Happy Fourth of July!

(image: lovely indeed)

Hope YOU had a safe and happy and faaabulous one! One around tables covered in delicious food, surrounded by the ones who make you laugh and make you feel known… Or maybe just a good book to get lost in. Whatever floats your boat. (:

I know I’m a few days late on the fourth status, but I had an absolute great one so I wanted to share a little bit here.

Here are some photos of the day. I even (attempted) a home-made video:

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Advertisements

Sweet Treats in Spain

IMG_5343
I love my American chained goodness, I do. But I adore how European cafes and restaurants all possess strong, unique branding. Or in Korean, “con-cept.” Little quirks – wallpaper, color combinations, type, presentation – when integrated to create one theme, have the ability to transport you to a new world.

My friend is currently studying abroad in Barcelona and was able to free up some of her time to show us around her city. (: Knowing my weakness for cute cafes and desserts, she led my roommate and I to a magical little dessertery called Pudding.IMG_5344

The entrance to a walk-in storybook. (:

IMG_5366 IMG_5349
I wasn’t joking when I called this place magical. The strung lights on red/white really made the entire room glow and charming wall decor added to the surrealism. Artificial trees completed the storybook theme – I was just waiting for a trail of gumdrops to fall from the sky and singing blue birds to start sewing my clothes.
IMG_5350
IMG_5352
We decided to sit in the sun room so we could have more natural light and also people-watch through the window. Exhibit A:IMG_5361
IMG_5359
PS. Do you see how much CAKE those people left on their table?! Unfortunately, the people escaped before we made our entrance so I didn’t get to see exactly what kind of people in their right mind would deliberately leave behind perfectly good cake. Lucky them, because some dirty, dirty looks would have been sent straight their way. Whoever can’t finish their slice of cake is weird in my book, AND SHOULD NOT BE TRUSTED! Maybe even more so than people who don’t like dessert at all, because these people know better…  (We were THIS close to scooting over and rescuing the left over pieces. Spoiler alert: We didn’t. Yeah, that was kind of a low point.)
IMG_5365
White chocolate mousse pie.
IMG_5364
Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting.

How did the cakes taste? Oh, even better than they LOOK. Each bite proceeded with a loud, dramatic “MMM,” because it is impossible to enjoy your dessert without an expressive, “MMM.” Ya just can’t. Cake was not meant to be consumed in silence.
IMG_5367
And the three of us together before we curtsied to the dog posters and said farewell.

Thanks so much for showing us around, Kristen! You were a lovely host. (: Check out Kristen’s blog here to follow her Spanish adventures. Her photos on food and landscape are reason enough to check it out. And the hot dog on the left? My roommate! You can read hers here, where you will find ample posts on humorous vignettes, honest rants, and even more odd, disoriented photos… I know she’s kind of socially retarded and weird, but she’s my friend. So, just promise me you wont make fun of her! (“Mean Girls,” anyone?)

Enjoy! XO.

Less isn’t So Bad Afterall

IMG_5118

The crust is my favorite part of the pizza. I’m a firm believer in the idea that “the best should be saved for last,” which is why the inventors of pizza placed the dangerously delicious doughness we now call “crust” around the END of the pizza. (Because it’s the best.)

This belief might be due to the fact that I’m from Chicago, home of the incredible deep dish pizza. (Miss you, Lou’s. I’ll be back one day.) The deep dish pizza — one slice’s width, length, depth all bigger than the palm of my hand, requiring silverware in order to enjoy it. My need for a fork and knife is probably a good thing so I don’t step over the barbaric line in public and just inhale the whole thing. The past three years while I was on campus in Champaign, deep dish (done well) was always difficult to find, so I would religiously make a trip to Lou Malnatis, my favorite pizza joint, every time I visited home. One deep dish pizza, Lou’s salad, and a side of pepperoncinis always did just the trick.

So once my bags were packed and we said our good-byes, (Me and Lou Malnatis, that is), and made the difficult decision to go live in Italy for a semester, you can imagine my disbelief when I found out that Italians enjoyed their pizza THIN-CRUST!!!!

“Wait a minute. You mean to tell me, there’s LESS crust? LESS?! I just don’t understand… What’s the point?” 

Simply put, I was pretty upset.

Anyway, trying to be the open-minded and not-typical- ethnocentric-American individual I am, I gave it a try.

Confession: I actually liked it. 

My roommate from sophomore year and oldest friend came to visit Italy for her spring break. For her first night, a few of us from the same hometown decided to all go out to dinner and celebrate. We chose San Matteo as the venue because it was highly recommended across the board to be THE best pizza in town. Plus, apparently news had broken out that one of the employees was a former model, so not only was it famous for its pizza, but also for the adolescent girls flocking for some eye candy. Both reasons were enough for us to make a visit. Dinner and entertainment? Done.

The menu was long and extensive with pages after pages of different pizzas. The four of us are very indecisive individually, so collectively, it took that much longer to order a dish. We each perused the menu carefully reading each description under pizza name, and finally settled on three that we decided to share family-style.

IMG_5117
{ Italian thin crust is something entirely different from Chicago style. The crust is thin and chewy, crispy around the edges. The sauce is light and fresh as opposed to the usual thick and creamy tomato sauce. This one was topped with shredded cheese, pepperoni, and mushrooms. Despite the thinness, it was actually very filling! }
IMG_5115
{ Fresh mozzarella and prosciutto shaped in a heart. I didn’t fancy this one too much because the prosciutto made each bite a little too salty, but the other girls really liked this one. Despite the thinness of the pizza, it was surprisingly very filling and satisfying. Between the four of us, we were struggling to finish the last slices! }
IMG_5114
{ Cooked spinach and fresh mozzarella  This one was one of my favorites. Between the thinness and freshness of the ingredients, it really brought out the complex flavors of cheese, tomato, and buttery goodness. }
IMG_5109 IMG_5111

My lovely dinner dates. 

I keep finding myself craving for thin-crust pizza now. My palate has expanded — not that I’m abandoning my first love by any means — there’s enough [ food ] love to go around for this chick.

Weekend Recap

Happy Monday, folks! Hopefully you’re lying on the couch with a cup of coffee in one hand, the remote in the other. Unfortunately for me, I’m sitting in a two-hour lecture and decided to take the opportunity to BLOOGGGG. (thumbs up)

Here are my weekend highlights:

– Dinner date with the roommates for Korean food
– My brother visiting campus + cheering him on at a bball tourney
– Watching Grey’s with the bf and the brother
– Cooking and napping with the small group
– CFC Thanksgiving Dinner

Each year, my church hosts an early Thanksgiving dinner so members have a time to celebrate together before heading back to respective homes for fall break. Thanksgiving dinner is always one of my favorite church events. Everyone gathers really early (like 7am early. i know.) to cook the turkey and watch movies. Then once it hits about 4pm, all the girls frantically rush back to their homes unsure of what they’re going to wear or how they’ll do their hair. And it’s usually worth it because all the girls always look STUNNING. It’s a fun series of events: testimonies, special praise, food, food, food, and pictures. A lot of pictures. We turn in prima donna’s snapping the flash for hours on end.

During praise, my pastor mentioned something which I found really profound:

If you look for something to complain about, you’ll find it. But Jesus says to be thankful in all circumstances, it’s a command. (Reference to 1 Thessalonians 5:18) If you look for something to be thankful for, you’ll find them.

This small comment really hit home for me, and I quickly jot it down before my unreliable brain got too distracted with the mashed potatoes to treasure it. But it’s true. An attitude of thankfulness isn’t just a positive mindset, it’s a command from the Lord; because there is ALWAYS something to be thankful for.

WIth that said, here are some things I was thankful for that night. (:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA]