Random Travel Shots – Europe, Week 5

Travel Travel

TravelIt’s absolutely impossible for me to believe that we could be 5/6 of the way through our Grand European Excursion™, but here we are. I’ve just gotten around to doing some photo editing (hello, full SDcard!), so I thought I’d share a few outtakes from our trip. So far, we’ve explored London, Paris, Luxembourg, Bruges, Ghent, Random Towns in Germany, Rome, Florence, and Venice. We’re presently in Istanbul (what a city!), and in two days we’ll leave for Santorini. It’s been insane. It’s been wonderful, awe-inspiring, tough, grandiose and heartrending. I’m having the time of my life, and I never want it to end.

Travel TravelDSC_0001

Unfortunately, though, life isn’t a permanent vacation. It can, however, be a permanent adventure. We’ve worked through 5 weeks of challenges and surprises, excitement and exhaustion. I guess the next challenge will be to imbue our day-to-day with as much wonder and excitement as we have experienced on this trip.

They say that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer. As our wonderful adventure draws to a close, I’m definitely feeling a greater sense of prosperity (although my bank account screams otherwise…). Affluence of the spirit is one of the many pleasant side-effects of this kind of adventure, and we are definitely reaping the benefits.

TravelTravelTravel

I catch you all in a few days/weeks. For now, I hope you’re having as wonderful a summer as I am – I’d love to hear all about your adventures! Shoot me a comment, or hit me up on Twitter / Instagram .

xox, – A

Summertime Sensations: E’s Favorite Guacamole

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 12.09.41 PM

*photo credit to Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere 

Hello, Summertime People!

While driving home yesterday, I was trying to decide if I should make my Pumpkin Scones for the West Elm home-team who are visiting my apartment this weekend. The West Elm associates have graciously offered to help me plot out our new apartment space, and are coming over to both apartments on Saturday to take a look at what we have and make some much-needed update suggestions. I’m relying on the design team of my local store to help turn “my space” into “our space.” This service is FREE at any West Elm or Pottery Barn store… I highly suggest taking advantage of the incredible talent and advice they have to offer!

Anyway, back to the Pumpkin Scones. I might make them to serve with fresh coffee for my guests… but Pumpkin in the summer seems a little bit odd. I got to thinking about fall, and how with each passing year, Pumpkin-everything seems to creep ever so slowly from October to September, even into August. Though I do love these scones, I am deeply enjoying summer and don’t want to risk ushering in a new season before I’ve barely enjoyed the current one!

My 20-something adulthood summer food means cold Rosé, grilled dinners, and endless batches of spicy and satisfying guacamole. Sipping something cold with this guac while playing endless games of Monopoly Deal or catching up with friends feels luxurious and easy… almost like those PB/West Elm people could come over and take photos of me for their “20-something living” blog… Look at me, world:  I’m a pulled-together, sort-of adult! I make  my own guac, and look, my bed is made!

The recipe comes from one of my all time favorite blogs, Cupcakes and Cashmere. I’ve adapted it slightly, but remain loyal to the perfection of Emily’s recipe. It’s so easy to whip up on a moment’s notice, and you can change it up for any guest [for example, Amanda despises cilantro... so I just leave it out.] I make this for everything. Summertime rosé with chips and guac, fajita night with roasted stone-fruit Sangria (recipe from me, coming soon!) … I’m even guilty of eating it with carrots at midnight when my ‘diet’ food doesn’t quite do the trick.

Ingredients (serves 2-4): -4 ripe avocados (they should be firm, with just a slight give) -1/4 cup cilantro, chopped -2 tablespoons fresh lime juice -2 tablespoon shallot ( like some extra flavor) , finely diced -2 teaspoons jalapeño, minced (remove the seeds if you don’t want it quite as spicy) -1-2 teaspoons coarse salt, to taste -1/4 teaspoon freshly grated black pepper

Directions:

1. Cut avocados in half. Remove seed. Scoop out avocado from the peel and place it in a mixing bowl.

2. Roughly mash the avocado with a fork. Add the cilantro, lime juice, shallot, jalapeño, salt and pepper and continue to mix well.

3. Transfer to a clean bowl and serve immediately.

See? SO EASY! Just mix it up and serve. Add some jalapeño seeds to make it extra spicy, and leave it to sit in the fridge for an hour with the seeds if you want it  extra HOT!  Enjoy with a cold glass of something boozy and warm tortilla chips. In other news, I still have no idea what to make my guests on Saturday morning. Suggestions appreciated!

xox,

E

Lifehacks: How to Budget Yourself In Your Twenties Without Losing Your Mind

How To Budget Yourself In Your Twenties

If you’re anything like me, setting and sticking to a budget is a daunting and intimidating experience. I remember the first time I had to sit and make a budget before I went to college  - I needed to outline my spending and saving goals for my parents, which I resisted and hated… until I learned that it wasn’t to prevent me from spending – it was to be realistic about what I wanted to spend money on versus what I didn’t want to waste money on. It was an eye-opening experience, and one that has helped me tremendously in my adult life. Though I sometimes tend to be a bit holistic about spending (new dress for engagement photos? Sure, I’ll make it work… sort of?), I’m try to be pretty strict about keeping to my personal monthly budget. For me, it’s less about limitation and more about being smart about how and where I actually spend my money. Sound intimidating? It’s actually not! Let me break it down for you.

READ ON