Living vicariously through an American ex-pat in London.
It’s impossible not to develop a serious friend crush on Ana Maria Munoz after following her charming life “across the pond” on her blog, Anamu. Originally from Los Angeles, the self-described flea market fanatic recently relocated to London, where she documents her love for design, adventures in DIY, and weekend jaunts, all set to a soundtrack we want to adopt for our own lives. Apart from Anamu, Ana Maria also curates stylish vintage home accessories at The Pond Market and posts a daily dose of inspiration at Howdy Day! Plus, she’s a regular EcoSalon reader. Yeah, we don’t know how she does it all either.
Name: Ana Maria Munoz
How did you get introduced to EcoSalon and what keeps you reading it?
From my best friend Google. I studied fashion merchandising in college and after a few jobs and internships in the biz I realized that I wanted more substance out of the industry. I think it was my Junior year when I discovered EcoSalon and I fell in love with the fashion articles and non-crunchy approach to eco living. The perfect balance of everyday topics and thought provoking content is what keeps me coming back!
You recently made the jump across the pond from Los Angeles to London. What are the major differences between the two cities?
They’re both so incredible in their own way but the most obvious difference is simply not needing a car. I lived car-less in LA for eight months before moving to London and got around via public transportation and a car share program, LAXcarshare, just fine (it can be done, people!). However, in London, I haven’t had a need for my own ride in nearly one year! I now have zero desire to ever be a car owner again. Another difference – and perhaps my fave – is that in Europe you don’t need to say “it’s five o’clock somewhere” to excuse yourself when having a drink before evening time. Pub culture is very casual and it’s nice to be able to relax somewhere that’s not a sports bar, swanky lounge, or a full on restaurant.
Tell us a little bit about your current projects, like The Pond Market.
I’m self-diagnosed as a flea market fanatic so as soon I moved to London I knew that I was going to have to do something about getting my treasure-hunting fix. Even if I don’t need it for myself, I can’t deny the feeling of discovering something and bringing it home for a new lease on life. Because I had experience running an Etsy shop with my previous business of handmade clutch purses, I knew that I could easily set something up for my vintage finds and share them with folks back in the States. But, since I can’t shop all of the time, I’m exploring a freelance career in graphic design and photography. I’ve always had a passion for both but my new expat status and recent travels have really motivated me to take them to the next level.
How you do source your finds?
Flea markets are my main source for buying but I do occasionally find items in antique stores or charity shops (thrift stores). As for how I pick what what I buy, it’s really as simple as “I know it when I see it.” I literally zoom in on pieces from afar like a hawk on prey. It’s kind of freaky.
Where do you get your design inspiration?
For the shop, I’m a sucker for brass so that’s always the first thing that catches my vintage-loving eye. There’s a very warm quality to it that brings so much character to a space. I try to buy pieces that are functional and beautiful, something that will make a statement on its own but also compliment existing contemporary spaces you may have at home. Design-wise I find a ton of inspiration in the lines and patterns of buildings. Just as in clothing from different eras, buildings give incredible insight into different design styles and what is culturally relevant in any given place. I do tend to lean towards simple geometrics so I went completely nuts in Morocco and fell back in love with the art deco and mid-century lines found all over LA.
What are your favorite flea markets/vintage spots around the world?
Hopefully there are many more to discover but I do love El Rastro in Madrid for its local and maze-like ambiance. It’s held in a residential area of La Latina where you’re surrounded by balconies draped with the day’s laundry. In Paris I love the Vanves Market because it’s super low-key, has an amazing selection of unique French bric-a-brac (as well as fine antiques), and is big and small enough to be manageable and satisfying for a morning outing. In London I love Camden Passage because in addition to their Wednesday and Saturday market, the pedestrian-only street is filled with well-curated vintage clothing stores and independent shops from local fashion and accessories designers. And last but not least, my ultimate favorite is the Rose Bowl Flea Market in my hometown of Pasadena, CA, USA. I’m not just being biased on this one – they really do pack a lot in there! It has by far been the best market I’ve been to for furniture and clothing. People in Europe seem to hold on to their furniture much longer than Americans so there isn’t much turnover for vintage lovers to buy into here. The next two trips are to Tuscany and Brussels so we’ll see what I find there!