Wednesday, February 25, 2015

5 Places You Can't Miss In Milan

It has been a little over a year since I moved back from Milan and as bloggers are flocking to the city for fashion week I thought I'd share some of my favorite places to visit!

1. Luini's - I've written about Luini's before but it's worth another mention! The BEST panzerotti in Milan. It's a fact. I had never heard of it before I got to Milan but by the time I left I'm positive I was 70% panzerotti. Get there early to avoid the lines but regardless don't let the lines deter you, they move quickly with the help of their suited up bouncers!

Via Santa Radegonda, 16 Milano Italy
Open 10am-8pm
Closed on Sunday*

*I had my heart broken a few times when I would forget it was closed on sunday.

2. Princi - One of my FAVORITE places to grab lunch. While they are probably better known for their breads and foccacia. I was always queueing up for their octopus salad. TO DIE FOR. There sweets selection can't be missed either. It's just around the corner from Duomo so you can always take it to go and sit on the steps of the church! There are also 4 other locations around the city!

Via SPeronari 6, Milano Italy
Open: 7am-8pm

3. Shocolat - One of my FAVORITE places for gelato is Shokolat. It's near Cadorna and only a 5-10 minute walk from Duomo. Of course I flocked there every other week for the nutella gelato, the gelato being merely a vehicle for nutella. 

Via Giovanni Boccaccio, 9 Milan Italy
Open: 7:30am-1am

4. Bastianello -  Thankfully I only discovered this pasticceria about a month and a half before I left Milan because I would have come home 10 lbs. heavier. Every pastry there is beautifully made and they taste just as good as they look! The sfogliatella being my favorite! Right off the San Babila stop. 

Via Borgogna, 5 Milan Italy
Open: 7-10pm

5. Magnum -  Naturally I would recommend 3 sweet shops. My final recommendation is Magnum. You get to be a little creative and invent your own bar and add exotic elements like dried rose petals and passion fruit! How could you resist?!

Piazza Santa Maria Beltrade, 1 Milan Italy
Open: 8:15am - 8:45pm

Go get lost in the streets of Milan and enjoy Fashion Week!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

We Are Ready For Our Oscar Ballots...

What would you do with $50 worth of iTunes gift cards?! Go on a film binge, DUH! At least that is what Marc and I did this past week. In exactly one week we consumed 6 films and 11 short films.

We discovered the world of short films on Saturday night after dinner and Gameworks and we are oh so grateful! We watched our first short film Feast and as the credits were rolling we both turned to each other and somehow both realized we had just entered the world of short films and it felt like an exciting black hole with endless possibilities.  

We hesitantly rented Gone Girl. I wasn’t as reluctant to see it but Marc doesn’t care for Ben Afleck but it was supposed to be a good film so we bit the bullet and rented it. Neither of us really knew what it was about, Marc was under the impression from just the cover that it was going to be a 2 hr. movie about a detective (Ben Affleck)in search of a little girl… We were both WAY off on the mark. I won’t spoil it for anyone that hasn’t seen it yet but it sent us for a loop to say the least. The ending of Gone Girl sent us both on a rant spiral for a good hour after the film. Does justice exist anymore in movies?! Do bad guys just get away with everything these days?! Seriously! That film took a toll on us and even made us a bit defensive the next night during Birdman…

You will be glad to know that we made a swift recovery and were able to fully enjoy all of short films!

Feast was probably my favorite (5/5 stars) and it also won Sunday night for Best Animated Short Film! If you watch Feast you MUST watch The Damn Keeper, so beautifully made and the whole concept and result was stunning!

We found that each short films more than likely will always have a twist ending and each time they surprise me! After watching so many short films Marc and I were ready to fill out our Oscar Ballots and were sitting by the phone waiting to called upon to be jurors at the next Cannes Film Festival. Needless to say we are confident in our short film judging skills.

: Films we watched :

Gone Girl
John Wick

: Short Films we watched :

The Damn Keeper
A Single Life
Me and My Moulton
The Phone Call
Boogaloo and Graham
Sweet Cocoon
Cosmic Love
Picture Paris
Black Angel

*Ranked from Favorite to I could’ve gone without that in my life.*

Monday, February 23, 2015

DIY : Metallic Art Project

Friday I was in the mood to be a little creative so I gathered my brushes, paint and canvases and got to work…

Brushes - any size
Metallic Paint

* All can be found at Hobby Lobby*

Painting and listening to radiolab is exactly what I needed.

1. Paint the canvas with 2 coats of any chosen color. Allow 20 mins to dry. 
2. Take your metallic paint and apply it generously to either end letting the brush fall away towards the middle of the canvas. Apply 2-3 coats.
3. You're done! Easy, simple project to add to your art collection.

While I waited for the paint to dry I spontaneously was inspired to put these lights up in my room being the rolling rack. All it took was 5 minutes, a hammer, 3 nails and a little creativity! Since I hung them up, I haven't turned them off!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Homemade Protein Bars + Baking With My Kryptonite

I've been on the hunt for a great protein bar recipe for weeks months now. Now in full disclosure I am probably risking my life to make these bars because I am HIGHLY allergic to peanuts, almonds, all that stuff. So why am I making these bars you might ask? My boyfriend eats granola bars every morning for breakfast and there isn't much protein in them so I thought I could probably pretty easily make a protein bar that tastes better than your run of the mill chocolatey protein bar.

I love this recipe because it has all natural ingredients, no preservatives and I can pronounce everything that's put in the bar!

During this entire process I tried my best to not actually touch any of the ingredients, but I had my Epi pen on hand just in case...

1 1/2 cups rolled oats aka Old Fashioned Oats
1 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries*
1/2 cup dried apricots*
1/2 cup pistachios
1/3 cup walnuts
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup cashews

1/3 cup pure maple syrup or honey
1/4 cup apple sauce
1 cup (8 oz.) almond butter

*You can substitute the fruits for any dried fruit. I've made them before with blueberries and cherries. 

My almond butter kryptonite…

1. Combine all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl and set aside. 
2. Measure out the almond butter into a microwave safe bowl and put in the microwave for 2 sessions of 18 seconds.
3. Combine the syrup and apple sauce into the bowl with the almond butter and whisk until smooth. 
4.Combine the almond butter mix with the dry mix and mix well.
5. Line an 8x8 baking pan with wax paper then pour the mix into the pan and spread it out evenly.
6. Place in the freezer for at least an hour, hour and a half if you have the time. 

7. Once they've sat in the freezer take it out and lift out the one solid bar by grabbing the wax paper and setting it down on the counter.
8. Use a knife (I used a butcher knife, a little extreme but it got the job done!) to cut the bar into how ever many pieces you like. It can make anywhere between 10-16 bars. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

DIY: Books + Pom Poms

I have always been able to see DIY potential in almost anything… kind of my sixth sense. My mom actually found this book, And The Pursuit of Happiness by Maira Kalman, and after letting her read the book I began tearing it apart and collecting my favorite illustrations. 


So it is pretty simple. Find a graphic novel, I would recommend any book by Maira Kalman because every image carries meaning beyond the surface and they are usually accompanied by a witty, quick phrase. 

Then buy pom -poms or fringe (I bought these from Anthropologie). 

Have a glue gun on hand. I will find any excuse to use a glue gun, but that's just me! If you don't have one, any craft store will sell them for $8-12.

Once you've collected your supplies…

1. I always start in the left bottom corner for some reason. I might have a slight case of OCD… You can start in any corner really.

2. Apply the glue every 2-3 inches.

3. When you reach a corner, apply the glue in a backwards L shape then curve the trim along the corner of the page.

4. Once you reach the corner you began, cut the trim where both ends meet.

5. Find the perfect wall to hang up your new piece of art!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Açai Banana Smoothie

I guess you could say my smoothie making career started when I was freshly 16 and got my first job ever at a Jamba Juice. Those weren't exactly the healthiest smoothies so I've now graduated to using ingredients like açai powder and chia seeds and they taste so much better! This smoothie by FAR is my favorite that I make and its a great breakfast to take with you on the go!

This smoothie requires minimal fuss and not too many ingredients…

 1 C of raspberries
1 TBSP of Chia Seed
1 TBSP of Açai powder
Juice from 1 Apple 
2 frozen bananas*

1. Juice one apple. Then set aside.
2. Combine all the ingredients into a food processor. You can use a blender but I find the processor works better!

* The night before I usually peel 2 bananas and put them in the freezer. 

For an even more filling meal I will sometimes put the smoothie mix in a bowl with Grapenuts and eat it like cereal!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Baking and Bunting: Lemon Buttercream Vanilla Cake

Full disclosure: The final cake that I made was my second attempt because the first one went way wrong. I had originally envisioned a beautiful fluffy vanilla cake made from scratch… what I got was a buttery blob whose taste couldn’t even be masked by my yummy lemon buttercream frosting. In the oven it smelled like someone had just microwaved popcorn and sure enough when I sampled it it tasted like a movie theater. So it was back to square one!

Baking for me can sometimes feel like a temperamental science experiment. Are you letting it cook too long? Did you add too much baking soda? Will it be too dry? Questions like that loom over me when I’m baking in the kitchen. I’m still fairly new to the the cooking/ baking game so of course there is still a lot I’m learning and making mistakes is just a part of it!

1 1/4 cups sifted flour
1 1/2 cup sifted cake flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
3 TBSP vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup buttermilk

1. Sift together all the dry ingredients
(flours, baking soda/powder, sugar and salt)
2. Spray 2 nine inch round cake pans with baking spray.
3. In an electric mixing bowl beat together the vegetable oil, shortening and vanilla. Using the whisk attachment beat the mix until light and fluffy. 
4. Beat the eggs in one at a time. 
5. Fold in the dry ingredients alternating between mixing in the buttermilk and the dry ingredients. 
6. Bake at 325F for 25-30 minutes. Then let cool before assembling with the frosting. 

1 C. butter (softened)
8 oz. cream cheese
Zest of 2 lemons
1 TBSP lemon juice
3 1/2 - 4 1/2 C. powdered sugar

1. Beat butter, cream cheese and lemon zest.
2.Stir in lemon juice.
3. Gradually add the powdered sugar until it has reached a desired texture.

*After you've mixed the buttercream, let it sit in the fridge for 20-30 minutes to let it harden so its easier to frost. 

Then frost it and ENJOY!

If you want to learn how to make the bunting… keep reading!

I've always had an obsession with bunting and I'll find any excuse to make it! I've never made it on this small of a scale before but it was super easy. All you need is paint chips, scissors, string, glue gun and kebab sticks. It might seem strange to have a supply of paint chips on hand but I'm a girl that likes to DIY and I find a ton of uses for them!

1. Cut out 6-7 triangles.
2. Put a dot of hot glue on the back of the triangles and start attaching them to the string.
3. Double knot the string around the kebab sticks and you've got yourself a decorative cake piece!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mint Green Giant…Smoothie

I will be the first to admit that I probably do not eat as many vegetables as I should. Now I know how this looks, there are chocolate chips in there but I wanted to make a sweeter breakfast smoothie and WHY NOT?! It has soy milk which I love and greek yogurt which I could eat by the barrel. 

The final result was a yummy mint green smoothie that was quick to make and smelled like summer!


3/4 cup greek yogurt
1/4 cup fresh mint
1 cup soymilk
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup baby spinach
1 TBSP maple syrup
1 1/2 cup crushed ice