Friday, July 29, 2011

Countries I Want to See, Pt.1

King of the Hill - Bjarnarey
green iceland

The Arctic expresses the sum of all wisdom:  Silence.
Home of Sigur Ros, Puffin Penguins, the coolest language ever and naturally aqua colored ice glaciers and ocean water. If those reasons alone hadn't convinced me I needed to go, this Flickr stream and this video made me 100% positive that this was the next place I wanted to see. It is so uniquely beautiful and desolate that it almost seems like another planet. Also, they make amazing yogurt.

was it just a dream, just a dream?
I like Greek men, Greek noses, Greek Yogurt, Greek last names, Greek salad, Greek mythology (I was Medusa for Halloween), Grecian draped clothing - obviously I really like all things Greek. I cant wait (one day) to see the teal-blues of the Mediterranean and Aegean seas, the crisp bleached buildings and beautifully bronzed faces of the locals. Plus, I've always wanted to marry into a Greek family...

Pagoda Watugong, Semarang
Rice terraces, Tirtaganga, Bali
I would be lying to say that reading and watching Eat, Pray, Love didn't first spark my interest about Indonesia - mainly Bali. After taking an Asian Art History class and Anthropology, I learned more about the rich culture that Indonesia is. The rice fields, pictured above, are almost like sculptures and textiles in their pattern and form - which makes sense because Bali is now experiencing their artistic Renaissance.

What countries do you want most to see?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homemade Yogurt

Homemade Yogurt
Homemade Yogurt
I have yogurt at least once a day and have been asking for a yogurt maker for the past few Christmases.
Now thanks to this recipe, I no longer need a yogurt maker and all of it's necessary ingredients. All I need is a half gallon of milk, a few tablespoons of plain yogurt and 16 hours (!).
After the overnight incubation and straining process was over, I tasted the fruits of my "labor," and I might be biased, but it's some of the best yogurt I've tasted. Mild, thick and creamy - oh so creamy!
I feel an obsession coming on...
Homemade Yogurt
I have been having mine for a quick breakfast these past few days - mixed with some blueberries (which are so delicious at the moment) and strawberries.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mixtape Monday: Cults

Over the last 2 weeks, I have been obsessing over Cults - the band. The boy-girl duo have this retro sound a la Best Coast and Tennis, but have a rawness to them as well that reminds me of Sleigh Bells. I complied this week's mix tape based on my favorite songs off their debut album.

1. Go Outside - Cults (You will get this stuck in your head. The video below is controversial but ironic considering their name.)
2. Greenleaf - Generationals
3. Ice Cream - Sound of Arrows
4. Each and Every Day - Best Coast (This band is so summer-ready.)
5. You Know What I Mean - Cults (so 60's)
6. Take Me Somewhere - Tennis (Here is a playlist I made inspired by them)
7. True Love Ways - My Morning Jacket
8. I Want To - Best Coast
9. Oh My God - Cults
10. Release Me - The Like
11. Last Dance - The Raveonettes
12. Never Heal Myself - Cults
13. Rill Rill - Sleigh Bells
14. Used to Be - Beach House
15. Forget that You're Young - The Raveonettes

(Also, I was very saddened to hear about Amy Winehouse -I was and still am a huge fan of her music. Looking back I had 2 mix tapes that featured music by mainly her: here and here

Friday, July 22, 2011

5 Summer Beauty Essentials

Summer Beauty Essentials
When thinking about my Summer Beauty essentials (inspired by this post), I realized that my routine revolves more so about my hair and skin protection than anything else. Here are my summer must-haves:

(Left to right)

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Go Blonder Lightening Shampoo
My hair gets so dark in the winter, so in the summer I really try and lighten it to make it a more vibrant red. My goal is not to become blonde, because I would look horrible as one, but I bought this as an attempt to brighten my hair - and I believe it has worked.

Fekkai Marine Summer Hair
I love beachy waves all year round, and after trying many sea salt sprays, this one has been the best. It's not crunchy at all and pieces my waves perfectly. It also suppresses my frizz.

Neutrogena UltraSheer Sunblock
As a pale redhead, I cannot tan at all. My goal every summer is to try and stay as white as I can. This year I got two horrible burns and have already gotten a mysterious mole removed from the back of my calf (the #1 spot for cancerous moles on women). I also don't want wrinkles when I am older - ergo I always wear high spf sunblock. I found the Neutrogena formulas to be the least greasiest and pore-blocking. It's the only kind I buy.

I love that they haven't changed the bottle packaging since the 80's. I was a little hesitant to use this in my red hair, thinking it would turn it orange, but alas it did not. Thank goodness! It definitely helped bring out the golden highlights I can get in my hair.

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri Nail Color in Mint Sprint
I am currently wearing this fun aqua on my toes right now. This formula really does dry super fast and has a great fat brush for the surprisingly thick polish. After Essie and OPI, I would say Sally Hansen makes the best inexpensive nail lacquer.

I try and keep my makeup simple in the summer - bronzer on my cheeks and eyes, waterproof liner on my inner lids, some mascara and sun protective lip tint.

What are your summer beauty essentials?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Morocco, Re-imaged

Sea Green, Sea Blue
Grown Ocean
Blue Skies

My trip to Morocco seems just like yesterday, I can't believe I have been back home for 2 months now. I think that when your travels seem like they've just happened and you feel like you were there for much longer than you actually were, it's a sign of a well-spent, inspired trip. I've been revisiting my trip by making artsy exposures of my pictures and making little stop-motions.
I feel like this will be a prolonged stage.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Mixtape Monday: High School Favorites, Pt.1

With the news of my beloved Rilo Kiley breaking up last week and today's release of a new Red Hot Chili Peppers song, I was quickly reminded of my favorite bands and songs from high school. Thankfully I developed an alternative taste in music in my formative years, which quickly turned into my love of indie rock. You know when you can listen to a song and it beings to back to a specific moment where you have so much vivid details, even is it was an insignificant moment? These songs have bring back those moments for me. Here were my favorite songs from high school ('04-'08) and why:

1. Send Me On My Way - Rusted Root (I used to listen to this song almost every day in dance class. My inspiring dance teacher really was the one who made me listen to awesome, off-beat music.)
2. Landed - Ben Folds (Another dance class song, reminds me of fall of my sophomore year)
3. Girl - Beck (I was obsessed with Beck in high school. The way he can combine so many genres and instruments into one song still amazes me. This was the song that introduced me to Beck.)
4. Maps - Yeah Yeah Yeahs (I loved running to this song)
5. Title and Registration - Death Cab for Cutie (I feel like the first band that introduces people to indie music is Death Cab. This is such a great album. I remember people thinking I was "emo" because I listened to a band called Death Cab for Cutie {my school was often closed minded})
6. Shakin' - Rooney (A favorite from 8th grade that still followed through high school. This band has also broken up within the last few years. They feel like they helped bring back that retro-Beatles pop sound.)
7. Jenny Was A Friend of Mine - The Killers (Hot Fuss continues to be one of my all time favorite albums. Brandon Flowers also makes cameos in my dreams sometimes.)
8. On Your Porch - The Format (My best friend gave me this on a mix cd - still play it in my car.)
9. Not Going Anywhere - Keren Ann (This was one of the first of many French artists I started listening to. I got this album right before I went to Paris when I was 17 and I listened to it while we were driving in the car between cities.)
10. Don't Panic - Coldplay (Huge Coldplay fan in high school. This is off the Garden State soundtrack, a tracklisting that would "change my life" as Natalie Portman would say.)
11. Hide and Seek - Imogen Heap (This is also on that mix cd my bestie gave me. Everytime I hear this song is sounds new and just as raw - it never - nor will ever - get old or stale.)
12. Scissory - Psapp (I remember getting this song right before I was graduating. It kind of resonated with how I was feeling.)
13. Eleanor Put Your Boots Back On - Franz Ferdinand (Loved this band too - in particular this song.)
14. Slow Cheetah - Red Hot Chili Peppers (My dance teachers love for them made me love them. Anthony Kiedis is a warrior rock god.)
15. Eighties Fan - Camera Obscura (Such a teenage song)
16. L-L-Love - Blondfire (It was a free song on iTunes and quickly became my most played. So discotique fresh)
17. They - Jem (The paranoia song, but still, I love it. The Italian mandolin and kids voices make the song.)

What were your favorite songs/artists in high school?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Moroccan Chicken Tagine

Chicken Tagine
I recently made this Moroccan meal for my mom's birthday, inspired by the delicious tagines I had there. Tagines are a very traditional Moroccan meal consisting of couscous as a base with usually a stew of chicken, dried fruit, veggies and spices on top (see here, here, and here). They are cooked in tagine pottery on the stove or in the oven. Although I purchased a tagine in Morocco, it is way too decorative and I am afraid to put food in it - much less cook in it (way to be practical Lauren!), so I cooked mine in a large pot, which sufficed just as well.
I loosely based by recipe off of this one and made a few time efficient adjustments. (Instead of cutting a whole chicken and making a broth from it, I bought chicken drumsticks and skipped straight to the sauté step. I also used apricots instead of the raisins and left out the sesame seeds.) It took time to cook but at the same time was easy to prepare. I was pleased with the taste and similarities to the tagines I had while I was in Morocco.
Also on the side was Moroccan Carrot Salad.
and for dessert was Banana Cake with Nutella Filling and Cream Cheese Frosting. Dense, rich and chilled. YUM.
Banana Nutella Cake

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Homemade Hummus

Store-bought hummus can be expensive, so making your own is cost efficient and just as delicious (or better!). It takes almost no time and is a healthy lunch alternative that is full of protein. Here is my quick and easy recipe:

Homemade Traditional Hummus
1-15 oz can garbanzo beans, drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tablespoon Tahini (sesame seed paste - it's like Middle Eastern peanut butter)
Salt to taste
Crushed red pepper

Place beans, oil, juice and tahini in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Salt to taste and add some crushed red pepper for some kick.
Serve with fresh carrots, red peppers and pita chips.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mixtape Monday: Shuffle

{double exposure I recently did of underwater pictures I took a few years ago at the beach}

1. Shuffle - Bombay Bicycle Club (One of their songs was my favorite of last summer and I have a feeling that this new single will be my favorite of this summer. So danceable and happy.)
2. Daylight - Matt & Kim (#1 is reminiscent of this song...this one is a perennial summer favorite)
3. Good Ol' Fashioned Nightmare - Matt & Kim (makes me want to play hopscotch)
4. (You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care - Cee Lo Green (This is from the Rave On Buddy Holly covers album which I am currently obsessed with. This man has an incredible voice.)
5. Hospital Beds - Florence and the Machine (She sang this at the concert. Love the lyrics)
6. Crying, Waiting, Hoping - Karen Elson (Also a Buddy Holly cover)
7. I Can't Make You Love Me - Bon Iver (This cover is so heartbreaking and honest, a nice take on the already amazing original)
8. Window - The Album Leaf (Reminds me of the sun breaking above the trees at dawn. Beautiful and relaxing)
9. Swimming - Florence and the Machine (Didn't really listen to this song until recently. Genius.)
10. The Summer - Coconut Records (I was in Alabama this past weekend and I always listen to this song on the car ride there)
11. Rinse Me Down - Bombay Bicycle Club (An autumn favorite)

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Berry Smoothie

Berry Smoothie
This is my favorite summertime breakfast - a healthy, refreshing fruit smoothie. My trick to a creamy smoothie that is slower to melt is to use no ice and freeze all the fruit instead. Here is my recipe:

Berry Smoothie
1 banana, frozen
1 cup frozen berries, any kind (can use peaches instead too - or any fruit you are craving)
1/2 cup vanilla or blueberry yogurt
1/3 cup milk or soy milk

Put all in a blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy.

Florence, the Great

Florence + the Machine was beyond amazing. She sounded perhaps even better live than on her recordings. She was both a fairy wood nymph and Gothic rockstar. She twirled, danced and belted it out the whole time, I don't know how she had the energy. She was adorably shy and soft-spoken when she was transitioning between songs that it just made me love her even more. Flo even played some new songs off the next record.
If you get the opportunity to see her - do! It was an unforgettable musical experience that will definitely inspire you.

Also I love the video I posted above where Flo is singing a Buddy Holly song in New Orleans. It just combined all my favorite things and I am currently obsessed with it.

(I didn't bring my Nikon, because they weren't allowed at our venue, but you can see some shots here)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Charleston for the 4th

Blasting Jenny Lewis in the car. Drinking wine and raspberry champagne. Buying a new summer dress. Going to the beach. Staying up late laughing at YouTube videos with friends. Getting sun-burned. Celebrating a friend's 21st. Watching fireworks from the roof of a parking garage. Everything I wanted this weekend to be and more.
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