Notes for spring 2013

– Come fall I will partially move out and have flatmates and stuff like that, which merely means that I won’t afford maintaining my current lifestyle. Sucks big time! So I ought to either choose between saving money for prospective travels or spending them on beautiful clothes. And since I have a pretty expensive taste, beautiful clothes always come with a hefty price tag that would instantly trigger heart attacks in my parents. Fortunately, I’ve spent years building a wardrobe that works most of the time and I can be stylish and well-dressed for a few more years without any additional “frivolous investments”/shopping besides items that are much needed. Of course traveling trumps shopping any time as I find it a lot more fulfilling! Traveling also makes me a better and happier person, whereas buying beautiful clothes occasionally yields temporary materialistic happiness.

– I’ve been talking a lot about applying to medical school or becoming a nutrition researcher or even a pharmacist or biochemist so that I can develop drugs and acne treatments. After years of deliberation and wavering between so many different career options in the same field, I finally know what I want to do and study.

– I’m truly excited about going to university as of fall for pre-medical courses like cell biology, biochemistry and more chemistry and mathematics. Turns out my hatred for studying science isn’t hatred at all but quite the opposite. I was certainly an ignorant teenager, and naively thought I could write my way through life like nobody’s business. Be that as it may, I think it’s somewhat spectacular that someone who practically failed maths in middle and high school now wants and is eligible to study university-level mathematics. My high school math teacher told me to give up my dreams of having a career within medicine because I couldn’t do my math… well, he can suck on that now. Truth be told, he should never have become a teacher in the first place.

– Believe it or not, I have started to… wait for it.. work out – at least I’m TRYING – as I simply cannot afford a whole new wardrobe. If money wasn’t a problem, I would probably and seriously not care and keep on devouring unhealthy nosh… Turns out I have to do what other mortals normally do, which is to engage in physical activity. My sedentary lifestyle has taught me that my no-longer-existent completely out-of-this-world teenage metabolism is gone forever. And I thought I could get away with my self-imposed diet…. That’s a heads-up for you know who you are!

– Someone please help me understand why and how people can party hard, socialize and celebrate straight after their last exams. I need at least a week long post-exam rehab that consists of being in bed while eating junk and catching up on cable television. Or maybe it’s just me?

– I and two other ladies are working on a new blog project which I cannot wait to show you all. It’s something unexpected, I don’t think any of you could guess what it’s even going to be about. Well, hopefully not!

Top 5 of 2012

I know, I’m really late to the party but I haven’t gotten around to making this post that has been on my mind for some time. So here comes a belated and incomplete list of some of the top 5 things that 2012 had to offer. I could probably go on and on because 2012 was such a terrific year but so far this took me 4 hours to put together and I have to study now…. what a life. Anyway, I’ll update it now and then so that I won’t ever forget the things I loved in 2012!

Top 5 wardrobe investments

1. A.P.C. ‘Petit Standard’ raw denim jeans (this is how they looked like after 6 months of wear and tear)
2. Church’s ‘Burwood’ glossy leather brogues
3. A.P.C. gray lambswool sweater (similar here)
4. A.P.C. leather and cork sandals
5. Acne ‘Canada’ scarf

Top 5 most listened to albums 

1. John Talabot – ƒin
2. Kendrick Lamar – Good kid, M.A.A.D. city
3. Kindness – World you need a change of mind
4. Frank Ocean – Channel Orange
5. Beach House – Bloom

Top 5 unpredictable yet successful purchases 

1. A.P.C. denim jumpsuit
2. A.P.C. liberty jumpsuit
3. Nike x A.P.C. navy air max shoes
4. Vanessa Bruno Athé jumpsuit
5. A.P.C. shirt found on eBay

Top 5 concerts I attended

1. Nicolas Jaar @ Sonar in Barcelona
2. Beach House in Oslo
3. Azari & III @ Sonar in Barcelona
4. Kendrick Lamar @ Hove at Tromøya
5. Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs @ Hove at Tromøya

Top 5 best tracks chosen randomly
1. Luke Abbott – Modern Driveway
2. John Talabot – When the past was present
3. Todd Terje – Inspector Norse
4. Jessie Ware – 110%
5. Dino Lenny vs Hardrive – A DJ deep inside (Shadow Child vocal)
(6. Kendrick Lamar – Now or Never feat. Mary J. Blige)

Top 5 burgers

top5burgers1. Honest Burgers in London (hand burger)
2. The Bird in Berlin (hand burger)
3. Fil a la Une in Toulouse (foie gras burger)
4. Halifax in Copenhagen
5. Cafe Gavlen in Copenhagen

Top 5 blogs discovered in 2012
1. Empty Emptor
2. Joanna Karenina
3. The Second Renaissance
4. The Log (essai)
5. I Love Fika

Hello 2013

How I wish every morning could be more like this. We had a big brunch at Jane’s parents’ apartment in Toulouse before hitting the road to Spain. It was the day before the last day of 2012, the only day I should have been as fit as a fiddle. Instead, unpredictably, I rang in the New Year with food poisoning in Barcelona – a city close to my heart. It was truly painful, yet a relief at the same time. Painful both in the sense of having no control whatsoever over my body and also because I missed out on the party of the year with my friends and Maceo Plex in my favorite city. A relief because albeit the previous New Year’s eve was a major disaster, 2012 turned out to be second to none in every imaginable way. Hence I believe 2013 is going to be just as supreme. Bad start, bad year doesn’t apply to me (knock on wood). Nevertheless, going back to the daily grind makes me appreciate those few and far between daybreaks a lot more – with great food, great people, tranquility, harmony, and other clichés that are completely neglected in day-to-day life. I spent almost the entire holidays in the South of Europe that only feels untrue in retrospect. A 10-day dream, you know. Everything is an oxymoron in the transition from work to play and from play to work. My body and mind have yet to readapt to an even more hectic schedule and 7 exams to ace before I get my life back. Fortunately, I have a few amazing events before me; New York in 30 days, finally applying to university for the first time in my life which is scary in a way, a short trip to Copenhagen with the rat pack… and in-between all the studying I will somehow find a bit of spare time – even if it’s just my daily thirty minutes break between classes – to organize my West Coast trip in July. To be honest, what keeps me going is the privilege to travel. With the perfect balance, nothing is too overpowering.

Happy New Year everyone! Thank you so much for your continued readership! Here’s to an awesome 2013.

PS: The perfect dress… more about it later.

London diary pt. 2

As a big time lover of food and carbs, I must divulge that the main purpose of my travels is to indulge myself with good eats, haha, and discover wicked eateries. And apparently to check out gigs and meet people too – but never with the purpose to go wild at Topshop or Forever 21. Last week I went to London again. Thanks to google, various blogs, Instagram (yes, please continue taking photos of your delish food) and my friends in London, I discovered new places and revisited my perennial favorite food spot. Here is a recapitulation of my trip and some of my discoveries.

I spent at least four hours at The Albion Café in Shoreditch, sipping a pot of green tea, munching croissants, surfing on their free WiFi, and watching stylish East Londoners on the street before moving to a table inside for a change of scenery, while waiting for my friends who were running a few hours late. I didn’t try their food but from what I could see, everything looked extremely delicious and healthy, particularly the array of very tempting pastries and cakes. The Albion Café, Bakery and Food Store: 2-4 Boundary Street

Hand burger at Honest Burgers. Yes, I call the hamburgers which you eat with your hands a hand burger. Daniella and I checked out the one in Soho (the original Brixton spot seemed just a bit too far at the time). She ordered the veggie burger and I got the cheese burger with matured cheddar. We were supposed to check out the burgers over at Lucky Chip too, but the burger at Honest Burgers is by far one of the best I’ve ever had in my life so I didn’t feel the need to hunt out for another amazing hand burger in London.

In terms of size, the burger is quite compact and small, which facilitates the eating process – I swear, my hands didn’t get anywhere near greasy from eating it. The toasted glazed brioche bun together with the juicy medium rare burger with tender texture, topped with caramelized onions and melted cheddar, not to mention all that grease soaked up into the burger…. holy moly, a pure gastronomic orgasm with each bite (pardon my crudeness). Did I mention that the burgers come with rosemary salt fries that are even better than the burger? Honest Burgers: 4A Meard Street

Rose Bakery is one of my favorite spots in London and Paris. The food always inspires me to cook.. uhm yes, I never cook because I’m a spoiled brat. Daniella and I went there for brunch, and a few days later I had a big lunch accompanied by a bunch of magazines. I love everything they serve. The famous Rose Bakery carrot cake is the best and only carrot cake I like. It’s not too sweet and actually a no-brainer to make at home. Make sure that you get the table outdoors on Dover Street Market’s roof terrace if you want to enjoy the stunning rooftop view in central London. Rose Bakery: 17-18 Dover Street

I also visited a new noodle place in Soho for my ramen fix. I can’t go a few days without slurping some kind of noodle soup. Thomas and I ordered some delicious pork dumplings and a bowl of Spicy Tokyo each. So good but not spicy in the slightest. Don’t go here if you can’t stand sitting at communal tables. I, for one, don’t mind that at all. In fact, I love the concept of communal tables in restaurants. Tonkotsu: 63 Dean Street

Sunday brunch at The Ginger Pig Café in Hoxton before going to the Brick Lane market. A nice and unpretentious place. I’m not a big fan of full English breakfast with blood pudding and whatnot, but the vegetarian option at The Ginger Pig Café is super delish but way too big for me. Some guy who sat at the table next to us ordered the tallest hamburger I’ve ever seen in real life. The Ginger Pig Café: 231 Hoxton Street

Japanese udon in Soho at Koya. I went there for dinner alone and savored a bowl of udon with beef while listening to other people’s conversations. The broth and udon were tasty, but there was too much meat in proportion to noodles. Koya: 49 Frith Street

A trip to London is seriously by no means complete without crispy duck in China Town. The queue outside the famous Four Seasons was too long so we went to Imperial China Restaurant and swooned over the delectable crispy duck there. Imperial China Restaurant: 25A Lisle Street

And over to something completely non-food related… picture of me sporting my new trainers and a snapshot of the Margaret Howell store in Wigmore Street.

(Photos by me and Daniella)

The rucksack

Almost a year has passed since I wrote this post about the search for the perfect rucksack. A few months later I posted a follow-up about the agony of choice, yet I ended up with neither of them. At last I found a (temporary) rucksack – arrived today, to be precise – that fits all my needs for less than a quarter of the price of my dream backpack, which I was, in fact, planning on picking up in London next a week.

In the end, I ordered this nice rucksack from online-only e-tailer Everlane, partially because the brand’s egalitarian philosophy and business strategy really appeals to me, the bag is roomy enough for school, and also since I’m trying to save my bucks for my forthcoming travels and monthly expenses. In other words, it didn’t come with a hefty price tag attached. So, if I’m able to tighten my belt here and there, I would do my best to be a frugal shopper and opt for the most inexpensive alternative provided that neither the quality nor the design suck.

I did mention that it’s quite a spacious rucksack, which already holds three textbooks, two notebooks, a binder, chemistry tables, music sheets, a moleskine journal, a calculator, a pencil case, and essential bits and bobs such as a portable umbrella and so on – and there’s even room for a lot more, but my back could never have handled the weight, though. The understated yet cool design blends in with my style perfectly. The backpack also feels quite sturdy and looks like it can take some serious abuse from hauling it around school. And even though it’s utterly functional, thanks to the scores of pockets and a padded inner compartment for a macbook pro, the rucksack doesn’t sacrifice on style at all. Besides, it’s supposed to be of high quality, but only time will tell whether or not it stands the test of wear and tear.

Yep, the quest for the rucksack is over!

31 best-kept secrets

What an overwhelming response to the A.P.C. tote bags giveaway. Man, thanks a million for sending in all the incredible tips and secrets. Reading them was fun! Wouldn’t it be a shame not to share some of them with you? Below, I’ve picked out a few of my favorites that are new to me or which I’ve already incorporated into my oh-so perfect life. Haha. And in terms of best-kept secrets, one of mine is to never stop learning – be that as it may, there’s nothing more off-putting than coming off as a pompous know-it-all. Modesty is empowering, if you ask me!

Anyway, it’s a long post, so just scroll down to the bottom for the tote bag winners.

Again, thanks for entering the giveaway and congrats to the winners!

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Looking back… and forward


Now, facing one and a half months of exams, it suddenly struck me that I’ve never been as calm, cool and collected before despite the fact that I’m way behind the syllabus. Another self-proclamation here: Queen of procrastination. Yet I’m totally embracing this state of mind as I finally have a few days to catch up on reading at my own pace.

Just finished my first, and somewhat unplanned, semester of school. I’ve never undergone such an intense semester before and I think it’s the ideal warm-up for university down the road. In retrospect, I didn’t really study that much on my own. All the lessons, study groups and traveling back and forth to school were quite time-consuming, so in the end I didn’t really have the time or energy for the labor-intensive workload of mine. So… I probably have to retake some of the exams, but whatever, I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Most importantly, this semester got me thinking of how I want my next semesters to be like: I’ll be opting for quality over quantity. As with anything else in life, it takes a bit of trial and error to get things adjusted accordingly. I’m still young, and I just realized that I ought to stop comparing myself to my peers, who are finishing their bachelors next year, if I want to be one step closer to my goals – even though it sometimes feels as if I’m moving backwards, not forwards. Sure, it will take a few years till I’ve attained the score I need for med school or clinical nutrition, but if I take things slowly I’ll get there faster. As cliché as it sounds, I still have my entire life before me and this is only the beginning. So I’m not rushing into anything. And one’s age isn’t an indication of success. Cutting down on the amount of classes and study groups so that I can seize all the prospective opportunities, beside studying science, sounds like a stellar plan to me. Because I’m a freaking restless person. On top of that, giving up on writing and contributing to magazines is not an option though I’ve basically put my life on hold since January. I’ve always loved writing, albeit I cannot see myself doing journalism for a living, simply as there are so many other things I want to do.

And speaking of restlessness… I have an incredibly amazing summer to look forward to while also being productive, thanks to the sometimes inconvenient restlessness. It’s downright my kind of motivation to stay the course. Totally unplanned, it was just on the spur of the moment that I decided to journey this summer. Well, I already had tickets for Paris but I was supposed to make money this summer, not spend them. But what the heck, I want to have fun! So I sat down, drew a quasi-map of all the likely destinations, and booked the cheapest flight tickets available a couple of days after that sudden, yet brilliant idea popped in my head.

So right after my last exam, the worst one, I’ll be traveling to Barcelona for the Sonar festival with some friends from France. I’m looking forward to late summer nights on the patio accompanied by magnificent music, friends, food, and wine – just picture all the lovely scenes from Kinfolk magazine. Then I’ll be heading to the south of Norway for the Hove festival (watch out for a giveaway soon). It was awesome last year, so there’s no doubt I’m going back. Following the festival, I’ll be travelling for three weeks in a row. First I’ll spend a couple of days in Copenhagen, then a week in Berlin, and after I’ll go to the Côte d’Azur, mainly Nice. Can’t wait to take the train from Nice to Monte Carlo, Grasse, Antibes, and Cannes, which I’m dying to explore. Then I’ll be visiting my beloved family and friends in Paris before going back to school. And although my summer looks a bit packed now, I’m trying to fit in a trip to Pisa and Forte Dei Marmi in Tuscany where I’ll be visiting Leen Hilde and surfing on the waves.

Needless to say, it’s going to be one of these holidays where you practically do nothing aside from living in the moment while wearing no-nonsense, yet pretty clothes, as epitomized by the girl in the picture above and in this post by Hannah-Rose. And hopefully, I’ll find the inspiration to write more and fine-tune some of my potential write-ups. Anyway, I can deal with my summer fantasies later. In the meantime, I’ll study hard. Best of luck to all of you who are in the same boat. And please let me know if any of you are renting out flats/private rooms or host travelers in Barcelona, Berlin, or Pisa.