Sunday, February 2, 2014

Travel Adventures: St.Ives-Paris-London

I thought I would put one more adventure in the books to wrap up 2013, a year of traveling! I had to get a new passport for this trip, as mine was about to expire! I was so relieved when it arrived in plenty of time. I traveled to London the day after Christmas. London is my favorite city I’ve traveled to. I love the diversity of the people and how there is something new to discover with every visit.  I flew into Heathrow where I met up with my good friend and travel partner, Matt. Matt is an amazing photographer and documented the whole trip. I’ll share the link to his blog post about our trip below. I wish I had taken more photos! It happens every time I travel.

We spent the night outside of London before traveling down to Cornwall, where Matt is from. We stayed for a few days in St. Ives. We traveled there a year before and I wanted to go back. St. Ives is a very charming seaside town with cobblestone streets and cozy, little homes stacked on steep hills. There are many great art galleries; the WhistleFish gallery was one of my favorites. It had lots of inspiring art. It was a nice relaxing part of the trip. One rainy evening we walked down to this little, old cinema that was near the B&B we were staying at to see the film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I really wish salty or sweet were popcorn options in cinemas in the US! The girl working the counter read my mind when she said I could even have them mixed together. It’s the little things in life like that I enjoy. I wish we could have stayed longer in St. Ives.
After St. Ives we headed by coach to London to catch our flight to Paris. I’ve been to Paris several years ago, and had always wanted to go back. We stayed in a small, very stylish studio in idyllic Montmartre. I really liked using Air BnB on my previous trip to London and decided to try it again in Paris. If you are not familiar with Air BnB it’s a great website for finding apartments, homes, tree houses, tents, castles, etc. You name it. You can rent it. I like this way of traveling over hotels because it makes you feel more at home, and I love having a kitchen to cook in when I travel. It’s so much more affordable to go to the grocery store or local market and prepare your own food. It also makes me feel like I’m actually living in Paris, if only for a few days. 

We traveled by metro to Montmarte. The first thing we saw when we got on the street was the neon lights of the Moulin Rouge. It was a few blocks from where we were staying. Montmarte was once the haunt to many famous artists during the 19th century, which is what attracted me so much to this spot in the city. It was mostly rainy during our stay in Paris, and we had to seek shelter under café awnings a few times, but despite the weather the cobblestone streets were bustling with people. Large crowds gathered to see the Basilica of the Sacré-Cœur. It’s a beautiful church that sits high on a hill in Montmartre, which offers an amazing view of the city below. We rang in the New Year with other travelers and locals on the hilltop, where off in the distance you could see the Eiffel Tower’s light show and fireworks going off across Paris. The streets were noisy and people were shouting “Bonne année!” as we headed back to the studio. It was a great atmosphere and by far the most exciting place I have celebrated the New Year. The rest of our time in Paris we spent wandering around taking photos and getting lost in the streets of Montmatre. We also ventured down to the Eiffel Tower and walked along the banks of the Seine. You don’t realize how big the Eiffel Tower is until you actually stand under it. It looked magical all lit up at night. I finally and barely made it into the Musee d'Orsay! We waited about two hours in line, in the cold and rain to go in (thanks for being a good sport, Matt!), but it was well worth the wait. So many great pieces of art are housed in the museum that was originally a railway station. I loved the time spent in Paris, but I was excited to head to back to London! 

For our stay in London I, booked a flat with Air Bnb in South London. It was a nice cozy flat that was near the Tube, which was perfect.  We probably spent an entire afternoon on Oxford Street. I was very determined to go to Selfridges department store, which I entirely blame on Masterpiece, for getting me hooked on the series about Selfridges. Surprisingly, I think I spent more time wandering around the confectionary department and the food hall than I did in the clothing department. There was so much to look at! Oxford Street still had its Christmas lights up and the street looked beautiful at night. On our last night in London we headed over to Tower Bridge, took in the smells of Borough Market, and walked along the Thames. It was another great trip and it always helps when you have good company when traveling. Mark Twain put it well, “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” I look forward to another adventure!

You can see Matt’s blog post hereI would love to know where do you think I should go next? Leave a suggestion in the comments below.

Happy traveling,


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Midwest Road Trip

It’s been awhile since I posted last, and I thought I would share with you my last travel adventure before I embark on another trip! This past September my friend Matt visited from England, and we embarked on a Midwest road trip. Our first stop was in the windy city of Chicago, Illinois. I love Chicago for many reasons, their deep-dish pizza, architecture, Lake Michigan, and their great museums.  We had to go to see “The Bean” or Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park. It’s fun to watch everyone interact with the reflective sculpture. Cloud Gate

We spent a good amount of time taking photos of the sculpture and around the park.  We visited The Art Institute of Chicago, one of my favorite art museums in the country.  We walked along Lake Michigan and Navy Pier. I introduced Matt to Giordano’s Chicago style pizza. I’m getting hungry just thinking about the mozzarella deliciousness. (future note to self…share a small!)  On our last night in the city, we went up the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) that was only a few blocks from where we were staying. We rode 103 floors up to view the city from the Skydeck.  It was a little nerve wracking to step out on to the ledge that hangs out from the side of the building. I didn’t stand on it for very long!  The Willis Tower offered us an impressive view of the city all lit up at night.  

The next day, we left for New Buffalo, Michigan.  New Buffalo is an idyllic little town that sits right above Indiana. It was my first visit, and I enjoyed its charming atmosphere. We spent a few days relaxing at the beach. We borrowed some bicycles from the place we were staying and rode to the little downtown. Downtown New Buffalo has lots of good ice cream places and little shops. We had lunch at this great place in New Buffalo called The Stray Dog. The restaurant had a great atmosphere and menu! Throughout the restaurant you will find portraits of dogs and twinkly lights on tree branches. You can also eat on the roof. I had some delicious veggie tacos that I would love to recreate sometime.  New Buffalo is definitely a place I would love to revisit. We also made a stop in Indianapolis to visit some friends of mine for an Indianapolis Indians baseball game. It was Matt’s first American baseball game, and I couldn’t think of anything more American than hot dogs and a baseball game. Keep an eye out for more travel adventures!

New Buffalo Rooftop View New Buffalo Lighthouse

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Vintage Mirror DIY

Hello friends!

Today I'm sharing one of my recent DIY projects! If you'll remember last month I was looking for an antique mirror to hang above my new dresser, and I found one I instantly fell in love with. I loved the Baroque feel to it and the imperfections on the glass. I have always wanted to try gold leaf, and I thought that it would be perfect for bringing out the details in my old mirror. I found a gold leaf kit on Amazon, and it came with everything I would need for my project.

That's me in the stripes!!

First, I sanded and cleaned off the mirror. Next, since the frame was made out of a porous material (wood), I put a coat of a clear acrylic paint medium I had on hand. This can be purchased at an art supply store. You need to make sure that your material that you are putting the gold leaf on is sealed up if it's porous. After, that dried I put a coat of the gilding sizing that came in my kit on the spots I wanted to be gold. I applied a thin layer and let it sit for about an hour. You want the sizing to feel tacky to your touch. When it reaches this state you're ready to apply your gold leaf. The gold leaf comes in sheets, and I found it was best to do this quickly. I then took the little brush that came with the kit and brushed down the gold leaf and brushed away the excess gold leaf bits. Save your gold leaf bits! They might come in handy later to fill in a spot or two that you've missed! After I covered my surface that I wanted to gold leaf, I took the cotton cloth from my kit and rubbed it over the gold leaf until it was smooth and shiny. I left it to sit over night and the next day I put another coat of my clear acrylic on to protect the gold leaf. The rest of the mirror I painted with some leftover white house paint and also covered with a coat of the clear acrylic for a glossy finish.


This delightful video is great for demonstrating the process. They also give great ideas of things to gold leaf!

You can even buy edible gold leaf for food!

What to gold leaf next???



Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Link Love & Travel Adventures in Nashville

Hello friends,

It's been awhile since I posted last! My apologies! I'm making up for it by combining two posts in one! I thought I'd share with you my weekend travel adventures! This past weekend I headed to Nashville, Tennessee for a girl's weekend with two of my friends. I've only been to Nashville a couple of times for day shopping trips, but I've never spent time exploring the city. This trip to Nashville was definitely about the food. We collectively decided to eat our way through the city. We arrived to Nashville late Friday evening and ended up in the 5 Points neighborhood for some deliciously doughy garlic knots and a fresh mozzarella pizza at Five Points Pizza. 

Saturday morning we headed to Fido  in the Hillsboro Village for breakfast and right away I realized this was a popular spot for breakfast. The long line that wrapped around the counter moved surprisingly fast, and it was well worth the wait! I had an iced Local Latte and the Village Scramble, which consisted of scrambled eggs, spinach, tomatoes, portobello, onions, feta, salsa, sour cream, and served up with some tiny tortillas and hash browns! (Nom! Getting hungry??) After our breakfast we walked around the neighborhood and found ourselves in a little shop called Pangaea. The store is filled with jewelry, clothing, quirky gifts, and I really felt like I could have easily spent hours in there looking at everything!

In the afternoon we headed to Centennial Park to see Nashville's Parthenon which is a full-scale replica of the original in Athens, Greece. Although, I have visited the original in Athens, this was still pretty impressive. I was really impressed by the 42-foot statue of the goddess Athena that is housed in the Parthenon. The Parthenon also features some casts of the sculptures from the original Parthenon that are housed in the British Museum in London.

After our tour of the Parthenon we decided to check out the food trucks that were parked in Centennial Park. I love a good food truck and as luck would have it this was the last Saturday this summer for the food trucks. I was really excited to find a lovely mint green truck parked there selling Jenis Splendid Ice Cream. I've always wanted to try Jenis  because of their unexpected flavor combinations. I paired a scoop of Salty Carmel with possibly the best dark chocolate ice cream I've ever had. It was rich, creamy, and delicious. I even stole a bite of my friend's Wildberry Lavender, not your typical ice cream flavor which I loved! We also had to try Retro Sno for some shaved ice. I had the Vanilla with Toasted Coconut! So refreshing!

To get a feel of the country boot wearing side of Nashville we headed downtown Saturday to visit some honky tonk bars. Downtown was bustling and full of bars with live country bands and a sea of plaid shirts and cowboy boots. We were told by a local to spend some time in Roberts Western World, where you can get a cold PBR, a fried bologna sandwich, and a Moon Pie. The bar defiantly had a lot of character!

Well, that was my little taste of Nashville. I'm sure there are lots more great places to discover! I would love to hear your feed back! Where is your favorite spot in Nashville?

Now for some Link Love!

The July issue of Matchbook Mag is live!

Need an idea of something to bake for 4th of July? This Blueberry Slab Pie sounds heavenly!

I'd love to splurge on an ONA bag for my camera.

Beautiful beach paintings by Teil Duncan.

Hope you all have a fun and safe 4th of July tomorrow!!



Saturday, June 22, 2013

Spicy Mango Guacamole

Summer has officially arrived, and I thought I would share with you one of my favorite recipes that is perfect for summertime. I've been told I make a mean guacamole. I thought I would change up my recipe and add a little sweet to my spicy guac. Here's how I did it:

  • 3 ripe Hass avocados (avocados will be a bright green and darken to almost a black color when ripened and will be soft to the touch)
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 1 small red onion, diced
  • 1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced 
  • 1/2 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. red cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1 lime juiced, use about 1tbs. (a lemon will work too!)

Throw it Together Like This:

Grab a medium to large size bowl to make your guac in. The photo above is a single serving of the guac. You'll end up with lots more guac than this! First, scoop out the avocado into your bowl and pour  on your fresh squeezed lemon juice or lime juice (this is to keep the avocado from becoming a disgusting mucky brown color and once it turns this color no one will want to eat it) Mash up your avocados. I found that a potato masher gets the job done. Sprinkle in your spices and sea salt and mix it up. Finally, add in your diced up tomatoes, red onion, mango, stir and let sit for about an hour at room temperature to let the flavors meld. Keep bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap to keep it's green color. Serve with some tortilla chips. I like to serve mine with blue corn chips. 

Bon appétit! or more appropriately in Spanish, ¡buen provecho



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Wednesday Link Love

Hello friends!

Is it just me or is the month of June going by fast?! This past weekend my gold leaf kit arrived, and I'm looking forward to getting started on my antique mirror project this weekend! Hopefully, I will have a post on that soon! Here are some great links to brighten your Wednesday.

A garden you rarely have to water!

I made these crunchy asparagus fries for my Dad on Father's Day. They were delicious!

This would be a cool way to travel!

Diy friendship bracelets. I've been collecting these on recent trips!

The reason I love stripes! They are an essential.



Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wednesday Link Love

Hello friends!

It was so sunny and nice this past Saturday! I ventured to New Harmony, IN with my friend Martha for some antiquing. I was on the search for an antique mirror and ended up finding one, along with one or two other items! My mirror will be featured in an upcoming diy post! Stay tuned!

          I took this photo in New Harmony. It reminded me of the ceiling of the Guggenheim in NYC.

We also hit up a library book sale, the New Harmony Contemporary Art Gallery, and stopped by Bliss, a new artisan ice cream shop for a cool treat. The Red Velvet ice cream was delicious!

Now for some lovely links!

Do you sit at a desk all day? I do.Try these stretches to relieve some tension.

I just signed up for Julep! One of my friends loves it. I thought I'd give it a try. Click here to sign up! Your first box is free! (Practically free...shipping is not included with your freebie. There's always a catch, isn't there?)

I stumbled upon this lovely French blog Cachemire & Soie. I love her city guide of San Francisco. It makes me want to travel! Read her post here (Disclaimer! It's in French, but there is an English translation option.)



P.S. Stripes & Charms is now on Twitter! Click on the icon on the sidebar to follow!

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