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Category Archives: Travel

Otomi Fabric

Otomi Fabric

I had a very brief trip to Mexico City for work. I really wanted some Otomi fabric, hand-embroidered fabrics. I was inspired by photos like this:

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Here is what I bought:

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This small piece of Otomi in the photo above will get framed. I just love to burro.

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The piece above is about 7 feet long, maybe 18 inches wide? I got it for about $30, which was a great price, I think. I had originally intended to use it as a table runner, but my mom told me that Otomi doesn’t wash well. Apparently the colors from the thread run and get all over the white fabric. So instead, I will also use it as a wall hanging. The colors are just incredible.

IMG_1871Finally, I bought this serape blanket for about $20 (probably overpaid, since I bought it at the airport with my remaining pesos). It’s really soft and the colors are also just great. I think I will use it in the yellow-floored attic guest room.

I think Mexico is my spirit country – Mexican food is my favorite food in the world and the folk arts and colors just speak to my soul. I really hope I get to spend more time in Mexico City in the future. I was really impressed.

Besos y Abrazos,

Rachel

 

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I’m Back (Again) and New Apartment

So it feels like every time I post (which is not often), I always begin with an apology about the gap in posting. However, this time, no apologies. I had stuff to do, people!

Basically, this summer was intense because I took the California Bar exam. Two months filled with studying, self-doubt, cancelled trips to the beach, and occasional crying.  Since I went home to California to live with my parents while studying, I also watched a LOT of HGTV on my study breaks because my parents have cable and my mom DVRs all the good stuff.  Just in case you are interested these are some of my faves: Property Brothers, Dear Genevieve, High-Low Project, Design on a Dime, and Rehab Addict (doesn’t Nicole just inspire you to demo something?). Oh, and of course my two most faves: Color Splash and Secrets of a Stylist.

And once I finished studying for the bar exam and sat through three full days of testing in a room with about 1500 other super-stressed pre-lawyering test-takers (fortunately hygiene was not an issue), I promptly flew to the Dominican Republic for a week with my darling boyfriend to forget most of the things I had just learned.  I bought FOUR different design magazines to read while sun bathing, which felt like such a luxurious splurge in terms of both time and money. It was heaven to lie in the sun and read about trending fabric patterns 😉

Us on the beach. Yes - I am reading design magazines.

Us by the pool. Yes – I am reading design magazines. And do you see the fruity drinks on the table between us?

We stayed at an all-inclusive resort in Punta Cana, and it was AMAZING. You know those vacations where you lie on a beach and  someone brings you fruity alcoholic beverages and/or bottles of cold water all day, and you don’t have to pay? Yeah. Me neither. UNTIL NOW. I didn’t know about those vacations till I started mine. It was beyond relaxing and beautiful.

This is me in the hammock that was ON OUR BALCONY!

This is me in the hammock that was ON OUR BALCONY!

Immediately after this vacation we moved all our stuff out of storage and into our new apartment.

Here is the empty box white box with wall-to-wall white carpeting:

Huge patio. Huge!

Huge patio. Huge!

Lovely garden in our planter box. I cannot wait to plant my own things.

Lovely garden in our planter box. I cannot wait to plant my own things.

We really looked to find an apartment in our price range with wood floors in the right area, but couldn’t. So we will live with the carpet. Aside from the carpet, this apartment is perfect. After coming from the tiny living accommodations in NYC, we feel really pampered with all this space.

Long living room, looking towards the entrance, and the dining area.

Long living room, looking towards the entrance, and the dining area.

Big window in the bedroom.

Big window in the bedroom.

Standard, clean and neutral bathroom.

Standard, clean and neutral bathroom.

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The dining area and entrance to the kitchen.

HUGE kitchen!

HUGE kitchen!

I haven't cooked anything yet, since I am obviously still unpacking, but I think it will work just fine! Look at how big that oven is!

I haven’t cooked anything yet, since I am obviously still unpacking, but I think it will work just fine! Look at how big that oven is!

I just snapped these pics with my phone before the movers arrived so you guys could see the beginning.

Now I have to do more work unpacking. And the good new for you readers, there are SO many upcoming DIY projects that will come up in relation to having a new apartment. I cannot wait to get started, and cannot wait to share them all with you.

Love,

Rachel

PS. While writing this post, a maintenance guy was out on my patio sweeping up leaves. Apparently, my patio will be almost zero maintenance. Score!

Breakfast (Homemade Super Easy Bread)

Breakfast (Homemade Super Easy Bread)

I made breakfast this morning. Nothing too complicated: homemade bread, straight from the oven, butter, some sliced mozzarella and coffee.

So simple and so yummy.

So simple and so yummy.

 

You have probably seen this no-knead artisanal bread recipe floating around on Pinterest. The one you bake in your cast iron pot with a lid.

The recipe is here. She has great pictures and lots of instructions along the way.

For some reason, her recipe comes out a little too watery when I do it. She calls for three cups of flour, but this morning I used 3 cups, plus three heaping tablespoons of flour and that seemed to do the trick. Different flours can all absorb different amounts of liquid, even if the packages both say “unbleached white flour” on the front. Go figure.
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There is something so European about having fresh bread with butter, cheese and coffee for breakfast. And the fact that it comes out of my oven makes me feel like a total rock star.

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Anyway, just wanted to brag share with you! Give it a try. It’s super easy and so rewarding.

Have a great yeasty day!

Love,

Rachel

 

Prague. ‘Nuff said.

Prague. ‘Nuff said.

Prague is truly wonderful. It’s one of those places that you hear people talk about and you think it must be overrated, because how could a small city in the middle of the Czech Republic really be that charming? But it is. My words don’t do it justice, so I am just uploading a bunch of pictures.

 

 

I had one of the best meals of my LIFE in Prague, at the Hotel Europa (in the restaurant, not the cafe). Unfortunately, we were all so famished by the time we sat down to dinner that no one took pictures but inhaled this incredible meal rather quickly. I highly recommend the steak.

The astrological clock – keeps track of about 13 different things (time, calendar, zodiak, saints’ birthdays, etc).

Prague is more colorful and charming than Vienna, even though Vienna is beautiful. Also, things in Prague are really inexpensive. That aforementioned best meal of my life? Well, it only costs about $20 per person including wine.

 

 

 

 

How freaking beautiful is that?

 

The facade of this building is just incredible. It’s completely flat, but it looks textured because of the geometric pattern of the plaster on the outside.

Around every corner in Prague is something more beautiful than what you had just seen. It wasn’t just lovely in one area, but basically everywhere.

With love,

Rachel

The Hills Really Are Alive with the Sound of Music.

The Hills Really Are Alive with the Sound of Music.

Yeah, the Hills in Salzburg are definitely alive with the Sound of Music. That may or may not have something to do with the fact that I rode a bicycle about a million miles through Salzburg singing all the songs from that beloved movie.

Purple rain jacket and purple bike! Like I planned it.

For those who don’t know, Salzburg, Austria, is the location of the Sound of Music. Being a BIG Sound of Music fan, when my friend was visiting, we knew that taking Freulein Maria’s Bicycle Tour of Salzburg was a must.

View of Salzburg and the fort from the bridge.

What we didn’t know was that Salzburg is the 7th or 9th rainiest city in THE WORLD. It rained for all five hours that we were on our bikes. Once we stopped biking, it stopped raining.

The children march past this horse facade in the movie.

The tour takes you to film locations from the movie, and includes funny anecdotes about the filming.

The cloister gardens where the family hides from the Nazis.

The church refused to let the movie makers actually film the crypts, so an exact replica was built in Hollywood where the scene was filmed (you know, were the family are hiding behind the tomb stones and Rolph comes with the flashlight/whistle).

These are the caged crypts where the Von Trapp family awaited their fate (which are inside the cloister gardens).

The abbey gate. But really: How do you solve a problem like Maria?

The Von Trapp House!!!! Complete with duckies!

The Gazebo where “16 going on 17” takes place, and also were Captain proposes to Maria, and then the couple sings “Something Good.”

After five hours on a bike, in the rain, we were quite cold and hungry. So we set out to have a hot delicious lunch. I had the gulash, which comes with a friend egg and a giant bread dumpling. Despite the hours of freezing cold, the tour was pretty awesome. I highly recommend it. Though, you should bring a poncho!

This will warm you right up.

So long! Farewell! Aufwiedersehn! Good night!
Mit liebe,

Rachel

Munich is for Eaters. And Drinkers.

Munich is for Eaters. And Drinkers.

Munich is only a four-hour drive from Vienna. So, when a dear college friend of mine was coming to Vienna, I thought, Munich would be a lovely weekend trip (especially because its only another 90 minutes from Salzburg, where they filmed the Sound of Music – more on that later).

Munich is pretty small. The architecture is lovely. There are one or two interesting museums. But where Munich really shines for me: the victuals and beverages. Upon immediately getting of the subway in downtown music we saw the awesome Cathedral above. And then I spotted the Haribo Gummy Candy Cart!!! I am such a sucker for anything gummy.

Haribo Gummy Candy Cart! Are you freaking kidding me?!?

I managed to walk away from the gummy cart without buying anything, only to turn around and find myself in front Rischart – a truly phenomenal bakery.

Oh, yeah, they had some cakes too.

Chocolate and cherries and apples, oh my!

After a little snack-y-poo at the bakery (with fresh plums!), we went to a modern art museum, and then felt it was time for lunch. So we walked for what felt like ages until we arrived at a beer garden located within Munich’s ginormous and lovely English Garden.

Being famished and thirsty, we had some Weissbier.

Weissbier in the Biergarten.

Molly got the first round. I got the second round.

I am not much of a beer drinker. I usually prefer wine. But this Weissbier is AWESOME. It’s all the flavors and things I like about beer, but none of the things I don’t. It’s not filtered, so it’s super flavorful, but it’s not bitter at all. Not too hoppy. Super cold. Doesn’t leave you feeling bloated, only refreshed. I may have drank a whole liter of Weissbier at this meal, which is quite a lot of beer for someone who doesn’t consider herself a beer drinker. (Probably didn’t hurt that I was very thirsty and quite hot).

Of course, at the Biergarten, we had some brat with kraut and mustard, a side of french fries and some awesome country-style kartoffelen (potatoes). Yum yum yum. So simple, yet so unbelievably good.

After lunch, we did a little shopping at an European clothing store you have probably never heard of, H & M, because who shops in stores that are available in America when they are in Europe? Oh wait….

Saw some more buildings and things…

This building is HUGE. And only part of its hugeness is captured by my picture.

It was about time for another meal here (are you noticing a pattern?), so we went to Lonely Planet’s top pick for beer halls in Munich, Augustiner Bräustuben. We were not disappointed.

Locals and tourists alike gathered around large rustic wooden tables, drinking tankards of beer and eating a variety of meat straight off the bone. Waiters wore Lederhosen and waitresses wore Dirndl (think Saint Paulie’s girls…). In fact, some guests were wearing their traditional bavarian attire, as well, because there is a great deal of Bavarian pride. And rightfully so. The food and beer were great. It was the kind of food where there are no fancy bells and whistles; it’s basic stuff done just perfectly. It’s the type of food that one might expect a soldier to eat before going to battle to pillage some villages. And the beer is what you would expect that soldier to drink upon return to celebrate his victory.

Molly had the pork knuckle. It was awesome.

I ordered the Bavarian mixed plate. It did not disappoint.

With a meatball, some pork saddle, a dumpling and mushrooms in a delightful gravy.

Later that evening, we waddled back to our hotel to dream about gummy candies, incredible bakeries, pork products and beer. Two days later, I decided to sign up for a half-marathon to undo some of the damage. But man, do the Bavarians know how to feed their people!