Donnerstag, 27. August 2015

FELT ROBOT DIY
























I was searching for new ideas and found a tutorial for a super cute felt robot on pinterest. I fell in love and knew I immediately had to make one. This robot could also be a cool present for kids, just think of all the colour/pattern combinations!
























This is what I used for the felt robot:
- 3 sheets of felt in different colours
- scissors
- needle & thread
- ruler
- filling cotton
I will use my sewing machine for the next robot, as I am not really patient when it comes to hand-sewing.


























I marked all the outlines for the squares, plus cut out the heart and the eyes.
























I started with sewing together the squares for arms & legs.
























I left one side open, to fill the arm/leg with filling cotton, then stiched up the rest. 

























Then I sewed the heart and eyes on to the corresponding squares (to be honest, I started by stitching the heart onto the head-square and had to redo everything). I also stichted some eyelashes on top.
























For the head, I repeated all steps I took for sewing together the arms & legs.













































I sewed together the squares for the body and placed head, arms and legs onto it. Then I just simply stichted them onto the body parts.
























My last step was to sew the edges together, fill in the cottin and close the back of the robot.
























What a nice little fella! What do you think of him?
Lots of love,
Anne

Montag, 24. August 2015

NYC FOOD FAVORITES

All good things come in threes, and this marks the last of my travel posts from my USA vacation. I haven't really written anything about food, and that's just impossible!

So let me share some of my favorite food spots with you. Some places I discovered when I was passing by, some are places I used to frequent back when I lived there and some were recommended to me by friends.

In no particular order:

#1 - Lombardi's - 32 Spring Street


Back in '08, the nice couple that hosted me and my friend for our first week in New York, invited us for dinner there. The pizza was delicious and I loved the atmosphere. Whenever I had visitors from Austria we went there. This time around my friend Ellen and I were walking around the neigborhood when we noticed we were hungry - obviously we had to go to Lombardi's! It was sooo good.



#2 Candle Cafe - 1307 3rd Avenue between 74th and 75th Street

Organic vegan food to die for, super friendly staff and a lovely location. A good excuse to visit the upper east side, an area that I almost never frequent. I highly recommend the crispy cajun salad, the black bean & quinoa burger and lasagna.



#3 Olea - 171 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn


I had the wild arugula salad - organic goat cheese croquettes, pear and candied pistachios... need I say more? Very tasty, fresh food, the waiter was super nice, too. A lovely seating area outside, facing gorgeous brownstones.


#4 L&B Spumoni Gardens - 2725 86th Street, Brooklyn

I forgot to take a photo of the location and the ice cream... Because it was sooo gooooood. I went there pretty late at night and picked up the vanilla, chocolate and pistacchio combo. I LOVE PISTACCHIO ICE CREAM, caps to emphasize, and this one was so good that I went back for another one on the very next day. I love ice cream. It was amazing.


#5 Balthazar - 80 Spring Street


It was crazy crowded and our tiny table almost did not fit our plates, but the food was extremely good and the atmosphere was very interesting, sooo much to see! The tiny adjoined bakery is a plus, too! Eclairs from heaven, coffee good, too.
































#6 Organika89 7th Avenue South

Fresh, organic food, a cute outdoor seating area and very convenient wall plugs for when two of three cell phones are dead. I went there with two friends and we shared the truffle polenta fries, the beet salad and eggplant parmigiana. Very tasty, friendly staff and across the street from...


#7 Big Gay Ice Cream - 61 Grove Street



I had heard and read so much about it that I needed to give it a try. It was definitely interesting but on hindsight not worth the $$. It was my fault though, I ordered a vanilla something something with caramel and salt and discovered that salted caramel is not a favorite of mine. Also, after I had tried the spumoni the day after (and the day after that), that's basically the only ice cream I'll ever eat in NYC.


#8 Foragers - 56 Adams Street, Brooklyn

This market deserves a special spot on this list. I discovered it on a very hot and humid day when I had been walking what felt like all over Brooklyn for hours, it was really nice, but at this point I was starving and thirsty and needed a break badly.

I walked in there and it was perfection. Aside from the huge variety of goodness - organic veggies, fruit, sandwiches, juices, fresh cookies and pastries, annnnything and everything a hungry Ida could ask for - I love American food stores and grocery stores A LOT. Just walking around, looking at labels makes me happy (I am weird like that). Anyway, I highly recommend the soppressata & mozzarella sandwich and the juice mix "washington street" (carrots, beets, apple, pear, ginger). YUM. For dessert I bought a coconut cookie sandwich with chocolate filling - it was tiny and very very good and I ate it on the Brooklyn Bridge, watching the sunset, listening to a classical symphony. It was awesome.

Also, I bonded with the girl behind the counter over my "coffee straight up" t-shirt and had an interesting conversation with her, that was nice. I just love, love, LOVE how openminded, interested and friendly New Yorkers are, as long as you're not standing in their way.



#10 A Half Pint - 76 West 3rd Street

While my friend and I both picked the eggs benedict, he added bacon and I added spinach. The pub has a great brunch menu and the food was really good - the coffee was not, unfortunately. No biggie, we went right to Box Kite Coffee later and the coffee there made more than up for it!



Do you have any favorite spots in NY that you would like to share? Leave a comment!

XO, Ida




Freitag, 21. August 2015

OUR WEEKEND RECIPE #24























Weekend! Finally!
Here is a little idea for a great seasoning oil. I really like the taste of garlic (being born in South Korea, what else would you expect?!), however what I really don't like is the smell on my fingers. Even days after slicing garlic I feel like I can still smell garlic on my hands (I know, lemon juice blabla - it's more an imagination sort of thing to be honest). This oil is super for seasoning salads, meat, fish. My favorite thing though is to spread some of this garlic oil on slices of ciabatta, let it roast in the oven and it eat warm with fresh tomatoes. 
























I used a rather small bottle for my garlic & herb oil for the simple reason that I had it at home. According to the size of you bottle/container you'll need to add more olive oil, herbs and garlic. I used half a garlic clove, a mixture (store-bought, I admit) of marjoram, thyme, rosemary, oregano, basil and savory and about 250ml olive oil.















































I sliced half of a garlic clove into small pieces and together with the herbs, poured it into the bottle. Then I filled the bottle up with olive oil. Done.


I keep my garlic oil in the fridge, but I am sure that you don't have to. Of course there are a lot of varieties of this oil, adding chili, different herbs, ginger etc. Do you have any favorite recipes for seasoned olive oil? Let me know!!
Have a wonderful weekend,
lots of love, Anne

Dienstag, 18. August 2015

HIKING



Hello again!

It's been a while since I shared something with you and I've been really looking forward to posting again! The last couple of weeks were full of work, work, work and some more of it plus an unusual long heat wave. Working on a home office basis, with temperatures up to 37°C (98°F) IN the apartment, sets you in a state of mind where you think your brain is melting and you can't get one thing done.

Finally, we have some rain and cooler weather, which enables me to write full sentences again. This is a little post about hiking. My boyfriend and I really love hiking and went on some tours this July. Hiking is a beautiful thing to do. The ascent is sometimes exhausting but once you are on top of the mountain you're rewarded with a beautiful view and the knowledge that you've just accomplished something. 



Of course you'll need a huge teaspoon full of motivation. Let me tell you how one of our normal hiking tours consist of:

Simon (taking pictures). "just look at the beautiful landscape!"

Me (trying to look good for pictures while sweating and trying to catch breath): "Hmh, yeah"

Simon (taking more pictures and enjoying the beautiful landscape): "Isn't that nice!"

Me (gave up trying to look good for pictures, because I am already exhausted and anyway, what's the point of it!?!): "How long do you think will it take us to reach the summit?"

Simon (stopped taking pictures to stare at me because we've just started 10 min ago): "Just a couple of hours"

Me (thinking): "Why? I could sit somewhere, drink coffee, read a book and just relaxe but no I'm running up a mountain, sweating - oh it's hot, I have to take my jacket off - now it's cold again! Need to drink some water - isn't it time for a break? Why? WHY??"




Simon (just looking at me, because he knows me for a good 9 and a half years, knows exactly what I'm thinking at the moment, knows that I will love it once where on top of this bloody mountain): "You ok?"

Me (seeing his look and suddenly remembering that really it IS beautiful, switching the bad thoughts off, survival mode on and just continuing walking until reaching the top of the bloody mountain): "Couldn't be better."




So you see, hiking is a fun adventure once you've overcome your inner couch potato. Preparation is one of the most important things when going on a hiking tour. It is important what you put in your backpack so that the tour isn't turning into a 'once in a lifetime experience - never do it again" thing. 

At one of our tours this year for example, we came across a family of three, soon to be four (not starting a discussion on hiking on a hot summer day while pregnant). The man was carrying the child (about 2 years old, no cap or whatsoever to shield the sun) up the mountain, while the woman had a backpack the size of a match box. We decided to keep an eye on them, as they didn't seem to be accustomed to hiking but soon lost track of them. A couple of days later we heard that the family had to be saved by helicopter, because their map was insufficient, therefor lost their way and stranded somewhere without proper clothing or enough water.

This is why I thought I'd share this little picture I made with you, listing the things that have to be in a backpack when hiking, regardless of weather conditions or lenght of the tour:




Water: Take enough water with you! I'm not speaking of carrying 10l around, but thirst is not a good companion for hiking!
First Aid Kit: Just think of blisters not to mention abrasions
Rain Jacket: No matter if the sun is shining and no cloud in sight: the weather in the mountains change quickly. Even if it doesn't rain, the jacket will be good to keep you from the cold winds blowing on top!
Map of trails: Always, always carry a sufficient map of the surrounding with you. You don't want to get lost like the family in my example.
Snack: It is unbelievable what one person can eat while hiking. Chocolate is a must, giving you energy and rewarding you for all the struggle.
Cap: You should always take a cap with you. It does not have to be woolen, but it is a nice shield for wind/rain/sun.
Headlamp: I'm sure you'll think why should I bring a headlamp when we're only going on a tour for about 2 hours in broad daylight? Just do it. Think of the family. 

I hope you liked reading about my experiences and checking through my tips. As we are always on the search for new adventures: What is your favorite hiking tour?




Freitag, 14. August 2015

OUR WEEKEND RECIPE #23




Today's recipe is the perfect recipe for a hot and busy week like ours. Catching up on work after my vacation has been taking longer than expected and since I am also doing a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff for the relaunch of my website, I haven't really cooked in DAYS. Shame on me. Most of the days I go to the farmer's market and buy peaches, salad and veggies and that is all I eat, plus I drink as much coffee as possible. I'm off sugar again entirely, after I decided that restricting my food intake in terms of sugary treats wasn't going to happen in New York (donuts!!), I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted on my vacation, and it's been a lot harder this time around to get rid of the sudden "chocolate! chocolate!" chants of my subconscious. I can do it! Peaches help, though!

Anyway, this Italian summer salad has got it all - the tangy arugula, the sweet balsamic vinegar, the fruity tomatoes and a substantial handful of orecchiette. I also threw in a leftover piece of a yellow baby zucchini. So colorful!

I cooked the orecchiette, set them aside to cool and cut tomatoes and zucchini in small cubes and slices. I drizzled some olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the veggies and added salt and pepper. When the orecchiette were cool, I mixed them with the veggies and dressing and added the washed rucola, shredding it into smaller pieces.

And that is all! Simple, inexpensive, fresh, healthy. Also, vegan. I would have added a table spoon of freshly grated parmigiano but forgot the cheese at home (it was a lunch at work). Mozzarella would also work, even feta or, mmmhh, pecorino! Next time.




What are your favorite dishes to prepare in the heat of Summer?
Have a great weekend!
Ida

Mittwoch, 12. August 2015

HOW TO BUILD A FIRE PIT


Proudly presenting our first post by a guest blogger!! We're over the moon! :)

Our friend Lydia is an incredibly talented painter, you can check out her work here. She lives in San Diego with her husband, their dog Columbus, Millie the cat and a bunny named Anselm. She is very DIY savvy and cooks up the most delicious meals.

Lydia and I met in college and reconnected a few years later when she visited Vienna while I lived there. She is a very dear friend of mine and I love her work!

Take it away, Lydia!

How to build a fire pit:

1. First we picked the perfect spot in our backyard where we wanted the fire pit. Next, we smoothed away the dirt and rocks to create the imprint of a circle on the ground. 

2. We borrowed a pick ax because the San Diego soil can be quite rocky. We needed to soften it up with the ax before digging out the hole with the shovel. Once the soil was softened up a bit, we started to dig.


3. We created the diameter we wanted -- about 2 1/2 feet wide. And then took a lunch break.


 4. While we were gone, our dog Columbus decided the beginnings of the hole made a perfect bed. Of course, he decided this when he was clean!


 5. More digging. We figured the hole needed to be pretty deep as we would lose space once we lined it.


6. What do you line a fire pit with? Bricks! Our neighbors happened to be giving away a load of free bricks so we got lucky as far as materials go. They were all different shapes and sizes, very irregular. We weren't sure if they would work or not until we started lining the hole.


7. It was a lot like a jigsaw puzzle. It's important to try not to leave large spaces, but it does not have to be perfect.


8. Some of the bricks were longer so we were able to turn them vertically to line the inside of the circle.


9. We finished it off with some smaller bricks on top around the opening. The pit ended up being roughly 2 1/2 feet deep.


10. Here's an image of the finished fire pit and hang out spot. Perfect, safe, and ready for bonfires.


11. Last step, have your first fire and roast as many marshmallows as you want!