Saturday, January 3, 2015

Holiday Baking

Holiday Baking is one of my favorite things about this time of year.  This involves spending hours in the kitchen poring over various recipes in both English and German, mixing, kneading, tasting, decorating and of course photographing.

This can be extremely relaxing, never failing to put me into more of a holiday mood.  While it can also be a little stressful at times; for example when recipes don't work as well as expected or when I struggle to be completely satisfied with the way a shot turns out, in the end I am usually pretty happy with the overall result.

I was taught from a very young age by both my Mom and my Oma (German grandmother) all about Pl├Ątzchen; an umbrella term covering and including a broad variety of German Christmas Cookies generally made during the Advent season.

Lebkuchen, Vanillekipferl, Zimtsterne (my personal favorite), Spekulatius and Makronen are some of the most-loved in my household, and so every year around this time I take to baking as many varieties as possible.

The photos included in this post present some of this year's examples, but I have also inserted a few shots of cakes made during the same time- both Isa Chandra's Chocolate Yogurt Bundt Cake and Libby's Pumpkin Roll  because honestly, why not?!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Cold Spring

Katie of lublyou and I felt like taking a trip out of the city a few weeks back, and after some deliberating and researching the night before, we decided on the village of Cold Spring, located in the Lower Hudson Valley as our destination.

We took the 60-minute train ride there after grabbing a coffee and pastry at Cafe Grumpy in Grand Central, and arrived to find the weather perfect for a day of exploring.

The pretty views of the Hudson along with the colorful autumn foliage peeking out everywhere made for a lot of photographic opportunities, with Katie and I becoming completely enamoured with one particular red-leafed tree standing in front of a church- we had to quite literally drag ourselves away from this spot!

The photographer in me has always been drawn to architectural design and details so as per usual many a house, stoop, store-front and festive decoration was photographed...

The town seemed pretty quiet the day we visited and many stores and cafes were shut, but we didn't mind as we had the space almost all to ourselves to explore and wander around- a nice break from the crazy hustle and bustle of the city. (which I however love just as much, if not more!)

Cold Spring's Main Street is quite a haven for antique and vintage lovers and we spent an hour or so sifting through some of the rooms of antique goods which the (open) stores had to offer, with Katie finding a beautiful Russian shawl and me falling in love with a stone bracelet.

The day trip was a perfect getaway from the city and provided us with ample fresh air and crunchy leaves to stomp through.  We even came across a house I deemed right away as 'The Wes Anderson House'.  I am a huge fan of his cinematic aesthetic, and I'm not sure whether it was the green shutters or the interesting structure, but it felt to me like it would fit quite comfortably into one of his movies.

For residents of Cold Spring, life appeared to be quite calm and peaceful.  To be honest, the entire place exuded an air of tranquility, with noticeably lived-in (though empty) porches being some of the only telltale signs of human existence in the town.

I would definitely recommend a trip to the village of Cold Spring for anyone in the NYC area who is looking to get out of the city for a day of peaceful views and the chance to think or rest without sirens interrupting your thoughts!

For more beautiful photos and another perspective of this trip, make sure to check out Katie's post!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Short trip to Baltimore

So a couple weeks ago, I picked up and took a trip to my birthplace; my American hometown- Baltimore, MD.

I wanted to see my brother Fran and his family, who still live outside the city.  Just as much though, I wanted to revisit Baltimore to see the city and home I had last seen almost exactly 5 years ago.

It was a short trip, but I managed to cram in as much as possible- returning to my old home, driving through the city's different neighborhoods (Fell's Point being my favorite), walking on Federal Hill, roaming through the countryside, checking out a cider mill and pumpkin farm, and simply hanging out with my family.

To be honest, the memory and image that sticks with me the most from this trip was returning to see the house I lived in as a baby.

It was the very first place my brother and I went as soon as we met at the station and although I had visited my last time in Baltimore (and the times before that), for some reason this visit made much more of an impression on me.

I knew it was now a home for someone else, but all the same; standing there, photographing the building and exploring its surroundings really felt like I was returning home, or falling back on a memory.
For this experience I am grateful to my brother, for knowing to take me there, while also deeply grateful to the current inhabitants for taking such good care of the place- thank you for keeping it lovely.