Friday, July 27, 2012

Sea of Pink

And sometimes you come across a photograph like this and everything else in the world just seems so trivial. #takemetherenow

Pink flamingos, Lake Bogoria, Kenya
Martin Harvey

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Mussels and fries

Currently in: Bruges, Belgium
Eating: Mussels and fries
Fun fact: the Flemish way of eating moules frites is actually with your hands. Take an empty mussel shell and use it like a pair of chopsticks to pick out the meat of the next mussel. And to drink the soup? Simply break the mussel shell into two halves and use one half as a spoon. 

It is a hundred times more satisfying than eating with utensils - I promise!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Traveling Thursdays -- Cinque Terre

One word -- surreal.

Cinque Terre, located on the Mediterranean coast of northwestern Italy is about an hour and a half drive away from Pisa. And I cannot stress how highly (HIGHLY!) I recommend this place, especially if you have a car and are doing a tour around Florence and the Tuscan countryside.  It was a perfect detox from the heat, walking, sightseeing from the mainland. Don't get me wrong, I loved learning about the history and art of the great Roman empire but sometimes your brain just wants to wander and be nothing but mush for a little while.

Cinque Terre literally means five villages--consisting of Monterosso, Venazza, Corniglia, Manarola and Riomaggiore.  Unfortunately, we only scheduled to spend a half day here and thus only got a chance to explore two of the five. I suggest spending at least a full day and night here to fully enjoy what it has to offer.

The GPS took us to the largest village, Riomaggiore. The drive down to the village was breathtaking -- a winding road right off the cliff. I don't think I've seen such a vast blue expanse in my life; it made my head spin.

Once we arrived, we learned that the only way to travel between villages is either on foot, by bus or train. Private cars are not allowed. Each village is rather isolated and I guess the terrain really doesn't allow for much transportation between each village.

I recommend you do the walk between Riomaggiore and Manarola. That's where you'll find the lover's seat and the lover's lock (basically a wire net where lovers chain tiny lockets onto). Slightly too cliche for me, but hey, what's a tourist destination without some cheese!

Lastly, if you're going in the summer, bring a swim suit! That was definitely the biggest regret of my trip. Just look at how clear the water is!!

Until next time, Cinque Terre!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Monday Munchies -- Macarons

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. 
Or I guess in this case, when in Paris, do as the Parisians do. 
And what's more (wanna-be) Parisian than macarons?

And so I decided to take a macaron baking class at Cook'n with Class last weekend avec le professeure le plus energique et adorable. Seriously, if you're going to take the class, ask for Chef Constance, she's the best! You can also check out her blog ici.

We made three different types of macarons -- salted caramel, rose and white chocolate ganache, and raspberry jam and pistachio. My favorite was definitely the salted caramel -- it hit that perfect balance between sweet and savory. (Still have yet to find out what's up with this recent craze with sweet/salty pairings) 

Ok, no more talking. Here's a brief pictorial explanation of the process: 

(1) The main ingredients: almond flour, sugar and strained egg whites

(2) Almond flour -- sifted twice

(3) Whipping the sugar and water syrup into the egg whites

(4) Macaronage -- when the mixture is shiny and falls like a ribbon (aka READY TO BE PIPED AND BAKED!)

(5) Piping (Woops... so I totally messed up here and made them look like little pink poops haha)
To prevent this from happening, simply hold the piping down


Et apres!

Key takeaways -- 

1) All macaron shells taste the same (regardless of color) and are made from the same batter! 
Change the flavors by changing the inside. 

2) Macarons hate humidity 

3) Oven must be kept ajar to ensure ventilation. 

Alright, that's all for today!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fashion Fridays - Monochrome in Paris

Dress: Mango
Jacket: Teddy
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban
Necklace: Bauble Bar
Clutch: Marc by Marc Jacobs

LBD? Really?! That's way too easy... 
But sometimes (read: when you honestly couldn't give a rat's ass about dressing up, yet must look presentable) easy is what you need. This dress is my go to piece for days like that -- simple and oh-so-forgiving (even after one too many courses and a food baby on the way). It's even polka dotted and has pockets!

I paired it with a pseudo leather jacket (don't think I'll ever be badass enough to pull off a full on leather one), wayfarers and a mustache ring to tone down all the seriousness. 

Peek-a-boo! Have a wonderfully childish weekend!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July, kids! 

I don't consider myself American nor did I even remember what the date was today until my friend pointed out how festively I was dressed. I guess this is what happens after six years of schooling under the American system and four years of college in New York. Apparently, I also caught a valley girl accent and an overly happy attitude in addition to this subconscious American spirit. Hah!

But for all you Americans out there, enjoy a warm summer day of fireworks, poolside barbeques, and whatever else you guys do.

Top: H&M
Shorts: Cotton On
Shoes: Sperry
Backpack: Teeny leather store from Sienna, Italy

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