Lake Como, Italy

July 1st, 2014

After tearing ourselves away from Mürren, Daniel and I headed to Lake Como—my first time in Italy! We got there a bit later than we anticipated, so we really only had one full day to soak it in. Even on a tight schedule Italy was every bit as dreamy as I had imagined. We wandered the streets of Bellagio and Varenna, ate delicious food, explored the Castle of Vezio, and took a cooking class at Ristorante Il Caminetto where we enjoyed the generous hospitality of Chef Moreno and his family.

After squeezing all that into just one day, there was still one more thing I needed to do. Find the perfect gelato shop! Just as it was getting dark we rounded a corner and spotted a glass case filled with those impossibly high, perfectly squishy-looking gelato piles. You know, like this. I promised myself back in high school that I wouldn’t taste the gelato available here in the states until I first visited Italy and tried the real thing. I kept that promise, and it was worth the wait to relish my first cup while wandering Bellagio’s jasmine scented streets. Gelato really is silkier and creamier tasting than regular old American ice cream (unless the gorgeous scenery was just brainwashing my taste buds).

Based on our short visit, Italy totally lived up to the hype, and I hope I get to see more of it sooner rather than later!

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

Varenna, Lake Como, Italy

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

Varenna, Lake Como, Italy

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

Varenna, Lake Como, Italy

Bellagio, Lake Como, Italy

Lake Como, Italy

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The chicks are here!

June 26th, 2014

After much anticipation my baby chicks are finally here, and they are the most adorable little fuzz balls. They’re so fragile and wobbly that I’m a little paranoid about their well-being, but so far so good! I decided just to get three for now—a blue Orpington (Millie), a Barnevelder (Roberta), and a Speckled Sussex (Margo).

A while back when I was doing some chicken research I saw a photo someplace of chicks wearing cupcake liners as tutus, and I immediately knew I had to make a chicken ballet video when my girls arrived. Surprisingly 1 day old chickens don’t take direction well, they get pissed when you make them wear cupcake liners, and they’re terrible ballerinas… so the ballet didn’t turn out exactly as I planned.

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Mürren, Switzerland

June 24th, 2014

Daniel and I traveled to Europe last week, but you already knew that if you follow me on instagram! We spent several days in Mürren, Switzerland, a few in Bellagio, Italy, and then headed back to Switzerland for a couple days in Lucerne. Below are a handful of our photos from around the Mürren area. I’ll share some from Bellagio and Lucerne in upcoming weeks.

Mürren is one of the most peaceful places I’ve ever been—exactly how I imagined Switzerland would be! It’s a tiny village perched precariously on a steep mountainside in the Bernese Oberland. The mountainside is so steep in fact, that you can only get there by cable car, so the town is automobile-free. I never realized how much noise traffic created until being in a town without cars. It was so quiet I could’ve heard a butterfly sneeze.

Murren, Switzerland

The village faces a wall of unimaginably tall snowy mountain peaks. I didn’t grasp from photos just how enormous they really are. I could only understand their magnitude once I was there looking up at them with my mouth hanging open.

Murren, Switzerland

The village streets are lined with quaintly rugged buildings with dark stained wood siding, brightly painted shutters, and window boxes overflowing with blooms. Nearly every home has a beautiful garden, and every bit of untended land on the mountain is overrun with wildflowers. All the cows wear bells, and I loved falling asleep each night listening to their soft ringing from a nearby pasture.

Murren, Switzerland

Murren, Switzerland

Murren, Switzerland

Murren, Switzerland

We feasted on rösti as often as we could (a yummy Swiss potato dish topped with absurd amounts of warm melty cheese), and took advantage of the many hiking trails in Mürren and in surrounding towns.

Murren, Switzerland

Murren, Switzerland

Murren, Switzerland

We enjoyed some sunny weather and endured some rainy weather. The sun made for better views, but riding cable cards and gondolas through the clouds was delightfully eerie.

Murren, Switzerland

I hope we get to go back again someday, and next time we’ll stay much longer!

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Guilty Pleasure Kitchen Gadgets

June 12th, 2014

Our kitchen is really small, so I have to be choosy about what I keep in there. Here are three kitchen gadgets that make my life easier but are are embarrassingly silly, because I could accomplish all this with just a knife. What’s your favorite absurd kitchen gadget?

First up, the citrus peeler! I know most normal people peel oranges with their fingernails, but I’m a wimp. The juice gets under my nails, and it really stings! Not to mention it takes a while to chip away at the peel until it’s all removed. After scoring the peel with the pointy end of this peeler you use the other end to pry it away. It takes seconds and doesn’t hurt me—double awesome. Available here.

citrus peeler

citrus peeler

Herb scissors seem ridiculous, I admit. They’re just scissors with multiple blades. As you cut your fresh herbs, they’re quickly turned into tiny chopped pieces. Why not use a knife? Because I’m way better at scissor-ing than I am at knife-ing. I’ve been practicing with scissors since kindergarten, but I can’t quite figure out how to chop like a chef (no matter how many YouTube videos I watch). I use my herb scissors multiple times a week, so they’re definitely worthy of a spot in my kitchen. Get a pair here.

herb scissors

herb scissors

My strawberry huller gets the most use in the spring when strawberries are in season. This huller makes quick work of removing the stems and cores of strawberries without wasting any of their delicious berry flesh. Also it’s super fun to use, because it’s a lot like that claw arcade game except that you always win. For sale here.

strawberry huller

strawberry huller

I’m going to take a short break from blogging next week, but I’ll be back to posting on June 24th!

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Gold Leaf Sketchbook Cover

June 10th, 2014

When Joel and Ashley of This Paper Ship shared a photo of their gold leaf sketchbook cover a while back, I knew I had to try out Krylon’s gold leafing paint pen on my next sketchbook’s cover. This pen is awesome. Anything you draw with it looks like a masterpiece. For example, I drew a bunch of lopsided diamonds on my sketchbook cover. If I had drawn them like that on paper with a regular pen they’d look really lame, but because they are all gold and shiny they look magical!

gold leaf sketchbook cover

gold leaf sketchbook cover

gold leaf sketchbook cover

gold leaf sketchbook cover

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