Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Baking dreams

Is your mouth watering yet? Mine hasn't stopped since I spent half of my Spring Break looking at baking blogs and recipes. I even tried making cinnamon sugar pull apart bread and lasagna roll ups with my mom (not together. Don't worry.). That bread.......heavenly. There are no words. It kind of makes every other breakfast feel like a waste now. 

But I digress. The recipes above have currently been occupying the part of my brain that should be switching back into school mode, but let's be honest: what's more important, making delicious cheesecake-peanut butter frosted-chocolate cake combinations, or studying? I thought so too. Hence why I spent the better part of last night looking up these recipes to fulfill my chocolate craving. Though the second one may be a bit ambitious (but definitely something I am going to try eventually), the first one looks almost too easy to be true. I never thought of combining these two particular favorites (raw cookie dough and rich brownies), but now that I've seen the magical results, I can't wait to get my hands on some. And, yet another plus, the cookie dough doesn't contain raw eggs (though I think if I was going to get salmonella, it would have happened already after the countless batches of cookies that have never quite made it to the oven), so there are no health risks! Unless you count morbid obesity from consuming entire pans at once. Which I don't. 

Baking blogs have been my new obsession every since I stumbled upon foodgawker's most favorited recipes a couple weeks ago. Due to Spring Break fortunately coinciding with this discovery, I actually had time to make the aforementioned recipes, but that has only made me hungry for more -- which, unfortunately, coincides with the beginning of a new quarter. However, I'm already scheduling in baking time for the quarter around my massive reading assignments, and while that may not be good for the upcoming swimsuit season, I feel confident that it can be nothing but good for my overall happiness and well being, which is a tradeoff I'm willing to make. Stay tuned for the outcome of the as-yet untested cookie dough brownies -- hopefully to be made this weekend!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Travel from caves to capsules

Poseidon Undersea Resort in Fiji

Cave hotel in Turkey

I love stumbling through websites like this. This particular one includes a list of 12 creative hotels, but not much information, so I did a little more research. I was so excited by the Poseidon hotel that I even watched the intro video, which made me want to get on a plane right away. Just begun in 2010, this hotel offers week-long stays with two nights underwater and the rest of the time on beachfront bungalows on a private island in Fiji. There are also adventure options such as scuba diving and piloting your own submarine. Given the comparable chilliness in San Luis this week, coupled with finals stress and the beginnings of a cold, I would kill to run away to Poseidon.

While Poseidon boasts being the first and only of its kind, when I googled "cave hotel Turkey" I was surprised to find there are actually several such resorts -- Esbelli Evi, Gamirasu, and Kelebek, to name just a few. Apparently, "cave rooms" are quite common in Turkey. These hotels range from "small inns" to sprawling resorts, but all are built right into the cliff walls, and all have an ethereal yet cozy feel to them. And if you're worried about lack of activities in the Turkish countryside, don't be. Gamirasu, for example, offers entertainment ranging from horse riding and massage services to Turkish cuisine cooking classes and performances of the 13th century meditation dance of Sufism, also known as the Whirling Dervishes.

Capsule Hotel in Japan

On the other end of the spectrum, there's the Capsule Hotel in Japan. Apparently, their clientele is mainly Japanese businessmen who don't have time to go home, but I have to say, even if I were pressed for time I think I'd make the journey home rather than spend the night in a coffin-sized enclosure. Something about the stacked, claustrophobia inducing capsules located in the red-light district of Tokyo just doesn't appeal to me. 

Of course, given my limited budget as a college student, it's unlikely I'll get to travel to any of these destinations in the near future, but they offer a nice distraction from finals and are definitely now on my bucket list. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


All images pictured by iron maiden art.

While waiting for my rice to cook, I decided to spend a little time on one of my favorite sites: StumbleUpon. I was first introduced to this site by a student in the writing center (needless to say, this did not turn out to be one of my more productive tutoring sessions). Since then, it's proved to be one of my favorite ways to procrastinate learn more about the world around me. It sometimes takes a few clicks to find something interesting, and I regret to say that my short attention span often leads me to immediately click away when I see an article long enough to require scrolling down.

However, my first click today led me to this fascinating blog entry. The pictures above are of the art technique of quilling, which involves creating any imaginable 3-D picture by rolling paper with a special tool. I was surprised to find out this technique has been around since the Renaissance, and after a quick Google search, I discovered that it is still relatively prevalent today with a myriad of websites devoted to quilling.

The art that results from quilling is unique and absolutely gorgeous. The creations, as pictured above, can be incredibly intricate, but there are also quilling sets available for beginners that come with tools and patterns to follow. Knowing my lack of patience with anything crafty, it's highly doubtful that I'll ever try this myself, but maybe someday in the far away land of free time that college students can only dream of, I'll get a chance to give it a try. Regardless of if I ever create my own, quilling opens up a whole new avenue of decorating for furniture, walls, invitations, and just about anything else you can think of to adorn with colorful paper creations.