His & Hers: Summer Playlist [His]

Here is the Summer Playlist I promised you from Taylor! Here's what he had to say about it:

There are a few artists on this playlist that I am currently obsessed with.  For example, The National has seen a lot of playtime on my iPhone and computer.  Their new album, “Trouble Will Find Me” is great.  I listened to it everyday in France on my 20-minute walk to and from school.  Perfect walking music.  But I also think that their music is great for summer evenings with the speakers on and maybe a [insert favorite cocktail] in hand.  At the same time, music like that can be a little melancholy, so I tried to find a balance with some more upbeat stuff.  For example, Fitz and the Tantrums is a band that I just discovered (I know I’m behind on this one).  They are very fun and light.  And of course, Daft Punk’s new album “Random Access Memories” can’t be left out.  I also put in a tune off their older album, “Discovery.”  Both songs are great for getting funky in a digital way.  Anyway, I’ll let you navigate your way through the rest, but those are some of my highlights.  I hope you enjoy the music—happy summer!      -Taylor

Does any one else make playlists for different seasons or occasions?  It's fun to have music that reminds you of a specific time in your life :)  Hope you have a great weekend!

(original photo)

His & Hers: Summer Playlist [Hers]

Last year I shared a Summer Playlist that Taylor and I made together, but this year we each made our own. They're both pretty different, so I thought it would be fun to share both of them this week. Here is my mix--Taylor will share his later this week! 

France Video

Before we began our trip in Europe Taylor and I decided we wanted to try to make short videos from our time in each country we went to. Neither of us are particularly skilled videographers, but it was fun none the less! (The parts where you feel like you're in an earthquake from all the shaking are by yours truly...). Anyway, here is the video we made for France! The songs in the video are "Si tu vois ma mere" by Sidney Bechet, "Moi Je Joue" by Bridgette Bardot, and "Elle Me Dit" by Mika.  Hope you like it!

Eurotrip: Paris, France

Paris was the last stop of our trip in Europe, and definitely one of our favorite cities. Taylor had already fallen in love with Paris on a program trip during his semester abroad, but this was my first time in the city.  Even though it was a bit cloudy and on the colder side, I also fell in love. How can you not? We stayed in the cutest little apartment in the 14th arrondissement, near a subway stop that got us to all the sights easily. Every morning Taylor went and got the yummiest pastries from a patisserie down the street, and we ate breakfast out on the porch connected to our room.
Each day we went to a different market street where we walked around and got supplies for lunch. On our first day we went and had our lunch in the park near the Eiffel Tour in a rare spot free of crowds of tourists. On our last day we got rotisserie chicken and fat soaked potatoes to go with our bread and cheese and wine in a water bottle.  SO GOOD. On our second day we went and locked our love on Pont des artes (we're corny like that...)
As we explored the city we quickly saw lots of the sights, but stayed away from going into most of them. The only museum we went to was Musee de Orsay. I felt crazy not going to the Louvre, but with so little time we didn't want to deal with the crowds and long lines. Next time!
TO DO & SEE: The two streets/markets we went to that I remember were called Rue Cler and Rue Montorgüell. Both were nice but we liked Rue Cler better. It was definitely less touristy--lot of locals buying an armful of baguettes for the week!
Montemarte was one of my favorite neighborhoods.  There were lots of cool boutiques with locally designed and made clothing (some really great dress stores).  On our last night we went to dinner in Montemarte and ended up walking around as it got dark. After hearing some people talking about a beautiful view near by, we walked all the way up to the top of the hill that the area is situated around and found a building/church (?? our tour book probably knows what this building is but I don't feel like looking it up...it's the building pictured above).  Anyway, below this building were stairs filled with people looking out on a beautiful view of the city.  It was super full of tourists, but worth a few minutes to take in the twinkling city lights.
Musee d'Orsay-- we chose to go here instead of the Louvre because honestly, most of the art at the Louvre isn't really our thing (gasp!). We especially enjoyed seeing art by Dega and Van Gogh. Would highly recommend it! 
TO EAT AND DRINK: On our second night we set out to go to a taco place called Candelaria.  It is a tiny little place with a small area to order tacos (there is one table and a little bar space to eat at) and a really cool bar in the back.  The door to the bar is at the back and looks like it leads to a back room for employees or something. When we got there the line was super long and we were hungry so we decided to skip the tacos and come back for drinks after dinner.  The tacos looked really good though so I would definitely recommend giving it a try.
We ended up going to the restaurant right next door, called Clasico Argentino, which was an empanadas place. So good. And so cheesy. Afterwards we went to Candelaria for yummy cocktails.
On our last night we went out for a fancier meal to end the trip. We went to Miroir in Montemarte which was amazing. I had fish and Taylor had lamb.  Everything we saw people order looked amazing.
We also found La Famille (also in Montemarte) when we were looking for nicer places to go. Apparently they have really fancy, interesting drinks.  Unfortunately we didn't end up being able to go there, but it would be a good place to check out.

Check back tomorrow for the video we made about our time in France!

Butter Chicken + Roti

Who doesn't like butter chicken? I'm pretty sure no one is raising their hand right now.  Even when I was vegetarian I would sneak spoonfuls of sauce from my brother when he got butter chicken (I was an undisciplined vegetarian...).  This past weekend a friend came over and taught my roommates and I how to make butter chicken and roti.  We were in heaven. It was so good I even forgot to take a pretty picture of the final product on my plate.  Oops.  
Our friend taught us how to make everything based off of watching his mom throw ingredients into a pan ...so the measurements are approximate. Taste as you go to decide if you need to add more of anything!

2 cups whole wheat flour
4 tsp olive oil
A dash of salt
3/4 cup water (might have to add more)

Combine all of your ingredients, using your hands to mix.  Mix as little as possible. Slowly add more water until all of the dough can be shaped into one big ball--but don't let it get too sticky! Cover and let sit for 30-45 minutes. Sprinkle a clean surface with white flour. Separate your dough into small balls (like, golf ball size-ish). Roll the balls of dough out with a rolling pin so they are super thin.  About as thin as you can get them. Heat a pan and coat with butter. Cook until the roti starts to bubble and brown and flip.  Make sure to coat each side of the roti with a little butter while it cooks. Mmmmm. Put the roti on a plate with paper towels. Put your stack of yummy, buttery bread in the oven on low to keep warm while you finish up your curry!
Butter Chicken
Olive oil
1 Yellow Onion (chopped up small)
6 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tablespoon butter
Roughly 2 inches of fresh ginger (grated)
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp coriander
2 tsp tandoori masala
1/2 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp cayenne (this batch wasn't super spicy, so if you like your food spicy I would add a little more--add slowly at the end so you can make sure it doesn't get too hot!)
1 can of diced tomatos
A little over a pound of chicken breasts (cut up into bite sized chunks)
A few large spoonfuls of plain greek yoghurt (you could also use cream instead)
Salt to taste

Coat the bottom of a large pan with olive oil. Add in your minced garlic and cook on medium heat until slightly browned.  Add onions and heat until slightly browned. Add in butter, ginger, and all of your spices and cook for a couple minutes.  Next, add your diced tomatoes and let what you have so far sit on medium heat.  When the oil starts to separate from everything else it is time to add in the chicken. Make sure the chicken cooks all the way through! You can also add in your yoghurt at this point. Once everything is in, cover your curry and let it sit on medium/low heat until the sauce is thickened...or really as long as you want.  Our friend said the longer you let it sit, the better it gets. Ours probably sat for around an hour, with us checking on it every so often.

Serve your curry over rice with your roti! We also made some raita to have on the side (this is good to cool your mouth down if things get too spicy for you).  We made a quick version by mixing a small bowl of plain yoghurt with some chopped onions, garlic, cilantro and cucumber. Maybe add in a little cumin and coriander for some extra flavor.

Next time I want to try making this with paneer (indian cheese) instead of chicken--this would be a great substitution for any veggies out there. Hope you all enjoy this recipe!

I'm Thinking It's a Sign...

Remember that tutorial for how to make simple quote wall art that I posted here a while back? Well, my roommate/partner-in-crime Sydney recently made some art for her room using my tutorial that I thought I would share. She used smaller letters and spread her quote across 3 different smaller canvases.  I love how it turned out...the quote she used is also one of my most favorite lyrics (if you don't already know, it's from the song "Such Great Heights" by Postal Service.  And if you have never heard of that song go do yourself a favor and look it up). Has anyone else tried this tutorial? I would love to see pictures! 

EuroTrip: Strasbourg, France

Hello, blog friends! Long time, no see. I haven't fallen off the face of the earth! Summer has given me a new burst of inspiration (and a little more free time) and I'm ready with lots of fun posts for your viewing pleasure.

As some of you may know, Taylor and I just got back from a 3 week trip around Europe.  Taylor was studying in Strasbourg, France last semester, so I met him there and we travelled around France, Italy & Spain. Over the next few weeks I will be sharing some photos, videos and recommendations from our trip.  It was an amazing trip, so I am excited to share with you all.

Today I'm going to share some pictures from our time in Strasbourg and a few bits and pieces about what we did/recommendations, in case any of you ever decide to check it out! I will share the video we made from our trip soon.
After one of the longest, rainiest winters in France, the sun finally came out the week I arrived in Strasbourg. We spent most of our time wandering around, exploring the city--we walked along the canal, went to the park, explored "petit France." We ate our fair share of pastries, tarte flambe, café, and Alsatian beer (Alsace is the name of the region Strasbourg is in). While we were there we also got to have dinner with Taylor's host family--it was nice to be able to see what he had been experiencing over the last 5 months.

We stayed in a room in an apartment that we rented out through airbnb.com.  I would highly recommend using this site when you travel anywhere! We used the site throughout the trip to rent out rooms and loved every apartment we stayed in.  It was nice having hosts to give us advice (the people who own the apartments are also usually living there), and by only renting a room it was just as cheap as staying in a hostel. Our apartment in Strasbourg was a perfect little place with a tiny little kitchen, creaky floorboards, and windows looking down into narrow cobblestone streets.  Our hosts were wonderful and very interesting-- we shared a bottle of wine with them one night and learned about the man's job as a circus clown! 
We spent one day seeing a few of the bigger tourist sites.  We went to Rohan Palace where we saw a couple of impressive exhibits, and then we went to the cathedral and climbed to the top for a beautiful view. [Below: The view from the top of the cathedral, stained glass in the cathedral, and German style buildings lining the river]

With each of these posts I'm going to share our recommendations for things to see, places to eat/drink, etc. We stumbled upon some really fun places along the way that we want to share!

Strasbourg is a pretty small place and while there are a number of interesting (more touristy) sites to see, the best way to experience the city is by just walking around and getting lost...here are a few places you might want to check out along the way... 

TO DO AND SEE: Grab some bread and cheese and walk to the parc de l'Orangerie for a picnic. 
In the evening walk along the canal and stop by the boat bars for a drink on your way back.
 Climb up the cathedral for a beautiful view.  If you go to the cathedral at midday you can buy a ticket to see the astronomical clock at work. Be sure to go back and see the cathedral at night as well. 
If you are into museums, check out Rohan Palace, which has a few different collections to choose from, though nothing we found particularly exciting.
Walk around petit france for a little shopping and to see a nice part of town.

TO EAT AND DRINK: Taylor's favorite place to go for coffee during the day or drinks at night was a cute little spot called Jeannette's in Centre Ville.  They have delicious mojitos.
Try some Tarte Flambe while you are there (sort of like the French version of a pizza). 
Taylor also recommends a place called La Lanterne for drinks and tarte flambe.  He says they have a happy hour on Wednesdays that includes specials on both!