A Quick Update, More for Later

I hope to find the time to post a bunch of pictures and write some anecdotes about the past couple of days. We have been keeping busy during the day, and at night all I want to do is connect to friends and family back home, and check up on the world news.

We’ve seen most of the major highlights, been to beautiful markets, and have been learning everything we can about this culture–we even learned the hard way when the supermarket opens, painfully two hours later than when we arrived. Today we are going to hopefully catch the changing of the guards and see Buckingham Palace, and explore Hyde park and the surrounding areas. Cross your fingers it won’t rain!

 

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London: An Introduction

If you haven’t noticed, the blog has not had much love recently.

But I have a good excuse for this, because I am currently in London for a semester abroad! It is very exciting, but there were a few hurdles to overcome.

Well first of all, I got absolutely no sleep on the plane ride over–nothing. You know those comical bits in sitcoms where the person in front of the the character leans their chair all the way back into their personal space? Well, the person in front of me might not have been a TV fan, because I was jammed up in a squished seat the entire trip over! Completely awful, but the plane ride was seriously the easiest I have been on: there were no delays, I ate ALL of my food and I was not too dehydrated when we landed. A decent start I would say.

My experience is really shaping up, I finally figured out the internet (I was practically internet-less for the past couple of days, hence no posting), I have an oyster card, a library card, and a working cell phone. The cell phone, by the way, is hilariously shitty, but it reminds me of the old days with my horrid flip phone. It takes about two minutes to construct a coherent message, so a lot of people will be receiving texts that seem like a fourth grader wrote them, but communication is key while abroad. The transition is always strange, but it has almost been a week and I am very comfortable here.

The living situation is nicer than I expected. We all have single rooms, with our own bathrooms. It is kind of like living in a below average hotel. I have the perfect amount of storage space, yet my room looks like a disaster zone, but I don’t have to leave my room to take a quick shower. The shower is not even a foot away from the toilet so the bathroom is always a bit swampy. My window overlooks a pub, which curiously serves decent Thai food, and I can see the local tube station as well as the larger buildings just over the Thames in central London. The entire flat shares a kitchen, which is really nice. We all have our own shelves in there, and we share the fridges and the ovens. I kind of wanted to cringe when purchasing cooking supplies, it is a tad bit expensive, but the food here is ultra cheap. For example, a huge bag of apples will only cost a pound, and I found pasta that was buy one, get one free. I also don’t have a proper fork, Sainsbury’s sold out, so I have been using a giant slotted spoon for meals–there is no such thing as functional fixedness when you are studying abroad.

Now the fun stuff begins! This past week I celebrated my birthday, which involved meeting up with two very good friends at their uni, going out for 2 dinners (margaritas and tacos, and then sangria and tapas if you want me to get specific), eating frozen yogurt for dessert (and if you know me, I am a froyo fiend, and this stuff was GOOD), and checking out the London Aquarium. I have learned that the tube is awesome, I will definitely get lost walking around the streets of London, but the public transit is stellar. This afternoon I signed up for the dance club at the “Freshers Fayre”, which I am pretty stoked about. They offer ballet, contemporary, street dance, and burlesque classes. An interesting mix there, but at the very least I can try it out.

In the coming days there are a lot of day trips planned, including one to the Harry Potter studios…but classes begin on Monday. It seems like I only have class on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursdays, but I might have smaller tutorial classes at random times. I am waiting for the first class for more details, but for now my schedule seems very ideal. It is a bit daunting that just one or two essays determine your grade though, but really, I just hope that my classes inspire me more than anything.

I will be posting when I can during my time here, hopefully I will be able to post the kind of content I normally do, but if not, be prepared for photographs and tiny tidbits of the quirky abroad experience.

Songs on Repeat: Queen I Want to Break Free

Oh Queen, how I love you so. I don’t think there ever is a time I don’t want to listen to Queen. Also, this video is completely crazy.

Another thing that is completely crazy? I’m traveling abroad tomorrow! I hope to blog rather regularly about my travels so check back often for updates, pictures, and insights about my time across the pond. See you on the other side!

Local Eats: CSA #15

Get ready, this post is a bit of a bittersweet doozy. We received tons of variety this week so I have plenty of pics to show as well as recipes using the ingredients from some of my favorite blogs. It is also the last week of CSA posts! It has been too much fun posting and creating good eats with what we received, thanks to everyone who has commented, it is always great to have feedback!

This summer brought new favorites, such as shishito peppers and long beans, and I think we also learned that summer is the only time to eat tomatoes and blueberries. We kind of drowned in greens, and hardly ever had to purchase summer squash which is a total win.

Don’t forget, you can go back and revisit all 15 CSA posts from this summer right here. I know I will when it’s the dead of winter and all I have are memories of peaches and plums.

So here we go.

Shishito Peppers l Grilled Shishito and Padron Peppers with Chili Mint Salt from The Kitchy Kitchen

Grapes l Grape Focaccia with Rosemary from Lottie + Doof

Greens l Pasta with Greens “Carbonara” from Gilt Taste and Francis Lam

Green and Yellow Beans l Vibrant Tasty Green Bean Recipe from 101Cookbooks

Winter Squash l Warm Delicata Squash Salad with Balsamic-Oregano Drizzle from Big Girls Small Kitchen

Turnips l Roasted Turnips with Parmesan from Martha Stewart

Garlic l Aïoli from David Lebovitz

Red Pepper l Roasted Peppers with Capers and Mozzarella from Smitten Kitchen

Radishes l Garlic and Black Pepper Beef with…baby radish salad, piquant salsa verde dressing from What Katie Ate

Tomatoes l Tomato Cobbler from honey & jam

Tomatillos l Enchiladas Suizas with Spinach from Farmhouse Delivery Blog

And last but not least, Apples l Apfelkuchen from Joe Pastry

And that’s all she wrote. About CSA’s for this summer that is. If you have enjoyed reading my posts please let me know below, and keep following along with JYA posts to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping an Eye On: Cristiana Couceiro

Portugal based freelancer Cristiana Couceiro is definitely a cool artist. She has created work for Nike, The New York Times, Wired Magazine, AND best of all, Marina & the Diamonds. Her work reminds me of the days when I used to flip through magazines ripping out the pages and reassembling. It’s probably not a big surprise that Couceiro’s work is inspired from similar memories, except digital using color sparingly with a collection of old images.

Something really strikes me about her work; I think it would be awesome to incorporate collage into my independent study while I’m abroad. What could be more inspiring than London really?

My favorites are below, but check out more of her work at her website here.

Perfect Gift Giving: Poketo

Can I please gush for a second? I absolutely adore this site, and I think you will too.

Owned by a husband and wife duo, this online shop (with a brick and mortar location in LA) is full of interesting pieces to impress even your most fashionable or hard to please buddies. Find anything from colorful wallets designed by artists, unique pieces of jewelry, and even recycled and reclaimed colored pencils. I have a backpack from Poketo that I use for all of my school books and I receive tons of compliments on it. I also recently purchased a cotton towel from the site, which is going to be my go to item while I am traveling abroad. Poketo’s site also features artists who design some of the work they sell as well as an awesome blog.

I am not being paid to write about Poketo, I just really dig this site which you can check out right here.

Grilled Cravings: Spinach and Artichoke topped Steak

Who knew that dentist chat could be the opposite of awkward with a mouth full of metallic dental supplies?

I have been going to the same dentist my entire life, but we have never really talked about anything beyond school or holidays. We were talking about my summer and traveling and he said that so many of his patients went to Maine this summer, so much so that he booked a trip for the weekend because he was craving lobster rolls. Then he went on to talk about his cravings for chocolate chip cookies. If anyone knows me they know I have major food cravings, so bad that I always need to figure them out ASAP, so when my dentist was talking about his food cravings all I could do was smile and be like, “You have no clue how much I understand you right now.”

Why do I bring this silly story up? Well, this recipe is one of those craving meals. I mean, it has cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise in it–and what could be more comforting than a spinach and artichoke dip? When it came down to serving the dip, I was not feeling the normal tortilla chip or carrot stick options. I was craving something else, and that was steak.

This dish is not an everyday sort of thing, it is incredibly rich, but you will love it. Eat up, and brush your teeth afterwards!

Spinach and Artichoke topped Steak 

[dip recipe only slightly modified from Closet Cooking]

  • 4 medium sized steaks, strip or even filet mignon works really well here
  • 1/2 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 close garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • Sprinkle of paprika
  1. In a medium sized baking dish, combine all of the ingredients except for the steaks (duh!) and paprika.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Top the dip with a sprinkle of paprika and pop in the oven for twenty to thirty minutes until the cheese is melty.
  3. Preheat the grill or a grill pan until searing hot. Grill the steaks until they are cooked to your liking, for my taste, medium is perfect.
  4. When ready to serve scoop a heaping portion of the dip onto the steaks and eat up.

Songs on Repeat: Florence + the Machine Cosmic Love

So excited to be visiting campus today, especially to see the new dancers in Flypeople! Auditions are always stressful, but what could be more fun than adding members to the flamily?

I’m also incredibly excited to see Florence + the Machine this weekend. I co-choreographed a dance piece to this song, but I think hearing this live will be a whole different experience. Florence is fierce and I am sure her tour will reflect her personality and larger than life sound.

Enjoy the holiday weekend for all of those gathering with friends and family.

Local Eats: CSA #14

This week we are going to switch it up, just a teensy bit. Each picture of what we received from the CSA will feature a recipe from a blog I look at often. Think of it like a wine pairing, except not immediately edible and there is no wine. So to start things off…

Yellow and Green Flat beans l Yellow Bean Salad from 101 Cookbooks

Radishes l Chopped Salad with Feta, Lime, Mint, and Sunflower Seeds from Smitten Kitchen

Bok Choy l Peanut Sauce Bento Bowl from Sprouted Kitchen

Handfuls of Campari Tomatoes l Midas Sauce from The Kitchy Kitchen

Two leeks (roots and all) l Caramelized Leek, Shallot and Pancetta Galette from Spoon Fork Bacon

Carrots (tons of ’em) l Carrot and Apple Soup with Cumin and Coriander from Cannelle et Vanille

Okra l Heirloom Tomato Salad with Almond Crusted Okra from Roost Blog

Swiss Chard Greens l Swiss Chard Tart from David Lebovitz

Head of lettuce l Poppy Seed Dressing from Lottie + Doof

An assortment of apples, peaches, and plums l Peach Tarte Tatin from Farmhouse Delivery Blog

Collections to Envy: Altuzarra Spring 2013 RTW

It’s New York Fashion Week, and I’m feeling exactly the opposite of fashionista. I’m wearing a sweater I haven’t washed in forever, with jeans I have worn for the past two days in a row. But it’s kind of the opposite of my personality to focus on fashion too much anyway. Of course I can’t say the same thing for what I eat for dinner…

This is probably why I like Altuzarra’s Spring 2013 collection, because it is not over the top and I can actually see myself wearing the different pieces in this collection. I love basic pieces that can be thrown on for everyday wear, but I also love details. With a tassel here, a bright floral print there, and even gold scallops, there are cute details in this collection that stick out among otherwise monochromatic looks.

My favorites are below, but view the entire collection on New York Magazine’s website here.