Thursday, May 31, 2012

I EAT: My London Restaurant Picks

I recently got an email from one of you lovely readers asking me for restaurant suggestions here in Londontown. Well, first off, I have to admit I'm certainly not a food expert let alone a London restaurant savant. So take these recommendations with a pinch of salt; they're based off my personal dining experiences. But that said, I do realize I haven't been very good about documenting my meals. So in this post I'll attempt to recount my favorite London foodventures and provide you all with a list of some of my favorite restaurants thus far. 

Hope you find it useful! If enough of you do, I might just do another one later down the road.


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I GO: Harry Potter Leavesden Studio Tour

Warning: if you're not an avid Harry Potter friend, you might find this post slightly overwhelming. In late April, after a month full of traveling, I made one last journey out of London to the Warner Brothers Leavesden Studio. If the name doesn't sound familiar, you may know it instead as the studio where they filmed a sizable chunk of each and every beloved Harry Potter film. The tour was inspiring; cheesy, I know, but that's the only word I can come up with to attempt to describe the amount of effort involved in the creation of the sets, costumes, and countless props. Walking through the studio, you're able to appreciate the multitude of details incorporated by the crew, details that weren't discernable on-screen but contribute so much to the establishment of authenticity. I know I'm not the only Potter geek out there so I'll save you the gushy speech and instead move on to the pictures. I will however include captions so as to clue you guys in on some of my favorite parts of the day.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Monday, May 28, 2012

I WEAR: Summertime in London

Summer weather is finally here to stay! It's crazy how much happier life is when the sun is out from 5 AM to 9 PM. Lady London's lovely during the foggier season, but under blue skies, she's a whole other creature. Exams need to hurry up and end already, because it's time to start venturing out on some London adventures before I have to leave. 

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Sunday, May 27, 2012

I GO: The Tivoli Gardens

Last post from Copenhagen and from my Easter break travels! It's crazy that as I'm posting this it's a month later and I'm halfway done with exams. Are you guys sick of all these travel posts yet? If so, summer weather is finally here in London so I hope to post proper outfit posts more regularly. Because let's face it, it's hard looking cute when you're living out of a suitcase. 

Anyways, smack dab in the middle of Copenhagen is the famous Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park wonderland minus the usual accompanying cheesefest. No additional words needed.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Friday, May 25, 2012

I GO: Freetown Christiania

Of all the places I've visited in 21 years of globetrotting, Freetown Christiania definitely ranks among the most interesting. If you've never heard of it, Freetown Christiania is a "self-proclaimed autonomous neighborhood" (yea, I quoted Wikipedia) smack dab in the middle of Copenhagen. Intended to be a safe haven for those in pursuit of alternative lifestyles, the commune's architecture and inhabitants certainly provide a stark contrast to their neighbors on the other side of the wall. For example, at Christiania's center is the Green Light District, a region within no cameras are allowed and a certain herbal remedy abounds. Fill in the blanks.

Enjoy the picture after the jump!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

I GO: In Copenhagen

First post from Copenhagen! And my first post with the new leading lady in my life. I'll give you a hint. She's from Mulberry. 

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I THINK: New Stuff Up on the eBay Store

In an effort to clear out some closet space to make way for new items, I've uploaded new stuff up on my eBay. You can click here to check it out or on the navigation bar below the header. Happy shopping!

And if you haven't yet, make sure to follow me on Instagram.


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I GO: Strolling Around Zurich

Before boarding our night flight back to London, we decided to spend the day wandering Zurich. Compared to Interlaken and Lucerne, Zurich definitely felt less quaint. But what the city seemingly lacked in "cuteness" it made up for in elegance. The city exudes it. Enough to make the ubiquitous billowing Swiss flags understandable.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

I EAT: Swiss-Style Cheese Fondue

After sampling Swiss-style cheese fondue (basically, cheese with white wine) at Brasserie 17, we decided to attempt to make fondue at home using a supermarket-bought kit. You are all probably thinking that fondue is idiot-proof to make, but trust me, I'm a klutz in the kitchen. My crazed face in the picture with the fondue pot is actually a mix of terror and determination. My inadequacies aside, the resulting dish was pleasantly perfect. Certainly nom nom worthy. 

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Monday, May 21, 2012

I GO: Snapshots from Luzerne

Sometimes there's really nothing like hopping on a train to somewhere beautiful armed with a camera, an iPod, and a desire to document. Especially when that somewhere beautiful is the picturesque city of Lucerne. From the old wooden bridges to the well-preserved wall murals to the eerily blue swan-studded waters of the Reuss, everything about the old part of Lucerne screams quaint. So no pictures of me in this post. Just snapshots through my lens.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Sunday, May 20, 2012

I EAT: Läderach Chocolatier Suisse

The moment I said I went to Switzerland, you all must have known this post was coming! While in Interlaken I stumbled upon Läderach, a shop selling stacks of chocolate barks. I couldn't resist helping myself to four: white chocolate with raspberry and blackberry bits, dark chocolate with caramelized hazelnuts, dark chocolate with blackberry bits, and dark chocolate topped with a florentine bar. Absolutely scrumptious!

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Saturday, May 19, 2012

I GO: Interlaken Photoreel

Usually I like my first post from any travel destination to be a general photoreel, but as you all saw in my last post, the first thing I did upon arriving in Interlaken was acquaint myself with the city from a bird's eye view. So here for you now is my photoreel from Interlaken. Nestled between the sterling blue Lake Thun and Lake Brienz and bordered by gargantuan mountain ridges with foggy tips, Interlaken is the definition of scenic. A photographer's dream. Hopefully, my photoreel does it justice.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Friday, May 18, 2012

I GO: Paragliding in Interlaken

First post from Switzerland! Having talked to a friend who had previously gone paragliding in Interlaken, I knew that I wanted to try my hand at it. Due to weather conditions, our flight was rescheduled so that the first thing we did after checking in was head to the mountains for takeoff. Looking back I'm glad it worked out this way since it provided the perfect ramp-up adrenaline rush. I'm not typically scared of heights, but seeing as how I was dangling from a piece of cloth hundreds of feet off the ground, I'm surprised how soothing the experience was. Up there, the world felt still, calm, and free. An amazing escape from reality. And the views of the city, lakes, and Alps... well, I'll let you see for yourself.

All shots were taken by Paragliding Interlaken; the ones without me in it were from other flights our instructors had taken. Enjoy the pictures after the jump! 


Thursday, May 17, 2012

I GO: Frolicking in Stockholm's Djurgården

One of my favorite things about Stockholm is how green the city is. Walking its streets, you can't help but run into a multitude of lovely little parks that stud its landscape. On our last day in Stockholm, we visited the Djurgarden, a massive park that is home to several key museums and a whole lot of stunning scenery. 

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I GO: Daytrip to Vaxholm (The Stockholm Archipelago)

On our second day in Stockholm, we decided to venture out to Vaxholm, one of the largest cities in the Stockholm archipelago, a collection of roughly 30,000 islands. Because building materials aside from wood were banned until 1912, the city is composed of quaint and colorful wood houses. Given that we visited in April, the city wasn't yet in full-fledged travel season, and the town was rather quiet. But, in my opinion, the inactivity and gray skies created a lovely peaceful atmosphere. The type that inspires musings and poetry and calm. Don't worry, I won't share any of the results for fear of chasing you all away.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

I GO: Hallå from Stockholm!

After spending a week in London, I embarked on yet another adventure through Western Europe. I made my way to Sweden (and Scandinavia, in general) for the first time.  I've heard such wonderful things about Stockholm so I was really excited to finally have the chance to explore the city. We ventured around Gamla Stan, the old city, and Skeppsholmen, where the modern art and architecture museums are. If you're ever there, I recommend doing the two on the same day. It emphasizes the fascinatingly stark contrast between the medieval cobblestoned streets of the former and the innovative brashness of the latter. 

But if I were to sum up my first impression of Stockholm in one word it would be: wet. Composed of 14 islands, water is literally everywhere, and the importance of maritime industry is clear. On top of that, it rained intermittently throughout the day. Needless to say, it was tricky maneuvering a camera whilst clutching onto a flimsy umbrella for dear life. But I have to say I like the wonderful misty quality the weather lent to the pictures.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Monday, May 14, 2012

I GO: Moët & Chandon Champagne Cellar Tour (and Reims!)

The last stops on my Easter break trip through Italy and France were Reims and Epernay. As the largest city in the Champagne region of France, Reims was a wonderful home base. The train to Epernay, the location of Moët & Chandon's champagne cellars, was brisk and the cellar tour well worth it. We walked through parts of Moët & Chandon's massive underground cellar compound, learning about the varied production processes and marveling at the level of precision involved before finishing up with a complimentary flute. After the tour, we headed back to Reims for a fantastic dinner of mussels, mussels, and more mussels (so many different sauces to chose from!) at Le Grand Cafe and a nighttime stroll around the famed Reims Cathedral. The perfect end to a perfect trip.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

I GO: Giverny (Monet's Garden)

So I got a little camera lazy whilst in Paris this time around. But here for you now are my favorite pictures from my day trip to Giverny, home to Claude Monet's house and gardens. If you're a fan of Monet's work, impressionism, or pretty sights in general, it's worth the short trek. Pictures weren't allowed inside the house but imagine a decoration scheme inspired by Monet's typical painting color palette. Yea, pastels all over the place.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Saturday, May 12, 2012

I EAT: Dinner in the Marais

As you can probably tell by the explicit title of this blogpost, I'm on a bit of a writing dry spell. Probably a result of exam review. So I'll keep it nice and short. I didn't take very many pictures of my time in Paris, but of course, I managed to get a few nom nom shots in. Here for you now are shots from my lovely dinner in the Marais district and my Fauchon chocolate-fest dessert buffet. No diets here.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Friday, May 11, 2012

I GO: The French Riviera (Nice & Monaco)

First post from France! After leaving Italy, we sped through the French Riviera on our way to Paris. But not before spending a lovely day exploring Nice and Monaco. See if you can spot Prince Albert II in the photoreel. I'll give you a massive hint: motorcade.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

I GO: Chilling at Lake Como

Given the relatively fast pace of our trip through Italy, we were only able to spend a day visiting the lakes of Lombardy. Due to its fame and accessibility from Milan, we chose Como. The weather was lovely: sunny yet crisp. Perfect for strolling the town, a boat ride, and dinner whilst watching the sun set by the water. My only wish is that we could have had more time to explore Lake Como, visiting other bordering cities like Bellagio. Well, I guess there goes another item onto the bucket list!

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I EAT: Risotto, Risotto, Risotto! (In Milan)

To say I miss the food in Italy would be a gross understatement. To say that I've been drooling and stuffing my face with cereal to stop from eating my computer whilst preparing these food-dedicated blog posts would be accurate. From what little research I'd done, I had expected risotto to feature prominently in my Milanese meals. I was not disappointed. In order, the risotto dishes featured in this post are risotto with mozzarella and tomato, risotto with squash, and risotto alla milanese (cooked with saffron and served with ossobuco). The first two dishes and the scrumptious strawberry "cake" were from Latteria, a great little restaurant you have to beat the dining crowds to. The risotto alla milanese was from Il Verdi.  

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


I GO: Milano (City of Style)

Forget New York, Los Angeles, Tokyo, Paris, and London. Hands down, Milan is the most best dressed city I have ever been to. The last time I had the privilege of visiting I was too young to register the seemingly city-wide dress code. But this time around, I couldn't take a step without spotting an outfit worthy of a Stockholm Streetstyle snap. It's inspiring really. Fashion courses through the city's veins, a way of life rather than an unattainable fantasy. Makes you feel like an uber slob for throwing on the same frumpy outfit 5 days in a row. 

Anyways, these pictures were taken around the breathtaking duomo, Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Sforza Castle, and the Parco Sempione. Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

I WEAR: View from Fiesole

On our last night in Florence, we decided to head to Fiesole to catch the sunset before dinner. The view was breathtaking. I wrote way too much in the next blog post so I'll save you guys the burden of another wordy post. The pictures speak for themselves anyway. Florence, I love you. 

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


Friday, May 4, 2012

I GO: Around Tuscany (Horseback Riding and Wine Tasting)

One of my favorite days in Italy was spent in the heart of the Chianti region. Led by the expert guides of Fun in Tuscany, we visited a stable and embarked on a leisurely horseback journey through a patch of Tuscan countryside. Unfortunately, I couldn't bring my hulk of a camera along for the ride so the only pictures included are from before and after the ride. Poor prior planning on my part there. 

After the ride, we visited Monteriggioni, a 13th century walled city from which we got an amazing view of the Tuscan countryside and the site for our lovely lunch and wine tasting. Here I tried pici for the first time! Pici is a type of pasta native to Tuscany and reminds of a fatter form of spaghetti. It never ceases to amaze me just how fresh and flavorful food in Italy is. The salami, the porcini, the bread. Ok, I need to stop before I end up booking the next flight back. After lunch, we had our wine tasting. I'll admit I'm not that big of a red wine fan, but it was interesting learning about and sampling several varieties of Chianti wine. We even nibbled on some cantucci (almond biscuits) dunked in vin santo, a sweet and surprisingly strong dessert wine. The perfect afternoon.

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


I EAT: Florentine Feeding Frenzy

As the title of the post probably gives away, I spent a lot of time in Florence eating. Who couldn't when fantastic food beckons from every corner? Here for you now are pictures from two of my favorite meals. All the food is from my meal at Omero, a lovely restaurant in the Florentine hills nearby Galileo's last residence. If you're there, make sure to get a window seat; the view was amazing. Highlights of the meal: the Chianti wine and the Bistecca alla Fiorentina (aka Florentine steak). The gelato was from Vivoli, one of the city's most famous gelaterias. If you ever happen to be there, make sure to sample the riso flavor. I've yet to see it available anywhere else and it's truly phenomenal; there are little rice bits in the gelato! And yes, if you're getting multiple portions, gelato counts as a meal. Last side note: check out Vivoli's lovely logo. Can you spot Brunelleschi's work? 

Enjoy the pictures after the jump! 


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I GO: Firenze Photoreel

Finals season is approaching at the LSE, so you'll have to forgive the recent lack of posts. Of all the cities I have had the chance to visit in Italy, Florence is definitely among my favorites. Despite there being a bit of truth to the accusation that the compact city is plagued by study abroaders and tourists,  I can't help but feel that there's something enchantingly romantic about it. Strolling the cobbled streets, perched on a bridge at sunset, or gaggling on the floodlit duomo steps at night, Florence feels like a fairytale. Complete with moral overtones of civic duty and a bloody historical streak of course. 

Enjoy the pictures after the jump!


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