30 December, 2011


Another year has almost gone by, and what a year it was! Each New Years Eve I make a list of goals for the new year - looking over those for 2011, there are many I accomplished, while some remain unfulfilled. 

But that is the beauty of life. We are given the chance to dream big and, God willing, each December 31st, we are able to reflect on and be proud of what we have accomplished and given another new year to strive for all that we have not. 

In 2012, I will

And, best of all, I will

Wishing you all a warm and enthralling NYE. And for 2012, the courage to dream big, the perseverance to chase those dreams, and wonderful friends and family to share your accomplishments with. 


23 December, 2011

Joyeux Noël!

Presents are wrapped, the tree is lit and the apartment decorated. All that's left is some cleaning and baking before Christmas arrives. How the time has flown!

I wish you all a happy, happy Christmas!! 

15 December, 2011

Bath time

Today I'm heading to the suburbs to do some Christmas shopping with my mother - I can't wait to get out of the house and spend some time with my family!

And when I come back home in the evening, I plan on indulging in a long, hot, bubbly, candlelit bath.

I have a feeling today will be wonderful.

12 December, 2011

Winter Break To-Do's

Finally, I've finished with paper-writing for the term and now I've got until the middle of January to relax and sink into the holiday spirit. I've got so many great things planned - a visit from my cousin in a week, a cookie exchange party, sleepovers with my best friend and lots of quality time with my fiance and family.

I made a list of to-do's for this month long vacation--time goes by so quickly, I don't want to miss anything this magical season has to offer.

What's on your holiday to-do list?

07 December, 2011

7 December, 1988

On a day when most of the world remembers Pearl Harbor, I am remembering the December 7, 1988 earthquake which devastated northwestern Armenia, completely wiping out the town of Spitak and leaving Leninakan (now known as Gyumri) in ruins. My grandparents' village, the town where my father was born and where I have spent the best summers of my life.

It was an earthquake which left more than 25,000 dead and countless more injured, orphaned and scarred. One I am lucky to only hear about through the stories of my parents and relatives who experienced the unimaginable pain for themselves.

An earthquake that demonstrated the resilience of our people, and one which, today, reminds me of the importance of family and makes my heart ache for all those that are far away.

06 December, 2011

The End of the Semester Looks Like This

Overflowing books, papers, empty tea mugs, cookie crumbles...these are signs of the last week of the semester. Especially the books - they're everywhere--strewn about the table, on the floor, consuming the window sill.

I've got one paper to submit today by 3:30pm (which begs the question, why am I blogging? See: Procrastination), another one due Thursday, and the last one (plus a large research proposal) due Monday.

I suppose this is the price to pay for the otherwise wonderful graduate-student life (flexible classes, researching topics that actually interest me, coffee outings with classmates, long intellectual chats, etc. etc.).

After this semester I will be done with all the coursework required for my PhD (though I'll still take classes that interest me), and the hard part will begin: studying for preliminary exams, formulating a thesis proposal, research, research, and more research and, finally...writing my thesis.

It is all very daunting, to say the least. But, I've learned quite well that nothing good comes easily......and no one said the path towards dreams is paved in gold...or even paved at all.

But boy, am I looking forward to Monday night. To sleeping in the next morning. To strolling the Christmas market downtown, to meeting with friends for hot cocoa and cookie exchanges.

Because the best part of being a graduate student might just be having a month-long winter break (and, of course, a four month summer break, too).

01 December, 2011

Gift Guide - For the Travel Addict

Otherwise titled, "Give me, Give me, Give me"

{1}Leather Luggage Tag - I've got a bit of an obsession with luggage...(as do most avid travelers, I think). This luggage tag is perfect - sturdy, classic, inspiring (you can choose from a variety of quotes).

{2}Gypset Style - For the gypsy at heart. Travel + beautiful interiors + fashion = drool worthy reading

{3}Quincy Coin Purse, by Jess LC - I love the simplicity and colors of these little coin purses. I always use a coin purse in lieu of a wallet when I travel as it's less bulky.

{4}Scratch World Map - I've been lusting after this map for ages. Next year, when fiance and I have our own place, I'm buying this map and framing it. It serves as a fun reminder of all the travels you've had....and any travel addict knows, reminiscing is almost as good as traveling itself.

{5}Moleskine City Notebook - These are available for almost every major city. A journal, map, and guide-book all in one. But the best part? You personalize it yourself, with the restaurants you discovered, secret passageways, great shopping finds. It becomes your personal guidebook. I have one of these for Paris, which I used the first time I went. Leafing through it and re-living those memories makes my heart happy, every time.

{6}Voluspa Decorative Tin Candle - I always take a small candle when traveling, and I make sure to pick out a new scent. Later, when I return home, a whiff of that scent reminds me of the trip (I do this with perfume as well)

{7} Glass Glitter Globe Ornament - Because every Christmas tree needs an ornament that reflects your passion (which is why I currently have 10 Eiffel Tower ornaments. Overkill? I think not.)

p.s. Don't forget to enter the Soap Hope Giveaway!!

30 November, 2011

Soap Hope GIVEAWAY !

You may remember the post I wrote about Soap Hope after having the opportunity to review several of their products. If you do, then you'll need to read no further to get excited about the giveaway they are offering Cap ou Pas Cap readers! (Unfortunately, this giveaway is only for domestic (U.S.) readers).

Soap Hope is a company that truly gives back to the community, and the international one, at that! Their products range from laundry detergent, to makeup, to body products, to baby care, and everything in between. All their products are 100% natural. Most importantly, Soap Hope invests 100% of their profits, interest free, for one year into anti-poverty initiatives.

To enter to win a {$25 gift certificate to Soap Hope} :

1. Click here to go to the giveaway page on Soap Hope's website
2. Fill out your name and e-mail address on their form
3. Submit (and keep your fingers crossed!)

A winner will be chosen on December 15th.

While you wait for the good news, enjoy 10% off everything in the store using coupon code: BLOG10

27 November, 2011

Place Settings.

Ever since I moved in with my fiance, I've developed an extreme case of nesting. I am powerless against the "home goods" section of any store, and a beautiful tablecloth or china pattern will make me drool almost as much as a macaron or a fresh baguette with French butter (more on that later).

As we are currently living with my fiance's brother and making use of his abundant kitchenware, we don't need anything and so I've been abstaining from any large or extravagant purchases. But i'm compiling a long wishlist of household items for next year, when we'll have our own place.

Currently, I'm lusting over these beautiful, dramatic, and elegant place settings. I'll take one of each please (in sets of six, of course). I especially love the last settings in black and gold.

Go here for the original images and to read about the stylists and designers behind these gorgeous settings.

Advent Sunday

Today I start the countdown until Christmas - 27 days! Also, today is Advent Sunday. My mother makes the most beautiful wreaths for this occasion and, now that I'm living with my fiance and his brother, I've decided to continue this tradition for the three of us.

So I'm off to shop for candles and decorations...and perhaps a new tablecloth to match the season.

Happy Sunday!

25 November, 2011

Scenes from Thanksgiving {Food Overload}

I'll let the photos do the speaking....I'm busy digesting! Hope you had a nice Thanksgiving!

(Somehow I neglected to photograph the TWO turkeys....you'll have to take my word that they were both beautifully done and delicious!)

23 November, 2011

Thankful {Have a Happy Thanksgiving}

Last week, my younger sister (I have another, youngest, one) spent the day and night with me in the city. She is five years younger than me and it seems that we spent most of our lives in battle. When my parents first brought her home from the hospital, any feelings of joy were quickly overtaken by hostility at this new creature who had, with such speed, stolen my parents from me and, to add salt to the wound, cried ceaselessly. I cherished her nap time.

As she grew older, we exchanged not so loving words over her inability to keep her mess contained to her side of the room. Later, as we moved from an apartment to a house and we each had our own rooms, our disputes centered around her stealing clothes and things from my room.

By the time I was in college and she in high school, my parents were ready to tear their hair out. My mother is an only child and my dad has an older brother but, spent most of his childhood traveling and then his young adult life in other cities for school and university. So, neither was able to fully grasp the concept of sibling rivalry. The arguments I've described above were petty, but there were others - arguments and differences which threatened our relationship to the core.

Then, miraculously, in the past few years, our relationship took a turn for the better. We stopped fighting and we became friends. Not just friends, but best friends. And I've finally realized what my parents have been trying to tell me all along - a sister is an amazing gift (or any family member, for that matter), because she understands me, she knows me - completely and unconditionally. And now that the battles are behind us, we can sit for hours at a coffee shop and laugh over the times dad embarassed us or the silly things our youngest sister does, or our own reckless childhood mistakes.

And my favorite thing? We can talk about our relationships, about our dreams, about our futures. She doesn't judge me, she simply understands me, and I her.

I cannot wait until we all have families and can gather together for Thanksgiving. Our husbands will gather around the bonfire, drinks in hand, while the children run around, laughing and screaming to their heart's content. And the three of us, we'll look on, knowing how far we've come.

And so, this Thanksgiving, I am so, so grateful for my sisters. They may have been little brats growing up ( I was the perfect older child, of course), but I couldn't live without them, now.

Tomorrow we will be spending the holiday at my in-law's house by the lake. I've got a beautiful black lace dress to wear, though I'm not so sure how beautiful it will look once I lose the ability to hold my stomach in after ingesting loads of food.

Enjoy the holiday, and be thankful for your brothers, sisters, and family! xx

22 November, 2011

Scenes from the {coziest} November Weekend

{early morning breakfast with a best friend at favorite cafe}

{newly discovered leg warmers and slipper socks...so warm and cozy!}

{dinner dates with my handsome fiancee...these have been hard to come by as of late with our busy schedules}

{hookah nights...all natural and herbal, no tobacco for those who may be concerned}

{twilight strolls}

{a fun manicure makes endless typing somewhat more bearable}

{I'm obsessed with pumpkin white chocolate chip cookies...see recipe below. Fiancee literally shoved these into his mouth, one after another. Okay...I did, too. Don't say you weren't warned}

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
15 ounce can pumpkin
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 - 1/2 cup flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 - 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp cloves
2 cups white chocolate (you can use chips or simple grate white chocolate of your preference)

* Preheat oven to 350F
*Butter + sugar, then pumpkin + egg + vanilla
*In a separate bowl mix flour + baking soda + baking powder + spices
* Add dry ingredients to wet, then mix in chocolate
* Drop onto baking sheet by the spoonfulls, bake until edges are golden

Also, several of you requested the recipe for the pumpkin soup I mentioned a few posts ago. You can find it here. Enjoy!