July 23, 2014

How Do You Breaky?

I believe there are two types of people in this world--those who eat breakfast and those who don't. My whole life, I've considered myself a person who doesn't really eat breakfast--only because I'm never dying of hunger in the morning and can't really stand to do the standard "American breakfast." Eggs aren't my thing (although I've learned to deal with them) plus pancakes, waffles and all that nonsense are for people who rather swim in a pool of syrup than a pool of olive oil (my dream!) My family used to actually be in awe when I'd opt for a leftover plate of pasta for breakfast instead of that omelet with a side of bacon my sister was in the process of devouring.

As my life has progressed though, I've been exposed to different kinds of breakfast. I am sure you can imagine my excitement when I realized that they don't eat eggs for breakfast in India, Italy or even France (although they sometimes do, it's not always a regular thing)! My kind of people!

In India, they basically eat another version of dinner for breakfast. It's usually a curry/stew served with pieces of chapati (bread) with which you dip into the stew. In Italy, it's un caffe with this over the top, extra-sugary, creme-filled pastry Nicholas always tries to get me to eat. But in France, it's usually a tartine which is basically an open-faced sandwich with spreads and other delicious accouterments.

Ah, the French. They do things so well, don't they? At least I think so. See, the thing about a tartine is that it can go so many ways. You can do the whole American thing and top your tartine with eggs. Or you can disguise your need for salty mid-day foods by topping your tartine with ricotta and prosciutto. Basically, the world is your tartine and you can dress it however you want.

This morning--you guessed it--I had a tartine! It was a piece of toast with salty butter and honey drizzled over it. It sounds so simple but it was so delicious. Give it a try.

Photo taken at Black Seed Bagel, a great place to get a savory breakfast!

July 18, 2014

It Feels Good To Be Home

Most of you know I have always loved to travel. From a young age, my mother taught me to seek new places and to look for adventure on the way. Once I graduated high school, I sought any excuse to skip town although, short on cash, and still somewhat tied to the womb, my escapades never took me too far. But still far enough to have my friends proclaim Eli, you're never home!

It's cool to be adventurous. It's exciting to see new things. It's really great to try new foods. And I guess that's why when I came to the realization earlier this month that lately, I've really enjoyed being home, I couldn't help but think of how lame I was being. Why be home when you can be in X?

I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I spent the last four years or so traveling somewhere almost every month. Whether it was a quick trip down to Miami to visit my family, or nice jaunt to the West Coast to visits Nicholas', traveling became a bit exhausting. I actually remember the trip(s) after which I proclaimed, okay...I'm done for a bit. 

But still, the question remains: is it boring of me to just want to be home for a bit? I don't think so. I feel as if it's just a phase. Sometimes one wants to be moving around and at other times, one wants to be sedentary. I just happen to be having one of those sedentary moments and I'm looking at it as an opportunity to really enjoy New York for what it's worth--to hate it..to love it..to just have to deal with it. I'm spending my time focusing on my home, my career, my hobbies and my relationship. After all, this can't last forever, right?

PS-I hope you don't take this in the wrong way. I am forever grateful for the fact that I am so lucky to travel the way I do. I actually think staying in New York is MORE expensive than if I was elsewhere. The irony!

photo from unknown. 

July 16, 2014

Travel Like A Local: How To Eat

In celebration of summer and the best time of year to travel, I'd like to introduce Travel Like A Local--a weekly column celebrating the art of looking like you belong. I'll share tips and tricks I've picked up along the way that are sure to help you really experience a city as if it were your own. Because well, isn't that the best way?

Eat with love. And eat everything. At least once, if not every day. No but seriously! I've met so many people in my life who aren't open to trying new foods while on vacation. Not only does this infuriate me to no end (sorry not sorry?!), it makes me sad for them. Not only are they missing out on what is probably so delicious and authentic, they're completely avoiding such an important part of a city's culture.

When looking for restaurants or even a quick bite, follow the locals. They know where to eat, trust them! Stay away from restaurants surrounding major tourist spots and don't be afraid to wander down tiny streets. Judge a restaurant by it's patrons. See a bunch of locals devouring their meals? That's probably a good place to grab a bite. But also, don't be afraid to try a restaurant just because it's empty. On our recent trip to Italy, we ate at the most delicious agriturismo in the Tuscan hills. There was no one in the restaurant but something in our stomaches (possibly hunger?) told us to give a shot. We were so glad we did. 

This next tip applies to travel in eastern countries whose delicacies our western stomaches may not be so accustomed to. Don't be a afraid to get sick. I know, this one's hard. And I've definitely been there before. But it's important to not let your fear of getting sick cloud your experience. After all, Imodium exist and it works! Of course, there are parameters to this rule. For example, street food in India might not be the best idea because yes, you will most likely get sick. But still, don't let it hold you back. If you want to try it, try it!

Respect their hours. This one really applies in Europe where lunch hour is lunch hour, apperitivo hour is apperitivo hour and dinner hour is dinner hour. Don't be upset when the nice old Italian grandpa doesn't want to serve you lunch at 4:30PM--they've got hours! And you should respect them. After all, the Europeans have been perfecting this whole eating thing for quite some time, no?

July 14, 2014

Let's Talk Flowers 01: The Peony

Inspired by the book, The Language and Sentiment of Flowers, Let's Talk Flowers is a series that explores the age old language of flowers also known as floriography. 

A friend of mine gifted me this book, The Language and Sentiment of Flowers. I have always had it out on my coffee table but never really took the time to flip through it until just recently. I was immediately intrigued by the book; it was a Victorian glossary of flowers and their meanings. It encouraged its readers to send notes solely through flowers. A bouquet of six or seven different flowers could just as easily send a message in the same way a hand-written note could. An example:

"May maternal love protect your early youth in innocence and joy!"

flowers needed:
Moss........Maternal love
Bearded Crepis.........Protect
Primroses.........Early youth
Wood Sorrel.........joy

After receiving the bouquet, the giftee would then turn to her handy book to decode the message, but only if she already didn't know what each flower meant. So, I decided to start this series to decode some of our favorite flowers. Their meanings might be surprising (like today's!) but hopefully, you'll be encouraged to set a note via flowers because doesn't that just sound cool?

Today, I thought I'd talk about Peonies. I laughed a bit when I saw the meaning of peonies, but only because so many women (me included!) have it in their bridal bouquets and what it really means is anger, shame and bashfulness. Heavy, no? This meaning stems from the mythical belief that mischievous nymphs used to hide in their petals. And now, a example of how this flower might be used to convey a message. 

I am shameful (peony) that I betrayed you (white catchfly).

Oof. Hopefully you never have to send that message! But just in case, you know how!

First photo from here. Second photo from here. 

July 9, 2014

Ciao From Italia

Nicholas and I find ourselves in Italy visiting his family. For those who have been reading T&P for some time now, you'll already know that Nicholas' family is from the Marche region--specifically, from Ancona which rests on the ever-beautiful Adriatic Sea.

While I process photos from my camera, here are some phone snaps. 

These photos up top are from when we were down on the Amalfi coast. We stayed at Villa Scarpariellio, a beautiful old villa that sits on the Tyrrhenian Sea. Lucky for us, we got upgraded to their honeymoon sweet which had amazing views (that photo of Nicholas sitting on a chair was our balcony!) and once housed the prince of Italy on a trip down south! Apparently, we even slept in the same room he did. We spent our days lounging by the water and eating plenty of seafood.

The view from the amazing Hotel Caruso in Ravello.

Stay tuned for more photos soon!

June 9, 2014

Travel Like A Local: Where To Stay

In celebration of summer and the best time of year to travel, I'd like to introduce Travel Like A Local--a weekly column celebrating the art of looking like you belong. I'll share tips and tricks I've picked up along the way that are sure to help you really experience a city as if it were your own. Because well, isn't that the best way?

I've thought about this series a lot; mainly because one day I'd like to expand these thoughts into a book or some sort of travel guide. Because as I mentioned above, traveling like a local is almost like an art form. It takes the right knowledge and hankering to find the otherwise hidden fruit stand, or maybe that awesome olive oil stand located directly behind the local church. Today, let's talk about where to stay. For so long, travelers have looked to hotels for room & board because it's easy and well, because there were no other options. But along with the invention of the internet came a great deal of travel tools put in place to make planning your vacation easier. In a way, it also changed the way we travel. Case in point? Sites like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO that have allowed people to open up their homes to the public and charge a fee to traveller's wanting to stay in their home. For a good percentage of the population, it's completely eliminated the need to stay in a hotel. Why? Well, read on.

For one, hotels are usually located in very touristy areas. These areas are usually inundated with overpriced restaurants and stands selling "I LOVE (INSERT WHATEVER CITY YOU'RE
CURRENTLY IN HERE)" shirts that--let's be real--no one will ever wear.  Staying in someone's home allows you to explore areas flooded with people who actually live there. It invites you to eat in restaurants that are there for locals and not your American dollar. And best of all, it makes you feel as if you live there, if only for four nights and five days. 

"I end up staying at places through Airbnb because the experience feels more authentic...like I'm living in my destination instead of just traveling through" - Christie Little, designer and lover of travel. 
This feeling, I believe, gets your mind brewing in ways you might not think. For example, when Nicholas and I were in Paris a few years ago, we decided to stay in an apartment rather than a hotel. Almost every night, we invited our Parisian friends over to "our place" for an aperitif and cheese. Not only did we feel so uberly chic and french, we were able to see our friends an in intimate setting and really enjoy Paris for what it was. 

Another reason? It usually saves you some cash. Hotels are massively expensive these days. And for what? For someone to make your bed? I'll pass. Saving money on room & board allows you spend your money elsewhere. Maybe you can finally buy that parmesan cheese wheel you've always wanted?

Photo credit unknown. Please contact me if this is your photograph. 

June 6, 2014

This One's For Us

I laughed at the fact that we didn't bring our underwater camera with us; this being the perfect moment to finally put it to good use. We had followed some dolphins around the island and were about to jump in to swim with them. The water was about twenty-five feet deep and so clear you could see the smallest rock lying on the ocean floor. If there ever was a picture-perfect moment, this was it!
"I can't believe we didn't bring the GoPro!" I told Nicholas. He responded, "as my friend always says, this one's for us."

I really loved these words; so much that I still think about that statement once a day, two weeks later. Everything we do is now for everyone else. For your new Instagram follower. For your ex-boyfriend to see how well life is going post break-up. It's so much that sometimes we forget that these beautiful moments were created in that moment for us. Of course, it's fine to share those beautiful moments with the people you love--or even people you don't know! But every once in a while, it's refreshing to really take a moment in, just for yourself.