Monday Mélange: NY Architecture

If you’ve seen my Instagram lately (@maddiemonmon which is private – but I’m pretty open to accepting followers), or at least have looked at the right sidebar at my two most recent photos, you will notice that I’ve been very into taking photos of architecture in New York lately. The crisp black and white filter comes from Nigel Barker’s Instagram, which is one of my favorite odes to NYC. I took an architecture class in Paris, and ever since, I’ve been more aware of architectural beauty. Here are some of the buildings in New York that I find to be five of the most beautiful.

1. The Frick Museum – One of my friends and I have joked since high school that this is our future home. Right on 5th Avenue with Cherry Blossoms that bloom in the spring, this mansion-turned-museum is quite a beautiful view from the M1 down 5th Ave.

Frick Museum

2. St. Ignatius Loyola Church – Studying architecture in Europe means studying a lot of churches and cathedrals. That’s why I think of St. Ignatius Loyola as one of the best examples of classic architecture in NY. It is elaborate and has egg and dart and pilasters all over. You can tell it’s nestled among posh Park Avenue apartments and has parishioners like Kennedy’s by the way its beautifully kept.

3. Cooper Hewitt Museum – Formerly Carnegie’s mansion, the museum has been under construction for the past few years. But its beautiful facade and even more beautiful hardwood interiors are architectural beauty at its finest.

4. Ralph Lauren, Madison Avenue – Would you believe me if I told you this building was built in 2010? Ralph Lauren mimicked his other building just across the street for his new flagship store on Madison Avenue. I’d happily give up the Frick to my friend to live in this Madison Avenue masterpiece.

5. Classic Brownstones – New York’s brownstones give it much of its personality. From Carrie Bradshaw’s rent-controlled apartment everyone in New York simply dreams of, to the cute and homey brownstone Meg Ryan called home in You’ve Got Mail (shown below), brownstones are classic New York.

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Monday Mélange: Audrey

In honor of my biggest icon’s 85th birthday, here is a collection of 5 of my favorite Audrey Hepburn moments:

Monday Mélange: Plain Jane

Growing up, my dad used to call me Plain Jane. It was 100% true when we went out to eat; at any restaurant, it was pretty much plain pasta or roasted chicken for me. But when my mom cooked, I would eat pretty much anything: broccoli, pork, lamb, seafood and more. I can still hear her saying “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.” As I’ve grown up and travelled more, I realize I like things I thought I didn’t like, and then I go into binges of not being able to have enough. Here are some of my favorite dislikes-turned-likes.

P.S. You can expect to never see mayonnaise or blue cheese on this list.

1. Brussels sprouts  – Roasted, crispy or shredded in salads, I can’t get enough of Brussels sprouts. I first warmed up to them when my mom served them topped with bacon on Thanksgiving. In the words of Ina, “How bad could that be?”

roasted Brussels sprouts

roasted Brussels sprouts

2. Chickpeas – This is still a recent development, but in curries, hummus or fried like in this salad, chickpeas are becoming one of my new favorite things.

The Root Trackside salad with crispy chickpeas

The Root Trackside salad with crispy chickpeas

3. Pineapple – I used to think pineapple was too sweet, but after my trip to Nicaragua, I realized it’s the perfect mix of filling and hydrating. Ree Drummond’s guide to cutting a pineapple on Pioneer Woman helped me more than she knows.

Ree Drummond's guide to cutting pineapple

Ree Drummond’s guide to cutting pineapple

4. Walnuts – I used to hate when desserts had walnuts in them, but they’re so perfectly buttery and crunchy, I was really missing out. I also love them in salads or to snack on for some protein.

Chocolate tort with walnuts that I need to try soon

Chocolate tort with walnuts that I need to try soon

5. Truffles – I first had truffles on my dad’s pizza and pasta, and they were definitely a taste I acquired with time. Now, I can’t get enough of the parmesan truffle fries at a restaurant near my school. I love the idea of bundling them together with prosciutto like this.

prosciutto-wrapped truffle fries

prosciutto-wrapped truffle fries

Monday Mélange: Everyday Vices

Rainy Mondays are just cruel. I woke up this morning to my alarm and could have sworn it was 5 a.m because it was that dark outside. But no – just a downpour. It’s days like this – and weeks like these – that make it really hard to stay focused and driven. With only about a month and a half of school left, I indulge in a few of my daily vices to keep me going:

1) Cupcakes. They’re pretty, always delicious, and make me smile. This past weekend, I was visiting friends from Paris in D.C. We stopped by Baked and Wired for one of D.C.’s most famous cupcakes. The long line moved pretty quickly, and even the memory of this strawberry cupcake is brightening my day.

Strawberry cupcake, Baked and Wired | netflix & nutella

2) Friday Night Lights. I fell in love with this show my senior year of high school, and rewatching it from the beginning is the perfect distraction. Riggins is so damaged but lovable, and I find myself easily falling in love with him again every episode. All the seasons are available on Netflix.

Friday Night Lights | netflix & nutella

3) New York State of Mind. I’m using one of my favorite websites, Serious Eats, to make a list of bakeries, restaurants, and bars I have to try this summer when I’m back in NY. I’m having serious cabin fever, so daydreaming of pizza, great baguette, and Shake Shack will do for now.

Serious Eats, NY | netflix & nutella

4) The Notebook. This soundtrack always puts me at ease and helps me focus on work.

5) Shopping. I can’t help it. After doing some spring cleaning, I’m realizing that having that same blouse from the 9th grade probably means it’s ok for me to do a little upgrading. Instead of splurging on 10 items at Forever 21, I’m trying to me more aware of the fact that being in my 20’s means investing in some essentials. So even though I get less bang for my buck, these classic pieces will last. P.S. Macy’s is having an awesome shoe sale… don’t mind if I do!

Steve Madden sandals | netflix & nutella

*The Food Network. It’s supplementary to the top 5 because – who am I kidding – nothing can compare. Even as background music to doing laundry, the Food Network makes me smile. What better vice is there?

Pioneer Woman | netflix & nutella

Monday Mélange: Millennial Music

I never really knew what to call my generation – the one that had Hilary Duff, The Parent Trap-era Lindsay Lohan and Mia Thermopolis to look up to. The fashion was questionable, but the soundtracks were great. I can put any of these on and not only know every word, but know the sequence in which the songs can play. It’s quirks like that that may die off with my generation, but I’m holding onto them as long as I can.

1. The Lizzie McGuire Movie – We’ve got HilDuf originals, Atomic Kitten, and Vitamin C, some classic girl-power hits of my middle school years.

2. The Princess Diaries – This one was on repeat in my Hello Kitty boom box. BBMak, Mandy Moore, and of course the hit “Miracles Happen.”

3. Legally Blonde – My first PG-13 movie came with a delightfully millennial soundtrack.

4. 13 Going on 30 – An ironic mix of Liz Phair, Billy Joel, and Lillix.

5. What A Girl Wants – Girl power songs mixed with Oliver James and Duncan Sheik. Just too good.

Monday Mélange: Tu Me Manques

A bunch of my friends just got back from studying abroad in the fall. Who knew that switching from “I studied abroad last semester” to “I studied abroad last year” would be so tough? I know, I know. Have some perspective.

I have an amazing free software called MyShoebox that backs up any photos I’ve uploaded to my computer via my camera or Dropbox. It’s not only great in case my computer crashes (knock on wood), but also send me a bit of inspiration. It tells me what photos I uploaded “This Day in History.” Though it’s bittersweet to see the amazing adventures I had studying abroad last year, I thought I’d share some of my forgotten treasures.

Tu Me Manques | netflix and nutella Tu Me Manques | netflix and nutella Bordeaux | netflix and nutella Tu Me Manques | netflix and nutella Tu Me Manques | netflix and nutella

Monday Mélange: Perspective

I’ve been thinking a lot about perspective lately. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that. But as I grow up and face new challenges every day, I find that one of the biggest helps is having perspective. It’s important to face the challenges and learn from them, but perspective is the added ingredient that can help you overcome. Here are 5 things that have given me a dose of perspective.

  1. After Mandela by Douglas Foster – After hearing a bit from the author, I’m excited to read about something so vital a nation’s history and that I embarrassingly know very little about. The stories in this book are a huge dose of perspective.
    After Mandela | netflix and nutella
  2. Duracell Seahawks Commercial – “I’ve been deaf since I was 3, so I didn’t listen.” That’s all.
  3. Atticus Finch: “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view…until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” I’m rereading To Kill a Mockingbird and this quote stood out to me right away.
    To Kill a Mockingbird | netflix and nutella
  4. Jiro Dreams of Sushi – A documentary about how passion and a lot of hard work is the key. This man turned sushi into an art, and his dedication and diligence are inspiring.
  5. Alice in Wonderland: “I can’t go back to yesterday because I was a different person then.” I always have to have a little Disney inspiration!
    Alice in Wonderland | netflix and nutella

Monday Mélange: Staying Sane

With a new year under way and a bunch of new commitments lined up, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. I’m back at school after an incredible escape from reality at home. As the new semester rolls around, I thought I’d share some of the things that help keep me sane.

1) A great planner – No matter how high-tech our society becomes, I’ll always need a planner. My sister jokes that my life mottos is, “Every planner has a December.” I can’t fight her on that one.

My favorite planner brand
2) Clean up – In my space, everything has its place. Taking the extra step to make your bed, reorganize the clutter on your desk, and spritz a little cleaner makes a world of difference. Not only have you accomplished something, but you’re in the mood to take on more.

Having its place
3) Make lists – From menus to to-do lists, writing things down helps me when I am juggling what feels like a million things. Seeing it all on paper makes it easier to tackle.

Making lists
4) Detox with Downton – Or any of your favorite shows, for that matter. It’s okay to take some time out of your day to turn off your mind and close your mouth and indulge in some British banter.

Lady Mary from Downton
5) Breathe – Taking deep breaths and following my steps is my remedy for stressing out.

Breathe

Monday Mélange: Flashback Fashion

As the New Year approaches, I’ve caught myself looking back on fashion. I could have easily been a flapper in the 20’s or a Jackie O. impersonator in the 60’s. Though it’s not always best to live in the past, what better time of year to remember the past than at the end of the present year.

1910s

1910s | Netflix and Nutella

1920s

1920s | Netflix and Nutella

1930s

1930s | Netflix and Nutella

1940s

1940s | Netflix and Nutella

1950s

1950s

1960s

1960s | Netflix and Nutella

Monday Mélange: Sweets for Santa

I am the youngest of four children, and seeing as we have all reached our twenties – some of us living our own lives away from home – you’d think some of our traditions would have changed. We would have stopped coming down the stairs in age order to see our presents; stopped having a slumber party the night before; stopped the routine of watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas on Christmas Eve. There’s a certain magic that comes with this time of year, one that I don’t think any of us are ready to give up as we face the “real world” and one that I think we’ll cling to until we start having kids of our own with whom we can share it.

Though it might be silly, we still do a ton of baking this time of year, a plate of which is ceremonially left out for Santa.

Merry Christmas to all; I hope some of these treats can enable the magic to carry on for you, no matter your age.

Raspberry Oat Bars

Raspberry oat bars | netflix & nutella

Homemade Cocoa

Homemade Cocoa | netflix & nutella

Apples to Apples

Apple turnovers | netflix & nutella

Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Jam Thumbprint Cookies | netflix & nutella

Candied Cinnamon Sugar Almonds

Candied cinnamon sugar almonds | netflix & nutella

 

For more baking ideas, check out my food page here!