Monday, March 25, 2013

{travel} explore granada, spain

Hi friends! I have a lovely blog friend blogging today who has lived in one of the southern cities in Spain that I am headed to this week during my Semana Santa break! I hope you enjoy her travel tips for the beautiful city of Granada - I know I did. :) Thank you Kimmie! xx

Hi guys! My name is Kimmie, I blog over at Mornings at Pannikin, and I recently started my own company, Harriet Ann Creative! I have been following Jen's amazing European/Spanish adventure and was so excited when she asked me to guest post about Granada!

I lived in Granada for six months during my "gap year." Gap year's the time between high school and college, most Americans don't take any time off, but 1 to 3 year gap years are very common for Europeans and well, almost everyone else!

Granada is a place that is near and dear to my heart, and even though it has been quite a few years since I have been back, but there are a couple of places that are not to be missed!

1. The first and most obvious is the Alhambra. It use to be one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient world, and it lives up to all the wonder and hype! The Alhambra started as a fortress in the war, and turned into a royal palace, and looks as such. The best comparison I can make is that the Alhambra is to Spain, what Versailles is to France! I never took a formal tour, but if you have the time I would recommend it. I opted for the audio tour the first time, and then stuck with tour books and exploring on my own. If you are limited on time, go with the tour guide! There is so much history, and so many stories that it makes the experiences far better!  

2. Granada is an amazing walking town. You can easily see all you need to by foot. And part of the charm of the city is the things you will encounter while walking here to there. With that being said Calle Acera del Darro, is one the best streets to explore. In the fuerte de las Batallas is my favorite square. It is surrounded with cafes, restaurants, street performers, and an amazing fountain. They have about 10 gyro shops on every street, and this street is no different! I use to love stopping to pick one up on my way home from school and people watch!  Plaza Nueva is another great square. Full of restaurants  cafes, and live music.

3.  If you follow Calle Reyes along the river you will end up walking along the bottom of the Alhambra. If you keep following it up the mountain will come to the San Nicolas Plaza, the best view of the city and the Alhambra. Again, filled with cafes, music, and breathtaking views! When you are walking up and down, you are walking through the Albaicin district, be sure to stop in one of the many tea shops! They are a cant miss when visiting Granada. 

4. Last but not least, check out the markets! There are quite a few scattered through out the city and the locations/ times change. There are flowers, food, clothes, everything you could want!</ div>

And last but not least, I know Jen will be there during Semana Santa and the festivities during the week are not to be missed! It is similar to Mardi Gras, or Carnaval! My favorite was the weekend parades!  

I want to thank Jen for having me, and letting me relive my time in Granada! I cant wait to see your photos and hear about your time in this amazing city! 

Come say hi! Twitter // Website // Instagram 

Friday, March 22, 2013

{life} that time I saw Mumford & Sons live

Back in October 2012, I randomly decided to look up Mumford and Sons' concert schedule for 2013. I was just kind of half thinking about the possibility of them playing in Europe, but didn't think they would go to Madrid.  Well. I started to freak out when I saw that they were going to play in Madrid in March. I immediately called my friend I was going to move to Madrid with and was screaming on the phone that we HAVE TO GET TICKETS OMG. 

I clicked through to Spain's Ticketmaster and still thought that I was going to be lucky enough to see them live in my new city. However, the website was completely in Spanish and it took me a while to figure out that the tickets were completellllly sold out. It was heartbreaking. BUT! Last month Mumford moved venues in Madrid to accommodate more people and released more tickets. Best day ever was finding this out and buying our tickets.

Denim, whiskey, & Mumford - what else do you really need?

We convinced some girls we have met through our work program to come with us. They are from the United Kingdom!

It was an INCREDIBLE show - Marcus Mumford sounds exactly the same live as he does on his CDs.

He is perfect.

Here are some videos someone uploaded of our concert in Madrid last night - enjoy!

Babel  - Live in Madrid

Awake My Soul - Live in Madrid

Little Lion Man - Live in Madrid

Have you ever seen Mumford & Sons live?

xx, Jen

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

{recipe} thai noodle soup

Remember  that time when I had all the time in the world to bake cookies for my roommates and put things in my crock pot all week long? Or even that time when I posted recipes on the blog in general....? Yeah. Sorry bout that ladies! I'm baaaaaaaack.... for now. :)

The weather in Madrid has been absolutely crazy the last few weeks. Sunny and warm one day, rainy and cold the next. This is not boding well for my immune system... (not to mention the fact that all of my friends are sicky children too!) I knew it was time to make a huge pot of super comforting, homemade soup. I wasn't feeling the prospect of having to go to the meat store to pick up some chicken for chicken noodle soup, so I decided to go a vegetarian route and make an Asian noodle soup.

This soup could not have been any easier to make. It only took me about 20 minutes, which is perfect on a cold, rainy night filled with extra work tasks and pages of Spanish homework. The first spoonful was instantly comforting - it reminded me of being at home with my parents again. :) 

PS. Don't be intimidated by the ingredients - I changed the recipe up quite a bit from the original. Use what you have and what you like! 

Thai Noodle Soup:
Adapted from Domestic Fits

  • Splash of oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 package extra firm tofu, drained and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 6 oz rice noodles (XL kind)
  • 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • a few squirts of sriracha, to desired spiciness! 
  • a spoonful of chili-garlic sauce, to desired spiciness!
  • 1 tablespoon mushroom sauce (can also use fish, teriyaki, or other dark sauce)
  • 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons pickled ginger, sliced

  1. In a large pot, heat the oil on medium heat. Add the garlic and ginger and stir. Add the tofu, cook until lightly fried, about 3 minutes. 
  2. Add the broth, noodles, soy sauce, sriracha, chili-garlic sauce, and mushroom sauce. Cover pot with a lid and bring to a slight boil on medium-high. I let my broth cook out a little bit while the noodles softened. Add the light green section of the green onions, stir into soup.
  3. Serve topped with the rest of the green onions, sliced pickled ginger, and a few more squirts of sriracha. Enjoy!
xx, Jen

Monday, March 18, 2013

{fashion} spring style

I don't know about you, but I am SO READY for warmer weather. Seeing all of these fashion bloggers posting their adorable pastels, neons, florals, wedges, and sandals has me itching for a day without tights, boots, and a coat. I actually get excited when tells me that it is going to be in the 50s and sunny in Madrid. Who am I these days?

It also doesn't help that everyone from home is already wearing a bikini at the beach... come onnnnnnnnn Spain!

Here are some of my favorite Spring trends from around the blogosphere.

I adore this striped skirt and her pointy flats. I love that she kept it casual with a white tee.

Chambray + maxi floral. No other words needed.

I will be living in maxi skirts this summer.

I just bought a lace open back shirt similar to this one from H&M. Now I need to work on neon skinnies.

Denim on denim with a white blazer.

Comfy & casual with a pop of color.

What are some of your favorite spring fashion trends?

xo, Jen

Monday, March 11, 2013

{blog love} what i'm loving wednesday

I'm loving the fact that I haven't had to wear my winter coat for the last few weeks. (Although I'm dreaming of the days with no tights, boots, and coats!)

I'm loving the fact that I finally found a micro-brewery in Madrid. Say no to Mahou kids.

So excited for this Malasana Ale. Nom, nom, nom.

I'm loving that my Semana Santa (Holy Week / Easter break) plans are finally coming together. Granada, Cordoba, & Sevilla... we're coming for ya soon!

Can't wait to see the beautiful Alhambra in person in Granada.

I still haven't seen a flamenco show or heard Spanish guitar live - Granada plans!

The Mezquita de Cordoba (Great Cathedral and Mosque) is supposed to be incredible.

Tapas in the south of Spain are supposedly very generous & free with every drink. Yummm.

A little nervous for the intense Easter festival in Sevilla... these people are not dressed like what you think!

Sevilla is home to one of the most elaborate and famous Easter celebrations in the world.

I'm loving these clothes (and am wishing that I could ship them to Madrid!)

Charleston Harbor Dress in Nude

Anything's Poshible Tank in Ivory

Uptown Girl in Coral

I'm also loving these gorgeous shoes:

Can you tell how much I'm dreaming of warmer weather?

Happy Wednesday friends!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

{travel} fall in love every day

I have always been a proud tourist. I don't ever want to stick out like a sore thumb, but I love visiting the "must see" sights. There is something magical about finally seeing something in person that you have dreamed about but have only seen in other people's pictures.

Spain's Palacio Real (Royal Palace)

Templo de Debod in Parque del Oeste

However, the real beauty about living in Madrid is wandering around the city aimlessly, and falling in love with something new in every single turn. Whether it is a beautiful old building, a traditional Spanish tapas bar, a modern fusion restaurant, a cafe, dogs wearing sweaters & scarves, fashionable Spaniards, a random set of old stairs in a park, an unexpected spectacular view, or street art, I find myself constantly in awe of the fact that..... I live here.

Stairs in Parque del Oeste

A NYC style building by Parque del Oeste


A rainy day in the city

La Latina tapas - muy famoso

Rainy day discoveries

Real buildings or painting?

Cool pups in La Latina

San Francisco el Grande Basilica in La Latina

The view from the gardens of the Basilica

An incredible tapas and wine bar we went to today. 
We were the only English speakers in the entire place. This is always a good sign... ;)

Dog scarves are the best.

Constantly taking in the beauty around me.

Have you ever wandered around a city and fallen in love? 

xo, Jen

Sunday, March 3, 2013

{travel} cámara agraria día de mercado

Hi everyone! I won't bore you with another catch up post - but I'm so excited to share the fantastic time I had at the día de mercado in Casa de Campo.

Yesterday morning we took a 15 minute metro ride west from my main metro stop right in the center of everything Madrid. We step off of the train and were in awe. We were let out into a little sanctuary of "wilderness" and peace & quiet. Tons of people were running, cycling, walking their dogs and their babies in strollers. It was such a nice change of pace from city life for a day!

You can see some of the buildings in Madrid in the background.

It was a perfect day for a farmer's market!

This little city in the Comunidad de Madrid (Greater Madrid area) hosts a farmer's market the first Saturday of every month. It was great fun with lots of food and wine samples and fresh, organic produce.

 I can guarantee that I will be back every month.

...especially when said farmer's market has the best deal on earth. Donate one euro and receive a wine glass at the front gate of the market. You then get to taste the wine from local Madrid wineries fo FREE! Beautiful.

Of course this is Spain, and the wine was terrific, so we couldn't leave empty-handed! 
3 botellas de vino for 12 euros. Done and done.

People were lined up waiting to collect their organic produce, dairy products, meat, and cheese.

This queso de cabra (goat cheese) table was obviously popular. Yummmmy.

So many people!

The town I work in had a wine stall. Who knew that Arganda del Rey would have a winery!?

Armed with lots of wine in our bellies, but not too much food, we decided to head back into the center to grab some food at a restaurant near my flat. I have officially found my favorite restaurant in Madrid.

We shared a bunch of dishes between the 6 of us. Everything was fabulous.

After lunch, Breanne, Helena, & I walked around to a few vintage shops in my barrio, Malasana.

We had a bit too much fun with this awesome graffiti wall... :)

I'm off to another city in the Comunidad de Madrid today called Alcalá de Henares.

Can't wait to tell you all about it later!

xo, Jen