Thursday, September 30, 2010

10 small pleasures I love {+lovely bloggers}

{I love long soaks in a bath - wouldn't mind this one}
Wonderful Stacey at Design Addict Mom and lovely Amber Blue Bird passed along the Happy award - Amber also passed along the Substance award. Thank you so much!
I've mentioned Stacey here before - I can't seem to get enough of her delightful posts (but it's a healthy obsession, heheh) and addictively-jaw-dropping images. Amber Blue Bird not only has the sweetest sense of style, but her awesome musings just make me smile :)
I'm to reveal 10 things I love, which I did recently, so I'll reveal 10 simple pleasures I love...because it's the small things, isn't it? :)

#1. Sipping Earl Grey tea (or a cappucino or hot cocoa:))

#2. Sushi

{Mastroianni in Fellini's 8-1/2, 1963}
#3. Hearing Italian, especially if Marcello Mastroianni is speaking

{Franz Schubert as a youth}
#4. Playing Schubert and Chopin on the stereo or piano

#5. That first sip of beverage when you're thirsty

#6. A package in the mail

{Latest magical sightings: Hawaii and Guildford, UK}
#7. Shooting stars

#8. Swimming at night (mentioned previously, bears repeating:))

#9. Singing at the top of my lungs in a car with girlfriends {Recently, we did so to this song (click here if music won't play)}

{A wonderful Alicia Keys ode to NY}

{Cape Town, South Africa}
#10. Watching waves - the best things in life are free!

I'm to pass each of these to 10 people, but many of you have these awards! I'll try to avoid the blogging police and give the award only if you don't have it (to my knowledge;)).

{Although you may not have time or inclination to make lists or pass on awards, I just wanted to let you know how much I've enjoyed your blog!}

Substance award to:
Stacey @ Design Addict Mom
Signe @ SignePling
Melissa @ Oh, My Darling
Connie @ Sogni e Sorrisi
Melissa @ So About What I Said
Tiffany @ Dancing Branflake
Jessica @ The Beat My Heart Skips
MarchMusings @ Style Nuggets
Jeanette @ Everton Terrace
Krysten @ After I Do

Happy award to:
Rowena @ Rubber Slippers in Italy
Kat @ Our Adventures in Japan
Ren @ Lady of the Arts
Lisa @ White Cotton Tee
Justine @ Justine Gordon
Rosie @ Rosie's World
Ashley @ browneyes.42
Annie @ All Natural Annie
Bombay Beauty @ bbNY
Nicole @ Scraps of Color

Thanks again Stacey @ Design Addict Mom and Amber Blue Bird!

(Images via Arzhine, Rsms, bluewaikiki, E-Film Blog, free-scores, Pedro Moura Pinheiro, Evie Marie, Science Facts, Bali Villa, Moneywise and neilalderney123. Joan and Justine, thanks for #9 :)).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I'm a big tea-drinker and love how it's getting easier to find more socially-conscious tea. UK-based Teapigs offers organic tea and incorporates an ethical scheme at the Pfunda Tea Estate, Rwanda.

The whole leaf selections are both classic (Earl Grey etc) and adventurous - care for chocolate flake tea (left) or popcorn tea? :)

They also have the funkiest tea accessories - the curvy and award-winning Eva teamaker looks like it's wearing a wetsuit! (I like it in red:)).

P.S. I used to think I couldn't afford organic food all the time, but then I experimented 1 month buying only organic - it lowered my food bill! Go figure!

(Images via Imporient Tea (#1) and Teapigs.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Found my thrill on Strawberry Hill

While I got lost in pictures, my friend Shelly had a recent weekend of her own at gorgeous Strawberry Hill in Kingston, Jamaica - I'll just let her lovely descriptions do the talking today :)...

Also, sending a big thank you to wonderful Stacey at Design Addict Mom for passing on a blog award! (So happy I could do so with this post:) More soon!...
Located on top of the Blue Mountains, you have a view of all of Kingston and the harbour. The place used to be the house of the former producer for Bob Marley, and is now a hotel with a renowned restaurant and Aveda spa.

It's decorated with lots of cute details...

At the bottom of the hill, you can tour the former studio with all of the gold records the producer Chris Blackwell has put out (besides Marley, he also produced U2, PM Dawn, Dru Hill, etc).

It is awesome with great grounds, food and atmosphere. A real oasis in Kingston.

(Thanks Shelly! Miss ya & can't wait for the next reunion! Images via NY Times, Jamaica Writings, West Indies Online, Expedia, Vacation Idea, Things You Should Do, Jaunt, Strawberry Hill, MSNBC and On a Mission in Jamaica.)

Monday, September 27, 2010

Weekend of pictures {+ French chocolate boat}

{Mitch Epstein, Madison Avenue, New York City, 1973}
{Stephen Shore, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, August 13, 1974}
{Jan Groover, untitled, 1978}
{William Eggleston (an old fave), untitled, from Los Alamos, 1965-68}
Fun fact: Until the 1970s, only black & white photography got respect, color was "vulgar"! These vivid pictures from a weekend exhibit caught my eye - artists who made color photos an art.
~ Wishing you a colorful week! ~

P.S. And, oh my, this also caught my eye: Leave it to the French to make a sea-worthy boat out of chocolate (see BBC news clip).

(Images via Starburst (#1-3), the larkey experiments and TalkTalk. This post mysteriously disappeared, but is back now - with the chocolate update).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Wild mushroom and chicken soup

(clockwise from top left: shiitake, oyster, chanterelle & crimini)
I made this for my significant other in our first month of dating; he still asks for it 5 years later. Soup seems unromantic, but this one is quite aphrodisiac (those ingredients:)) and earthy-cozy to boot!

And before I sign off, a big thank you to Amber Blue Bird for sweetly passing on blog awards! More soon:)...
~ Have a cozy and wonderful weekend! ~
Adapted slightly (by omitting time-consuming morel soak) from a Great Soups feature in New York Magazine's 1996 Food Issue, with top chefs' recipes (though I sadly can't find the chef's name.)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme, stems discarded, or ~1-1/4 teaspoons (~1/5oz or 6g) dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 6 cups (1.5 litre) chicken stock
  • 8 chicken drumsticks and/or thighs, skins removed
  • 1 whole boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced into 1/2-inch-wide (~1.5cm-wide) strips
  • 1/2 pound (8oz or 240g) crimini mushrooms, with stems, sliced in half
  • 1 cup (~225g) shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, sliced 1/4-inch (~0.5cm) thick
  • 1 cup (~225g) oyster mushrooms, stems removed, quartered
  • 1 cup (~225g) chanterelles, tips of stems removed, quartered
  • Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons (~10ml) balsamic vinegar
  • Optional: 1-2 cups (~225-450g) peas
  • Optional: 1 bunch chives, finely chopped
Bring the first 7 ingredients to a boil in a soup pot. Add drumsticks and thighs, simmering for 30 minutes. Remove drumsticks and thighs; set aside. While soup continues to simmer, debone chicken when cool enough to handle, discarding bones.

Add chicken breast and peas to soup. Simmer until the breast meat is cooked, about 7 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and the meat from the drumsticks and thighs. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer until mushrooms soften a bit (a few minutes or so); stir in vinegar & chives and chow!

Little notes:
As always, feel free to play with the recipe! If you have leftover wild rice, that's also nice to add; if you're pressed for time, you can easily skip the chicken breast, etc.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Karen Millen's minimalist luxe

Thanks for all your fun(ny) comments yesterday! Here's a positive London post (to atone :)). Ever since British Boy wanted to get me a dress from Karen Millen in Covent Garden (3-month anniversary gift), I've had a Millen soft spot.:) Everything's so minimalist-luxe this season.

P.S. The dress ploy must've worked, it'll be 5 years for us. ;)
P.P.S. Millen's suede over-the-knee boots get all the press attention, but I also like the below shoe (and dress)...
{Flower peep toe}
{Jewel hand-sewn bead dress}

(All images via Karen Millen.)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Photo du jour: A beach by any other name

Small beach near Ko Olina, Hawaii...

As a fun contrast, this is also a beach...but in London (where my significant other is from). I like to wind him up (tease him) about it. ;)

{An August Break Continued post: Top photo taken on island of Oahu. Bottom photo of Bankside Beach taken in London, UK.}

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

French food meditations

It's hard to dispute the French when it comes to food :)...
"Tell me what you eat: I will tell you what you are."

"The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of mankind than the discovery of a star."

"Dessert without cheese is like a pretty woman with only one eye."
(Isn't this so French, somehow?)

From this French classic (1825 and still going strong!)...

(Images via Pingu1963, The National Cafe, ChinDeep and notes from the usa.)

Monday, September 20, 2010

The magic hour

{End-of-world feeling from "Days of Heaven," see young Richard Gere?}
Hope your weekend was great! I've been trying to get an earlier start these days, and you know what? Being up at the magic hour is nice in a super-quiet, end-of-the-world way -- barely a soul is stirring!
~ Wishing you a magical week ahead! ~

(Image via Sarahnomics.)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Mom's camera in Beijing

{Forbidden City, Beijing, China}
{Rescued baby pandas, Beijing Zoo}
Did I ever mention we procrastinate a lot in my family? (Well, mainly me.) We finally organized photos from my mom's Beijing trip 2 summers ago! I remember being stuck in London, envious.

Although I think my mom had more fun meeting people than seeing sites: Like this Swedish couple who were celebrating the Olympics & home team love. Go sports fan style! :)
~ Have a fun and lovely weekend! ~

(Thanks Mom!)
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