l'esprit de l'escalier (French) is one of those great words that doesn't have a meaning in English. I love finding words like this, learning things that don't even have a word, but I know what it means and I can relate to it, and understand it. L'esprit de l'escalier is a way to describe that feeling you get when you think of the perfect thing to say, but it's too late. The perfect zinger, the most witty retort...just something appropriately fitting for the situation. But the moment is gone!
Here are some more words that don't exist in the English language, but you know exactly what they mean.
So, especially when it comes to pieces I can wear to work, I stay pretty cautious and close to neutrals. So this bright magenta skirt from LOFT is pretty daring for me - but I love the way it fits, the straight cut, and the length - it is all perfect! I would buy this in every color if it came in any others. It's fun and bold enough to wear out for the weekend, too! I can dream up many fall outfits around this piece, yet dress it up for work (surrounded by neutrals, of course!). Would you ever go for a loud piece like this? I can tell this is going to be one of my staples this year!
Well, I feel pretty stupid, because I thought this amazing concoction we made was pho - but it turns out pho is a soup. And I pronounce it wrong. Well, my mom and I made this dish on a whim earlier in the week and it turned out delicious. It's amazing how inspired you can be in the grocery aisle, trying to dream up the perfect dinner. One moment, we were on a routine shopping trip, and then the next we found ourselves in the Asian cuisine aisle, wanting to try everything. Turns out this dish is simple and fast (and inexpensively!), not to mention really quite delicious and light - the perfect end-of-summer meal on the deck. Scout wanted some, definitely.
- Rice noodles
- Sesame oil
- Mixed vegetables (we used snow peas, water chestnuts, broccoli, celery, carrots and onions)
- Soy sauce
- Ginger (powdered is okay)
- sesame seeds
- Teriyaki (optional)
I'll let you know when I try some real pho. :) And one last parting thought: how amazing are water chestnuts?!
1. my first ever sushi! I liked it! | 2. a caramel-macchiato stop after a meeting to update my new favorite planner | 3. feeling cool riding a CitiBike through NYC - weaving through traffic of course! | 4. absolute cheese heaven at Eataly on 200th + Fifth Ave | 5. a beach trip to my favorite childhood beach growing up | 6. the cute apartments of Washington Square, Philadelphia
7. a delicious, but monster-sized bleu cheese + apple salad | 8. cappuccino and gelato makes for a perfect summertime snack. | 9. John Mayer's Born & Raised Tour inspired me so much; everything from his skill to the stunning cosmic backdrop. This is my third time seeing him and it was the best yet | 10. an instagram to announce my new blog URL! | 11. a sophisticated and girlie dinner with an old friend - cheese and vino galore! | 12. my first ever beer garden experience; a perfect summer night.
S surprised me with the sweetest thing: out-of-the-blue, no reason whatsoever concert tickets! An end of the summer outdoor concert is always a good idea. We saw John Mayer, my third time, his second. It's the Born & Raised tour, and it was fannnntastic. It was a perfect cool night, the band seemed excited to be there (I always wonder if they are genuine or not), and regardless if they were or not, the music was just so good. S and I definitely jammed out like we were the only ones in the crowd :) he especially loved the amazing lighting and backdrop of the stage; a starlit sky with dramatic, Grand Canyon-esque mountains. Absolutely beautiful.
This is the new single from the album that just came out last week! Talk about timing, S - thank you :)
trastevere is quiet in the day, and totally transformed by night.
the best summer time cool down treat, caffe granita con panna
a pretty roman gal
The first few (well, 72) hours I was in Italy this summer was a frenzy, hit-and-run, crash course tour of the Eternal City. Some of it new, some of it old to me. Three days felt like they were clumped together - and I saw the Campo di Fiori (mom's favorite), the Pantheon, the Piazza Navona, Trastevere in the first few hours. A theme I've noticed in the 3+ seperate times I've been in Rome is that I always find myself in Trastevere - the bohemian district beyond the Tiber. I love it there - the sleepy, bright orange-walled streets during the day and the booming social scene at night. My favorite restaurant in Rome, perhaps in Italy, is there.
But then again I have some reluctance about Rome - because my heart isn't in the impressive bustling regality of the city (more on that later). It's antiquities are truly stunning and a world wonder for a reason, but Rome always feels like business to me - either the beginning or end of the trip (it's where I always fly in...) or some sort of adjustment is attached. If I am in Rome, I like to wander around the quiet(er) piazzas in the sleepy morning, or explore the even less crowded streets of Trastevere in the late afternoon.
Ah, Roman summers.
- - - 2015 corollary - - -
I wanted to add on to my favorite must-sees for a quick stop in Rome. I am not a Rome expert, but I stayed there a few nights during my Bus2Alps tenure.
Transportation by Train - Termini Station can be difficult to navigate during the busy parts of the day, but the process is the same as any Italian train station. Because I frequently traveled to Florence, I preferred the quicker, nicer Frecciarossa line (about 50 euro a pop) because it was a high-speed, non-stop train. If you prefer a more economical mode of transportation, the regular Trenitalia trains will do the trick (but they make stops and may be slower).The Frecciarossa trains were my favorite as a female solo traveler. I felt like I was traveling in a more golden age, a bit indulgent and more comfortable (with beautiful Italian scenery).
Roma Pass I highly recommend the Roma pass if you're planning to be in Rome for 2-3 days or less. It is a pass that allows you to use the metro system unlimited times, plus it grants you access to various sites such as the Colosseum for free!! (yes, freeeeee). You can purchase the Roma Pass in Termini Station! The direct link to their info page is here. Seriously, such a bargain at 30-40 euros.
Metro The first time I was almost robbed was on the Metro - the Colosseo stop. A young pickpocket of 12 or so attempted to rummage through our bags - and he was literally inches from us, looking so innocent and young. Thank goodness there were locals on the metro, understanding what was happening, because we didn't catch it (we were naive ourselves). They literally wrangled this boy and threw him off at the next stop. I hope that isn't too real for you, but the metro is a place where you have to be really aware of your surroundings. However, it is a wonderful (and cheap) way to get around the city, especially if you buy a Roma Pass. It gives you easy, quick access to the Fontana di Trevi, Pantheon, Piazza Spagna (Spanish Steps), and Vatican.
Eating This could be a blog series in itself, but I will digress - you (almost) can't go wrong with finding delicious meals in Rome. I prefer less crowded areas, especially Trastevere.
For pizza, I've been to Dar Poeta twice and have not been disappointed!! It is located in the heart of Trastevere, the boho district "beyond the Tiber." It is a quintessential Roman pizzeria, with an entrance that looks like it's from a postcard. It's fun with a group, sharing vino tavolo and lots of pizzas!
For pasta, I loooove Tony's (Hosteria del Moro). Now, I'll be honest here - it is a bit of a discovered student hangout - but I don't care. For some reason I almost always score a free dessert, free wine, something. I love their penne alla vodka - I get it every time. It is also located in Trastevere, and close to other great bars and restaurants. The food is plentiful, and the price is surprisingly right.
For espresso, I was enamored with the caffe granita con panna (pictured above) from Tazza D'Oro footsteps away from the Pantheon. The name Tazza D'Oro means "cup of gold" and man, the name is so perfect for this place! It is a pretty famous cafe, seen in many movie scenes, and always buzzing with people. If you're near the Pantheon, it's so worth going.
Sightseeing Again, another category that can be a whole series. I have been to Rome several times, and the more I see it the more I want to explore the less-known places. You can read about the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Forum, Piazza Navona, Piazza del Popolo all you want for hours in guidebooks or travel blogs. I prefer cheap, unique places that may be a little off the grid and hard to find (or a long walk).
One place that is free and offers a stunning vista of Rome from above is the walk up Gianicolo Hill. You can see the 7 Hills of Rome quite distinctly, including the Vatican (which is rather close). I remember people watching a lot, including watching a party of nuns have a picnic from a nearby hill. The 9th photo in this blog post offers a glimpse at the view from Gianicolo Hill.
Campo Di Fiori is the flower and produce market in Rome. Go in the early morning for that genuine feel, before the tourists wake up! It was always my mom's favorite and I think of her whenever I am there. Can't wait to be back there with her!
Piazza Navona at night is magical. I seem to have bad luck there always and joke about how I don't like it, but deep down it is beautiful! Nothing terrible happened to me - I lost my friends once and quickly found them again. There is a famous place Bar Tre Scalini for their truffle gelato.
One place I have never been but want to go to is the Capuchin Crypt in Rome. It looks really creepy, as the main crypt is filled with hundreds of skulls from capuchin monks of centuries past.
Everytime I head to Florence I find myself splurging on something leather.
This time I intended it to be gloves...a somewhat modest purchase...but those plans changed as soon as I set foot in Massimo's.
First off, Massimo's is a beautiful pelletteria (leather shop) that is right in the heart of Florence.
I was on my way to the linen market, but was totally lured by the smell of that lovely, musky leather.
And it goes something like this:
Massimo welcomed me with open arms, like he was seeing a long lost friend, and cheerfully showed me around his store.
I felt like I belonged there within the first 30...no, 10...seconds.
(have I mentioned I love Italy? Why can't everyone be like that?)
After this blur of happy welcomes, Massimo showed me this jacket. my jacket.
It was like he knew this jacket was meant for me. He found it within those first thirty seconds, no exaggeration.
True leather jacket love. Love at first try-on. I didn't need to see anything else.
Massimo and I agreed - this was IT.
It may have been the most seamless, swift, just-oh-so-right shopping experience I've ever had.
SO, if when you're in Florence, go to Massimo's. If you're not in the market for a leather jacket,
he has everything else under the sun. And I'll save my next visit for the gloves.
Summer, sweet summer! You've been so gooood to me. It's been non stop since I've been home, both work and play, which I love. As always, August zips by. This week - actually, today - I begin the grind for work. But it's been a pleasant whirlwind of cool afternoons, walks with Scout, drinks with S, lazy river days, daytrips into the city, cappuccinos and catch-ups, a new Macbook (!!!), prepping for school, dinners on the deck, bonfires and cups of tea, and sitting outside waaaay into the night.
What's your end of summer looking like? I'd love to hear snippets :)