Home Sweet Home

Words cannot express how sweet it feels to be home.

“Relaxing,” comes to mind, and “peaceful” and “cozy” work okay, too. Still, they seem to fall short of the mark.

As incredible as spring break in Spain was, it was also a very long time to be away from reality. While the eleven days were, indeed, filled with sunshine, GNO’s, and boat rides; it was also a week of living out of a suitcase, sharing shower stalls with complete strangers (and spiders), paying for clean water , sleeping in thin, itchy linens and cold airport floors, taking public transportation, and eating out for every single meal. Don’t you want to take a shower just by reading that?! The little gestures we also had to pick up such as keeping our hands on our purse  at all times, locking things up in lockers even if we were just going to the restroom, and distrusting strangers with cameras were just blatant reminders that we were not home.

So after one fun, but hectic, eleven-day trip, it was nice to be comfortable and safe — things only your own home can provide.

So how am I spending today? 

Catching up on television shows. I watched a few episodes of, “Revenge,” and I plan on starting, “Dexter,” with my roommate tonight. I remember it being popular in high school but I never got into it then. With the help of Netflix, it’s never too late to get addicted to shows no longer running.

Reading blogs. I use Bloglovin’ to keep track of all my favorite blogs based on read and unread posts. Since I was away from the computer for so long, I have hours and hours of un-open inspiration and stories published by my favorites to bury myself in. This can occupy me for HOURS.

Eating healthy. We leave for Greece in a week and the world is not ready to see this in a bathing suit. Like I said, I ate out for every meal for whole eleven days. That’s too many churros con chocolate, sangrias, and carbs that were not needed for this belly. So today, I am forcing myself to eat vegetables and drink water.

Doing errands. I have an application to fill out and fall 2013 classes to plan. I also aim to respond to all my emails before I sleep tonight. There’s something therapeutic and refreshing about  a clean inbox. And these are all chores I can do from the comfort of my own bed and laptop. Isn’t it the best when you can be productive and lazy at the same time?

None of today’s tasks are remotely spectacular or impressive. Today is for small and simple. We can try big tomorrow (or at least start by putting on real pants.)

How do you like to unwind after a long, hectic week?

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London Street Markets

I think over the past few months I’ve gained a new appreciation for and liking to food markets. There’s just something about all the hustle and bustle that really pulls my heart strings…the fresh food, writing on chalk boards, quirky branding, free samples, and sounds of chatting and eating. In London, we visited two of their larger street markets, Camden Town and Borough Market, both really different from each other but also both abundant with food (and free samples). (;

* Camden Town is actually the location of where my iphone was stolen the first time. 

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Eating in Paris

There are a lot of things I say that I don’t mean. Like…

“I’m on my way now.”

“Just five minutes away.”

“I’m gonna start dieting today.”

You get the point?

But there is also a list of things I am very reliable for. Like remembering really obscure quotes from movies. Taking 900 photos while on vacation. Owning an odd amount of nail polish. And more importantly? If you ever, ever need a breakfast/lunch/dinner date, I am your woman.

But speaking to this blog, one thing I promise to always be reliable for is bringing home food porn. (: Starting with Paris.

Let’s begin. 

They say you glow when you’re in love; and by looking at this photo, I think it’s safe to say that that statement is fully warranted. After two long months of separation anxieties and coping mechanisms of flirting with generic coffee, I was finally reunited with my love, Starbucks, and it was the sweetest reunion ever. (: And yes, Starbucks totally constitutes for food porn. Just ask every Instagramm-er out there. Better yet, look up #latteart.

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(So maybe I’m not exactly glowing, but my eyes do look a glossy. Tears of joy?!) While we’re on the topic of all things American girls love, I bring you my next goodie.
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That’s right. Paris not only has Starbucks but also CHIPOTLE! It was like I died and went to foodie heaven. (: My order? A burrito bowl with extra white rice, half steak, half chicken, medium salsa, tomatoes, corn, salad dressing, and a wittle bit of sour cream. My taste buds didn’t know how to handle this surprise treat, but they were so delighted that the excitement transferred beyond control and translated into flailing arms, random shrieks of OMG’S, and eyes opening as wide as a pair of Asian eyes can. I was given some dirty looks from Parisians at the other tables but you know what, true love has no shame.
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After curing a case of food-sickness, I got on the Parisian bandwagon and devoured dined Parisian cuisine. For one of the meals, we went to BREIZH CAFE because it was recognized for its phenomenal crepes and cider. I think the entire city of Paris believed the hubub because Breizh Cafe was ridiculously crowded. There was a maximum time limit per reservation for one hour. If this was America, those servers would be making BANK with that many turned tables a night.
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We ordered a bottle of pear cider for the table and it was plenty for the four of us girls. The taste of alcohol was subtle and just sweet enough to complement the meal.
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My beautiful dinner dates! (: This meal — and Paris, in general — was SO, SO much fun with these girls. I’m so happy I got to experience such a beautiful city with such beautiful people. Two are from my program, and also my hometown, and the last girl on the right is actually currently studying abroad in Paris right now so we met up with her for dinner. (: She was the one who actually introduced us to this cafe! IMG_3894_Snapseed
The menu was long and complex like anything that’s in a foreign language, so we decided to order a bunch of dishes and share so we could try them all. Family style! (: For starters, we ordered a salmon crepe. How CUTE is its presentation?!
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The ultimate symbol of accomplishment.
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Although the items were a bit pricey and portions were rather small, Breizh Cafe was a really enjoyable experience, from the food to the service to the ambience. (: It was unique and lively! Would I go there again? Eh, probs not… dat green tea ice cream, doe.

We went to another Parisian favorite, CHEZ JANOU. PLEASE do yourself a favor and go here. Oh, and did I say that Breizh Cafe was crowded? That was NOTHING compared to Chez Janou. Their waiting area + bar + foyer was comparable to a bathroom, and everyone was bumping and grinding on each other waiting for a table. Not even exaggerating. I wish I had proof because I’m pretty sure it exceeded maximum capacity by way too many and was the EPITOME of a fire hazard. And if your table was even approximate to the front, forget intimacy or even a decent conversation, because the people waiting will bump and grind all over your table, too. We made our reservation for 10 pm, and weren’t seated until close to 11pm. I know, I know, why did I tell you to go there? Because it’s awesome. And the people are hilarious. And the food is delicious. And they give out unlimited chocolate mousse. Yes, you did read that right. Just trying to save the best for last, that’s all. (:
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Lamb shanks with green beans.
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Duck with a side of potatoes.
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And this is the massive bowl of chocolate mousse. It was bigger than MY HEAD! And I, unfortunately, have a very big head. They kind of just PLOPPED it on our table and told us to dig in. We really wanted to do them proud by eating the most they’ve ever seen because then maybe they’d give us bumper stickers or put our pictures on the wall or something… but we could barely even put a dent in it. Not a whole lot of accomplishment going on here. But I probably made up for it later that night. Anyway, if you like good, timely service and your own personal space, then stay far, far away from this place. All your fears will come alive! But, if your love for chocolate mousse trumps all, then… I think we can make for good friends in the future. (:

Hope I delivered a fine share of food porn. Ciao for now!

Photo Diary : Brussels

Like most European cities, Brussels is infused with the old and new. There are chic neighborhoods with modern brands like Prada, Rolex, and Longchamp, but nestled between cobblestone streets just wide enough for one small Fiat and castles from a previous century. You’re not really sure what will be staring back at you with each corner you turn. Is that is the definition of an identity crisis or a melting pot? Either way, it makes for one beautiful city.

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