste of furniture, but if you have the wallet to snatch something from the furniture gallery, then I guess you can get furniture here too :)

*All photographs were taken by Fariha Wajid, unless otherwise stated.

Vivian Maier: An Inspiration to Capture the Everyday

A while back Afroz and I went to the screening of "Finding Vivian Maier." I can't completely remember how I found out about her photos, but her work is very intriguing. There's a certain feeling of mystery and simplicity that's portrayed in her work. She captured people in their natural state. Her photos were casual, but very beautifully composed. Vivian Maier seriously had an eye for telling stories through her photographic work.

Originally from France, Vivian was a nanny. She was an average person and a self-taught photographer. She explored the streets of New York and Chicago with a camera in hand and she wasn't afraid to get up close and personal when clicking the button of her camera. She was the best street photographer of her time, but never really shared her photos. "Finding Vivian Maier" was directed by John Maloof, who found many of her negatives in an estate sale. Vivian had left over 100,000 negatives behind and Maloof discovered her talent through these negatives. The film was fantastic and John Maloof was actually there in the end for a question and answer session.

A few days ago, Afroz and I visited Vivian Maier's exhibition at the Chicago History Museum. I had been meaning to visit it once I found out about it a few months ago. I love how the exhibition was curated. It's located in a small gallery at the museum, but it tells her story very well.

Vivian's Rolleiflex twin-lens reflex camera

Her work inspires me to take more photos during my everyday encounters. Through her photos, she made the everyday look fascinating. She told people's stories through a click of a button and to me, that's just amazing. It's a shame she became known for her talent after passing away. I highly recommend everyone view the film about her work and the exhibition as well.

IKEA-ing Up Our Living Room

Salaam, everyone!

I shared a small piece of our apartment in this post, but I thought I'd zoom out and show a bit more of our living room. The windows are thankfully pretty big in this space, so we love the amount of daylight we get. If I could live, work, eat, sleep in our living room, I would. I love having a lot of daylight wherever I am. Anyway, Alhamdulilah with some help from some old wedding gift cards (yes, we used some of them after 2 years) and some saving up on our part, we were able to liven up our living room to look and feel comfortable. Fair warning, a lot of it is filled with IKEA decor. Can you blame us? We're not going to spend a million dollars on apartment furniture :)

We started by getting a sofa. The NOCKEBY sofa from IKEA is super comfy. The fabric gets softer over time and the cushions are just right. We decided to get the grey color, although it looks pretty beige when you see it in person. My husband really wanted a chaise and I'm glad we went with it. It serves as a nice divider to separate the living area from the rest of the apartment. 

We had a gift card to HomeGoods and I had no idea what I wanted to get from there until I saw their decorative pillow section. They have way too many options, which took us way too long to decide which four pillows we wanted for our sofa. We both love blue, so we just went with one navy blue and one light blue set of patterned pillows to liven up the sofa. Both pillows are nice and soft. They're great for when my nieces want to lay back and watch a cartoon when they come over :) 

The coffee table is from the IKEA STOLKHOLM series. There's a nice coating on the table that keeps it from getting scratched and stained. We still use coasters on it, but during the last party we had, it withstood everything Alhamdulilah. 

The frames above the sofa are from the IKEA RIBBA series. We didn't use the hooks and hangers that came with each frame to put them up, because we got fed up with them. We decided to use some good old 3M stickers to hang them up. I have to admit, measuring the spaces and being as OCD as we are, the frames took forever to hang. But now that we're done putting them up, we love them. The photos are from our travels to Greece, Turkey, Dubai, and Scandinavia. We ordered the prints from Nations Photo Lab, since the size had to be 12 x 12. They did an awesome job. We love the quality of the prints and they came in right on time. 

The rug was probably the most difficult thing to buy. The carpet in our apartment is sort of rough and low and we wanted a soft area rug for our living room. Most of the rugs at IKEA are pretty flat and rough. But eventually, we came across a rug that worked perfectly with our color scheme and fit our requirements of a big, soft and durable area rug. The IKEA MARSLEV rug is the best rug, ever. It's soft, pretty, and just awesome. Whenever we have friends over, they can't believe it's from IKEA for the same reasons we were hesitant to buy a rug from IKEA in the first place.

Finally, the candle holders I mentioned in my previous post sit on our BESTA TV unit next to our TV. The candle holders are from Hobby Lobby's intense section of decor. Seriously, when I go to Hobby Lobby, I get so distracted by all the stuff they have there. They have a thing for everything and it's insane. But eventually, you learn to focus on your shopping list rather than getting carried away with the million candle holders, lanterns, and other random things they have. It's the same with IKEA and Target too. Anyway, I love Hobby Lobby's 40% coupons, though. Get on that, people.

So, thanks to IKEA, HomeGoods, and Hobby Lobby we were able to spice up our living room--we now have a place to relax and catch up on our Netflix shows. Being on a tight budget, we took a while to do this. One thing that frustrated me whenever I saw blogs about interiors and how other people decorate their spaces, is how they make it seem like this magical process. Save up, budget, use coupons, gift cards, check out some blogs, and make your space your own. I really think having a nice space, even if you're staying there temporarily, is super important. It's part of every person's well being. We have to eat, sleep, and live well inshaAllah :)