Tuesday, August 30, 2011

food junkie.

"The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook." - Julia Child

I took a lot of pictures of my absolute favorite part of being abroad...the food! :) I really like to cook, so I think I'll try to re-make one of these dishes and try it out on my family, but I am having a hard time deciding which. Pasta is my absolute weakness when it comes to food...I will almost never turn it down! Although I guess I could say the same about sushi...and steak...haha, I think you get the picture. But all the food was so delicious everywhere, I can hardly think about it without getting stomach pains! Let's be honest, have you seen food this yummy here?

happy for this weekend to come, it is going to be the best!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

ciao bella, amore mio

So after we missed our train to Florence because we were a bit confused by the train schedule, I managed to talk a very sweet guy at trenitalia into giving me first class tickets on a later train... :) even though we didn't even get to use them because we got stuck in the aisle of the train along with many other people. Once we got into Florence, we took the evening to explore the city and see the famed Duomo, so beautiful! We walked through a street market with tons of clothes, purses, and jewelry...I wish that we had these in Omaha! And of course we treated ourselves to some more amazing pasta. We met the cutest American kid on the steps of the Duomo. He was studying Italian, only 16 and traveling all by himself! My friends and I talked with him for about an hour and he was just the sweetest thing. We had the most awkward moment when we told him we were going out for some gelato and no one invited him, and literally a minute after we left him we all felt so bad about it so we went back to tell him to come with us and we saw that he was getting gelato already...by himself. It was so depressing and we felt so guilty...Karma did come back to get us, though. We went to get our own gelato, and we randomly pick a place. My friend Sarah picks the biggest cone thinking it will be 5 or 6 Euro...it was 10 Euro! But the cute Italian boy serving us made up for the price :)

The next day we walked around the city, went to see the David (which was so impressive, I was so taken aback), Piazza della Signoria, walked along some of the famous bridges in Florence including Ponte Vecchio, and finally got to see the most breathtaking view from the top of city in Piazzale Michelangelo. We also saw some of the locks of love, which I absolutely love seeing! Especially in Italy, it's so romantic. We went out that night and just walked around, where I happened to run into a Spanish family sitting on the steps of Santa Croce and chatted with them for about half hour about Spain...oh the things that wine does to you. Some Greek women tried to steal my map from me in the street, but one of my friends was nice enough to run after her and retrieve it- that's true friendship. By the end of the night we were really craving some food but we could not find a single place! Except for one who tried to pawn off some old old pizza for maybe 10 Euros- no thanks :)

Then it's off to Rome!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Benvenuto!! Est estazione centrale?!

Italy was definitely one of my most favorite parts of my trip. Even though it started out kind of terribly...waiting in the Amsterdam airport forever because my flight was delayed was terrible. I had only planned one night in Milan, so by the time I got into town and to my hostel -9:30 PM- I only got to see a little bit of Milan, which was so disappointing...although I did get to talk to a very attractive Italian man on my bus who I tried to ask directions from in Italian to (and it worked!! even if he did speak Italian back to me and I just had to pretend to understand...). I thought I might find a friend who would want to walk around with me in the hostel, but my roommate was Japanese and only spoke Japanese...  But I treated myself to some gelato and all was better. My next day in Italy I spent in Verona, the cutest town with all of the Romeo and Juliet statues and history...those of you who have seen the movie "Letters to Juliet" know what I am talking about! Of course, my camera died that day so I have no pictures, but it was so amazing. Everyone who goes to Italy should stop there, its just adorable.

I spent one night in Venice by myself, exploring the canals and eating gelato (again...this becomes a recurring theme in Italy) and it was absolutely beautiful. Venice was kind of a surprise city for me. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it ended up being my favorite city of Italy. I met some of my friends from the Sevilla study abroad program and we traveled Italy together. Our first night in Venice we walked along the canals and went to the center of the city, Piazza San Margarita, where people were drinking bottles of wine and just enjoying the beauty of the city. It was perfect weather and so easy to just spend some time relaxing with friends.

The next day we did the "church" tour of Venice, stopping to see all the churches. Le Basilica di San Marco and the plaza was was really impressive, even if there were a ton of people there! Not to mention the pigeons...I've never seen so many in my life! This woman was standing in the middle of the pigeons and letting them walk all over her...she probably had about 25 pigeons on her. I didn't know whether to laugh or be disgusted. We went on a little gondola ride across the big canal and I felt so Italian (although in retrospect it was sooo touristy). We walked on this street that was soo tempting with its amazing shops...I basically had to tear myself away!

Then we had the most amazing last night in Venice...we ate at the best restaurant (Taverno San Trovaso, by one of the bigger canals that runs through the city. I had gnocchi for the first time ever and it was so delicious, just to die for. Then we went to the Piazza San Margarita for the night again with some bottles of wine and met some amazing people there that night...I was lucky enough to see the Basilica San Marco at dawn and the sun rising over the canal. :)

Unfortunately, we would get confused at the train station and miss our train...but that's for another post!!

thank you to my friend Angelique for some of the pictures of Venice, you are the best photographer and fashionista ever!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

high heels are a girl's best friend.

So I know it has been a long delay, but we have been so busy this week, and of course enjoying our last weekend before we go back to class. I made a really great find this past week in one of my favorite boutiques in Omaha, beyourself. They just had their huge annual tent sale and I was able to find this fabulous pair of high heel shoes. Anyone that knows me knows that I love my high heels (or schlampeschuhe as they have come to be called! haha) so I was so happy to find some discounted to only $15! Also found a beautiful necklace to go with my pale peach shirt that I bought at H&M in Sevilla.

I couldn't resist wearing them out together this weekend!!

The worst thing happened this weekend, though...trying to enjoy my last Saturday night before class, my car gets broken into at the bar and all my things inside stolen, including my purse and Gina's purse. :( Luckily, someone found my purse in a street nearby and called my house and none of my credit cards had been stolen. Only the cash and some other things in my purse...now I just have to fix the crushed windows of my car.

But to make up for it, I had the yummiest breakfast today! Latte macchiato with this delicious mushroom & oregano omelette. Played it with a little Taylor Swift, and my morning was complete. :)

Excited to start my last -for now- first day of school on Wednesday! Heidi started today...I tried not to rub it in or anything (maybe...).

Playlist of the moment: Running

Always upbeat music with a steady rhythm, it helps to keep me going when I get tired. I could always use suggestions for new music please :)

Jet Lag- Simple Plan feat. Natasha Bedingfield
Teeth- Lady Gaga
Super Bass- Nicki Minaj (yes, out forever but I am still loving it!)
Gucci Gucci- Kreayshawn
I Just Wanna Party- Yelawolf
Best Love Song- T-Pain
Love You Like a Love Song- Selena Gomez & the Scene (don't judge.)
Rumour Has It- Adele
The Edge of Glory- Lady Gaga
Danza Kuduro- Don Omar & Lucenzo (reminds me of Sevilla...)
Loca- Shakira
You Make Me Feel...- Cobra Starship feat. Sabi
Moves like Jagger- Maroon 5 feat. Christina Aguilera

Cheers to the end of the summer and beginning of what is going to be an amazing fall!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

sex, drugs, and alcohol, also known as amsterdam.

The first stop on my trip after Heidi went back home after Sevilla was Amsterdam for three days. When I walked off of the plane, I was so nervous to be by myself in a country where I knew not one word of their language (Dutch, which I swear I never mixed up with Danish...). But all the signs were also written in English, and as I came to find out, almost everyone in Amsterdam speaks English so I didn't really have much to be worried about. My hostel turned out to be in a perfect location- only a 10 minute walk from the main train station and about 5 minutes from the center. There was so much to see in Amsterdam- the Anne Frank house, the canals, the Red Light District, all of the marijuana cafes, so many amazing museums, the yummiest cheese factory with free samples of all the delicious cheeses, this beautiful garden...I'm not sure I can name it all!

The Red Light District is seriously a stunner, though. The prostitutes in the windows is definitely one of those "culture shock" moments, especially when you see the ones that look so young (the legal age is 18) and some of them are so very, very old. There were absolutely tons of British and Australians there, especially men in bachelor parties...they apparently keep Dutch prostitution in business (70% of the women's clients come from England...and they say Americans are sex-crazed). The best was the hero themed Australian bachelor party, who all kept yelling that they were going to "save" the women. The sex clubs like the infamous Pink Elephant are kind of outrageous, they are everywhere and there is absolutely no shame for people to go in and watch, even though I was kind of embarassed even looking at the clubs from the outside- must've been the American in me. :)

The "cafes" are also something to see because of the openness of using marijuana and hash. It is actually illegal to advertise that you sell marijuana, but you know which places have it because they decorate the outside of the cafe in red, gold, and green. They also provide a place to smoke, usually upstairs. There was also a marijuana museum with some really interesting history, who knew that it was so important?

The best part of Amsterdam was definitely just walking along the canals and experiencing the city...there is no other place like it. The buildings lean outward and to the side, really kind of funny, and they are charged taxes on houses by the width of the house so some of them are so super skinny! And there were so many bicycles. The streets are crowded with them! Although they do say the number of bikes stolen a year is tremendous (hm, I feel like I've heard of that happening before...American friends, you know who you are!! :) )

There were a few protests while I was there, which I followed with another American girl I met in my hostel. Still not sure what exactly they were protesting, but there were signs of Hitler, people were dressed in crazy costumes, singing, dancing (in Dutch and English)...so, basically super entertaining.

I thought that maybe I decided to stay too long in Amsterdam beforehand- I kind of just went on a whim, but it was the perfect amount of time for me. So beautiful and so much more than just what it's famous for. Even though my time ended a little on the bad side (my flight was delayed 7 hours..really? Yes. Fabulous...love you Ryanair), it was by far one of the most unique cities in Europe.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What a great weekend! Lots of work but also some time to go out and see some of my long lost Omaha friends. Friday night we started at Roja, one of the cutest places in Omaha, not to mention Friday night is dollar Corona nights (yes, apparently I have turned into a beer drinker since going to Europe...who knew?!). Needless to say, it was a good night full of old friends and familiar places, ending up at the infamous Whiskey Tango as usual. :) Saturday night was some bar hopping downtown, and I was lucky enough to see some of my old high school friends around...a nice surprise to my weekend! Sundays are always lazy days for me (yeah I know, what's a real productive day to me?) so we did some tanning at the lake and I finally got to watch the movie Love and Other Drugs- which was good but surprisingly serious. But Jake Gyllenhaal was amazing- definitely have a little celeb crush now. :)

And I finally have some pictures of what I bought! I didn't realize when I went shopping, but I went kind of pink crazy...well, what can I say? I'm a girl...I have a weak spot for all things pink (which probably explains my serious addiction to Victoria's Secret)! I am super excited about my new make-up brushes, they were really soft and not expensive at all!

Friday, August 12, 2011

just loving those nebraska drivers.

No one in Omaha can drive.

Seriously, no one.

This is a given fact at this point, I think, for anyone who has lived in or even driven through Omaha. Having lived in Europe for the summer, it is kind of stunning when you get back on the road for the first time. Not that I drove in Europe -please, like anyone would be dumb enough to let me- but I was with other people who were driving, and it seemed like the rules of the road were pretty clear. Left lane = fast lane, everyone else get out of the way. They actually used their blinkers and remembered to turn them off after they've switched lanes (more Asian jokes probably running through your mind). They knew how to drive with bicyclers on the road...in Amsterdam, there were probably more bikes than people. But Omaha? No. Like today, when someone thought it would be a brilliant idea to cut me off as I was trying to change lanes on my way to work. Okay, maybe I was speeding, but that's irrelevant... :)
...and there's a story that someone reminded me of recently.
So, one morning I am driving to my morning class at Creighton, and for whatever reason I happen to be on 72nd and Maple in the left turning lane, trying to get onto Maple. It's a red light, so obvi I'm just dancing away to some music in my car, and finally the turn light is green. So, I'm ready to make my move...and the car in front of me isn't going. I wait a couple of seconds (maybe he/she was texting, something I'm definitely guilty of)...and nothing. The light goes back to red, and now I'm angry -I don't even get angry that easily, but bad drivers really get me. It was the morning, I was going to class, and I had forgotten my coffee...not a good combination. So at the next green signal, there was no one next to me so I decided to drive around this car, and I looked in to give a mean look...and this woman is ASLEEP at the wheel! In a running car! Head back on the seat like nobody's business. I honked a few times as I passed her and I hope it woke her up because I didn't wait around to see. I was so worked up that I told basically everyone that day about this and...anyway, the point is, no one in Omaha knows how to drive.

And I have a little apology, I didn't have time to take any pictures because I was at the lake all day yesterday getting tan :), so here's a little preview of a couple of the things I bought!

pretty pink and gold ring from Forever 21, kind of plain but I am loving gold lately and the pink is such a cute shade. Thinking about back and getting the turquoise version of this.

cutest little gold bow ring from Forever 21, I have been searching for one for such a long time

Dancing Waters body lotion and body wash from Bath and Body Works, my absolute favorite scent that I have been dying without in Europe, it is so fresh with a little bit of floral in it, perfect for summer! It's just yummy.

Tons of work today and then a night out with best friends tonight! Have a fabulous Friday! :)

PS- I found this really fun video on Youtube of the Forever 21 3D runway show in Brussels...pretty amazing technology being used!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

homemade curry chicken- yum!

So even though I have been having a huge love affair with sushi since I've been back to the States (insert Asian joke here), when my mom asked me to cook dinner I decided on a whim to try to cook with some curry. I've always loved curry and so I got super excited when the idea popped in my head. It was a spur of the moment decision so I just improvised with ingredients and preparation as I went along, but the end result was really tasty -even Heidi really liked it, which is saying something! I made sure to use a lot of veggies and some lean chicken breast so that it didn't end up being really unhealthy (on an American scale; in the rest of the world perhaps a different story).

Curry Chicken and Vegetables on White Rice
(serves 4 "hungry man" portions)

3 bell peppers (I used red, orange, yellow)
8 oz sliced mushrooms
4 oz sliced carrots
1 jalapeno pepper (optional, we just like our food a little bit spicier!)
4 lean chicken breasts, sliced into small chunks or thin strips (think chicken fingers)
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper
chili powder (optional)
olive oil
3.5 oz curry paste or curry sauce mix (I used golden/yellow curry, but use whatever type you like)
water, as needed
white rice, as desired (chow mein noodles would work too!)

1. Slice up the bell peppers, mushrooms, carrots, and jalapeno (or whatever vegetables you've chosen to use). Put them all in a bowl and set it aside.
2. Slice up the chicken and put it into its own bowl; add a pinch of salt, pepper and also the garlic.
3. Put around 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil in a medium sized skillet and add the chicken. Cook on medium heat until chicken is fully cooked (if you are using thin slices, make sure that you flip the chicken so it gets cooked on both sides). Slowly add curry while the chicken is cooking. Add 1 teaspoon of chili powder if you want it to be spicier.
4. Once the chicken is fully cooked, add the veggies to the mix. You can grill or sauté the veggies first if you want, or add them fresh. Add additional olive oil if necessary.
5. You can decide how much water to add, depending on how you like your sauce. To make a semi-thick sauce, add 1/4 cup of water.
6. Cook until the sauce is at desired consistency and the veggies are done.
7. Serve on top of white rice or chow mein noodles.

And...enjoy the deliciousness!!

I also got to do a little shopping for the first time since being back, and got some goodies from Victoria's Secret and Forever 21- two of the hardest shops to resist! Even so, I am definitely missing all of the shopping Europe had to offer- but I'll have to make due for now! I'll be sure to post some pictures of my purchases later. :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

Voulez-vous coucher avec moi (ce soir)?

So since my trip is all finished, the blog is going to kind of change its direction. I'll still continue to post on our summer travels and my solo trip (since there is still tons to tell) but we are expanding what we are writing about! We'll include the yummy food we come across and recipes for what we cook, fashion that we are into and see on the streets (although in Nebraska, I'm not sure how much of that we'll actually come across...), and anything else we become interested in.

But as for more travels, Heidi and I decided to travel to France over our puente with one of our friends from the program, Jackie. The night before we left, we went to this amazing bullfight which was very gory with all the stabbing of the bulls, but such an intriguing experience. Then an early flight to Paris the next morning with Ryanair, who is cheap but a bit scary considering they play music for every flight they land safely. Yikes. We had some trouble with our hostel (BVJ Louvre), who overbooked and told us that our reservation didn't mean anything and that we had to find somewhere else to stay our second night in Paris, which made Heidi very very angry (she was giving her Lily death stare, for all the HIMYM fans out there), although we ended up being able to stay. The location was ideal and we walked everywhere in Paris! By far the most romantic city in that we visited in Europe...hopefully someday we will be walking the streets with our husbands and boyfriends. :)  
in front of the arc de triomphe with Bianca, who we met in the hostel

in front of the Moulin Rouge (we were standing on top of this fan and so our hair was blowing everywhere!)
drinking some moscato in our hostel, so typical

Heidi and Jackie, out for some crepes at lunch
laughing the night away!
Notre Dame, only a 5 minute walk from our hostel :)
at Sacre Couer, the most incredible view of Paris
outside the Louvre
my bank account took a serious hit on this street
the eiffel tower!
the guys that were selling souveniors on the streets heard the police were coming and so they ran (very very fast) across the street to escape
at the bullfight the night before Paris
using some free wifi from Le Metro, our favorite little cafe. or in Jackie's case, roaming.

red lips!

The nights out in Paris were very fun! Although a little expensive (7 Euro for a beer?!). But we met some fun people in our hostel both nights to hang out with and have a good time, even a few Spaniards and Mexicans to keep practicing our Spanish on. :) And of course, we drank some delicious wine to start both of our nights in Paris! Unfortunately, we also had a few experiences with French prejudice against Americans (particularly on the metro), but we tried not to let it get us down. I think by the end of our trip, though, we were definitely ready to be back in Sevilla.

Well, 4:00 AM has arrived very, very fast, so I think that my bed is calling my name!
Goodnight :)