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!

19 November, 2011

Words and String

I posted this little passage from Nicole Krauss's History of Love ( a book which you must read, if you haven't already) in my early blogging days. Today seemed the perfect day to resurrect it.

"When will you learn that there isn't a word for everything?"

So many words get lost. They leave the mouth and lose their courage, wandering aimlessly until they are swept into the gutter like dead leaves. On rainy days, you can hear their chorus rushing past: IwasabeautifulgirlPleasedon’tgoItoobelievemybodyismadeofglass-I’veneverlovedanyoneIthinkofmyselfasfunnyForgiveme….

There was a time when it wasn’t uncommon to use a piece of string to guide words that otherwise might falter on the way to their destinations. Shy people carried a little bunch of string in their pockets, but people considered loudmouths had no less need for it, since those used to being overheard by everyone were often at a loss for how to make themselves heard by someone. The physical distance between two people using a string was often small; sometimes the smaller the distance, the greater the need for the string.

The practice of attaching cups to the ends of string came much later. Some say it is related to the irrepressible urge to press shells to our ears, to hear the still-surviving echo of the world’s first expression. Others say it was started by a man who held the end of a string that was unraveled across the ocean by a girl who left for America.

When the world grew bigger, and there wasn’t enough string to keep the things people wanted to say from disappearing into the vastness, the telephone was invented.

Sometimes no length of string is long enough to say the thing that needs to be said. In such cases all the string can do, in whatever its form, is conduct a person’s silence.

14 November, 2011

Snob Diet

I read an article in last month's Glamour which I think every woman should read; and, so, I am quoting parts of it here. Enjoy!

"You invest in nice shoes. You don't use just any old shampoo. And you probably own at least one pair of jeans that costs more than anything made of denim should. But are you as discerning about what you put in your body as you are about what you put on it? 'I see so many young women who eat whatever's easy and available, and many subsist on processed, low-fat foods in an effort to control their weight,' says Cynthian Sass, nutritionist.....'We've been programmed to believe that's how you do it, but these subpar foods don't satisfy you the way real, high quality ones do.' So here's a novel idea:

Ditch the fat free pudding and go for a scoop of premium ice cream instead. Nibble on an amazing wedge of Camembert, not 'low-fat cheese food.' Eat the good stuff, turn your nose up at anything else and--nutritionists swear it will happen--watch yourself lose weight.

Such is the premise of the Snob Diet. (Gwyneth Paltrow basically declared herself an ally when she said, 'I'd rather smoke crack than eat cheese from a can.')

Celebrity dietitian Ashley Koff, R.D., has seen similar results in women she counsels: 'I'm a qualitarian, and I encourage all my clients to be as well. It's the dietary - and nutritional - equivalent of trading up from a cubic zirconia to a diamond'.


Rules of the Snob Diet:

1. Choose the highest quality foods possible

2. Enjoy that food

3. Don't deny your cravings (in moderation, of course)

4. But if it's not truly delicious, don't eat it.


my note: I loathe the term "diet", and though Glamour calls this the Snob Diet, I think it should be a way of life. Only take in the best, and your body will be its best. In Europe this is standard, and made easier by fresh markets and local products. However, with a slightly larger monetary investment and a bit of time to browse grocery aisles more closely, it can certainly be done - and it is worth it.

11 November, 2011

Some Magic For Your Friday

Happy Friday, lovely readers!

Today is 11.11.11. I'd like to think it is a special day - it does come around only once every hundred years. In the spirit of all things magical and extraordinary, I give you Tim Walker photography.

I stumbled upon his work via Pinterest and discovered he is the photographer behind some of my most favorite images.

Take a break from reality and imagine yourself in one of these worlds:

Source: google.com via Amelda on Pinterest

09 November, 2011

Navy Pier, Day to Night

Back in September a friend and I stayed at the Swissotel (which I absolutely do not recommend) and though the hotel had few redeeming qualities, the view was enough to satisfy. Navy Pier was built in 1916 and designed by Daniel Burnham, who also designed the Flatiron building in New York and Union Station in Washington D.C. Before it became a Chicago tourism landmark, the Pier served as a university campus (the university I attend now!), docking space for passenger excursion steamers and, in the era before air conditioning, the outermost points of the Pier were designed to provide entertainment and cooler temperatures.

I am really hoping to manage another stroll around the Pier before the winter winds make it inhospitable.

And now I'm off to the kitchen to make pumpkin soup and roasted eggplant bruschetta.

How is your week going?

05 November, 2011

Step Into My Office

I've been absent from the blogging world for the past week (Bloglovin currently reads 781 posts to catch up on), spending long days on campus working on research, meeting with professors and planning departmental events.

So it seems only fitting to give you a glimpse into my little campus office. Since I spend so much time there, I've tried to make it as cozy as possible. It's my area of respite from school craziness. Some days, I turn off the harsh overhead light (planning on buying a much softer floor lap for next semester), light a few candles (I'm certain having candles in the office is a no-no...I'm such a rebel), and type away by candlelight.

Unfortunately, I didn't realize that making my office so cozy {relatively speaking...I realize the grey bricks and fluorescent lights are still reminiscent of a prison} would only encourage other graduate students to leave their bare offices and come spend a majority of their time in mine.

Enjoy the tour...

My side of the office ( there is another desk/bookshelf on the other side)

(this water boiler has made me the envy of many of my fellow classmates...hehe)

(candles, a love note from my fiancee, and a photo of Paris keep me calm on hectic days)

(my sister made the above european landscape collage from journal clippings. She's pretty amazing).
(tea/coffee/hot chocolate stash....necessary for sanity)

(my inspiration board)

Hope you are all having an indulgent weekend!