Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Voyage: Love Letter to Spain

In preparation for our trip, Iain reached out to one of his oldest friends who used to live in Spain asking for off the beaten path advice. The best travel recommendations come from people who know and love a city and can steer you to things you wouldn't have found otherwise. In reading his email, we were so inspired by his passion for Spain and realized that people's travel advice ends up reading like love letters to their favorite spots. Or in Nick's case, it's more like a really good mixtape your cute high school lover makes. All of the recommendations we have been receiving have been so lovely and sweet, we thought how amazing it would be to have a coffee table book filled with these heartfelt recommendations. Everyone seems to have left their heart somewhere and you can feel it in their advice, always longing for something small and everyday albeit the best of its kind and in a charming location no doubt. We hit up some of our nearest and dearest to offer up the same and left the city/country of choice up to their heart's desires. We had the highest hopes of having a series of posts scheduled while we were gone but alas, time got away from us! We will be back with some amazing tales of our own and a new series to boot! Adiós nuestros amores!

Sounds amazing man. In Madrid I would say check out Mellocoton, one of the best psych shops in Spain. If you walk east of the Prado museum, you'll hit hipsterville, and then south of that is the great Pakistani/Indian neighborhood.

In Barcelona though, I can give you the real dirt. I should hook you up with my friend Bobby, he's a cool guy with a gorgeous and sweet girlfriend, and they own a vintage shop in the old city (Carrer de Bertrellans 5, Barcelona). 

You should get David Hughes' book "Barcelona" and read it too, you can finish it in Barcelona. 

Get your coffee at one of three amazing places (trust me), in order of importance.
1. La Granja (Carrer dels Banys Nous, 4, across from my old apt). This place has one of the few original Roman walls inside the fucking cafe. Plus, the cortados are the best in the city, get a chocolate croissant. They make some other crazy drinks, like coffee with chili, check out hours though, I think they mainly and early morning place.
2. Tres Tombs (Ronda de San Antoni,, 2, other side of Raval from Ramblas, toward Mercat Sant Antoni), this place is a staple in BCN for the locals. Get a cortado and a tortilla bocadillo, plus a "bikini" (again, trust me). Lomo bocadillos are good here too.
3. Cafes Roure (Carrer del Comte Borrell, 48) In a way, this place is as special as La Granja, but it is a little known secret. Amazing coffee and pastries, you'll fucking flip, two blocks from Trest Tombs, worth the journey, it is a 15 minute walk from Las Ramblas through crazy ass Raval (hold tight to Mary in there)

Man, so much to do in BCN, definitely go to Wah Wah Discos, on Reira Baixa I think, in Raval, a tiny street with lots of vintage and other stuff. Best record store in the world, most expensive too. The one next door offers up gems as well. Great Turkish food in Raval, and the oldest bar in BCN, called Marseilles I think, or something, originally an absinthe bar, it is also hooker street and they will jump you with knives, so be careful, don't look like a tourist around there.

You can have a fancy dinner at Les Cuatre Gats, another one of BCNs oldest bars, near Plaza Cataunlya, Picasso used to hang there when he was young and it is fucking amazing. There is still an old Picasso ink drawing decaying near one of the ceilings.

Definitely walk ALL around El Borne and Gotic, check out George Orwell Plaza, maybe read Homage to Catalonia before you go. Stay away from Ramblas too much, but YOU HAVE TO GO to La Boqueria, BUT, when you do walk straight past all the white people in the first two rows, go to the middle and the stuff is better and the prices are cheaper, get the zumos (juices, pronounced thoo-mo) for 1€ each, try the pitinha, coco, fresa, brilliant. From there you can go through Raval to Mercat Sant Antoni. 

Also go to Gracia and eat at La Llesca (Avda Gaudi 12) and get there early so you can get a rabbit, grilled, and caraf of table wine. This place is another locals only gem, best eats in the whole city. Get the patatas Bravas too.

Is that enough info? - NC

P.S. This adorable couple have compiled a pretty comprehensive guidebook for Madrid. It includes their favorite restaurants, bars, record stores, vintage stores, best places to see bands play, the list goes on... We cannot wait to try out some of their recommendations!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Místico: Healing Aromas

We had the idea to start a series of posts about the scents we are wearing at the moment and their healing properties, similar to our purse dweller posts. Problem being is that Mary is a one note girl and that one note has been vanilla since she's been in the 6th grade. Candice, on the other hand, mixes it up and always has a new dreamy scent that she is wearing. So we decided to start the series with vanilla and focus future posts on scents we are favoring but not necessarily wearing, because although Mary always wears vanilla and don't get us wrong, Candice has her favorites too, we have a strong connection to all kinds of aromas. It is fascinating to us how, like crystals, you will be drawn to or notice a scent more, only to find out that the healing properties are exactly in line with what you might need at the moment. So... to start...

Derived from orchids of the Mexican species, vanilla was called "tlilxochitl" by the Aztecs which means "black flower". According to Totonac mythology, the tropical orchid was born when Princess Xanat, forbidden by her father from marrying a mortal, fled to the forest with her lover. The lovers were captured and beheaded. When their blood touched the ground, the vine of the orchid grew.

Drawing of Vanilla from the Florentine Codex (ca. 1580) and description of it's use and properties in the Nahuatl language.

Vanilla has been known to be an aphrodisiac although there is controversy as to whether mens' reported arousal was gastronomic or sexual. Mary seems to think it's gastronomic as she has been stopped several times and told she smells like freshly baked cookies or donuts, depending on the variety of oil she is wearing! 

Among Vanilla's biggest healing properties is that it is an anti-depressant, a sedative and has relaxing and tranquilizing effects. According to Joni Keim and Ruah Bull in their book "Daily Aromatherapy," vanilla essential oil can promote feelings of connectedness and integration, and may help to alleviate feelings of depression in some people. No wonder it is one of the most widely worn and used oil and one of Mary's (who tends to run on anxiety and stress) favorites.

Next time you are feeling slightly down or anxious, dab a bit of vanilla essential oil on and notice your spirits lift. Since it evokes a sense of well being, others might report feeling especially calm or happy around you.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sabroso: Harvard Cookin' Girl

With our cousin Adriana's recent (fantastic and beautiful!) wedding, our upcoming trip and visiting family in town, we've been neglecting our dear blog. There have been several blog posts started, with each of us writing a bit here and there so this post is long overdue!

One of the bridesmaid duties a couple of weeks ago was throwing the bachelorette party. Adriana wanted a low key girls night and she is a total foodie (so are we if you couldn't tell). Candice had gone to a cooking class with Adriana and Tia and fell in love with Bibi, the owner and chef at Harvard Cookin' Girl in La Jolla. We couldn't think of a better evening to celebrate Adriana than to enjoy a wonderful meal and learn some new recipes along the way.

Bibi is well versed in all cuisines but since she is Persian, we figured we could not go wrong with that choice! We were so engrossed in Bibi's fantastic stories about herself, her cooking and tidbits about each spice and dish (not to mention the food itself!) that we did not take nearly enough pictures. We plan on returning for another class soon after we get back from our trip so we will try to capture more of her beautiful dishes. 

We started with Mast-o-Khiar, a yogurt and cucumber dip similar to tzatziki. It was a refreshing appetizer and paired perfectly with the main dish as well. 

The entree was out of this world, a Chicken Plum Braise. Along with the Bokhara plums, Bibi added very generous amounts of saffron with pinches of cinnamon, rose petals and cardamom. I mean, are you kidding me? Dream dish, right there. She chose this as the entree as it is a warm, comfort food that is often served at celebratory events. Her close friend, Marjane Satrapi, wrote a book named after the dish, Chicken with Plums, which was made into a film, Poulet aux prunes, last year. We can't wait to read/see it now.

What we love about Bibi is that she truly caters the entire night to you, engages with you and takes everything into account. The planned dessert was actually Persian Wedding Cookies which we learned are very similar to Mexican Wedding Cookies with the addition of cardamom. We went off course though when she was telling us about another dessert she had recently made that had us all drooling. Roasted pineapple with black pepper and Kahlua, served over vanilla ice cream. To die for.

We ended the meal with Bibi's own blend of tea to which she added orange blossom water. 

We cannot recommend Bibi's classes enough. She is so passionate and talented, a true delight. Thank you Bibi! And Congratulations Adriana! 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Arte e Cultura: Alexis Arnold

Crystals and books! Two of our very favorite things.

The Complete Book of Houseplants

The Catcher in the Rye


Crime and Punishment

Soviet Genetics


Allure Magazine

San Francisco Phonebook

Monopoly money

This reminded us of the Roger Hiorns installation "Seizure". Everything looks so much more magical covered in crystals...

Moda: Stealing Beauty

Stealing Beauty is a film we watched over and over again when we were younger, entranced by the Tuscan countryside, Liv's youthful and subtly sexy attire, the soundtrack, the love story... We watched it again last week and we're still in love.

This was our absolute favorite look. We each had a pair of those red velvet mary janes.

Although we're sure our demographic was supposed to fall in love with the cute, young Italian, we walked away with huge crushes on Jeremy Iron's character.

A pretty perfect summer wardrobe in a pretty perfect place, no?

Monday, May 7, 2012

Moda: Levis

While looking for some new pairs of vintage jeans, we saw this photo. Ladies, let this serve as a reminder that nothing compliments a woman's derrière better than a good old pair of Levis.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Happy May Day!