Thursday, September 13, 2012


Ah, the city that stole my heart as well as my iPhone: Barcelona. There are not a lot of places in the world that I would consider a fair trade to spend time in in exchange for my phone, but Barcelona, apparently, is one of them. The weather was beautiful, the architecture stunning in a totally unique way, the beach immaculate and enormous, the nightlife lived up to its ridiculous reputation (we went to a beautiful club right on the beach), and I even liked the Spanish food (although we might have had pizza every day too. Oops). 

The views from Parc Guell were incomparable. 

Look closely; I'm hiding in the bottom of the picture :)

We went on a bike tour! Debatably recommended. The sights were gorgeous (tons of Gaudi architecture), but biking uphill in 80something degree weather, it turns out, isn't ideal. 

La Sagrada Familia...absolutely unbelievable. The detail on the building is mind-blowing. Also, I might be the only person who didn't realize that it's still under construction. 

Gaudi architecture around the city...I'm in love. 

Biking Barcelona.

Endless stretch of sand and sea. Apparently, they imported the sand from Egypt for the Olympics back in the 80s -- fun fact!

On our last night, we went to see flamenco dancers -- I didn't know people could move that quickly! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Bedroom makeover (bit by bit)

As I've mentioned, carrying through on crafting projects is not my strong point. Luckily, my mom is the champion of getting things done, so when she offered to come help me paint my room, I jumped at the chance (in large part because I knew there was a high likelihood of me ending up with half-painted walls and cans of paint everywhere if I attempted it on my own). So after slapping a coat of blue paint (that took at least an hour of emotionally charged hemming and hawing in Home Depot to choose -- Costa Rica Blue by Behr was the final selection), I wanted to finally get some decorations up on the walls. While at the Melrose flea market a couple weeks ago I saw this creation: 

Cute and simple enough that I had a shot at actually making it. When I went to visit my parents this weekend, my mom happened to have a couple old frames and chicken wire on hand, so I got started on this little project. 


I still firmly believe that there's nothing my mom can't do. 

Cutting the wire to size. 

One more reason to love my mom? "Should we use an electric stapler? Oh this one's not working right...good thing I have like 5!" Who has 5 electric staplers?! Heroes. Like my mom. 

Once I got the freshly wired frames home, I was on my own. I spent a long time googling how to make a paint job look vintage, and discovered that you can use any number of materials, including soap, candles, and Vaseline. Unfortunately, I had none of these, so I improvised. 

Finished product! Using nothing but paint and sandpaper.

Hanging on my new blue wall. I want to add some black and white pictures at some point, but for now they're a good home for a few of the postcards I've collected on my most recent trips through Europe. 

Friday, September 7, 2012


Happy Friday, friends! This week seemed to go by both quickly and productively, a beautifully unheard of combination, and I can't think of any better way to top it off than with pictures from one of my very favorite places in the world: Florence, Italy. If you've read pretty much even one other post from this little blog, you know I lived there last Fall, and you know I want nothing more in life than to go back and never leave. I was lucky enough to return for the third summer in a row this July, and I spent my all too brief time eating monumental amounts of pizza and pasta, relaxing and reading in my favorite little park near my old apartment, picnicking on the best baguettes and cheese from the Mercato Centrale in Boboli Gardens, perusing the San Lorenzo leather market, wine tasting with my favorite panino and vino expert, Pino, and staring at the Ponte Vecchio like it held the answer to life's meaning (which I'm still convinced it might). 

Oh, and we made a quick detour to the Tower before our flight out of Pisa! The area around Pisa, I was surprised to find the first time I went, is actually surrounded by stunningly green expanses of grass and gorgeous architecture. Although the area directly in front of the tower is amusingly crowded with scores of tourists alternately holding it up and kicking it down (you can't come without doing that too), the fields around it provide a lovely space for relaxing with a book, a picnic, or just taking a nap. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Slice of Italy in LA

So, it's Thursday. And I still feel like the week is just beginning. The 3-day weekend somehow managed to throw me off even though I don't usually go into the office on Mondays anyway, which, I would argue, is borderline impressive.

Anyway. I had planned to post my last Italy pictures (Florence!!!), but I'm going to save those for a little later and share the little piece of Italy I explored with my Florence roommates this long weekend.

First, pizza on the beach! Technically not a typical Italian venture, but since my lovely roommate from Italy DeeAnne (first picture above) and I decided to explore Manhattan Beach and have a pizza picnic on the beach, it felt a little like being back in Cinque Terre or the Amalfi Coast, munching on pizza and staring at the gorgeous water. 

Then, the real Italian reunion: Michael's Pizzeria in Long Beach. Friends, there is something you should know about me. When living in Florence last fall, I fell completely, irrevocably in love with a little place called Gusta Pizza. If you know anyone else who has studied abroad in Florence, you've already heard of this place, because it is universally loved. I was lucky enough to live right around the corner, and took full advantage of that by demolishing entire pizzas on my own at every opportunity (which was a lot). So much so that the workers all remembered me when I came back this summer, which I would have to claim as one of my proudest moments to date. I still can't understand more than 5 words they say to or about me, but who doesn't want to be greeted with open arms by their favorite pizzaioli? 

But the point is: I've been on a perpetual search for pizza even near as good as Gusta in America, and this weekend, I think I had the closest approximation yet. You'll thank me for finding this when you see pictures of the real Gusta later. 

It was so. good. I'm super picky about my crust -- classic Neopolitan crust is meant to be thin and crispy, but I typically hate thin crust. So finding a pizza that balances the thin crust for most of the pie with a doughy, chewy, delicious perimeter is the Holy Grail for me. See above. 

But, as displayed by my beautiful roommate Jessica, it does tend to be a little messy...

This is actually a one pizza per table deal, we discovered, but totally worth it. And that weird looking orange bottle? A chili-infused olive oil that is fantastic with the crusts of the pizza. 

To top it off...Nutella pizza. I know, I know. Stop. Not as good as the Nutella calzone I had in Sorrento as seen here, but a worthy contender. We had it topped with stracciatella gelato. YUM. 

About three minutes after it arrived at the table...not even sorry.