Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Classy Day Drinking: Les Caves Ouvertes

On Saturday, we went on this magical wine tasting adventure: les Caves Ouvertes. This was the 26th year of this wine tasting event, which invites amateurs to try a large variety of wine from the vineyards surrounding Geneva. It included free transportation (both train to the countryside and buses from vineyard to vineyard) as well as unlimited wine tasting for the whole day for a mere 5CHF. Now, if you know anything about Geneva or Switzerland, that is a crazy good deal. A single bus ticket in Geneva in 3CHF, probably a ticket to the countryside roundtrip is at least 30CHF, and the vineyards? Well, I'm not sure if wine tasting is normally free (I believe places in Napa are), but the difference between this and that is that they are very aware that everyone at this event is getting drunk and not exactly buying their favorite case of wine after the visit.
The event was a far bigger deal than I had realized when Alice had mentioned the event on our Facebook group. I thought it would be similar to our wine tasting adventure in Montpellier, which was very small (just the group of us), sitting around a table, pretending to taste the horse or raspberry in the wine. In other words, I thought it would be nice, but snobby.

However, this was far more of a party. When we got on the train, the whole thing was jam packed as groups of friends yammered away. Exiting the train, hoards of people drifted towards the vineyards where we found an already packed tent full of wine. At almost every stop, we met some drunk new friends who had certainty taken advantage of the unlimited wine situation.
For me, the best part of the whole adventure was being able to see the countryside and vineyards outside of Geneva. The last time I wandered around Switzerland, there was still snow on the ground. But this time the scenery was so lush and green with beautiful blue skies. Well, beautiful blue skies until our last stop, when it started pouring....

After we took the train home, we stopped by Chez Ma Cousine to get dinner. My family friends in the area said it was by far the best deal in town and I have to agree. 14CFH for half a chicken, salad, and potatoes wouldn't even be a bad deal in the US. Our tipsy sells devoured all our food but I left my wine glass untouched and offered it up to the table. After all that wine all day, I didn't think I could handle anymore. 
In general, the day was quite the success. I spent a grand total of 25CHF for the whole day including a little train ride, wine all day and a half chicken dinner. I'm pretty sure that's a good deal everywhere! As per usual, this experience had inspired me to do something back home. And now I really want to drag my brother to Napa during my two weeks back home now that I can drink legally in the states! 

PS. Check out my friend Faith's blog! She went on this adventure too and has muuuch better pictures than me (and sometimes I steal photos of myself from her blog because I hate asking people to take pictures of me)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Daydreaming About Update: SUNO NY + Uniqlo

Big update on my last post on SUNO NY. Although I ended my last post about how unbearably sad I was that I couldn't afford anything from this amazing label I had fallen in love with, this is not entirely true! I was perusing around their facebook page and I noticed that they were having a collab with Uniqlo this season! So while these aren't quite as cute as their original SS collection, they are still quite lovely pieces with adorable prints and a much more affordable price range (think $20-$40). All I have to say is thank GOD for these collabs (I give major credit to Target for starting this great designer for affordable prices trend), and I'm definitely stopping by Uniqlo when I get back to San Francisco. 

PS Did you notice how well this collab goes with my header? too cute! 

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Daydreaming About: SUNO NY

I have a crush. And this crush is on a clothing line, SUNO NY. I'm pretty sure I'm behind the ball on this one, but I just discovered it when I was looking through Refinery29's SF street style photos (which I've been stalking obsessively in anticipation for my upcoming return). In their latest edition of park pics, this one girl was wearing the most adorable dress and I fell in love with it. I was so intrigued by the dress that I actually looked up the label she was wearing and once I got to their website I was overwhelmed.
Everything on it was so cool! The entire line was full of this chic, light, quirky preppy look that basically describes what I envision my summer to be. And they address every element of my dream summer from my summer dresses, shorts, swimsuits and even my pj's! As I continued to peruse their website, they only got better. Their shots from their runway show included funny behind the scene shots of the models as they made funny faces walking off the catwalk. I even fell in love with all the images on their Spring 2013 inspiration board, instantly wishing that was exactly what my tumblr looked like.

For a little bit more background, SUNO is a New York based womenswear label founded in 2008 by Max Osterwis and in collaboration with designer Erin Beatty. Part of the interesting element of SUNO (that makes it even cooler than it already is) is its connection with Kenya, which Osterweis considers a second home. SUNO's first collection was launched in 2009, right after the post-election violence threatened the economy in Kenya. This first collection was produced primarily in Kenya, using vintage Kenyan textiles that Osterweis has collected over the years.
Since that first collection, SUNO has continued to use production in Keyna, India, Peru, as well as their home base of New York using a combo of traditional and local techniques with high-end tailoring. Really using the countries they produce in as more than mere factories but also as inspiration for design and technique gives SUNO something a little special in their collections.

Unfortunately, the price range for all their items are a little out of my just-came-out-of-the-most-expensive-semester-of-my-unemployed-college-student-ass. Most of the dresses range around $600, but you know I girl can always dream....
I might be able to afford the shoes though if I save! These are only $60.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five Miles in Geneva

 It is rarely nice here and I even more rarely do any form of exercise. So when the day before I left for Istanbul was beautiful outside, I just had to go for a walk. I walked from my dorm room in Champel up around the old city, around the lake, into a beautiful park and magically found myself in a loop that brought me right back to the Cité. The whole thing was five miles (I was user my iRunner app). It was so lovely to do some sort of physical activity and I got to see and enjoy more the of the city I have called home this past four months yet have seen very little of. 

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why Is it Awkward Turtle not Awkward Giraffe?

Looking outside my window, it looks like a pretty nice day in old Geneva. Unfortunately, it's been raining all week and even this seemingly nice day is forecasted to rain for a bit. I'm still determined to go outside for a bit because tomorrow it is forecasted to SNOW. SNOW, it is almost the last week of May and it's going to SNOW. I thought it was bad when it snowed on April 17th in Hamilton, NY. Geneva, Switzerland apparently takes crazy weather to a whole new level. I blame global warming.
While I'm wasting away inside and procrastinating, I decided to post some pictures from one of the few days I got to hang out in the park in a cute skirt....which is one of the few dreams I had about my life abroad. Unfortunately, due to the weather and workload here, my park time has been limited. Hopefully, I'll be able to make up for it as I constantly sip Banana soy milkshakes from Hammie Whole Foods this summer on the town green. BYE PAYCHECK! 

I bought this skirt from Topshop while I was in London for my burfday. I decided to splurge a bit since it was my 21st birthday and basically bought a whole new wardrobe that I just wear on constant repeat. I was torn between this skirt and a denim circle skirt, but this one had giraffes on it so I clearly had to choose this one.

Outfit--Button Up: Banana Republic, Skirt: Topshop, Sandals: Sam Edelman


Photography: Morgan McCollum (well, not the giraffes)

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

There's a Fish on my Fish: Sushi at Uchitomi

Yesterday, I got sushi with Zoe after our final class with Hofmann and Krause. I vowed I would never get asian food while I was abroad, but apparently I crave that shit way more than I thought. Zoe and I already had a sushi craving this past weekend, when I looked up this place online. If you look up "Sushi in Geneva" a bunch of results pop up that are essentially a million Americans or Brits desperately craving their favorite cuisine from home. They are also craving the prices they had a home, but settling for whatever they can get.
One highly recommended sushi spot was uchitomi. It was described as good quality and cheap. I got two pre-made rolls for lunch and a water bottle, which came out to about 21chf. That's Geneva for you! It also goes to show how desperate people are when it comes to prices if they consider that lunch price reasonable and even cheap.
Look at this artsy angle of my sushi that makes it look absolutely amazing. Look at that spicy tuna! YUM!
oooo there's a fish on my fish! This is actually what they put the soy sauce in. It cost 20¢ extra -__-
I got a spicy tuna roll and a tempura roll (I finish things I don't like as much first). 
The spicy tuna was actually pretty good, the tempura roll could use some avocado or some kind of moisture
This is a more realistic picture of my sushi, basically a lot of trash.
Isn't it funny how food looks better close up while people always look gross and pimply
This is Zoe coming back to the table with two 20¢ soy sauce fish
I forgot to mention that my 21ch lunch was held in a grocery store. Oh Geneva.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ô Calm: Monday Brunch in Geneva

It's the third week of May and it's 59º outside and raining. I feel that for this late in the year, I should be enjoying beautiful weather as I sit in a park shining with sunlight.... not this March weather. Well, I guess at this point in the year, I also shouldn't have the majority of my schoolwork to complete for all my courses either. Despite that, I have still left almost all of my essays to do.... sometime in the future? I guess I deserve this weather. Maybe the gods are trying to keep me inside so that I'll do work. Clearly, they don't understand the temptation and distraction of Hulu. I have a TV problem.

Yesterday, which was Monday and the last day of my four-day weekend, was a pretty nice day. Well, a nice day for March, not for May. It was just a little chilly, but looking outside it seemed nice. Thankfully, I didn't spend the entire day inside on my computer procrastinating, only part of it. In the morning, I went with Keith, Zoe, Alice, and Tara to get brunch. Although I thought we were going to the same brunch spot that Zoe’s family brought us to on the island, we went to another restaurant called Ô Calm.

The restaurant was pretty cute and had quite a home-y vibe. In fact, it could have easily been someone’s house. The kitchen was literally a kitchen I’ve seen in plenty of my friends’ homes—even with that island that I’ve played pong on. Moving into the main dining area, it looked kind of like a living room. My favorite element were the bookshelves, I don't quite understand why not every café has a library/book component because it adds a certain level of charm or coziness that can't be rivaled. 

However, when we got there, the whole dining/living room area was too full to accommodate  group of five and they offered us a table outside. When we walked outside, I was almost glad that there wasn't enough room for us inside. Despite the slight chill factor , sitting outside was a very enjoyable experience. I actually think that the patio was my favorite aspect of the whole restaurant. Probably because it vaguely reminded me of the outside seating at Zazie (only Zazie is slightly cuter with flowers everywhere), and I relish every opportunity I spend time outside these days. 

 What I was disappointed by however was the food. Now, the rest of the crew seemed to think it was really good and were impressed by the wide selection of jams and spreads. But I can get that at Migros and put it on some toast myself. I can also make better scrambled eggs, the pancake wasn't even near the best pancake I've had in Europe (let alone the US), and my cappuccino was gross for practically the same price as Boreal. So basically, I could have either made it myself or gotten the same thing in Geneva. Yet I paid 27F. WHAT!?
 Now, you should all know that I'm allll about my brunch and I'm willing to go pretty big for it. For example, at the formerly mentioned Zazie, I have easily dropped $27 several times. But do I leave Zazie upset? Of course not because not only do they have a great ambiance, but they also have absolutely AMAZING food. My $27 brunch at Zazie would have beautifully poached eggs sitting on prosciutto, covered with heirloom tomatos, and with a side of home fries with garlic. Not to mention the fluffy pancake for dessert and the latte the size of my face. 
Ultimately, ô Calm was cute and it was nice to get brunch with the crew instead of just staying inside. But I'd rather go someplace else (even in Geneva) for brunch  next time. I'm for ambiance and all, but you're going to have to give me something a little bit more to demand that much dough....even in a city as expensive as Geneva.

Wow, this post made me really want to get Zazie when I go home. Expect a post, hopefully from the patio, within the next two weeks.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Expecto Patronum

I think I'm one of the worst procrastinators of all time. I can say with a good level of certainty that I am one of the biggest procrastinators on my study group. You say you want proof? Yesterday, after coming home from Boreal where I was attempting to do work but probably spending half the time on facebook or watching Ted talks, I decided to change my scenery and come home. Did I then continue to do work, even at that same slow and distracted pace? Of course not, I proceeded to watch both the Hunger Games and Harry Potter. Now just watching the Hunger Games, I feel, would have been a merited 2 hour break. But the part that was really out of control was continuing and watching Harry Potter.
What convinced me that I just had to watch Harry Potter was Pinterest. Stupid pinterest. While pinning away while watching the Hunger Games (yes, I can't even fully focus while watching a movie) I found this really strange Harry Potter Workout. Since I hadn't worked out for a while, I decided it was totally worth spending like three hours watching Harry Potter instead of doing my homework. Here's the list:

  • a spell is cast: 10 jumping jacks
  • anyone is awarded points: 10 lunges
  • points are taken away: 10 squats
  • hagrid says "i shouldn't have said that": 30 jumping jacks
  • a painting talks: 15 crunches
  • someone says "he who must not be named" or "you know who": 15 mountain climbers
  • ron says bloody hell: 10 butt busters
  • someone cries: 20 crunches
  • someone says voldemort: 5 push-ups
  • anytime is pet is shown: 10 bicycles
  • a ghost talks: 5 push-ups
This exercise really made me notice things about Harry Potter that I had never before. For example, there are constantly animals in the movie! I'm surprised my abs weren't more sore this morning after all those bicycles! Another observations? for a name that no one is supposed to say out-loud, they sure say Voldemort a lot.

But this workout wasn't the only Harry Potter gem I found yesterday. As I continued to pin between jumping jacks, I was looking at pictures of tattoos. While purusing, I came across one that says "expecto patronum." Now I have to admit, that I had already seen this tattoo and not thought much of it. There are a million Deathly Hallows tattoos and other Harry Potter themed tattoos on tumblr and Pinterest that I've never really understood. Harry Potter might have been an integral element of my childhood, but I'm not sure if I want it inked on me.
But this time the caption of the photo caught my eye. "I await a guardian." It had never occurred to me that the spells in Harry Potter meant something, but the etymologies are quite interesting for some of them. Suddenly, expecto petronum is more than just some silly Harry Potter spell, but actually is quite meaningful. See the explanation for this girls tattoo here.