Paris: A Picnic Under the Eiffel Tower

After shopping at the markets of Rue Cler we made our way over to the park beneath the Eiffel tower. It seems to be a rather popular spots for middle school kids to take their lunch breaks, but that didn’t bother Brian or I. Yes, that is a giant tennis ball hanging off the tower. While we were in town, the French Open was in play. There were huge screens closer to the base of the tower playing the event, and even some I’m guessing what would be exhibition matches on small courts as well. The thrill of tennis is quite lost on me though, so I just focused on the beautiful weather. 

We came back just in time to see the lights!

Comfort Food, Sweet Cornbread

Everyone has their comfort foods, and most of mine I’ve realized quite recently are made from corn. It’s the unique combination of being both from the South, and growing up as an Italian-American that really cements it. From the italian side you’ve got 1000’s way to make polenta and delicious summery grilled corn. The southern side gives you grits, boiled corn, hush puppies, spoon bread, and best of all corn bread. Not just any corn bread, I grew up on a thick, sweet, cake cornbread. There are few things that taste better straight from the oven than that. 

I’ve had kind of a stressful few past weeks. I mentioned that I’m in the process of going into photography more full time. It’s taking a lot of planning, interviewing, and stressing to get to the point I’m even at now. So I’ve been eating my feelings more than I’d like to admit. I haven’t been going crazy, just cooking a bit more like Mama used to make then my normal dark green and lean protein fair. But that’s besides the point. You want to know how to make this said delicious, comforting, amazing cornbread right?

Golden Sweet Cornbread

  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Dump all every single one of your ingredients into a bowl, and combine until smooth. 

Grease a 9 inch round cake pan liberally with butter. Were talking “is butter a carb?” liberal.

Dump all the ingredients into the greased baking pan. 

Cook for about 25 minutes, until a knife pulls out mostly clean from the cornbread. I like mine the tiniest bit undercooked. If that’s not your thing, wait until the knife pulls clean. 

That’s it.  It’s so easy, you’ll find any excuse to make it. #teamsweetcornbread

Recipe provided by allrecipies.com

Summer Break!

I know I haven’t been posting very much these past two weeks, but I’ve been enjoying my summer! I just got back from a long overdue family reunion, the photo above is just some of my cousins around the best grandmother possibly of all time.  I’ve also been making some moves to be a photographer more full time. It’s been stressful, nerve wracking, and very busy. It’ll be worth it in the end, hopefully. This is just a head’s up, that I’m not dead. I’ll try to get my act together more this week. 😉 

New Patterns, The good and the very bad.

So I thought I’d take a peak at what some of the non-indie pattern companies were offering (Simplicity, Butterick, and McCall’s.) A lot of it is just straight up terrible. But we’ll save my snark for the commentary. 

Butterick

Butterick 6048 doesn’t look terrible. It’s one of those patterns that’s either going to work, or fail horribly. It looks very simple on the technical drawing. Honestly I could draft it easy peasy. The other view on this pattern is terrible though. I’ll wait until I see some reviews before I decide if it’s worth it. 


I actually really like B6049. I might actually pick this up. The other views are super cute, and it seems very versatile! You could sew this up in a colorway that would look modern as well. I really like view C.


Don’t judge me, but I am weirdly super into 6052. Yeah it’s kind of matronly… But hike up that hem and it could be super cute. I’m secretly a grandma at heart, so it might just be me, but I’m going to say this is a win. I really like this model they’re using a ton as well, she’s super gorgeous. 


OMG butterick just stop it. 6056 is a weird kerchief hem sack. This will be flattering on like maybe .00002% of the population. Also those patch pockets certainly don’t help matters. Plus size women don’t want to wear sacks, I don’t know how many times a pattern company can hear this and ignore it. 


At first glance I’m really into 6067, another Gertie pattern. But the seaming on the bust is just strange. There’s not way that’s going to fit well on anyone with anything more than a B cup. Why would you seam directly over the boobs instead of under? Plus I just picked up the bombshell swimsuit pattern so I’m going to pass on this one. 


McCalls’s

Of all the 1930’s fashion this isn’t what I would have pulled from the archives to impress modern sewers. 6995 & 6993 has some interesting style lines on the skirt, but the other pieces are just kind of terrible. Why not something along the lines of these patterns from the 30’s? They’re so much more fun and interesting, which  is why I would want to sew a reissue pattern anyways. 


I like the style lines for 6989. I think not sewing it up in that terrible shiny bubblegum fabric would have been cool though. I would totally make this as a black and white combo ala Wednesday Addams. But sometimes my boyfriend says I’m too goth to live, so take that advice with a grain of salt. I’ll probably buy this, even though I could probably never sew all the patterns I own basically ever.


100% no. 


But after I saw this gem of a pet costume all is forgiven McCall’s. I will probably buy ten copies of 7004 and make all variations for my poor dog Bowie. Pray for him.


Simplicity

Fine, I can’t be snarky all the time I guess. I want all of the new simplicity patterns below. There wasn’t anything heinous for me to say anything about. I’m into that jumper and kimono top a lot. Good job you guys.


McCall’s seems to be by far to have the worst offerings. Butterick, besides the patterns I posted, really bored me. If it wasn’t a gertie pattern I found few even interesting enough to consider. Simplicity on the other hand killed it. I see a spot in my wardrobe for all their newest offerings.

Have any pattern faves/hates in the new releases?

 

 

 

Paris: Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

The Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes is a zoo in ParisFrance, belonging to the botanical garden Jardin des Plantes. It is the first and thus the oldest civil zoological garden in the world. Today it does not have very large animals like elephants, but a lot of rare smaller and medium sized mammals and a variety of birds and reptiles. 

Although smaller than a lot of the American zoo’s I’ve been too, the zoo at the Jardin des Plantes is really kind of charming. You seem to be much closer to the animals than in America, there’s few enclosure that are surrounded by the big deep moats. The price per person was 13€. Although a bit on the expensive side ticket wise, the weather was nice and it wasn’t crowded on a Saturday, which was even better. It’s definitely worth a look if you have a free day like we did. 

The animals above were all playing together in the same enclosure. It was beyond cute.

My favorite part of the trip though was probably the reptile/amphibian/insect room.  It’s big, and a very old building. It reminded me of the zoo from the second harry potter movie (nerd). Also there was a snake that was obviously trying to speak parsaltounge to an older couple in the pictures below. (nerdier).

It was giant tortoise feeding time. I almost died. They were mashing away on veggies. 

Been to your local zoo lately? What’s you favorite part? 

Life Recently

I’ll be honest, I haven’t been the best about taking photos of my daily life since we’ve gotten back from Paris. For one thing I took thousands of pictures while we were there, and my trigger finger just might need the tiniest of breaks. Second, everything feels kind of “meh” in comparison. I think I’ve got a vacation hangover. I’m slowly snapping out of it, but it was rough the first week home.

I’ve been trying to perfect a good french baguette recipe to make once or twice a week. I’ve learned three things so far. The best baguettes seem to take the longest to rise, have the most amount of kneading, and the least amount of ingredients. Once I get it perfected I plan on sharing the recipe so you don’t have to struggle through the endless variations on the baguette.

Brian and I went to brunch at a new place in Clifton called the Hang Over Easy, with our friend Destiny, her son Oliver, and Brian B. Not only did we sit outside on the most glorious day ever, but they had a grassy lawn and fountain out back as well. I took neither photos of the lawn, or of my food. Let’s blame the 3$ bloody mary’s shall we?

These creepy crawlies were making a home on my mulberry tree just off the deck. Everything was cool until they ate like half the branch, so they were terminated. I think they were webworms? But I also thought they didn’t come out until the fall? Anyone else know?

Before we attended a preview screening of the movie Obvious Child, which was great by the way, we went to one of the few places that serves Jamaican food in Cincinnati. Ena’s Jerkmania serves spicy, delicious and cheap food. While it’s a bit of a hike from my normal stomping grounds, it’s worth it. Try the spicy fries, and the Jamaican pattys!

Anything exciting happen recently for you, dear readers?

Sew Caroline Waterfall Tank

I was lucky enough to be offered the chance to be a pattern tester for the upcoming Sew Caroline pattern, the waterfall tank! Full disclaimer I was offered the pattern for free in exchange for feedback to improve and test the pattern before final release. I was not paid to create this garment, and the supply costs came out of my own pocket. I used an older Lisette quilting cotton print, some vintage silk thread, and self made bias tape.

The pattern is simple and pretty versatile. It uses a small amount of fabric that would make it great for stash busting. You could use a different fabric for the ruffle and try to use up your fabric scraps!

The top is very floaty and blousey which makes it an awesome summer staple. I will say though to check the finished garment measurements, you may want to size down if you want something with a bit less volume. I think if I were to sew this again I would definitely size down. It’s not a matter of a pattern issue so much as personal preference. 

I did do a rolled hem on the bottom as opposed to a traditional hem. I have a very long torso and found this to be a bit short on me. Regular torsos should be fine though! Fun fact, the Colette Sorbetto basically looks like a crop top on me without modification.

Paris: Sacré-Cœur

The first sight we saw was the closest to our little Paris Apartment, Basilique du Sacré-CÅ“ur. We went bright and early around 9:30 to beat the crowds. We had learned the day before when we were looking for some place to eat that this place gets crazy crowded just after lunch. So we hiked the what felt like endless steps just to get to the church. You could always take the funiculaire, but at 8 euros, I’d rather just suck it up. The day was lovely, and even though I was panting like a dog by the time we reached the entrance it wasn’t all that horrible to make it up to the top of the hill. The view from the hill alone is amazing, check out the panoramic photo below!

The view fron the front steps of the church. click to enlarge

The inside of the church was beautiful. Entrance to the chapel is free. Although the church was completed in 1914 it feels much older. Technically you aren’t “supposed to” take photos in the chapel area. I did sneak a few, but no one was the wiser. They’re were some tourists using flash, throwing up peace signs, and getting yelled at accordingly. I just turned the flash off, and kind of blindly aimed. The three photos below are the only ones I got of the chapel, and believe me they don’t do it justice. It’s breathtaking. 

The crypt and the dome aren’t free, but you can buy a combined ticket for about 8 euro. Neither of these are covered by the Paris museum pass, so go ahead and bite the bullet and get the combined ticket at the basilica. If you get there early, just remember the french seem to have a much looser sense of time than most Americans do. If the posted hours are that the dome and crypt open at 10, it might not be until 10:30 that someone actually arrives at the ticket booth. 

The photos below are from the crypte. It was dead (get it?) when we were there, which made it feel a bit spooky. It’s worth a look, there’s so very cool stained glass, bones, and statues. It’s also very cool temperature wise. You’ll need a bit of a break before you attempt to climb to the top of the dome anyway.

My favorite part of the basilica was most definitely the dome. It’s a “brisk” 300 step climb, in a mostly winding, very claustrophobic staircase. As we climbed them some German children behind us counted every step, which was super cute. You have to climb a few staircases after the first tower’s steps to make it to the final tower to reach the top. Be prepared for pigeon poop! It was neat to see the gargoyles up close, and still be close enough to the ground to see the hustle and bustle starting to pick up at the shops around Sacre Coeur. Make sure to stop and take in the sights at the halfway point as well!

Worth. every. step.

This is actually the first time I saw the Effiel tower, definitely breath taking. Also the first time I saw the monolith that is Montparnasse tower, which is pretty hideous if you ask me. Then again people hated the Effiel tower as well, so maybe time will prove me wrong. Sacre Coeur is the highest point in all of Paris, you can see practically everything in the entire city. Alternatively, you can see the dome, and most of la butte Montmarte from everywhere else in the city as well. It was a great way to start our trip, and well worth the eight euro! 

The Bedrooms of my Past #nojudgement

I read this post on design sponge yesterday all about childhood bedrooms. I thought it’d be fun to share some of my past bedrooms. I had to actually do a decent amount of livejournal digging to find these. Starting with my “childhood” bedroom. My parents are both Navy and divorced, we moved a lot. This is the last bedroom I had where I didn’t pay the rent, from ages 14-18. It’s not as horrible as you would expect! 

I’ve always had pretty much free reign over how my room looks. I got to pick that paint color, that I still would use in my house today. I still like most of the stuff in here, even if it feels a bit juvenile. I still have the bedspread, and art in the black frames! The rest I either “lost” when I left certain roommates, or got destroyed just with good old wear and tear.  

I have more old bedroom photos from more recent places, but let me know if this kind of post is interesting to you!

What did you childhood room look like?